A day in the life: Scott Gibson

Alistair
By Alistair July 29, 2018 08:14 Updated

The course manager at St Enodoc Golf Club in Cornwall takes us through a typical day at the club

What time do you arrive at the club?

I will normally aim to arrive at the club at 5:30am year-round.

Can you describe your morning routine?

I generally have a run around the course, as a good way of keeping fit before I sit down in front of my computer and set the daily tasks for my staff.

How many people are there in your team and is it a fair number for your collective workload?

At present we have eight full-time greenkeepers, looking after 36 holes (across The Church Course and The Holywell Course). We are vastly understaffed for the size of the complex, but between us still manage to maintain the prestigious courses.

Do you share tasks?

We constantly share tasks, where it’s possible to do so. This gives individuals the opportunity to progress in all areas of the job.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

I like to think I stick to the rule – treat people how you wish to be treated yourself.

What’s your favourite season of the year and why?

I would say late summer, heading into early autumn is my favourite when trees are on the turn and the low sun accentuates all of the courses’ undulations.

What aspects / functions of your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?

My staff producing a perfect course for any competition. After all, I’m only a conductor in a well-versed orchestra!

And what part of it gives you the least satisfaction?

Trying to reason with ignorance.

Have you attended any courses recently?

I’ve not attended any courses recently, but I am always on the lookout for opportunities to further my abilities.

What seed mixtures and / or cultivars do you use for your greens, tees, fairways and roughs?

We overseed our greens with a Chewings fescue / Slender Creeping Red fescue and Browntop bent mix. On our tees, currently it’s Perennial ryegrass / Chewings fescue and Slender Creeping Red fescue. For fairways, again Chewings fescue / Slender Creeping Red fescue and Strong Creeping Red fescue. At present, we don’t touch our roughs.

How would you improve the greenkeeping industry?

The industry has changed massively over the years, with constant pressures being put on course managers and head greenkeepers. There needs to be a greater understanding within the membership on what we do, and how the weather is out of our control. We may be good, but we’re not that good!

Has a golfer ever deliberately directed a ball at you?

Not to my knowledge.

Are you seeing any evidence of climate change?

Defined seasons are now few and far between, with the year being wet and mild for the most part. The winter of 2017/18 was the hardest winter I can remember, but I still personally believe the weather is all cyclical.

Have you ever had any mishaps with lakes on the course or had to undertake a rescue of a daft golfer?

We had to retrieve one of the boys out of a bunker once, who ended up underneath a greens’ mower. Thankfully nothing was damaged apart from a rake and his pride. He ended up going out and getting cakes for the lads later that day!

What is the most interesting animal you have seen on your course and how do you do support wildlife?

We have varied habitats on our courses to support all types of different wildlife. For me, the most beautiful thing that I happened to see one day was a kingfisher getting his first meal of the day from one of our ponds.

What advice would you give to a young greenkeeper starting out today?

Learn as much as you can about the trade, don’t be scared to look for new opportunities and move on and always keep your nose clean. Remember to work harder than you think you did yesterday.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I’m an active member of the Newquay Coast Guard team, which although it takes up a lot of my spare time, is very rewarding.

 

Alistair
By Alistair July 29, 2018 08:14 Updated

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