In an attempt to introduce our department’s staff better, we’ll try to do some short intro posts in the future. A big portion of our department’s goal is to complete our work out of sight. This creates a better experience for the player, but creates a challenge, specifically for our young, full-time, turf professional staff to gain experience with developing relationships with the membership. This is an invaluable interface, as dealing with multiple personalities, agendas, interests, and answering questions, is a skill that needs practice to make perfect (!) It is an extremely valuable experience, and a defined skill that is necessary to successfully, and confidently, navigate being a golf course professional. It’s also very important to feel like your part of a large family, not just hired help that is supposed to be camouflaged in the rough.
So after reading Tina Rosenow’s post, please make an effort to stop her on the course, make that valuable introduction, thank her for all of her hard work, and give her some much deserved props! Her character, personality, and dedication is an undeniable reason for our department’s success.
I know many of you have seen me out and about on the course so I figured it was about time I formally introduced myself. I’m Tina, one of the Assistant Golf Course Superintendents. I recently got the opportunity to speak at the Women’s Annual Meeting lunch, which was wonderful, however, my nervousness got the best of me, and I may have spoken too quietly!
I started at Midland in June of 2015 on the grounds crew. I remember when I had showed up to my interview, the first thing Mike told me was, “no jeans on the golf course!” My mistake for wearing jeans to an interview…After being hired, I did the typical jobs like water and trash, string trimming, flymowing bunkers (every week… thanks Mark), trimming sprinkler heads, and a little bit of mowing. At the end of the summer when Mike had asked if I planned on returning the next summer, I told him no, because I simply enjoyed my sleep too much and wanted to sleep in like any regular teenager! The next summer I nanny’d in my neighborhood, which quickly made me realize how much I missed the golf course. I ended up going back to Midland the summer of 2017, and absolutely loved it. I mentioned to Mike how much I was enjoying it, and he told me that that I was really good at it, and if this was something I was interested in, I should consider going to school for it. I had originally planned on going to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for engineering, but that plan quickly failed as I dropped out of physics the first day… So that summer I made the decision to transfer to the Agriculture School to start my Bachelors in Plant Science. I’m not going to lie, it was tough! Yet, I managed to graduate a semester early, thanks to college classes in high school.
The following summer of 2018, I returned to Midland and worked an “unofficial” internship. I learned the basics of the industry such as applying plant protectants and fertilizers, mowing, hand watering, and other maintenance practices. The summer of 2019, I completed my official school internship at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, MN, which was quite the internship. I finished school in the fall of 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Plant Science with an emphasis on Turfgrass Science. After graduating in December, I planned on returning to Midland in July of 2020 to take part in the restoration project. I had a 6 month stretch where I decided to do a postgrad internship at Trinity Forest, in Dallas TX, to gain more experience with warm-season grasses at a PGA Tour stop. That was quite the exhilarating experience, especially during COVID. I really grew as a person in that stretch of time, and learned a lot about myself. It was also a neat experience being in a different climate with completely different grasses. After that, I came back to Midland for the restoration project as a project manager. I had a blast working the project. It was so surreal to see all the changes come to life, and get to work side by side with the shapers, Jim Urbina, and Hartman Construction. I’m not sure I would do another project like that as it takes a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. We worked long hours to get the course in best of shape for winter as we could. I don’t regret working the project for one second though, as I gained so much experience from it. I really learned to like my coworkers with the long hours…!
After the project wrapped up in November, our former 2nd Assistant, Tait, relocated to Florida with his family. After talking with Mike, we decided that it was the best option for me to step into that position. I was at a point in my life where I was ready to make that career jump into a full-time position, and Mike knew that hiring me would be a smooth transition, as I was familiar with the staff, course, and operations of the maintenance department. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m thankful to be under the watchful eye of Mike and Mark. I couldn’t thank Mike enough for being there every step of my career, guiding me and making sure I will succeed in this industry.
I was lined up to go to New Zealand, to work at Tara Iti Golf Club in November 2020, but that fell through due to COVID. I am hoping to be able to travel there some day, but I’m quite happy and content where I am right now at Midland. I plan on being an Assistant until I am comfortable stepping into a Lead Assistant role. Ideally, my goal is to be a Golf Course Superintendent in the next 10 years. I am very grateful to be able to work for a membership like Midland, and I hope that I am able to make many meaningful relationships around the course. It is in my best interest to produce a product that our membership loves. Thanks for all the support, comments, and kind words about the restored course, and I hope to see you out there!