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Superintendent Profile:

How did you get your start in the golf industry?
I started my career in high school where, after being cut from the school golf team, I applied for a job at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, home of the Honda Classic. My first job on the golf course was filling divots and hand raking bunkers, but I loved the big tournament feel of how everything comes together after all the careful planning and preparations.

After my family moved to Lake Geneva I enrolled at UW-Madison in 1987 and spent four years in the school’s turf program. Meanwhile Fred Klauk, the super that hired me at TPC Eagle Trace, moved from Eagle Trace to Sawgrass and invited a young intern to come along. I spent my summers out of school at Sawgrass living in the shop and saving for school. After graduating in 1991, I took the position of crew foreman at Sawgrass, which turned out to be a good move. I was offered the superintendent position at Ekana Golf & Country Club in 1992.

Ekana Golf & Country Club turned out to need a lot of work which gave me valuable experience in renovation and construction. A year and a half later I took a position at the famed Pine Tree Golf Course in Boynton Beach, FL. This was a big change going from a low budget, low-pressure course, to a high budget, high-pressure course. In 1999 I moved to Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama and took the superintendent job there. I thought that Greystone would be my last move but then my old friend Fred Klauk called me to say he was retiring and asked if I might be interested in the job, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Can you tell us a little about your family?
I met my wife in Oviedo, Florida at Twin Rivers Golf Club. She was the marketing manager and I was the superintendent. We now have five daughters named Natalie, Holly, Jenna, Amy and Millie. We home schooled all of them. Our oldest daughter is a Freshman in college at Vanderbilt University studying piano performance and our youngest daughter Millie is three years old. Our family motto is, what we do, we do together.
Where did you go to school for turfgrass management?
I majored in soil science and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 1991.

Who was your earliest mentor in the industry and how did he inspire you?
My earliest mentor was retired golf course superintendent Fred Klauk. He gave me my first job at age 14 at TPC Eagle Trace. He used me to help in preparation for the Honda Classic, a PGA Tour Event. I filled divots and raked bunkers. My love for tournament golf was created.

How do you work with people to create a team?
I believe in empowering individuals. Provide them with the tools needed. Get out of their way. I believe in the One Minute Manager’s book philosophy. You get what you inspect, not what you expect. No employee works for me, we all work together.

What achievements are you most proud of?
Celebrating over 20 years of marriage with five wonderful daughters.

What item or person could you not do without at your golf course?
Sunshine. Superintendents know how damaging cloudy, overcast weather can be to the turf.

What is your favorite part of the job, least favorite?
My favorite part of the job is riding the golf course with my family in the evening after it has been cleared of golf. I enjoy having the quiet time to admire the beauty of the property. The least favorite part of the job is the early mornings.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d set up a foundation to give to those charities’ that my wife and I care about: installing water wells with local churches and pastors. We believe it is important to provide the gospel with living water.

A few people I’d like to meet….
Ronald Regan, George W. Bush, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson

What do you like to do away from work?
Vacation with my wife and girls. Go to the ocean. I love to read.

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SUPERINTENDENT PROFILE

How did you get your start in the golf industry?
I first began by going to work with my dad at the age of eight, who managed a golf course. I would spend all day playing golf, fishing in the lakes, picking up range balls and helping out with the carts. Growing up in this environment lead to a passion for outdoors and golf course maintenance.
Can you tell us a few things about your early life, where were you born, what high school, first jobs? I was born in Cape Girardeau, MO and then my parents moved down to south Mississippi where I graduated from Ocean Springs High School. My first job that I had was working for my dad at the golf course, mowing during the day and watering the course at night.

Can you tell us a little about your family, how you met your wife, kid’s names?
I met my wife while I was attending Mississippi State and we have two beautiful children, Tanner -4 and Penelope-2.

Where did you go to school for turfgrass management?
Mississippi State University and currently attending Sam Houston State for a M.B.A.
Who was your earliest mentor in the industry and how did he inspire you? My earliest mentor was my father, who taught me that you get what you work for and nothing comes free. He taught me what work was like at an early age and the importance of being responsible.

How do you work with people to create a team?
I strongly believe in teaching by example and building confidence in people. I believe that mistakes are not always bad unless they are made out of negligence. I teach my team to build off of mistakes and to create solutions to prevent the mistake from reoccurring.
What achievements are you most proud of? Becoming a certified superintendent certainly tops the list, but nothing could be as great as being a father and husband.

What item or person could you not do without at your golf course? My team is certainly the life-blood of the golf course, therefore I could not do without them.

What is your favorite part of the job, least favorite? My favorite part of my job is seeing the results and developing people. The least favorite thing about my job would be dealing with the unpredictability of weather.

What would you do if you won the lottery? I would first go out and hire an attorney and an accountant, then I would continue working as a superintendent and would help out as many people as I could.

Few people know I like to… lift weights, I have a love for going to the gym after work and relieving a little stress. Also probably don’t know that I have a passion for cooking. My best dish would have to be a large platter of hot Louisiana boiled crawfish.

What do you like to do away from work? If you have time to yourself what do you like to do? I love to fish and duck hunt when I am not at work, and most importantly spending time with my family.

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