Year-round fun in the sun

AT WORK

Groundskeeper gets plenty of exercise taking care of Queenstown Harbor golf course

June 25, 2008|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to The Sun

Casey Amos

Groundskeeper

Queenstown Harbor, Queenstown

Salary: $10.50 an hour

Age: 24

Years on the job : Two

How she got started : After working in office and customer-service-related jobs, Amos wanted to work outdoors. She decided to try her hand at landscaping and was hired to maintain the flower beds at the 735-acre Queenstown Harbor golf course. "I just kind of gave it a shot. The job evolved from there."

Typical day : For the first three or four hours each morning, starting at 6 a.m., she is one of about 20 groundskeepers who mow the greens and fairways. After the daily mowing is complete, she moves on to maintenance jobs such as mulching, weeding, fertilizing and watering plants.

"When you complete your first job, they usually have something else ready for you, and you just keep going like that for the rest of the day."

She wraps up about 2:30 p.m. Amos takes one weekday off but must come in on Saturday and Sunday mornings to mow grass. She works year-round, putting in more than 40 hours a week during the busy summer months and about 30 hours during the winter.

In the off-season she'll be out working on more labor-intensive projects such as removing dead trees and branches so they don't become a hazard for golfers later in the year.

Heat and humidity : "Drink a lot of water and wear nice big hats."

Environmental practices : Queenstown is designated a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The golf course captures 80 percent of rainwater for irrigation, maintains no-mow zones around ponds and streams and restricts golfers from sensitive areas. Amos takes community groups on tours of the golf course. "We can educate them on the wildlife, on conserving water and energy. We're hoping we have a lot of groups interested in it."

Operating the machinery : The only female groundskeeper at the golf course, she's been trained on all the equipment. "I actually don't feel it's a challenge at all."

Interaction with golfers : "Everybody here does their best to stay out of the way."

The good: "I'm outdoors, and I get to work with my hands."

The bad: "I can spend an entire day pulling weeds. While I don't mind it, they always keep coming back."

Golfing : Amos wasn't a golfer when she first took the job, but she has since started playing. Employees golf for $20. "I enjoy it, but it's sort of difficult."

Critters : There are many areas on the course where you have to beware of ticks, snakes and bees. "I haven't had any terrifying encounters."

Philosophy on the job : Work as hard as you can to help make the golf course environmentally friendly.

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