Grumpy Super is having another awful day, one of many caused by golfers or pros who don’t understand such basic agronomic concepts as frost delays or a new employee who cut an approach with a greens mower.
Instead of just complaining to his friends and family, Grumpy Super lets loose on Twitter. As a result, he has tapped into the most basic frustration of his fellow superintendents, the Sisyphean nightmare of trying to tame the natural world.
There is also a good dose of humor, often acerbic, that runs through the tweets of @grumpysuper, from Grumpy’s own version of the 12 days of Christmas, to a gif of a man riding a burrow that has an activated spray unit attached to its hindquarters.
Since creating the Twitter account in March of 2013, Grumpy has accrued more than 7,100 followers.
I arranged to converse with Grumpy via email. Grumpy’s anonymity could not be compromised. I know nothing about the real Grumpy, but the Twitter version gives this description.
“I have been a superintendent now for almost 20 years. I have worked public and private, high end and low end. A lot of golf course issues that I talk about are universal,” Grumpy wrote.
I asked him why the Twitter account.
“I needed a place to vent: golfers, committees, pros, caddies, chefs, starters, outings. I could go on for hours. Grumpy is a place to vent and share all the frustrations of the job. Grumpy is the stereotypical old-school superintendent that everyone knows. There’s dirt under his fingernails older than you. He’s seen it all. He’s got the best, most unbelievable anecdotes. There is defiantly a Grumpy Super Nation out there of people that relate. I think we absolutely love what we do. Wouldn’t do anything else. Yet need a place to bitch when the pro pisses us off.”
The golfers at Grumpy’s course, judging by his tweets, seem to be one heck of difficult group to deal with.
“Every golf course has groups of colossal a*shats that play there, but the ones that play at my course are my a*shats. I’m glad they’re here,” he wrote. “Similar to my crew, I appreciate them and want to kill them at the same time.”
According to Grumpy, he’s delighted when followers share their experiences.
“I absolutely love it when people send pictures or videos of the stuff going on at their courses. Grumpy Nation can relate to being in a muddy crap storm irrigation quagmire hole on a Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. When someone takes a divot out of the putting green, your first reaction is that I’m the only one in the world dealing with golfers with this pedigree of idiocy. Nah, it’s every course everywhere. Post it and move on. Get back to doing the impossible awesome we do every day.”
While Grumpy knows getting golfers to learn is very much a futile effort, he said there is a basic understanding he wishes golfers would learn.
“‘Why do you have to punch holes in the greens?’ Because we care and want the greens to thrive. ‘Why can’t we tee off at the (break) of dawn and get in the way of your mowers?’ Because we care and want you to play the course after we’ve prepared it to provide the best possible conditions. ‘Why aren’t the greens as fast as BlahBlahBlah Country Club?’ Because we care and keeping the grass healthy and maintaining the putting surfaces at a speed where pace of play isn’t an issue at our facility is also really important.”
Since Grumpy has been around for a while, I wondered when Grumpy might hand the barn keys to someone else.
“Grumpy Super will never retire. The mantle will be passed down and someone else will put on the cowl and protect the world from the maniacal tyranny of golfers. Or I’ll mow fairways here at some local course and bitch about the super and every decision he makes.”
I wondered if Grumpy thought about merchandising the name – T-shirts, bumper stickers, Tasers?
“Oooooh. I like that Taser idea. I’m stealing that.”