Confessions of a Wife of Turf

13 Dec

I used to want my boys to follow in their father’s footsteps into a life of turf. I thought it would be fun to hear them all sit around the table during the holidays talking turf while Bill reminds them of how easy they have it “nowadays”.

Now I would rather them do anything else. Hell, I’d rather they ride on the back of a trash truck than go into a life of turf…At least there’s some job security there.

These men go to school for a very specific career, a very complex career. When you graduate with a degree in Turfgrass Management there are a finite number of ┬ácareer paths to go down. So they spend all this time and money on a education because they’re passionate about the game (be it golf or some other sport played on turf). They’re not in it for the money. A life in turf will not make you a wealthy person.

These men (and in some cases women) put in the time. Time away from their friends and family to gain the experience they need to move up in the industry. I would wager a guess that the divorce rate among Golf Course Superintendents is higher than the average. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone. You have to be ready to watch your husband pull down the driveway during your son’s birthday party because there’s an irrigation break. You have to be prepared for him to risk life and limb in the middle of a blizzard because the parking lot at the club house MUST BE PLOWED. You have to get used to a husband who goes to bed hours before you do and is long gone by the time you wake up in the morning. I always say, you know your a Wife of Turf when you fall asleep next to a snoring husband and wake up in an empty bed.

It’s not an easy life, but really who’s life is easy?

I think as the wife of a Man of Turf, the worst part is watching the abuse. Seeing him work so hard everyday and get nothing in return. Seeing him miss out on family time only to get an email from some asshole member that a bunker wasn’t raked to his liking, or getting that phone call at 5pm that the owners need some random reports (that they’ve received three times already in various formats) first thing in the morning. I’ve watched my husband dig deep and put his blood, sweat and tears into what he does and he hasn’t gotten a raise in five years. Hell, he hasn’t gotten so much as a thank you. I’ve watched a man who once loved what he does grow to despise the industry. I’ve watched passion turn to frustration. I’ve watched that fire slowly die.

Tis the season for giving…Right? In the turf industry it’s the season to be fired all because some green’s committee member got a bug up his ass and decided that after years of your loyal service you have no idea what you’re doing. I hear about people with “normal” jobs complain about their jerky boss. Singular. When you run a golf course you literally have hundreds of bosses and they each are after their own agenda. Work for a course that is run by a management company and add to the frustration when the needs of the company do not match the needs of the members. There you are, the monkey in the middle in a no win situation.

I know, it sounds like I’m griping and maybe I am a little bit. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it is to be powerless in a situation. There is absolutely nothing I can do to make things better. I would give anything to see Bill feel about his job what he did five or six years ago.

I miss the good ole days.


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