Matthew ”Matt” Devine Golf and Grounds Superintendent at NorthRiver Yacht Club

NorthRiver Yacht Club
Matthew ”Matt” Devine Golf And Grounds Superintendent At Northriver Yacht Club
Matthew ”Matt” Devine Golf And Grounds Superintendent At NorthRiver Yacht Club

NorthRiver’s golf course is uniquely beautiful, with numerous elevation changes meandering through heavily wooded areas and rolling terrain. The original 18-hole, par 71 course was designed by Gary Player in 1978 and re-designed by Bob Cupp in 1999 and 2015.  The Club maintains the area’s best practice facility, two practice greens, the Wee Links, a first class short game area, as well as a teaching and learning center. Golf lessons and programming is available for every level of golfer – from beginner to highly competitive.

The course was enhanced in 2015 and the greens were converted to TifEagle Bermuda which provides an exceptional putting surface and will perform year around in our climate. The Better Billy Bunker system provides members and guests a more consistent and enjoyable bunker to play out of, making them less of a hazard while adding to the overall playing experience.

NorthRiver is owned and operated by Troon and is proud to be a Troon Privé property, an exclusive designation offered to premier private clubs in the Troon portfolio.

1. How did you get your start in the golf industry? Where did you go to school for turfgrass management?

Started as a summer job while in college at orchard park country club outside Buffalo NY.  After my senior year at Siena College with a history degree I went to the Penn State 2-year program.

NorthRiver Yacht Club
NorthRiver Yacht Club

2. Tell us about your course and a little of it’s history.

NorthRiver Yacht Club is on the north side of Lake Tuscaloosa.  The course opened in 1978 and was owned by Gulf States Paper Co, who originally held the patent for the E Z open paper bag. The property has two club house buildings, a marina, an 17th century cabin on the lake, hotel and 18 hole golf course originally designed by Gary Player. There was also an art museum housing the most valuable American Art collection in the world until being sold off for around 100 million million dollars. 

Related: What if this Golf Course is the Epicenter of Change?

3. Describe the Most difficult hole? The unique one? Your favorite?

“Hardest is probably the 7th. Uphill approach shot to a blind putting surface and a sever false front.

Hole 7

Unique will be used in place a less friendly word. The 10th is a par 5 that rarely allows driver off the tee due to an almost 90° left turn dogleg.  Scramble teams can sometimes drive the green.

Hole 10

Favorite is 8.  Nice, gentle dogleg left with no trees in play, large forgiving fairway and a scenic bell tower left of the landing area. Always sets up well for pictures. “

Hole 8

4. Who was your earliest mentor in the industry and how did he inspire you?

“Bob Kelly at OPCC was the first who got me interested in the profession.

The late George Hamilton was influential while I was at Penn State. He was the main reason I went.

Jim Simmons at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham.  I spent 8 years working for him in various capacities.  I learned about all aspects of the business from him and he has been a good friend for nearly 20 years. “

Renovation day. New fairway on 15 and road repair off in the distance.
Renovation day. New fairway on 15 and road repair off in the distance.

5. Plans for Renovations?

Not currently. Renovation occurred in 2015 with a few small projects since.

Fairway at Northriver Yacht Club
Fairway at NorthRiver Yacht Club

6. Favorite piece of equipment? Why?

I like almost all of it. Riding on mowers and heavy equipment has always been fun.

7. What is your favorite part of the job, least favorite?

I like getting ready for tournaments.

NorthRiver Yacht Club
NorthRiver Yacht Club

8. Next tournament scheduled.

A women’s amateur event in May for the Amateur Golf Alliance. Followed by the member guest a couple weeks later.

Related: Jim Byers Golf Course Superintendent Breckenridge Golf Club

9. Can you tell us a little about your family, how you met your wife, kids’ names? What do you like to do away from work? If you have time to yourself what do you like to do?

No wife or kids. Two dogs that are 7 and 14.  I like fishing, watching sports and sometimes playing golf.

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