The grounds crew at Grayhawk Golf Course starts the day before sunrise.

Pretty golf courses aren’t born that way, nor do they stay that way without tremendous effort by The Early Risers.

They are the laborers who work silently and with purpose, racing against the sunrise to stay ahead of the day’s first group of golfers.

Golf courses across the country owe their manicured fairways, tightly mowed greens and beautiful bunkers to this legion of workers. The mostly Latino immigrants begin their shift at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona at 5am and immediately begin traversing the Raptor course in golf carts and John Deere vehicles. A symphony of artificial sounds like leaf blowers, mowers and rakes combine with the natural, early morning sounds of the desert to create a melody familiar to the legion of grounds crew workers but wholly unknown to the polo clad golfers who will begin arriving after the sun rises.

Despite the low pay, they talk of taking pride in their work and it shows as Grayhawk Golf Club is frequented by pros and amateurs alike.

Todd Bigelow Photography

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