On a recent Friday morning, a friend and I were playing the back nine of Dorchester Golf course. At the tee box on the unique par three 13th Hole, we met a young gentleman named Rob Krumple. Rob is a course maintenance employee reporting to Dorchester Superintendent Mike Wilson. My friend and I often comment about the excellent condition of our courses and since we had opportunity to pass a compliment on to Rob, we did.

Rob was delighted and since there were no golfers behind us on this cloudy and damp, but non-raining morning; we struck up a conversation with the very articulate and amiable Mr. Krumple. Rob pointed out his handiwork and the fact that the 13th green is the only green on Dorchester cut in a checkerboard pattern. Yes, the same green that had been nearly destroyed twice by vandals with all-terrain vehicles a year ago, was now looking like the perfectly manicured and cross-cut outfield of a major-league baseball park. Rob’s pride and enthusiasm for his work was evident in our conversation. My friend suggested the exemplary condition of our golf courses and employees like Rob were a valid subject for my column. I agreed.

As soon as I returned home, I called and left a message for Golf Director Steve Kraft. I had been thinking recently that it had been much too long since I interviewed Steve (back in March of 2007 for two Abacus Columns). Steve returned my call and we met that same afternoon. I knew Steve as a high quality person and a consummate golf professional. I mentioned to Steve that the last time we talked it was about the possibility of an executive course in the Glade for advanced geezer golfers. I added, tongue in cheek, that the green tee box markers were a really inexpensive version of an executive course. He commented that they were originally added for lady golfers who had trouble hitting from the red tees, but some older men also use them now.  

I advised Steve of our good impression of Rob Krumple that morning and the great condition of Dorchester, as well as all of our courses. Steve was quick to deny he knew Rob Krumple.

“I have 175 employees and it is not possible to know all of them. We have been fortunate with the late rains this year; they are helping. However, we do have many dedicated and committed employees who take great pride in their work. At many key positions we now have experienced and talented individuals.”

From business experience years ago I could relate to Steve’s passion for team building and admire his example of high standards and hard work. His organization reflects his leadership.

Steve continued, “Here are some thoughts you may want to pass along to your readers. Always be courteous to our employees as well as fellow golfers. If you have opportunity to compliment an employee, and are sincere, please do so. It will make their day, because they do take pride in their work.”         

The essence of the message of this column is in Steve’s words; he added the names of the remaining golf course superintendents responsible for the beauty and top notch playing conditions of our courses: Mark Knaebes at Heatherhurst’s Crag and Brae courses; Sean VanHoose at Stonehenge, and Jason Pillow at Druid. Great work, guys and kudos to all of our golf and Glade employees. You help make Fairfield Glade, TN a great place to live.