Daryl Davidson, my story

daryl davidson, grass, turf, education,
Falling into a career as a Kid
If any of you know me personally I’m very honest, probably too honest.
But for everyone else out there that wonders why I bother trying to help our industry here is my story.
I started off as a 16 year old kid on a Group 1 Golf Course in Western Sydney. I worked a lot of weekends and overtime trying to make money so I could keep up with my mates who had much higher paying jobs.
After my apprenticeship my life took a huge step towards growing up when I wasn’t really ready too, but I was the only choice for the Acting Assistant Superintendent at the age of 21. A period when all my friends were partying and travelling while I worked my ass off trying to keep up.
All the joys of growing up but I fell into a role that required me to grow up very fast while actually never having any real problems in life like love or deaths.
During my role as the Acting Assistant I fell in love with the job as I couldn’t actually believe being so young I was managing people double my age. It gave me the incentive to try and secure that position full time not knowing the side effects later on.
My first reality check came when the club decided to advertise for a new permanent Assistant Superintendent, I had already been filling in for a long period of time .
My boss then was very supportive of me but he went on holidays and I was left to run a Group 1 Golf Course by myself as a kid, I was on top of the world until I heard they were advertising.
Before emails and social media emails I decided to write a letter to all the Group 1 golf courses in Sydney plus others to find a new job in case I didn’t get the job at work.
I sent out 27 letters and was offered 8 jobs as a Greenkeeper all paying more money.
I still remember 3 interviews to this day with some of the best golf courses in Sydney.
When my boss came back from holidays he was surprised how well the course held up, plus I gave him another surprise telling him I have a hand full of job offers .
I will never forget the fight he put up for me, I went through my first interview process going against classmates and way more experienced Greenkeepers, I still think I won the battle because I was the cheapest plus my bosses pull as well I reached out to the general manager to help fast track me to be a manager, I had a few master classes with him what a 2ic should be and to never be a yes man was what he drilled into my head.
Eventually I won the position, I remember being so proud .
I shouted my family a meal at the Hogs Breath Cafe that very night I was handed my new contract.
I was on top of the world not realising what I was missing out on.
All this extra responsibility I forgot about the joys of growing up, then I finally was introduced to women and I found a new weakness.
I had worked so hard I forgot to breath, then meeting and having relationships with people my head started to work overtime. To the point I was always thinking at work then at home.
After a relationship breakup I wasn’t emotionally stable as a kid to handle a lot of things let alone a position in management.
This is normally a part of growing up but for me I couldn’t handle it all, I was great at my job but crap at handling life.
I ended up on anti-depressants after reaching out to my doctor but it was too late with a new boss and a lot of changes. I was kicked to the kerb with a lot of new issues.
This was the lowest point in my life trying to deal with a broken heart and massive changes in my life.
At my lowest point especially after recently coming off antidepressants my mum found me a great solicitor who made the club wish they didn’t kick me to the kerb costing them thousands, as well as a family friend opening a new door in the industry on Sports Fields paying more money all within a day of a 21 year old who worked his ass off sacrificing his social life for so many years to be wiped with no notice or help at all.
I’m so lucky I met my future wife volunteering at the Australian Open in Victoria she helped me get back to normal.
I had learnt so much from my experience and I believe it made me a better manager today.
That’s a huge reason why I started International Greenkeepers to give kids the opportunity I missed out of as a kid.
As you grow up the smallest problem could seem huge and disturb you dramatically while other people look at you thinking your an idiot.
I know now there are bigger problems out there because if those little problems keep getting the better of you there could be bad news at the end of it.
I received the worst news a Son could receive that his Dad had decided to end his life after months of attempts each time calling me or sending me text messages.
We had just had our first child and was financially struggling, to have this on top was helping me become a stronger person.
I like to help people who want to be helped, as no one is perfect.
If a staff member doesn’t seem to be themselves there is probably a reason for it, I have seen many years of bullying from different managers over the years and find it hard to watch or have it flying at your face.
And I do regret not standing up for myself or workmates over the years as bullying really affects people especially when they have problems outside of work.
Seeing a workmate cry or if you leave work so furious you take it out on your loved ones at home it’s time to make a trip to Human Resources.
I know a lot of people in our industry have similar stories to mine as I’ve heard them first hand.
Let’s make sure the next generation coming through doesn’t have to deal with the crap we had to get to where we are today.
Thanks Daryl Davidson

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