Superintendent: Tim Hoskinson (38).
Nickname: Timmy, Timbo, Slinky.
Family: Wife Natalie, son Dylan (10 months).
Years as superintendent: Two.
Association involvement: Australian Sports Turf Managers Association.
Career: Manly GC (apprentice 2001-2006) Ohio State Program 2006/07 (Robert Trent Jones GC, Virginia; Scioto CC, Ohio; Congressional CC, Maryland); Manly GC 2007-2012 (3IC); Royal Sydney GC (foreman 2015); Paradise Palms (assistant superintendent 2015-2017); Cairns GC (superintendent 2017-present).
Qualifications: Dip Sports Turf Mgmt, Dip Project Mgmt, Cert 3 Landscape Construction, 2017 AGCSA Future Turf Managers Initiative.
Major hobbies/past-times: I do Crossfit four days a week, which is amazing for mental health plus I’m a bit of a fitness head. Outdoor adventures with the family. Snowboarding. Golf when I get the chance.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the industry. Before commencing my greenkeeping apprenticeship I had completed a retail traineeship at Coles supermarkets. I had worked my way up to a position of Grocery Manager, however, while the money was great (particularly still living at home) I was searching for something I was more passionate about. I loved golf and was playing twice a week at this stage and have always loved outdoors. It seemed like a logical progression.
Who were some of your early mentors? I was fortunate enough to work for Mick Bradbery at Manly Golf Club as a young apprentice. Still to this day he is one of the most knowledgeable turf managers I have had the pleasure to know and he combined this well with a calm management head. He taught me how to be professional and how to deliver excellent playing surfaces.
Mick would always send the younger guys off to education days, events and seminars which was great. This taught me how great an industry it is to be involved in. It also gave me some great connections and made me realise how open everyone is to share information. I try to remember all these good things and incorporate them into my people management wherever possible.
You headed overseas and spent time on The Ohio Program. What did you take away from that experience? As a young single guy coming out of my apprenticeship I was looking to travel somewhere. Once I found out about The Ohio Program I immediately applied. I was pre-warned that the days were going to be long and with minimal time off, but nothing really prepares you for when it happens. I walked in to a ‘12 days on, two days off’ roster at Robert Trent Jones GC and mid-summer most of those days were 12 hours. It was a fantastic experience but I definitely wouldn’t want to do those kinds of hours long-term.
The Ohio Program taught me a huge amount about managing turfgrass on the edge. Working in the North East and growing full courses of cool-season grasses when it’s 30-plus degrees and humidity through the roof is tough. Ironically, I now grow exclusively warm-season turf, but my time in the US was an incredible experience.
Working in the US opened my eyes to what is possible (even if you don’t have 50 staff on the crew). It made me strive to deliver top-class playing surfaces at whatever course I was at. It also taught me a huge amount about myself and some of the things I wanted in life.
I particularly loved my time at Congressional Country Club, where I was lucky enough to change the back nine holes for Tiger Wood’s AT&T National tournament, as well as hand watering these greens in the evening (pre-TDR’s). This was definitely a significant challenge but also very exciting at the same time.
When I wasn’t working, I also thoroughly enjoyed the three months I spent studying full-time at Ohio State University. With a school of 65,000 students it’s next level! The classes were amazing for learning and with Columbus being a city of one million, and pretty much geared around college life, you didn’t have to go far to find a good bar or party.
This aricle originially appeared in Volume 21.5 (Sept-Oct 2019) of the Australian Turfgrass Management Journal.