Kevin Smith is on the back nine … in his career, that is. But the 57-year-old sure doesn’t act like it.

Smith recently resigned his post as golf course superintendent at the 36-hole Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro, North Carolina, to become the superintendent at Tama Hills Golf Course in Tokyo, Japan.

Most guys Smith’s age are beginning to think about retirement, not taking a new job in a foreign country and packing up to move overseas. But that’s Smith for you.

“I’ve been at Bryan Park for more than 13 years … it just feels like it’s time [to move on],” Smith told me by phone a few days before he left for the Far East. “Change, for me, provides rejuvenation and helps me become re-energized. But if I’m not challenged, I don’t feel like I’m growing.”

I tell Smith, who is not just a great superintendent but a great person, that I think he is crazy.

He laughs. “I like to think of it as being outside the box,” he replies.

Truth is, I don’t think Smith is crazy at all. I admire him for making the move. I tell him that I wish I had his nerve.

“I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback like that and it has really been motivating to me and is further confirmation that this the right thing to do,” Smith says. “More than anything, I feel like it’s a great opportunity to experience a culture that is going to present both my wife and I with some really neat life experiences and the opportunities to grow as human beings. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

You have to hand it to Smith. He was, admittedly, in his comfort zone at Bryan Hill. But he busted out of it like the Incredible Hulk busts through concrete walls in an “Avengers” movie.


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