Wait…This isn’t the Orchards!

Story of my internship career path:

During my orientation session, I was talking to my Turfgrass and Soil Science advisor about our course requirements.

Evan at National Golf Links of America
Evan at National Golf Links of America

One of the requirements was to complete an internship during the following summer. Right at that moment my advisor looked at me and said “Lyman’s (Lyman Orchards) does not count.” At that point, I had been working on the Lyman property for about seven seasons. My first thought was, well I just found the hardest thing I am going to have to deal with. The fact that I was going to have to call to other golf courses, and talk to other bosses that I have never met before had me feeling very nervous. So, I took the liberty to deal with that feeling which is… to put off looking for an internship until the last minute.

March 2013 I was receiving many emails that said how I needed to find an internship soon or else I would not receive credit. I was shown the job board full of postings for me to pick. After 3 seconds I picked up the first flyer I saw. I called the assistant superintendent, Jonathan Wilber (’08), and we picked a start date. All I knew was I had picked a golf course that is private, and out in Long Island. What I didn’t know was I had decided to spend my summer at the National Golf Links of America, what many golf publications depict as being one of the best venues in the world! My only thought is “Whelp, this should be interesting!”

View of the National from the 4th Green
View of the National from the 4th Green

I arrived on May 16, after getting lost for 2 hours trying to find the place, and I was given the grand tour and met everyone on the crew. Right away I was blown away with the property. There were no trees, rolling hills, giant greens and bunkers, and the 18th hole and clubhouse was right next to the Peaconic bay. Plus some of the members include Mayor Bloomberg, Roger Waters, Mark Messier, and others. If that is not the Hamptons, I don’t know what is! I started work the next day with the three other interns. We had a few jobs including mowing approaches, fairways, raking bunkers, and watering fairways. My favorite part of the day though was playing after work. I got out there as much as I could because once I left the course for good, I never would get the chance again. In early September, we hosted the biennial Walker Cup tournament. It is a tournament that is match play of amateur golfers between a United States team and a Great Britain & Ireland team. We spent all of late July into August preparing the course for this tournament. The crazy part is that 4 days before the start of the tournament, a severe thunderstorm rolled over and flooded the property with about six inches of rain. This, of course, caused a major setback. What was amazing was that night volunteers started to show up a couple days early to work and show their dedication. The course eventually dried up because of the sand soil and the tournament conditions were spectacular. I was sad to leave that night but that property and summer experience was a kick start and great memory that I will keep forever.

National Golf Links of America
National Golf Links of America

In the fall of 2013, I received an email from Jonathan saying that he just accepted the superintendent’s position at Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He asked me right away if I wanted to join up and I eventually accepted the internship position. The club was old fashioned giving a 19th century feeling. There was the golf course, of course, but there were also old buildings, horse riding, 50 hounds for the hunts, old-fashioned polo fields, and foxhunting trails. The golf course though was in very rough shape and needed a great deal of work. The average work day at Myopia was about 11 hours. My nerves and patience were tested many times, but I was able to persevere to the end of the summer. This experience was rewarding as well because I had more responsibility with technical management tasks. I also lead the crew, giving direction and motivating them to work hard.

Looking back, these two internships were definitely the most rewarding summers that I have had. Even if I do not plan on staying in the golf course industry, I will take with me my work ethic, common sense, and new management skills to whatever career path I choose to follow. It was definitely out of my comfort zone to work somewhere other than the orchards, but it was by far the best career decision I could have made for myself. This is my advice: embrace every opportunity that you receive because it will always take you a step forward and you will learn a valuable lesson from it.

View of Myopia 18th
View of Myopia 18th
Myopia Polo Match
Myopia Polo Match