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Ask Thad: Tips for bringing on new employees

By |  June 6, 2022 0 Comments
(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

(Graphic: Golfdom Staff)

Do you have any tips for bringing on new employees and making them feel welcome that have proven successful?

— The Golfdom Staff, Cleveland

When I was younger, I thought being a superintendent was all about how good you were at growing grass. I received good grades in turf school but was never taught how to be a leader in a classroom setting. Grass growing is a very important part of our jobs but look at it this way, you may be the best grass grower of all time, but if you can’t teach others your methods and have them implemented, you will never be successful. I’ve never met a superintendent who can maintain an entire golf course alone.

When I think of the best superintendents that I know, several things stand out. Their demeanor exudes confidence. There is a plan, whether it be long-range, for a season or the day. They clearly communicate their instructions and expectations for any job they give. Sadly, I haven’t worked for most of them, so like most people in golf course maintenance, I have had to develop my own approach.

I spend more time with my crew during the season than I do with my family. Granted, I’m divorced with two kids in their 20s who are out of the house, but you get my point. During the season, a golf course maintenance crew functions like a family with many of the same joys, disagreements, successes and pressures. I never give any employee a job that I’m not willing to do myself. I enjoy working out with my crew on any job and always try to take a hands-on approach to teach- ing. I personally fix any irrigation problem that arises, whether it be hydraulic or electrical, so everyone sees me knee-deep in the mud. I listen to everyone and try to match personalities as we hand out work assignments. I’m approachable, and every time I see one of my crew outside of work and am introduced as their boss, I always say, “We work together,” and I mean it. Being a leader and being a boss are two very different things.

Got a question for Thad? Tweet to @TerryHillsMaint and @Golfdom or email Thad at

About the Author: Thad Thompson

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

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