Meet Mitch Hayes, Golf Course Superintendent, The Brisbane Golf Club. Mitch has been in this role for the past 6 years.
What do you love about your course? It is a love/hate relationship at times but the creek systems throughout the course definitely add to the aesthetics and I am never really stressed about water. Talk to me after 25mm of rain and I might say something else!
What do you love about being a superintendent? Probably the environment we work in – its nice having the luxury of working outside with a team of people around you.
What challenges do you face being a super? Like all Superintendents the weather influences us the most. A close second is finding and holding onto quality staff. Lastly, the internet, although a great tool it certainly presents challenges when .com superintendents read the first piece of information that pops up in a google search.
What was your first job? My first job was as a service station attendant, I use to pump customers fuel. I think I lasted about 3 months at that job, pretty good for a 16 year old by today’s standards.
What was your best job? I would have to say my current role at Brisbane Golf Club. I’ve been seen many changes both personally and professionally.
What was your worst job? Definitely my week as a Brickies Labourer. I can remember mixing and pushing mortar up to the second story of a house we were working on, hence I only lasted a week!
In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life? I think aside from money, career satisfaction and pride is the biggest motivator for me. It’s nice to see you’re making improvements and its even better when your Members recognise those improvements.
Who was the biggest influence in your career? That’s a tough one as I’ve had few, both from within the industry and out. I will have to name the standouts – Previous Superintendents, Brett Morris, Duncan Lamont as they both recommended me for my Superintendent roles. My Superintendent at Quail Hollow, Jeff Kent as he help me to understand what is possible to achieve at high end golf facilities, which I believe is a skill in itself. Last but certainly not least, one of my Course Chairman at the Brisbane Golf Club, Terry Campbell. I have never had another committee member who would walk through the maintenance facility and would stop to talk to every one of my staff and knew enough about them to have a conversation – that is something that is really resonated with me on a personal level.
Is your job what you thought it would be when you started? For the most part yes, I knew what I was in for. I think the biggest surprise is the amount of off-course management requirements.
Are there any projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting? I’ve had a few that I’ve really enjoyed in my time here at BGC. We completed a staged conversation of greens grass species from 328 to Champion couch grass, within that project we rebuilt 6 greens complexes, a complete hole and new practice facilities. At the same time the club was also running a parallel landscaping project where we removed weed tree species and replanted natives, which we’re approximately 50% complete. More recently we have been planing an Irrigation upgrade, which I am really excited about, Hopefully it will start at the end of year.
Describe your team We have a full time crew of 12, half of which are qualified. During the summer months we hire an extra Greenkeeper and use casual labour where needed – which takes our staff number to 15 during.The team pretty young,I think the average is around 25. It has it benefits but also presents some challenges!
Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job? Watch, listen, learn. Don’t be afraid to move around for a position, and sometimes taking a step back down the ladder can help you achieve your goals.
How do you prepare yourself for emerging trends and changes in the industry? Keeping an eye on what’s happening in other areas of the world is important, often bigger markets will get information/products before Australia. I also enjoy catching up with local peers at conferences and trade days to find out whats happening around our region.