This summer one of the NCSU turf program's own, Michael Vysocka, will be a USGA Green Section Intern traveling the Southeast Region. When asked about the coveted internship we wanted to know more about his background and work within the NCSU Turf Program.
Five years ago I found myself as a senior in high school, eager to get out and explore all the bigger and better things that Vermont couldn't offer me. (Vermont isn't exactly the most adventurous place for a soon-to-be college student). Yet, I wasn't sure exactly where I wanted to end up.
Prior to this point, I had spent four years working as a seasonal grounds keeper at Proctor-Pittsford Country Club. My experiences there were phenomenal. Waking up for work before 6am never was an easy thing for me, but for some reason... through my years at PPCC I grew to enjoy it. Yet, I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to make a life of it. I had always had a knack for fixing computers and making webpages, both of which paid much better than my job at the golf course and of course every kid dreams about making the big bucks someday. As time went on I just couldn't picture myself couped up in a small 10 by 10 office for the rest of my life. I needed something more.
Applying to College
In the fall of 2002, I made the decision. I decided that I was going to pursue a degree in Turfgrass Science. However, I wasn't just going to settle for any degree. I spent the next several weeks researching the best turf programs in the nation. I looked at things like size of the program, facilities, faculty, student life, athletics, campus setting, and academic prestige. I picked the best four schools and sent out my applications. They were all accepted. I decided that seeing each school on paper wasn't enough to make my decision so I took a month to travel around and check out each school. I'm not ashamed to say that NC State wasn't my first choice, but after the visit... there was no doubt. I was coming to Raleigh.
Sometimes I look back and its been a long four years in Raleigh, and then other times I wonder where 8 semesters went. I've enjoyed my time at NC State and made some great friends. There's a lot to be said about the Turf Program at State. I think that the majority of my best friends, the guys I will remember years after I put on my cap and gown will be the guys I went to class with everyday, the turf guys. That says a lot. For the most part, my classes have all been very meaningful and educating. I somehow wiggled my way into the old curriculum, so I've taken a lot of classes that have been replaced or reworked in the new curriculum. I'm not saying that the old curriculum was bad, but I'm pretty sure that the new curriculum is going to be outstanding. The future turf students at state have a lot to look forward to.
Where He's Headed
Having completed eight semesters of school, two internships (with another one coming), and gaining valuable experience at several other golf courses, I'm constantly looking for more new and exciting challenges. In the fall of 2006 I launched TurfIntern.com, a site dedicated to helping turfgrass students find internships and golf courses find interns. After only three months the site attracted 100 interns from 26 different turf programs around the nation and nearly 100 internship offers from the top golf courses around the country. Needless to say, the mid-semester take-off left me a bit overwhelmed. Now, with the internship hunt gradually coming to an end, I'm hoping to close the site temporarily and add a handful of new features for next years interns. Unfortunately, that's not the only thing on my to-do list. In January I rejoined the university's electrical and computer engineering's webteam and have been busy working on several redesign / web applications projects with them.
After graduation in December 2007, Michael plans to obtain a job as a golf course superintendent at a reputable facility in the eastern United States, and work towards becoming a certified golf course superintendent.