Ask Thad: How has the industry changed since the pandemic?

By |  December 19, 2023 0 Comments
(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

How has the industry changed since the pandemic?

— Golfdom staff

I’m in my office on a frosty, 30-degree Halloween morning. Leaves are close to being done, irrigation blowout is in less than a week and I’m looking forward to some sleep on the weekends. The 2023 season flew by and was excruciatingly slow at the same time. Lita and I are both in the best shape of the year and are ready for the winter.

It feels like, as an industry, we all have taken a collective deep breath since 2020. Play has exploded, budgets have risen, opportunities within the industry are becoming more plentiful and salaries are going up. It feels like a revitalization. Us old guys remember the late ’80s and early ’90s boom. This feels similar but with more caution and restraint. I’m proud to see my industry come around and really invest in golf course infrastructure, long-forgotten maintenance shops and people — including equipment managers, assistants and superintendents.

That being said, some of the funniest content on X (formerly known as Twitter) is when a club posts a job opening with three pages of qualifications, duties and expectations, has recently renovated the clubhouse, purchased a new fleet of golf carts with GPS and created a new farm-to-table menu in the halfway house only to offer a superintendent’s salary from 1999 or commensurate to experience.

With more play, especially at public courses, comes fewer daylight hours for maintenance. There is a definite trade-off in the amount of work we can do to playing surfaces when we have 100 tournaments a year and on average 250 rounds on our open golf days. We may not see an immediate impact on turf quality but what will we see a few years down the road? As turf professionals, we all know the answer and it’s time to start fighting for the turf! My rough and the trees around the course look great though.

I have never seen as much intentional damage to golf courses as I have this season. Screwing around with golf carts for views on TikTok, destroying golf course accessories for likes on Facebook and taking divots all over greens for attention on X. Maybe this has always been there but it’s now so well publicized that every clown wants to get into the act. One reason I am as active on social media about my profession and what I do daily is that I want my golfers to know that there’s a real, live person behind the scenes taking care of the golf course.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Ask Thad, From the Magazine

About the Author: Thad Thompson

Thad Thompson is the superintendent at Terry Hills GC in Batavia, N.Y.

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