WALLACE — Golfers at River Landing enjoy competing on bright green turf and swinging clubs on beautifully kept courses.
During the summer, Nick Blount is looking forward to making sure players and club members take pleasure in the amenities. Blount, a rising senior at Clinton High School, is receiving credit for his work at River Landing Golf Course through Turfgrass Management Internship Program.
“I’m loving it right now,” Blount said.
Each morning, Blount arrives at 6 o’clock in the morning and a few hours after noon, if overtime is not required.
“It’s hard to keep up the golf course,” Blount said about the many hours involved. “Every that works on a golf course works harder than you think they do to keep it running and looking nice.”
But like other tasks during the school year, it’s a challenge he’s willing to take on. At Clinton High School, Blount is involved with FFA, Student Government Ambassadors and helps with preservation of the football field and the cross country course, that goes across the campus and a nearby wooded area.
About 35 people work in the maintenance department at River Landing which include mechanics, part-time summer employees and full-time workers. The club was seeking help for summer hours and after putting the word out, Blount arrived and is now making contributions such as cutting the greens, blow out the bunkers and maintaining the fairways.
Chris Humphrey, golf course superintendent at River Landing, enjoys working with Blount through the program.
“It’s worked out good,” Humphrey said. “He’s been on time every day and he’s learning really fast.”
Blount loves being on the golf course and it’s something he wants to do in the future. After graduating from Clinton High School, he plans to attend North Carolina State University for Turfgrass Science. According to the university, the states turfgrass industry is more than 2 million acres. Besides golf courses, some of the other maintenance areas and opportunities include family dwellings, parks, roadsides, schools and cemeteries.
During the hot days of summer, Humphrey believes a lot of people have their minds made up about continuing in the future.
“After summer, working on a golf course, you know it’s something you want to do or it’s something you don’t want to do,” Humphrey said. “It’s good that he’s enjoying it and still likes it.”
River Landing is one of several businesses operated by Murphy Family Ventures, a management company located in Wallace. Tomeka Blue, bilingual training specialist and instructional designer for Murphy Family Ventures, assist with recruitment efforts. The company recently partnered with local school systems for the Turfgrass Management Internship Program. Normally, students from colleges and universities are recruited, but they decided to use high school students. Blue said the purpose was to build better relationship with Sampson, Duplin and Pender counties through the program.
“We are giving them the opportunity to come in and learn about River Landing, learn about their crafts, with hopes of them being able to come and either work for us full time or to have this as a full-time career,” Blue said.
Blue said she’s proud of the program benefiting students from several communities.
“Everybody has to get their start somewhere,” Blue said. “So this gives them the opportunity to come in and learn about a business and to see how we manage the day-to-day operations.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.