Equipment Manager or Mechanic?

Printed: Golf Course Management Magazine
Year: June 2002

Today’s golf course superintendent is beginning to understand that there is a significant difference between having a turf equipment manager (TEM) or a mechanic on the staff, but the distinction isn’t always clear-cut. In the golf industry, the difference between an equipment manager and a mechanic may be the individual’s state of mind or the goals of his or her facility and superintendent. The title mechanic calls up a mental picture of a person who fixes something that has been broken or damaged, and the repair can often be a patch job just to keep the equipment in operation. Everyone who classes himself or herself as an equipment manager has certain ideas about what this role means, but they generally agree on a few basics. An equipment manager is often a decision maker, capable of handling
tough situations that affect all aspects of the golf course’s management, including a very important item –
the budget.

An equipment manager is a wellorganized professional who believes there is never a day when there is nothing to do. Instead of constantly scrambling to repair things as they break, a good TEM incorporates preventive maintenance into the routine. A mechanic may know engines inside and out – and that’s certainly good. But by following the equipment manufacturers’ predetermined maintenance schedules,
the successful turf equipment manager will end up spending a lot less time on repairs. An equipment manager takes great pride in the golf course as well as the equipment and the facility. This requires the TEM to respect the job the superintendent performs, especially if the TEM desires the same respect from
his or her employer. Good communication between superintendent and TEM is integral to a well-honed golf course management team.
An equipment manager operates a turfgrass management facility or a similarly named structure, not a “shop” or “barn.” This is an example of the state of mind that differentiates individuals. Inside the facility, an equipment manager rarely leaves things half-done or a work area that is in disarray. A TEM isn’t overly concerned about leaving work “on time:’ but is on the job until everything is prepared for the following work day. An equipment manager shows professionalism at work, during meetings and while communicating in the presence of golfers. Professional stature and respect – not salary – are an equipment manager’s primary concerns. If the TEM is a true professional, the employer won’t want him or her to leave, and the money is usually available. If you are trying to determine where you fit on the scale of equipment manager vs. mechanic, ask yourself these questions: Do you receive satisfaction from the job you do? Do you enjoy looking at the finely tuned product you helped produce? Do you like it when visitors to your facility praise the job you do? Do you like the challenge the job offers? This industry gets more demanding every year, but you can take yourself to the next level with three key qualities: professionalism, organization and communication. Lacking any of these may be what is separating you
from your goals. ~


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