Blogging the Summer #4

May 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm 2 comments

Beware, this post is about golf and working at a golf course.

What I Do All Day, or, Where I Think About Blog Posts For The Evening-Time

For the past five or six years of summer employment, I’ve been at golf courses.  The brunt of that time was spent at one golf course in particular, Cardinal Golf Club, which is a public course and a fine establishment and soon to be the largest public course in Ontario, if not Canada.  There, I worked mainly at the driving range and mini putt, taking money from customers, giving free rounds to anybody I knew in even the slightest way, and riding the tractor while customers tried (and usually failed, because I’m like a ninja) to hit me with their shots.

I also spent some time as a camp counsellor, dreading the weeks when we would have too many red-haired children in the camp because they’re all the spawn of Satan.

Anyway, I left Cardinal for good last year after trying to leave for good EVERY year for the past two or three years.  I left for good thinking, silly me, that I would have to get a real job after my degree was conferred upon me.  Luckily, Halifax has stepped in as a contingency plan for next year, and I was left earlier this spring looking vainly for ANYTHING that would pay the bills.  I ended up as a member of turf maintenance for Emerald Hills Golf Club, which is a private club that can only be accessed with a $50,000 membership fee, or as a guest of said member (more on that later).

I start my day at 5:30 each morning to arrive at work by 6:15 – I will soon be starting at 6:00, and then a little earlier later on in the season.  And, I usually come into contact with one of two things by 6:30 every day, when most of you are still in bed (dicks…):

  1. Dirt
  2. A shovel
  3. Both

For example, I spent my 8.5 hour shift today digging holes for irrigation fittings.  This is my fourth time doing so in just two and a half weeks, so somebody up there must have a cosmic sense of humour and has given me a knack for ditch-digging but not so much for finding a job where my English degree is actually fucking useful.  Either way, it’s a pretty good job.  The past two days, for example, have seen me weilding a pickaxe and a metal cutter – two activities at which every man should be proficient.  I’ve also become more familiar with driving stick (heh heh heh) and spreading seed (this is too easy).

It’s fun.  I get to be home by 3:00 every day and it looks as though the work will replace my going to the gym like I had planned.  I sleep like a baby most nights, and my only complaint is that 5:30 am comes way to goddamned early.

Here’s the thing that you may not know about working at golf courses, something that I sincerely hope you never find out first-hand.  Golf courses get away with paying you shit money for what is just a step down from contruction work (those guys make like 18 bucks an hour) because they give you free golf.  Cardinal did it, and Emerald Hills does it.  The difference between the two courses is this: Emerald Hills is a private establishment, very expensive, and is a member of ClubLink.

ClubLink is a collective of Ontario golf courses which are all pretty high-end.  They’re run more or less independantly, but all abide by certain codes and restrictions as members of ClubLink, with the same insurance policies, advertising funds, etc etc.  Some courses are ranked higher in the ClubLink family than others – Emerald Hills is a “Platinum” club and therefore one of the jewels in the ClubLink crown.  As an employee there, I get the opportunity to play at any ClubLink course that I want for free.  But first, I have to pass a test, which I took today.

Basically, I have to prove to the power that be that I am a good golfer.  They want to know that I know how to behave, that I know how to strike the ball clean, and that I know how to dress apprpriately and not get completely bombed on the course.  Were I to fail to do any of these things whilst playing a course other than my own, my bosses would hear of it.  It’s kind of an elitist system, but such is life when you’re a white kid in the middle of well-do-to Aurora, Ontario.

So I took my test today, and the very first shot I take in front of the club’s Pro is accompanied by a divot (scar in the ground from your club) the size of your palm, and the ball goes dribbling about five feet in front of me.  I begged off and hit two more good shots, at which point the Pro deemed me fit to continue.  It was incredibly nerve-wracking because I am NOT a very good golfer.  My average round, if I were to keep an honest score, would be somewhere in the 100s.  And even when I don’t keep an entirely honest score, it’s STILL somewhere in the 100s.

Either way, I can now play fancy courses without paying.  All it takes it eight hours a day with a pickaxe in my hands and a paper-bagged lunch.  Figure out for me how that makes sense, and I’ll give you a shiny new nickle.

**Now that I’ve given you all a basic rundown of my job, I’ll be posting with more regularity about my days, if and when anything exciting actually happens.  If you’re still unclear as to what the “turf maintenance” crew does, we basically cut grass on the course, spread new grass seed where it needs to go, rake sand traps, and do other miscellaneous stuff that keeps the place running.**


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

A Little Self-Indulgence 3rd Time’s The Charm

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. daughterofben  |  May 14, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    A little Seamus H. for you, my friend:


    Between my finger and my thumb
    The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

    Under my window a clean rasping sound
    When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
    My father, digging. I look down

    Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
    Bends low, comes up twenty years away
    Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
    Where he was digging.

    The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
    Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
    He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
    To scatter new potatoes that we picked
    Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

    By God, the old man could handle a spade,
    Just like his old man.

    My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
    Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
    Once I carried him milk in a bottle
    Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
    To drink it, then fell to right away
    Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
    Over his shoulder, digging down and down
    For the good turf. Digging.

    The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
    Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
    Through living roots awaken in my head.
    But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

    Between my finger and my thumb
    The squat pen rests.
    I’ll dig with it.

  • 2. Kat  |  May 15, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Last summer at Camp Mexico, after a sea of small dark skinned, dark haired ninas and ninos came tromping off the bus, a large awkward looking surprisingly sun-burnt red-headed boy came off.
    All of the instructors believed that he was a most likely from the US, or possibly even Canada.
    However, when this child opened his mouth he was speaking fluent Spanish, and actually didn’t even know any English.

    We nick-named him Kyle Smith, despite his name being Carlos (I believe).

    The point of this comment, despite it relating to only a single sentence in your entire blog, is GINGERS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD.


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About Upper Lip

It's mostly a collection of sweet links and copious amounts of talk talk talk. I like it more and more every day. And yes, even the ugly blue/green color scheme is not without a certain charm.

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