Pursuing a career

The internship report

Whether a requirement to recieve college credit for your internship or just a way to keep track of what you learned for your personal records, an internship report is an important part of the learning process. To gather and retain all the information necessary for the report, a journal must be kept and complete information recorded as management practices are applied. Plan and anticipate the information needed for the report. Set up the report so that it is divided into two parts.

The first report should cover the first half of your internship, for example, plans for fall fertilization, aerification or topdressing; snowmold prevention treatment; preparing the course for winter; and any other relevant turfgrass maintenance and management procedures. Include a copy of your objectives and list those items that were accomplished. Discuss or summarize the main features of the fall and winter turfgrass management program. 

Guidelines for writing an internship report 

The report should describe and discuss the turfgrass management program for a minimum of nine holes on the golf course. Some examples of questions to be answered include:

  • Mowing equipment used (what, when, how often, why, how and at what rates)
  • Work hours required to perform a given task
  • Crew organization (general and for given tasks)
  • Fertilizers used (grades and types)
  • Herbicides (types used and weeds controlled)
  • Fungicides (types used and diseases controlled or prevented)
  • Application methods/ results obtained
  • Weather conditions (temperature, rainfall, sunny, cloudy, humidity) especially in relation to disease, wilting and scalding
  • Soil types or mixtures
  • Drainage
  • Compaction
  • Number of rounds of play
  • Type of irrigation system(s) used, water sources and special projects (rebuilding, improving drainage, repairs, etc.)
  • Special problems (type and degree of winter injury, flooding, drought, etc.)

In short, take the same type of notes you would as a good superintendent.

The second part of the report should cover the last half of your internship, including your evaluation of the internship. It should also be a summary of your accomplishments based on your objectives. Both reports should be double-spaced and typed. Make sure to include a discussion of your strengths and weaknesses and how you might improve on your weaknesses.


The report

The following outline is an example of a report layout and is intended to help you organize your thoughts and make sure you include all pertinent information regarding your internship experience. While this is essentially a template, feel free to develop your own format if it suits your needs better.

General information 

  • Location of course
  • Golf course history (construction date, architect, milestone events and type of operation)
  • Physical characteristics (setting, soils, irrigation water source and quality)
  • Maintenance facilities (shop layout, basic inventory of equipment)
  • Irrigation system (basic type and control system)

Organization of maintenance department 

  • Organization chart, chain of command.
  • Key personnel (prepare a brief synopsis of important positions, including job description, duties, work assignments and evaluation procedure).
  • Your position in the organization (your jobs and daily responsibilities including any supervisory activities).
  • Daily work plan (what a typical day was like, for example, start and stop times, breaks, lunch, daily meetings, job assignments, equipment check out procedures, clean-up procedures, policies regarding attendance, etc.)

Maintenance plan

Putting greens 
  • General descriptions: What grasses were originally planted? What are the dominant grasses now? What is the soil mixture, construction method, size, shape, relative elevation, air movement, shade, soil condition, drainage, and special problems, if any?
  • Mowing: Explain the mowing practices and procedures used at the course. What are the club’s demands for speed and surface conditions? How effective are the techniques currently in use? Can you suggest changes to improve putting green performance?
  • Irrigation: Duration, rate, frequency, depth of roots and water penetration and type of system.
  • Fertilizer: Outline the fertility plan including timing, materials, method of application, NPK balance and general goals.
  • Fungicides: Outline the disease control and prevention plan, dates of application, weather conditions prior to and during disease attacks, material, rates of active ingredient per gallon of water per 1,000 square feet, equipment and pressures used. Note the general philosophy on disease management. List the target diseases and chemical controls used at the course.
  • Pesticide: Is there an active IPM program at the course? Does the current program work effectively? Would you change anything? Describe the insect management program for greens. Note the key pests and their controls.
  • Herbicides: If used, weeds controlled or prevented, material, rates, equipment used.
  • Soil cultivation and topdressing: soil type, why, when, how often, topdressing soil mixture, drainage conditions, equipment used and results.
  • Cup changing: How often, pattern, sites for cups.
Tees, fairways and green surrounds 
  • As for greens, discuss all pertinent aspects of management of these areas, including special problems.
  • In addition, discuss the weed management strategy used.
 Rough areas 
  • Discuss mowing, weed management and other pertinent maintenance practices used.
Pond maintenance 

Explain the strategies used to maintain irrigation ponds and other water features on the course.

  • Specifically comment on weed management strategies.

 People management 

  • What is the superintendent’s management style? Is it effective? What role do the assistants, foremen and other key leaders play in decision making?
  • Are maintenance department policies and procedures clearly presented? Is there an effective employee training program? Was it clear what was expected of you?
  • How would you rate communication between the superintendent, assistant and the work crew?
  • Discuss your observations of how well the work crew operated or worked as a team, noting examples of management practices that might enhance or hindered effectiveness.
  • What would you do to improve crew effectiveness and communication in general?

 Budget 

  • Present line-item categories of a maintenance budget. In other words create a mock maintenance budget, but do not use the course figures.
  • Explain the procedure that the superintendent uses in assembling the budget.
  • Note the fiscal year and the approval process that is used.
  • How are capital expenditures budgeted?
  • Is there an equipment replacement plan in effect at the club?

 Construction projects 

  • Describe any construction projects that occurred while you were at the golf course.
  • How well was the project organized and completed?
  • Did the project go smoothly or were there unanticipated problems?
  • Did the project cause stress? If so, how did everyone handle it?
  • How did the golfers deal with the disturbance to the course?
  • What would you have done differently?

Other notable areas

  • Every golf course has something unique about it. Some of the things you might discuss here could include the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, unusual features such as large putting courses or an intensive gardening or wildflower program.

 What did you learn from the experience? 

  • Were your expectations met? Explain why or why not.
  • Did you progress in your understanding of golf course maintenance and management?
  • Did you take the initiative to do new or different jobs and learn new skills?
  • Did you get enough time working with or talking to the superintendent and other essential people at the course?
  • Has this experience increased or decreased your desire to become a golf superintendent?
  • How did this experience compare with any past experience(s) at other golf course(s)?
  • Would you recommend this golf course as an internship opportunity for other students?