Q&A with Anuvia Legend Shawn Emerson

By |  August 11, 2022 0 Comments

Started by Anuvia, 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 Shawn Emerson, now involved in executive searches with Ethos Club and Leisure, about moving up in the golf maintenance world.

Shawn Emerson, consultant at Ethos Club and Leisure, Mooresville, N.C. (Photo: Shawn Emerson)

Shawn Emerson, consultant at Ethos Club and Leisure, Mooresville, N.C. (Photo: Shawn Emerson)

What advice do you have for assistant superintendents looking to break through and land a superintendent position? If I’m an assistant looking to enhance my career, I would do a couple things: 1) stay relevant by paying attention to what issues are going on, whether that’s reading the internet or magazines. And try to narrow your focus. If you like fertility, learn as much as you can. If you’re in the southwest, maybe focus on irrigation. Become specific instead of broad. 2) ask your current superintendent if you can go to other courses and meet with other assistants or maybe even other superintendents. Don’t just keep doing the day-to-day grind at your own facility.

What do you tell superintendents who are looking to move up in the world? I’m in the recruitment business — the executive search world — now. There are three things that make this decision today. No. 1 is economics, more money. No. 2 is prestige, to go to a higher club. Sometimes the best clubs are not the top name clubs. If you want to learn more, you may need to do it at a mid-level club. No. 3 is the lifestyle. How do you want to live? We’re losing too many assistants from age 33 to 40 because they’re raising their families. They have kids and little league games to go to. When I left Desert Mountain, I didn’t realize how much I was giving up in life. I worked 40 out of 52 Saturdays every year. You have to understand what the reasons are for you leaving. Are you leaving for economics, prestige or a lifestyle? And it can change all the time, it’s never a straight line.

There is so much going on in the golf world today, what is the latest hot topic in your mind? You have to plan way ahead. Irrigation parts, manufacturing, it’s all behind. Contractors are scheduling (for 2023) right now and probably looking at ’24. You have to be really proactive and look further down the chain. It used to be you could call today to get fertilizer delivered tomorrow. That’s not happening now. You have to project what’s coming. The best way to project is to write a good plan. You can always change the plan but really think to the future. Don’t just think about today.

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

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-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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