CROOKSTON, Minn. - UMN Crookston has been offering degrees in golf and turf management for over 20 years. Individuals in this program certainly score a hole-in-one when it comes to the variety of opportunities, internships, and careers offered by over 400 golf courses throughout Minnesota and over 15,000 courses nationwide. The variety in this industry is rewarding and both Brady Nolan and Mark Michalski’s achievements display this.
Brady Nolan is a senior studying golf and turf management and management at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Currently, he is an intern at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. In a career field full of variety, Nolan’s favorite part is working outside and there are new tasks to complete everyday. He indicated there are a variety of internships available all over the world, something Nolan got to experience for himself. Last summer, he had the opportunity to intern at Friar’s Head in Baiting Hollow, New York. This was a “spur of the moment opportunity” as his other internship had fallen through due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He took the opportunity right away, though he was hesitant. This was a big step for him as he would be moving states away from home, knowing no one, and living on his own. In the end he stated, “I was very glad I did it. I gained a lot of experience and had the opportunity to explore the East Coast in the process.” Nolan will be graduating in May 2022 and cannot wait to see what opportunities this field holds for him. He would like to be a superintendent or director of grounds at either a golf course, sports turf facility, or a resort and is most looking forward to traveling, sales, and most importantly networking. He enjoys golfing and looks forward to meeting new people in the industry, both on and off the course.
Likewise, Mark Michalski graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston golf and turf management program in 2011 and is the director of agronomy at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn. TPC Twin Cities is a private golf club and is the only PGA TOUR property in Minnesota. When sharing why he loves his career, Michalski stated, “working outside and the variety of each day” is his favorite part. This passion of the field is apparent when Michalski speaks of his accomplishments. He stated, “In 2019, I won Operation of the Year through the TPC Network.” This accomplishment is no small feat. In the TPC Network there are 32 courses, designed to provide the PGA TOUR with premier courses while also allowing recreational golfers to test their skills where the world’s elite compete. As for the future of his career, Michalski looks forward to seeing the impact of younger generations joining the industry. He wants individuals to see the opportunity within the business and looks forward to their growth in the industry as they explore this career field. He sees there is an aptitude to mentor younger individuals joining the field and hopes he can assimilate connections and interest of the field through speaking with individuals within his community. Michalski stated, “We work all day and it’s fun to see the good looking results of our hard work.” This shows his passion as he wants to get people involved and share the rewarding experiences of the golf and turf industry.
When discussing the uncertainties of the future, Nolan was mostly concerned with his path. While he is excited to graduate, he is unsure where this career will take him, especially now that he has experienced other areas. Some places he would like to go include the Midwest and places out West such as Washington, California, and Oregon. While location posed uncertainty, Nolan shared he is ultimately just excited to experience life and “see what it is all about”. Nolan shared his concerns about the current workforce and losing the knowledge and experience of experienced workers as they retire.
Michalski’s worries about the workforce, something a lot of industries are experiencing. A question he often finds himself asking, “Are we going to get enough people to work and operate?” Michalski shared he has a great group of people working with him, but it has been a struggle this year. The lack of interest from younger generations is small, but stated “as someone who really enjoys this occupation, now is a great time to get into the business as there are a lot of jobs currently available.”
The golf and turf industry can be a rewarding experience full of opportunity as there is a variety of jobs and locations available. This industry provides workers with networking opportunities, great professional opportunities, and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while on the job; something Golden Eagles, Brady Nolan and Mark Michalski cherish in their careers.