Superintendent Profile: Mark A. Malasavage Hershey Country Club

How did you get your start in the golf industry?

Started working on a golf course during the summer of my senior year in high school. On my last day, the golf course superintendent asked me if I would be coming back next season. I told him no way that I wasn’t a morning person.

Can you tell us a few things about your early life, where were you born, what high school, first jobs?

I was born and raised in Hershey. Attended Hershey High School before attending Penn State as an engineering major. After two years of college, I decided to take a year off and work on a golf course. Decided to switch my interests to the turf after a year.

Can you tell us a little about your family, how you met your wife, kids’ names?

I met my biggest supporter and life companion in 1988. Carol worked part-time at the fitness center I belonged to. She at first didn’t show any interest in going out together but I was persistent and she came around. I think I told her I knew how to fix her stereo to get the first date. We are both fitness fanatics and amusement park lovers and enjoy traveling. She works for the Hershey Company and also grew up locally. We have one child Adam who is 24 years old and lives in Lancaster PA.

Where did you go to school for turfgrass management?

Rutgers class of 1996. It was a fun but challenging time. I was thirty-six, my son was four, and off to school. It took a lot of support from my wife and family so I could attend school four hours away.

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

My earliest mentor was actually a golf course superintendent that wanted to fire me. I won’t mention his name but he gave me an opportunity to prove myself and I never looked back. I also have to give credit to the first golf course superintendent that I worked for. He was one of my biggest supporters during the early years of my career and is to this day my best friend.

How do you work with people to create a team?

I try and let my superintendents run their own golf courses. Supporting them with all the tools to perform their job is a big part of our success. I am always full of suggestions on how to make a better product and share past experiences to aid them with their decisions. I have weekly one on ones with my superintendents to discuss long-term expectations and they have the same with their assistants. I am also fortunate to be part of a company that believes in developing its people through leadership training. Hershey Entertainment and Resorts has one of the best personnel leadership and development programs available to their managers and staff. We in Hershey strongly believe you need to keep sharpening the saw to stay sharp at what you do both agronomically and with leadership.

What achievements are you most proud of?

I am proud of a lot of personal achievements in my career. Just surviving in this business for forty years is one, numerous PGA and USGA events all come to mind.

Something that I am extremely proud of is a combination of personnel and professional. My son Adam graduated in 2014 from Penn State with a Bachelor’s degree in Turf Grass Science. He is currently on the staff at Lancaster Country Club preparing for the 2015 Woman’s US Open. Having your son follow in your footsteps is a compliment and I am proud of his accomplishments. Can’t wait for him to get his first superintendent’s job so I can play his course.

What item or person could you not do without at your golf course?

It is not one person that makes a successful operation. It’s a combination of people working together to achieve the same goal. If I had to pick an item, it would be the support from all my key people.

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

My favorite part is coming to work every day. My least favorite is having people not appreciate their talents and using them to make a difference.

Do you collect anything? Hub caps, license plates, signs…

I collect Harley Davidson memorabilia, wine, and cigars.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Take my eighty-plus-year-old parents to Hawaii so my dad could finally go to the Arizona War Memorial.

What do you like to do away from work?

Few people knew that I have an appreciation for a type of music that does not fit my personality. I enjoy traveling with my wife to new places and mountain biking together. I take pride in the appearance of my motorcycle and vehicles and detailing them constantly. I also enjoy hunting.

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