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Anuvia Legend Tim Hiers, CGCS, shares the traits of successful turf pros

By |  November 14, 2022 0 Comments

Started by Anuvia and co-sponsored by Audubon International and Golfdom, the Legends Initiative celebrates superintendents who have gone above and beyond in their careers — not just in maintaining tremendous golf courses but also in their contributions to the industry, creative problem solving and mentorship. Golfdom sat down with Anuvia Legend Tim Hiers to discuss the characteristics of successful turf pros and what day stands out to him in his career.

Tim Hiers, CGCS (Photo: Anuvia)

Tim Hiers, CGCS (Photo: Anuvia)

What are the characteristics you most admire in successful people from our industry? They’re persistent and hungry to achieve. They treat their staff well. They share their own knowledge but are not afraid to ask for help. But they’re also realistic. I like to call them ‘reformed perfectionists.’ They need to be balanced. Sure, they can work 70 to 80 hours a week and be successful, maybe even respected in their community. But you’ve never heard anyone on their deathbed say, ‘I wish I would have worked more.’ That doesn’t mean in August, a superintendent in Chicago might have to put in those hours … but you have to have a balance. Now, my wife would roll her eyes if she heard me say that …

What do you tell the younger generation who work with you about sharing golf’s environmental story with the world at large? We need to lead the charge. There are environmental activists, and there are active environmentalists. There’s a big difference. As superintendents, we know how to care for the habitats we work on and around. Still, we also need to take the responsibility of communicating and interacting with the community seriously. You can’t just tell them what you’re doing; you have to show them. Keep in mind, by the time you get acclimated at a course, you get a new green committee. I tell people, if you go to the gym and work out and lose 40 pounds, you don’t stop going. You keep going to maintain what you’ve accomplished.

Have you had a moment in your career that stood out as being significant in what it meant to you as a superintendent? I would say it was the day in 1988 I met Ron Dobson of Audubon International. Back in the 1970s, we’d get pickerelweed and arrowweed in our ponds, and we’d spray and kill it. Ron asked me why I killed it, then explained to me that really small fish hide in it, and bigger fish need those smaller fish for food. Today we don’t spray it. We plant it. The same with dead trees; he asked me what I was going to do with a dead tree. I told him I was going to cut it down. Then he told me about what that dead tree meant to the bugs and the birds and how important it was to keep it there. He made me rethink everything.

The Legends Initiative is brought to you by Golfdom, Anuvia and Audubon International.

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a 18-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.


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