Monday, January 6, 2014

The Turfgrass Institute

Nothing much to do here at Falling Downs other than wait out the blizzard, and she's a doozy.

The internet still works, and on a whim I was checking out the Environment Canada weather forecast for points south, when I noticed that Guelph gets its weather readings from the University of Guelph's "Turfgrass Institute."

I been using lawn-mowers my whole life. Does that qualify me for an honorary degree?

Best one I ever had was a Canadian Tire house brand with a three horse Briggs and Stratton. Got it from the ex-brother-in-law for free 'cause he was gonna throw it out. Put in a new spark plug and got another ten years of trouble-free grass cutting out of it.

Replaced it with a brand new Craftsman that had the big wheels at the back. Can't say I was too impressed. Came to nearly $500 all in, and had to be replaced five or six years later.

Against my better judgement I replaced that with another Craftsman, this one being the first mower I ever had with a Honda motor. Ya, this was the Rolls Royce of lawnmowers for sure. Not too impressed with that either.

Once you get ten years of turf management out of a free lawnmower that you got from your moron brother-in-law you're pretty much spoiled for anything else.

So I always wondered what this "Turfgrass Institute" was all about. I know in this age of runaway credentialism, when the garbageman is a sanitation engineer, we like to put fancy handles on simple occupations, and I'd assumed that's what we were looking at here.

I was therefore taken aback when a good friend told me her son was going to the University of Guelph to take a degree in "turf management."

Ya right!

Reminded me of another acquaintance who had three kids. The first two were really keen over-achievers. One did an accounting degree and was making mid-range six numbers by the time he was in his mid twenties. The next one became a teacher.

The third one was the dumb bunny of the brood. An attractive young woman, but thick as the proverbial brick. Mom has it in her head that by God, every one of her kids is going to college or university, and even though everybody who knew the kid thought that was a long-shot, she eventually found something called a "personal service worker" course at the local community college.

That's where they train up the folks who are going to be wiping the drool off my chin and the shit off my ass in a couple of years. A noble and essential calling to be sure; I just had no idea it required a college education!

So owing to my ignorance, I had lumped turf-grass management in that same category - a college course designed for parents who need to be able to say all their kids went to college. I figured buddy with his turf-management degree might find employment at the local golf course upon graduation, at least from April to October.

I was therefore more than a little shocked when his mom gave me an update on his career trajectory.

"So how's your young fella fairing out, the turf boy?"

"Oh he's at the University of Pennsylvania now."


Ya, he's at the University of Pennsylvania, because they have the best Masters program in turf management.


Get the fuck outta here!.. Masters degree in turf management? WTF???

Now I've heard about Wharton, so I know U Penn is a serious enough place... but a graduate degree in turf management?

Anyway, according to the mom, anytime you turn on the TV and see stuff happening on grass, be it football, the other football, baseball, golf, whatever, that grass you're looking at didn't just happen. That grass on your screen is the work of turf professionals, and apparently the higher you go in the turfgrass hierarchy, the more likely you are to find graduates from the University of Pennsylvania turf management program.

Who knew?

So her Junior is gonna be going to work everyday at some fancy-pants golf club or stadium. He'll get in free to all the major events. And believe it or not, those folks pull down salaries well into the six numbers.

Proving yet again that no matter how old you get there's always lots more to learn... about everything!

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