A special summer job

By and |  August 20, 2013

For many high school and college students, having a summer job helped pay for school, a car or just a night out. Unfortunately, most students who had a job this past summer had little beyond pay to add to one’s résumé.

Those who worked on a golf course maintenance crew, however, were able to add the experience to their résumés, and it spoke volumes about their character. What did it say? Here are a few things that come to mind:

  1. “I work hard.” When I have visited golf courses, students working on the crew are able to save quite a bit of money because they often don’t have time to spend it. It’s common for staff to work over 50 hours a week. And in some cases, especially around tournaments, a 100-hour week is not uncommon. When an employer looks at a prospective employee who has worked on a golf course, it should immediately register that the applicant is not afraid to work and does what it takes to get the job done.
  2. “I’m dependable.” If you are employed on a golf course, showing up late usually means being fired. It is the same thing when a company or golf course asks if a prospective employee shows up on time to class. Dependability speaks to a student’s enthusiasm and interest in the job.
  3. “I pay attention to detail.” A student is exposed daily to the importance of the small things that go into the presentation of a golf course. For example, the importance of mowing straight lines, whether on greens or fairways; how equipment is cleaned and stored after use; or raking a bunker properly.
  4. “I’m responsible.” Students are required to operate technically advanced equipment, including mowing equipment ranging from $7,000 to $70,000 in value. For a potential employer, that speaks to an employee’s willingness to learn, adapt and take responsibility.
  5. “I communicate effectively.” Students are continually questioned by golfers about what they are doing and why. How many times across all the golf courses in the United States do golfers ask, “Digging for worms?” when someone is trying to fix an irrigation leak? An employee has to be able to address questions in a friendly tone and concise manner (even if they don’t feel like it) so not to offend the golfer and slow the pace of play. For many golfers the only contact they have with course officials is through a question or comment to a grounds staff person.

This is just a small list of attributes that an employer could surmise from a potential employee who has worked on a golf course. I am sure many of you could add to the list.

If I were a potential employer, in any line of business, wading through a stack of résumés, an applicant who had successfully worked on a golf course maintenance crew would stand out. That experience would tell me that the applicant could handle hard work and long hours. That experience would tell me more about the character of the applicant than grade point average or outside activities.

So to all of you who are working on a golf course maintenance staff this summer, don’t think about how hot and tired you are or the long hours that kept you away from social activities. Rather, think about what all you have learned and how you can apply it to your future.

Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Golfdom’s science editor and a professor at The Ohio State University, can be reached at danneberger.1@osu.edu.

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