ODESSA — Every morning, Tim Sweet wakes up and checks the Weather Channel. At least a few times.
It is just the start of a typical workday for him, seeing how the rain — or any other type of Florida weather — might affect his day.
That is the start of a day for the head superintendent at the Silver Dollar Golf Club. It’s his job to make sure the greens stay green and Silver Dollar remains one of the best bargains in Tampa Bay golf.
Golf course maintenance superintendents are the most underrated segment of the corporate golf world. They are on the course before daybreak and often there until well after the traditional Florida afternoon thunderstorm. Sweet has a staff of 10, but said he could easily take on another four or so to make the course as good as possible.
“Tim is one of the best,” said Silver Dollar Head Professional Bobby Capobianco. “This place is in great shape because of him.”
The morning comes early for Sweet, who said he is an early riser. The Silver Dollar is converting from Bermuda grass to Paspalum grass.
The typical golfer wouldn’t understand that, but Sweet has been out every day making sure the transition has been smooth.
The change was made three years ago on the Panther Course, two years ago on the Gator Course and is now going on at the third nine, the Bobcat Course.
It’s been a labor of love for Sweet who has been a fixture in the Tampa golf community for years since moving from New York.
“We changed the grass and monitor the watering and it’s coming out looking great,” Sweet said. “After the Bobcat is done, this is going to be one of the best courses around.”
Water is key.
“There’s been less need for watering in the past few weeks,” Sweet said.
But there are other concerns when it comes to keeping a 27-hole golf facility alive and well. Insects are an issue.
“That’s all we can do, is our best, but we do a good job,” Sweet said. “It isn’t just about watering and seeding.
“It’s been a dry summer, but we usually have a swamp out here. It’s different every year.”
On a recent afternoon, Silver Dollar — along with the rest of Tampa Bay — got slammed with two inches of rain.
It wasn’t an ideal situation, but the Gator Course was open the next day.
“We are totally dependent on Mother Nature,” Sweet said. “You can’t flip out over what you can’t control. We work hard to keep this place in great shape.
“It isn’t always easy, being a golf superintendent, but the game is great and I love it all.’’