Back in high school, you may have thought about working at the driving range as a summer job. For some people, it's much more - a full time job and even a career.


Daniel Roman has been picking up golf balls for 10 years. He works at the Randall's Island Golf Center. Roman is an expert with the cart, managing the other groundskeepers, and at identifying celebrities.

But the job is not without its hazards, nor is it without monotony. Roman had plenty of stories about dodging shots from golfers, and maneuvering the cart out of muddy pits after spring rains.

He has four siblings - two who work in health care, one who works for Con-Edison, and a brother who has spent years going in and out of jail. He's had a lot of time to think about gainful employment, and the fact that his brother has gone the opposite route.

Roman isn't bitter. He's happy to be outdoors, although it's evident he dreams of something a little more adventurous. From time to time, he visits his brother and sends him money.

Roman is not alone in his job choice. There are just under 40,000 workers in New York State in landscaping and groundskeeping. The average annual income for this line of work is $28,770.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Randall's Island Golf Center

Innovations in Communication for Prisoners and Their Families


More Character Info

We interviewed Roman on two separate occasions. Both times I was impressed with his enthusiasm and happy personality – crazy for someone who has been doing the same job everyday for 10 years.

Roman talked to us about how he was a delivery guy before he got the job on Randall’s Island (a friend provided a reference). He also talked to us about his brother’s felonies – he likes to rob drug dealers, according to Roman. He said he never thought his brother would grow up to become such a troublemaker, and recalled fun times they had shared as children.

Roman talked about his girlfriend’s cats, traveling abroad, and his love of the outdoors. The outdoor factor seemed by far the biggest draw for him when it came to working at the range.



Shell - Fine Cut Transcript

It’s hard to hit a golf ball and aim at something. You’ve gotta be pretty good, you know.

My name is Daniel Roman, I’m 47 years old.

A typical day: get here in the morning, check the bathrooms, make sure there’s TP in there. Make sure the ball machine’s full.

I got hit once where the ball came in and hit me in the knee.

I told the guy, You think you’re not hurting nobody, but you see the ball came in and hit me. I drove right up front to tell him. I wasn’t mad or anything, I just wanted to let him to know there’s consequence to if you aim at the car, you know.

Just hurt for a little while.

If it hits the car, I usually don’t even flinch. I’m used to it now.

My sister works for Con Edison, my other sister’s a home attendant, my other one’s a nurse, and my brother, uh he’s in prison. In, jail. Jail. He’s in jail.

I figure everybody gotta work, you know, to earn a living, you know. Can’t be stealing from people, even if they’re bad people. You know?

I have some future plans. I’m thinking about going back to school. Because I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to stay here. I’m getting a little, I guess uh, not that it’s getting a little boring but I think i’ve done it and im getting a little tired of it, a little bit a little bit.

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