“Shop to Ron. You got a copy?”
“Yes. Go ahead, Tony.”
“Thought you oughta know the blower’s down. The fan blade’s not turning.
“Just what I need! I’m standing here on the 12th hole looking at five hundred yards of grass clippings.”
As Ron clipped his radio on his belt a portly USGA official driving a golf cart approached. Smiling, I heard him say to Ron, “Well, you’ve done it this time. I’d like to see you wiggle out of this mess.”
“Hey,” Ron retorted, “we’ve still got a half-hour before tee time. Just because the United Stated Golf Association has taken over this course for the tournament, doesn’t mean I don’t know how to maintain my own golf course.”
“Mind if I watch?” The official said as he crossed his arms and chuckled.
Sixty members of our maintenance crew were lining up on the cart path of the 12th hole to ensure every employee would leave together and be off the golf course before the tournament’s 7 a.m. tee time. We could see the fairway was covered with piles of grass clippings three and four inches high.
As Ron approached us he shouted, “We’ve got thirty minutes to clean this fairway. Grab every tool you can find and start knocking down these clippings!”
Everyone on the crew rushed to their cart for brooms, rakes, shovels, or whips, but it wasn’t enough. Seeing we were short of tools, our head irrigator, Eduardo, shouted to the empty handed, “break off Desert Broom branches!”
I could see the USGA official watching Eduardo break off stems of Desert Broom plants and hand them to fellow workers. “Hey,” he asked Ron, “Isn’t he destroying those plants?”
“He’s just using his head,” Ron replied. “They are brooms you know.”
I didn’t like the way the official talked to Ron. “You’re in big trouble, mister. If tee times have to be delayed because you’re not ready, this will live with you forever.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Ron said. “Well, we’ve done it before and we’ll be ready again.”
The official’s golf cart crept behind us down the fairway as he watched 60 men shoulder-to-shoulder across the fairway, swinging every tool and branch available to knock down the piles of grass clippings. The official kept looking at his watch and glancing up at Ron. Folding his arms he smirked, “You’re not going to make it.”
“We’ve got to move faster!” Ron shouted to us.
We walked faster. We swung our tools faster. The official’s attitude didn’t sit well with us, so we urged each other on to make Ron look good in his eyes. “Walk faster! Sweep faster! Hurry! We’ve got to hurry!”
The tournament official didn’t offer Ron a ride, making him walk beside his cart for the length of the fairway. I could see that Ron didn’t care. It gave him great satisfaction to see this incredible scene before him. We did it! We beat the clock!
The official turned his cart in a huff and buzzed off while shaking his head. Ron hurried us back to our equipment and we rushed down the cart path and out onto the road. It was 7 a.m. and the course was ready for play with no maintenance employee on the course, just like the USGA wants it.
As we drove back to the shop we laughed at how crazy it was for the whole crew to sweep a fairway. Eduardo got pats on the back for thinking of using desert broom branches. And, we were all proud of ourselves for making Ron look good by showing up the USGA official.