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11/4/2018 » 11/6/2018
2018 Annual Conference

2017 September October Technical Bulletin
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Making the Most of Your Current (Assistant) Role
by Mitch Savage, Assistant Superintendent, Green Valley Ranch Golf Club
Since returning home from GCSAA headquarters after recently serving on an Assistant Superintendent Task Group, I have found myself thinking a lot about a few things that affect and impact almost all assistant superintendents. I’ve realized that, given the dynamic nature of today’s assistant superintendent position, those of us who currently find ourselves in this role need to be mindful of the entire journey to the top and that it is probably in our best interest to help others within the profession just as much as we strive to help ourselves.

While navigating the path to becoming a superintendent, remembering to make it just as much about the journey as the destination is extremely important. Many of us thrive on achieving big goals and we work very hard at doing so, sometimes with heads down at full speed. But it’s important to remember to slow down, reflect upon what we are learning as well as how we are applying those lessons, and steadily absorb as much as possible. We are part of a generation of assistants who are having to spend more time in our current roles than many of our predecessors. Instead of viewing this as a negative or a deterrent to continuing in this business, I think we should view this as an opportunity — an opportunity to become known as a class of assistants who are extremely educated, trained, polished, and capable of taking the position to a new level. Most importantly, a group that’s all the readier for the big stage when we do get the call. Think of the process as a marathon rather than a sprint and don’t forget that building positive and meaningful relationships, along with creating a strong personal presence amongst our peers, colleagues, and mentors is imperative in developing the finer professional skills that will give us the superintendent mindset even before we have the official title.

While meeting and learning from successful members within the industry, we should always remember to flip the script and pay it forward by helping to educate and offer guidance to those who might benefit from our insight (those who are brand new to the industry, interns and recent graduates, younger assistants, etc.). The greatest leaders aren’t the ones who always win the race (or in this case, make the jump from assistant to superintendent the fastest). The greatest leaders are the ones who take pride in encouraging others to learn, improve, and ultimately cross the finish line with them. We should always aim to make things even better for those who will serve in similar capacities after us. The more we can shift our mindset from thinking solely about ourselves to thinking about the industry and its members, the sooner great things will happen for everybody — a rising tide lifts all boats!

I have discovered that incorporating these philosophies can increase both personal and career satisfaction immensely. Never stop pushing forward for bigger and better things, but always keep in mind that sometimes we need to slow down to go faster and elevating others along the way is always best. When the day comes that we find ourselves reflecting upon the routes we took to become superintendents, I bet we’ll continuously find ourselves thinking back to how our persistence and professional development efforts as assistant superintendents had such an impact on our success.

Contact Gary Leeper at RMGCSA
Voice: 303-255-9611 Fax: 303-458-0002
12011 Tejon St., Ste. 700., Westminster, CO 80234 EMAIL: