When Tim Gravert’s golf course dog died from cancer this past winter, the new Finkbine superintendent knew he needed to fill the vacancy quickly.
Starting a new job at a new course, Gravert set out to find a new furry companion, one that could offer the same kind of joy his previous dog did during his time at Short Hills Country Club in East Moline, Illinois.
Gravert’s newest co-worker, a 6-month old yellow lab named Dwight, has quickly adapted to life in Iowa City, playing many roles for the Finkbine superintendent as they both settle into their new home.
“He’s my best employee, he’s my psychiatrist, he always listens to me, whether he wants to or not, when I have things I want to complain about,” he said. “It’s great to be able to have dogs and that’s why so many superintendents do, it makes a stressful occupation a little less stressful.”
Course dogs are so popular, in fact, that the PGA TOUR runs an Instagram page solely consisting of the pets. The page @golfdogs is verified and has nearly 30,000 followers including PGA Tour pros Smylie Kaufman and world No. 3 Justin Thomas. And more than 6,000 posts circulate Instagram with #golfdogs.
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Other than providing Gravert with emotional support and an ever-listening ear, Dwight also helps on the grounds of Finkbine.
“They had a ton of geese here when I got here,” Gravert said. “He’s already chasing geese off the property, so he does provide something for Finkbine. Everybody knows that geese leave a big mess and it’s not something that you want to be playing in.”
Apart from saving the course from goose feces, Dwight’s utter cuteness is a source of happiness for Iowa City golfers.
“It’s already gotten to the point where, if I don’t have him with me, everybody’s asking where he is, and when I do have him with me, it’s like I’m not even there,” Gravert said. “Everybody loves him, he’s a good morale booster for the crew. Having a dog out there, the funny stuff they can do sometimes, it’s great.”
Dwight is even well-known in the Iowa golf program and adds a boost whenever he makes an appearance near the teams’ facility.
“We definitely have a dog-loving team,” said Megan Menzel, the women’s head coach. “With the climate of everything going on right now, he’s definitely a welcome distraction to practice and puts a lot of smiles on faces. It’s been pretty cool to have him show up every now and then and get everybody into a good spot.”
Gravert admitted that he gets envious of his most loyal employee from time to time given the affection seemingly everybody has for Dwight.
“I’ve always said, if there’s such a thing as being recreated as something when you pass away, I want to come back as a golf course dog,” the superintendent said. “They live the life, that’s for sure.”