Mr Walter‘s Feeling for Green.
Walter is a “Stodtinga“ (a townie). This is what the rural population around Salzburg calls people who live in town. And they don’t mean international metropoles, they mean the City of Salzburg, which is home to 150.000 inhabitants and has been beautifully set into the landscape by its founders and principals. But Walter doesn’t want to go back. He has been living in the Pinzgau District for 30 years and worked as a restaurant manager for decades. He now presents service competence as fairway butler at and around the greens of the Zell am See-Kaprun Golf Clubs.
Fairway butler? In Zell am See-Kaprun? Exactly, the local Zell am See – Kaprun Golf Club has treated itself to an experienced service employee who ensures that the putting and pitching audience wants for nothing. Sun protection cream and cooling towels for suffering necks in the summer, insect repellent spray and drinks. Or have you forgotten your club at the green? Walter, whose “open end” working days start at 8 am, is prepared for almost everything. If a golf guest wishes to take a picture of the enchanting landscape but has left the camera (or smartphone nowadays) in the car, no problem - Walter will deal with it and many other things too. In some way, his service also describes what tourism is actually all about. Because other golf courses in the Alps are just as pristine and offer unobstructed views to beautiful mountains and valleys, which have been placed style-consciously into the landscape by their creator. Segmentation is needed, software and not just hardware are a must; this is what all tourism advisors preach. In this regard, the golf club management has done everything right here by finding a persevering, communicative philanthropist like Walter.
“The golf bug got me 20 years ago and hasn’t left me since“.
Back then, his girlfriend convinced him about the tactical outdoor game. The lady is now history but the passion for golf has remained. Although, he doesn’t see himself as a pro or golf instructor. That’s why he doesn’t provide any personal tips for golf; it’s not his job. Tactical advice about the characteristic of the course is something he does provide though. And this is much appreciated by the golfing audience because it contributes to the fun of the game.
Walter‘s centre of vital interest is now well rooted in the soil of the Pinzgau District – 4 generations live on the farm with its own agricultural holding. It is often so that newcomers develop a great passion for their adoptive home. Walter also loves the triad of glacier, mountain and lake, the proximity to Munich or the Upper Adriatic Sea but also the people who live here because the Pinzgau natives are so welcoming.
Living in a city is not for him – too big, no cows and meadows in sight, everything is marred by asphalt and concrete. Commuting is also not an option for him. Answering my question what he would do for a living between November and April, his reply is short and determined: ”Something to do with skiing“. But he is not quite sure yet and something will surely come along. Walter, a person who makes the best of things. But he can’t deny a good portion of optimism:
“We live in paradise, period“.
Can one ever get enough of an outdoor office, with nature created and shaped by man and machine; although always beautifully green and in top condition? “Butler is a service just like the service in the catering industry“, so Walter’s view on the job description. There are days when the golf course is busy but there are also days when it is not so frequented. However, there is always something to do and Walter‘s helping hands are highly appreciated by the rest of the team. And if he is not on duty at the 9th hole, you will find him – if you have local knowledge and know your way around the mountains – on his Schmalzgrubenalm, somewhere above Fusch an der Glocknerstrasse, in 1.800 metres above sea level with running mountain water. You are right, Walter.