Col has been in the turf industry for 27 years and in the position of Course Superintendent at Caboolture Golf Club for five and a half years.
What do you love about your course?
The course in general tests your game out, no doubt, holes 15,16,17 can destroy your score if you go off line. These holes have combinations of tree lined roughs, OOB, and a water hazard down both sides the length of our feature hole the double dogleg Par 5 17th. Love the fact the course dries out reasonably quickly after a heavy rain event.
What do you love about being a superintendent?
I’m very passionate about providing the best surfaces we can for members and guests with our ageing fleet and small work crew. Like the lifestyle the role offers and using your grey matter to problem solve and the satisfaction of a job well done.
What challenges do you face being a super?
Mainly staff levels for those days you need those few extra 1%ers completed, or leave periods as only two available to carry weekend workloads. Not too bothered by extreme weather events, it is what it is.
What was your first job?
Started apprenticeship on South Molle Island, Whitsunday Islands on a little 9 holer. Great environment for sure.
What was your best job?
By far, my current course, Caboolture. It is a blank canvas for us to continue to drive onwards and upwards. With the installation of a brand new RainBird IC irrigation system and Davey IQ pumpset, we can build on the foundation this will provide us, improve fairways, tees and greens complexes. Future plans include bunker refurbs and fairway turf species conversions. A very supportive board helps immensely.
What was your worst job?
11 years at a previous course where income only covered basic maintenance, certainly pushed me to the brink at times, no staff, old machinery, constant stressors from management to name a few. This taught me how to be a lot more resourceful with time, money and effort.
In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
It has introduced me to other resource sources of Superintendents, TAFE teachers and other service professionals that I know are a phone call away should I ever need something, to me this is invaluable.
Who was the biggest influence in your career?
Ben Tilley from Headland Golf Club has been the biggest influence in my career. Whether it’s to borrow machinery, advice or just a general chat, Ben always offers an ear and the odd solution. Brian Dale from TAFE days was handy to talk with during my first Supers role.
Is your job what you thought it would be when you started?
My main concern was to finish my apprenticeship, I was 27, had a young family and they were my priority, so my job was to provide for them. My career has progressed through different stages and there is still more I can learn on this journey. I have learnt to evolve over time to meet the needs and demands of the role.
Are there any projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
Two courses I have held Super position, I have installed irrigation systems. One was done in-house with a dingo trencher, the latest here at CGC, full blown system by contractors. To be involved in the last upgrade from selecting brands, service providers and organising of stakeholder meetings was a challenge I thoroughly enjoyed and a proud turf management point in my career.
Describe your team
We have three full-time staff in total, two greenkeepers, 1 groundsman and a casual that works 3-3.5 days per week. Summer is all about course presentation; winter is the time for any other works that require completion.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job?
If you enjoy outdoor work, rising early and doing repetitive chores, this is the role for you. It’s a lifestyle choice no doubt, just be prepared to give up your public holidays, oh, and playing golf will go a long way in understanding the role you carry out daily.
How do you prepare yourself for emerging trends and changes in the industry?
Attending field days I can research new products, techniques online, look at what is happening overseas and also within our local industry. Trialling new turf species, fertilisers and chemical formulations to keep on the front foot.
‘I have a passion for turf management that continues to drive me to reach attainable goals I set each year. Without goals, we lose desire to do the role and others around us can see that apathy. Be a leader, it’s worth the effort.’