By Adam Eisenbarth
A golf course worker is building quite the resume.
Ponoka native Cameron Kusiek returned from the Old Golf Course in Scotland a couple weeks ago where he had helped prepare for perhaps the biggest golf event in the world.
The Old Golf Course, known as the birthplace of golf, was home to the 139th British Open, July 15 to18, and Kusiek assisted with course for the two weeks leading up to the event.
Now working as the senior assistant superintendent at Wolf Creek Golf Resort, Kusiek’s experiences have him quickly learning the subtle details of maintaining a quality golf course.
The 26-year-old worked in Scotland a year ago, from May to Oct. at the Old Golf Course. In doing so, he has earned some helpful contacts in the golf industry.
“I want to be at a really high end golf course. It would be nice to obviously be in charge of a course where you’ve got a major golf tournament but not too many people get that opportunity.”
Kusiek was recognized with the Future Superintendent of the Year Award last year, and he’s open to expanding his search for that dream job.
“I’m not set on staying necessarily in central Alberta but there’s some nice courses in central Alberta that I’d love to be in charge of.”
Of course Wolf Creek Golf Resort is close to Kusiek where he originally started in 2001.
“It would be nice to get some experience at some other courses. This is a great place to work though. I get a lot of responsibility from my boss.”
While the Old Golf Course is always kept in pristine condition, Kusiek says preparation for the British Open was interesting to be a part of.
“It’s neat to see how the course transforms from working there last year, to having the grandstands in. It’s such a big scale (event), the biggest golf tournament in the world.”
While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won’t be playing at Wolf Creek Golf Resort anytime soon, Kusiek enjoys working close to his hometown and enjoys the work to keep the course one of the best in Alberta.
Still there are some things he misses about working at the Old Golf Course.
“Golf is treated much different over there than it is here. They’re definitely down to the roots of the game. They play the game differently, prepare for it differently, there’s all walking and no carts.”
The maintenance of the course itself is also a much different experience.
“They play it a lot firmer, drier, tighter cut, things like that,” explained Kusiek. “Since they have a lot more staff available to them, they can do things on a more regular basis than we can.”
While he was constantly at work in his short visit to the course he once worked at, it was an enjoyable experience.
“It was nice to go back and see all the guys I worked with.” He witnessed the top talents in the world. “We saw all the big guys, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods. Some of them are really cool guys, they’ll come over and talk to you. Others won’t give you the time of day.”
Kusiek was up at 3:30 a.m. each morning, cutting grass and performing other tasks. “It was a long two weeks but it was a fun two weeks.”
While he was often busy, Kusiek did get some opportunities to enjoy the action.
Louis Oosthuizen scored a 16 under par to take this year’s title.