Going green suits Tracy Hubrig just fine.
The Minot man has discovered a way to spend plenty of hours on the golf course without having any guilt for doing so. Hubrig is learning the finer points of greens-keeping at the Minot Country Club.
"My dad got my brother, sister and I interested in golf and I've enjoyed everything to do with it," said Hubrig. "After high school I needed to find something to do and working at a golf course is the next best thing to playing golf every day."
Hubrig spends a lot of his time at the Minot Country Club around the greens, not lining up putts, but rather learning how to care for greens, fairway grass and other plants that are the signature elements of golf courses everywhere. His time spent working with long-time greenskeeper Bruce Ruppert adds realism to his classroom training. Hubrig has completed half of his golf course maintenance course at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
"It's a two-year, short program. I go back this January through March and finish and get my two-year certificate," said Hubrig. "It's a very good program. Everything is golf course related, nothing extra, from golf course math to chemical application, irrigation and every aspect of golf course maintenance."
When he completes his work at Rutgers, Hubrig will return to work alongside Ruppert at the Minot Country Club. He'll be utilizing valuable experience from the combination of schooling and hands-on work.
"There are things you just don't see in a classroom. Here it's real time," said Ruppert. "You get the experience and you learn from it. Classroom experience relates to work experience and you put your own conclusions together. You learn from both."
Several aspiring greenskeepers who have worked with Ruppert in the past have moved on to excel at other courses, including Prairie West in Mandan, Red Mike near Williston and courses out of state. Hubrig says he, too, has learned a lot from his time working with Ruppert.
"I used to think golf course maintenance was just water, mow, water, mow," said Hubrig, laughing. "Now I've learned there's reasons behind everything. There's a lot that goes into it."
Naturally, greenskeepers must routinely play the course they are taking care of in order to experience what golfers encounter when they tee it up and trek the turf. That part of the job is one of the reasons Hubrig chose to learn the business of greenskeeping.