Golf Course Superintendent Profile: Kurt Richmond

Kurt Richmond Golf Course Superintendent Cedar Creek and Aspen Hills
Kurt Richmond Golf Course Superintendent Cedar Creek and Aspen Hills

My name is Kurt Richmond and I have been the golf course superintendent of Star Valley Ranch Association’s two golf courses, Cedar Creek and Aspen Hills, going on seven years. I am originally from Newberry, Michigan, where golf became a passion of mine. My grandpa introduced me to the game with an historic hickory stick club and a couple of old, beat up golf balls. Knowing that my interests in golf and the courses it was played on were growing stronger, my grandpa gave me, ‘How to Build Your Own Backyard Putting Green,’ a James Beard summation. In my junior year in high school, I did just that, believing the old adage, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Our high school graduation party was held in my backyard one year later. The green was in pristine condition, mowed at exactly ¼ inch and the tee was 100 yards away from the pin. My first completed golf hole project was a big hit with everyone! I have been hooked in the business ever since.

Related: The Joys of Hickory Golf: Making the Rounds Part 15

We all have certain paths we take in life; mine started with a few golf course jobs, mowing greens, and changing cups. I am a curious person by nature and enjoy traveling, which led to my enlistment in the U.S. Navy, where I served four years on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. My service earned me a GI Bill, which gave me the opportunity to go to school.

I enrolled at Mundus Institute School of Golf Course Management, a tech school in Arizona, with introduction to Golf Course Maintenance, Pro Shop Business and Hotel Management. I gained an all-around understanding of all facets related to golf operations. Upon graduation, I was given the opportunity to work as second assistant under Charlie Carlson, superintendent, and Shawn Emerson, director of agronomy at Desert Mountain’s Renegade Course. Thanks for the life lessons, guys!

After three years at Desert Mountain, I moved back to Newberry, Michigan, to work as assistant superintendent, under the direction of Mike Herbst, to complete the grow-in of a nine-hole addition to my home course. From there, I moved downstate to Boyne Highland Ski Resort where I was assistant superintendent of the golf course in the summer and groomed ski slopes in the winter. I became aware, after a couple of summers there, that I needed more education in the field of agronomy. That fall, I applied to Michigan State University for their two-year sports turf management program. My decision to choose sports turf management over golf course management was to broaden my scope of expertise. With six years of golf maintenance experience under my belt, it was time to learn more of the sports side of the business and build my resume for future opportunities. I did my internship with the Indianapolis Indians, a AAA Farm League for the Milwaukee Brewers. It was fascinating to me to see how turf conditions and maintenance cross over from one sport to the next and how those variables affect the outcome of play. While my job there was very interesting, it was not my career choice.

A unique opportunity was offered to me by Thom Nikolai, PhD., to relocate to Austria where I would manage and teach the proper maintenance of turfgrass to the staff of Richter Rasen, a sod farm that produced sod for landscaping, golf courses and sports fields. Traveling and learning a new language left me with enduring memories of so many incredible

Related: Superintendent Profile: Mark A. Malasavage Hershey Country Club

After returning to the states, I was hired as assistant superintendent at Stowe Mountain Club, a new golf course being built in Stowe, Vermont. Bob Cupp was the golf course architect and Kevin Komer the golf course superintendent. I spent four years learning and becoming proficient in the process of shaping fairways, installing effective irrigation lines, and growing turf to a finished product. As the golf course came to completion, it was time to move on and search for a superintendent position. On a whim, and in what you might say was a leap of faith, I moved out west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Interestingly enough, for two years I worked in the concrete business in the summer and groomed ski trails at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the winter. One day, while questioning my decision to move, I decided to head down to Star Valley to play golf at Cedar Creek Golf Course. A couple of members invited me to join their foursome that day. As we played, we talked about my background, the course, and the position that was open for superintendent of Star Valley Ranch Association’s two golf courses. Their encouragement to submit my resume has resulted in tremendous rewards. I am able to share my skills, my knowledge, and my passion for the game and the course it is played on, with members who appreciate my work and who encourage me to use my talents to enhance the courses. I truly believe these talents and my commitment to perfection are visible at the unbelievably beautiful and challenging courses, Cedar Creek and Aspen Hills. Every superintendent out there has his or her own unique story. I hope you enjoyed mine.

Star Valley Ranch is located 20 miles South of Alpine, Wyoming, and is tucked up next to the majestic mountains of Bridger National Forest at an elevation of 6,350 feet. The immense beauty of the area makes it worth the drive to discover Star Valley Ranch and the many opportunities available here.

Star Valley Ranch Association boasts two unique and picturesque golf courses. Cedar Creek Golf Course is a well-designed 18-hole course that meanders through the beautiful, privately owned properties of the Town of Star Valley Ranch. Par 73 includes 6,578 yards of manicured fairways and intriguing greens, each hole with individual characteristics that make play stimulating and enjoyable for all levels of golfers. Aspen Hills Golf Course is a mountain course with elevation changes that will challenge any golfer. This 9-hole, par 36 course, with a total yardage of 3,241, has breathtaking views of the entire valley from many of the holes. Aspen Hills also supports a Junior Course with the new 15’ cups. The Junior Course has a total yardage of 1,199 and is a great place for up-and-coming golfers to gain skill, confidence and love for the game. Whether you play at Cedar Creek or Aspen Hills, be prepared for an unexpected delay of game while deer and other wildlife make their way across the fairways.

Related: Superintendent Profile: Joey Franco, CGCS

Star Valley Ranch Association is a semi-private, daily-fee facility with many great amenities including a heated pool, tennis courts, a playground, basketball court and picnic area in the summer months, as well as 10 miles of groomed Cross Country ski trails, snowmobile trails, a sledding hill and an ice skating rink in the winter. Duffer’s Lounge, a quaint bar located in the Barn/Silo near Cedar Creek Golf Course, is open May through October and affords locals and visitors alike an atmosphere where old friends can meet and new friendships can begin. The privately run Cedar Creek Grill is open year-round to provide lunches, dinners, or just snacks, and is also licensed to serve adult beverages. These exceptional amenities enhance the experiences available at Star Valley Ranch.

Residents from the Town of Star Valley Ranch, as well as local valley residents, visitors and guests, have access to three spectacular and beautiful canyons. Prater, Green and Cedar Creek Canyons provide enjoyment and splendor for the outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy a good day hike. Star Valley Ranch Association and the Town of Star Valley Ranch, in conjunction with the US Forest Service, are in the process of providing a trail head to support 10 miles of maintained trails for hiking in the Green and Cedar Creek Canyons. A visit to this secluded and incredible area will undoubtedly have you coming back for more.

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