Texas golf course superintendent keeps both his course and his health in top shape (Sept 8)

September 8, 2015 – After a 12-hour day as superintendent at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, Jesse Shulse is just getting started.

As is typical for the profession, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America member Shulse is regularly up before dawn. But when he leaves work late in the afternoon, Shulse heads for CrossFit Aggieland in nearby College Station, Texas, where he is part-owner and a fitness trainer.

“For me, going to the gym and working out immediately cuts off the stress of the job,” said Shulse. “I really enjoy doing both jobs — being a superintendent and a trainer.”

Both are hard work, especially the way 34-year-old Shulse tackles them. He has helped the private Traditions Club earn top-5 status in the state, and he has competed in regional CrossFit competitions and Ironman competitions that include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

His time in the gym is a family affair as his wife, Melody, is also a trainer at CrossFit Aggieland, and their three children, Ryleigh, Wesley and Emily, all take part in CrossFit Kids.

Plus, it was family that led him into the golf industry. While in high school, Shulse began working on a golf course where his older brother Justin was the assistant superintendent.

After high school, Shulse left his native Texas to play soccer at the University of Rhode Island, but returned home to graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in turfgrass science. And for the A&M alum and dedicated Aggie fan, Traditions Club was a great fit as the Jack Nicklaus-designed course is home to the A&M men’s and women’s golf teams.

His foray into CrossFit, which is a fitness program that incorporates several elements of high-intensity training, calisthenics and Olympic weight lifting, was a natural progression for the lifetime athlete and Ironman competitor.

While Shulse had run marathons and worked out with personal trainers, he missed the team atmosphere he had enjoyed in college. In 2010 he decided to try a CrossFit class. The sense of community and competitive atmosphere of CrossFit hit a chord, and he said it has pushed him to fitness levels other activities have not. He is now a Level 2 CrossFit trainer and has competed in various CrossFit competitions. He said his dedication to CrossFit has also benefitted him in his role as a superintendent.

Traditions Club has been very supportive of his CrossFit endeavors, and both golfers and some members of his maintenance staff regularly join him at the gym.

“CrossFit works because it’s a community; you eat together and you train together,” Shulse said. “Six of my (golf course) employees are now coming to the gym, and for one it’s been life changing. He has lost more than 100 pounds and is training for a marathon.”

CrossFit offers some specialized courses focused on specific workouts such as rowing and gymnastics. While there is no specific golf CrossFit course yet, Shulse says any golfer can add to their game by taking part in CrossFit or other regular fitness.

“It’s extremely important for golfers to take part in physical activities. If you’re a golfer, you’re looking at how strong you are. When you’re getting fit, you’re building strength,” Shulse said.

He said for golfers he modifies workouts to help with mobility, especially for older golfers.

About GCSAA and the EIFG

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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