Recent Comments
  • Ron Heesen: Well done Peter. There is no question that Gordon’s lifelong dedication to the profession of...
  • Jerry Coldiron: Good stuff Gord, thanks for sharing… and count on a note for John. It would be awesome if most...
  • gordon witteveen: Thank you Joe. Good to hear from you. I have never seen the community of superintendents pull...
  • Joe Wachter CGCS: Nice post on John’s condition, Gordon. I will say a prayer for his family and send the family...
  • Jerry Coldiron: Gord, another gem of a article. My retirement as a supt. almost 4 yrs now, and other than the...
  • Dave Wilber: Gordon, This was a wonderful post. And that career in writing is serving you well. Thank you so much for...
  • Geoffrey Perkins: From personal experience, the most important person at any golf club is the golf course Manager...
  • Geoffrey Perkins: Only ‘thing’ better than reading Gordon’s beliefs and experiences is talking to...

Archive for February, 2010

We are not a union!

“The views expressed in this column by Gordon Witteveen are his alone. They do not represent the views of CGSA or GreenMaster.”

For five years this was the disclaimer at the bottom of my regular column in the GreenMaster magazine, the official publication of the CGSA (Canadian Golf Superintendents Association). These words came from an organization that I helped start more than 35 years ago, and a magazine that I had written and edited for its first 60 issues. I must admit that at first I found it offensive but with time it became a badge of honor, testimony to my strong beliefs on matters pertaining to greenkeeping. It was never my intent to write pablum for the proletariat. I addressed my fellow superintendents at a higher level. Eventually I was fired, or rather my contract was not renewed – one and the same thing.

It was never my intent to write pablum for the proletariat. I addressed my fellow superintendents at a higher level…

It was at about that time that I became a regular with TurfNet and except for a short interlude when I was writing another book, have been ever since. At TurfNet I enjoyed a larger, a more diverse audience spread out beyond the North American content.

I have always considered the members of TurfNet the crème de la crème of superintendentdom and many of the best practice their craft in Canada.  The copy that I produce is carefully checked by Maestro Peter to make sure it fits the philosophy of TurfNet. I am constantly being edited but have rarely been censored, such as when I suggested that supers should hug and squeeze the golfers on Ladies Day. (I still do).

In all those years golf flourished and so did superintendents but times have changed. Golf is now in a decline and many superintendents have fallen on hard times. Some have lost their jobs and are having difficulty finding work. Meanwhile, colleges keep on churning out wannabe superintendents, further reducing the chances of finding jobs as superintendents or assistants.

Under these circumstances it is timely to review the three priorities in one’s life: health, family and your job, in that order…

Under these circumstances it is timely to review the three priorities in one’s life: health, family and your job, in that order. Without good health it is difficult to look after the other two. As superintendents we live in a healthy environment, except for the exposure to pesticides, but far too many ride around in golf carts all day instead of walking and getting exercise. Watch your waistline and your diet. Drink in moderation or not at all and for Gods sake stop smoking!. Moderate your addiction to golf and greenkeeping. Your family deserves a healthy parent.

If in spite of the above you find yourself without a job, be prepared to lower your expectations and even change directions. Maintain a positive attitude (as difficult as that may be) and remember that the world does not owe you a living.

Lastly, don’t blame GCSAA! Our association promotes us and enlightens us at very opportunity, but it does not provide job security for the simple reason that GCSAA is not now, never has been and never will be a labor union.