Luke Nowlan has been in the position of Golf Course Superintendent Ipswich Golf Club for 3 years. Learn more about Luke below:
What do you love about your course?
The original design is fantastic and really takes advantage of the natural landscape. Being only 12 years old means things like the irrigation system, greens profiles, drainage, etc all work as they’re supposed to which is a real benefit for our small team.
What do you love about being a superintendent?
The variety of challenges means no two days are ever the same and being able to work with a great team to constantly improve our course and the overall experience we provide for our members and guests.
What challenges do you face being a super?
Mother Nature. Singularly the biggest challenge I think many of us face, especially at the moment. It’s heartbreaking to watch your course go backwards due to drought despite your best efforts. Otherwise I’m fairly lucky as we don’t have a members board or committees so I don’t have that to worry about.
What was your first job?
At a wholesale nursery moving plants from one paddock to another
What was your best job?
Definitely here at Ipswich Golf Club
What was your worst job?
I’d have to say I’ve enjoyed every job in terms of the work involved though some teams have been more challenging to work with than others.
In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
It’s given me a skill set and a support network that has allowed me to work wherever convenient at different times of my life. The hours are family friendly which allows me to collect my kids from school and have time with them.
Who was the biggest influence in your career?
So many people in this industry have influenced me over time. I’d have to say that Bryce Strachan, superintendent at Taree golf club when I did my apprenticeship there, has been a real benchmark that I’ve measured myself against throughout my career. He definitely turned this country boy into a green keeper. Also I learnt a lot from Charlie Giffard during my many years at Indooroopilly golf club.
Is your job what you thought it would be when you started?
I had no idea what to expect and have been trying to catch up ever since.
Are there any projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
Being able to take Ipswich GC and reshape areas, fill in bunkers, and build new tees among other projects has been very satisfying and has allowed our team to really put their fingerprints on the course.
Describe your team
They are consistently the best team to work with regardless of staff changes over the years. Currently we are a four man team made up of myself and:
Tim Corvi – a longtime Ipswich local with a varied work background and great mechanical knowledge.
Ryan Kaczuk – first year apprentice and current junior club champion.
Dallas Heaton – brings great knowledge and experience of the building and landscape industry to the team.
We also get some volunteers helping out but special mention goes to Roy Oreb who comes out several times a week to help.
I am forever grateful for every one of these men, what they do for our course, and how they help me personally every day.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job?
No man is an island. Don’t take everything on yourself and there’s no shame in asking for help. Your fellow turf managers are always more than willing to help than you think. I think we’ve all seen some good people burn out, or worse, due to the stresses inherent in this industry and no one wants it to see it continue.
How do you prepare yourself for emerging trends and changes in the industry?
It’s always good to get out to the days put on by GCSAQ and others when possible. Otherwise I keep an eye on publications from around the world as Australia generally follows trends from America and Europe eventually.