© chad Allen

In my brief, but robust, career in the turf industry I have come to learn how important timing is.

Timing is one of the most critical elements in implementing an agronomic plan. You must time your pre-emergent, PGR and fungicide applications. You must even time your time off.

Speaking for myself, as an assistant superintendent, it can sometimes be frustrating and overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TURF and everything that comes with it. I love the struggle and the success those learning experiences bring. But to be honest, the one thing that causes me the most sleepless nights is the waiting and wondering … when will I get my chance to be a superintendent? When will it be my time?

I believe that us assistant superintendents are the backbone of a successful turf management team. We are trained to do everything and anything. We are skilled in problem solving and critical thinking. We must have a thorough agronomic background and the ability to call upon that knowledge at a moment’s notice. We must have people skills and be the driving force to get projects done in the field. We must be strong, caring, firm, empathetic, hard-working, funny and dependable – all at the same time. We keep the wheels running when the superintendent is not around. Come to think of it, we are superintendents!

So, when will it be our time to shine? Well, I am here to say you are shining right now. I see you and so do those around you. What we are doing now is laying the foundation for our future success. This is a golden opportunity we should not look past. Everyone wants to get to the top, me included, but I think it is important for us to be patient and be that team player we are meant to be.

At one of my prior places of employment, I found myself second guessing a lot. I was getting frustrated with decisions that I did not agree with. Instead of voicing my concerns, I held them in. It caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety.

I decided to look for another job. I knew I was ready to be a superintendent and at my first interview I was offered a superintendent position. Finally, vindication!

Here’s the kicker: I declined the offer. It wasn’t the right fit for me, my family and my career path. The timing was off. I knew then and there, I had to make a change. I decided to rededicate myself to my prior job, change my attitude and trust the rest would take care of itself. And guess what? It did.

I could not be happier at my current place of employment. I am still an assistant superintendent, but I am learning new things every day and loving every minute of it. I stay humble and honest, and the dividends have paid off almost immediately. I am now on track to meet my personal career goals and I have built lifelong relationships along the way.

What did I learn? You can’t rush it, because if you do, you will ruin it by getting ahead of your skis.

Perfect timing. What does the mean to you? For me, it means doing the next right thing, being a team player, continuing to step outside of my comfort zone (like writing this article) and being open to change.

Every one of us will have the opportunity, someday, to become a superintendent. Is it the right golf course for you? Is the timing correct? I know I’m ready to be a superintendent, but I also know that I’m exactly where I need to be at this moment in my career. Let’s not rush it. Why don’t we take our time and trust that we are developing the skills necessary to become the next generation of superintendents.

Sometimes a lateral career move can have vertical implications. Let’s not pass up these opportunities. Timing is one of the most critical elements in implementing an agronomic plan. Timing is also one of the most critical elements in implementing a career plan. Make sure you take that time. I know I will.

Chad Allen is an assistant superintendent at The Club at Chatham Hills in Westfield, Indiana.