So who graduates from UMass in 1971 with a BS in Plant and Soil Science, takes an assistant job at a very private/secretive 500 acre facility on the NY/CT border, gets promoted to superintendent three months later, grows in a new back nine... and then stays for 51 years? We'll tell you who: Mike Maffei, CGCS, recently retired golf course superintendent at Morefar in Brewster, NY.
Google "Morefar" and you won't come up with much. "A lot of newcomers to Brewster don't even know it's there," q
Our latest All Star of Turf is Michael Morris, CGCS, 36-year Director of Buildings and Grounds at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Michigan. A native of Frankfort, Mike is one of the few golf course property managers who has spent his entire career at one course, in his hometown. He is also a rarity in obtaining a BA and MS in English and film studies at Michigan State before realizing that life on the golf course spoke to him more than a future in academia.
He is known internation
In this first "It's not just about the grass" segment of TurfNet All Stars of Turf, we recognize Scott Dodson, CGCS, and John Taylor. Both career superintendents, they are perhaps better known as the founders of the Golf Course Hockey Challenge, an annual 2-day/4-game tournament that has attracted as many as 16 teams of hockey playing superintendents, assistants and suppliers over a 25+ year run.
Dodson has been at the Park Country Club in Williamsville (Buffalo) NY for 30 years. Taylor is
Jordon Bowling found his calling into turfgrass management a little later than most, at 22 with a six-month old son to boot. His brother-in-law, Chad Kuzawa, was an NC State turf grad making the rounds of some clubs in the southeast and convinced Jordon to visit from his home in Michigan and shadow him for a couple of days. That set things in motion.
He enrolled in the turf management program at Wayne Community College in NC and worked at Wedgewood GC, then Country Club of Virginia, Carolin
Chad Allen, finishing up his first year as golf course superintendent at the Club at Chatham Hills near Indianapolis, IN, has a unique background and training as a substance abuse and addiction counselor prior to shifting to turf management. A recent attendee of both Green Start and the Syngenta Business Institute programs, Chad employs a "bottom up" management style that centers on listening to and engaging his staff in the processes of managing the golf course.
A fascinating conversation
Jim Surico, senior assistant superintendent at North Jersey Country Club in Wayne, NJ, is admittedly a "glass half full" kind of guy. As such, when asked to name something he doesn't like to do on the golf course, he came up blank. "Ooh, I don't know, tough question... There really isn't anything I don't like to do, even dealing with members..."
Now THERE is a guy who is going to have a successful career as a superintendent.
Surico talks us through his career from Rutgers University to
Jared Viarengo of Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania, bucked a trend early in his career by also becoming general manager at the club in eastern Pennsylvania. Since then, Viarengo's role has expanded as the club's director of grounds and director of club operations.
In this broadcast, Viarengo discusses how his career started in the field of psychology and how he eventually returned his roots on the golf course, where he had worked during summers since high school.
Our latest Rising Star of Turf is J. Richard Brown, newly minted golf course superintendent at Florence (SC) Country Club. Richard got the nod for the Florence job after ten years "apprenticeship" in the South Carolina golf market, starting with five years at various courses in Myrtle Beach before becoming the senior assistant at Orangeburg Country Club, where he remained for the ensuing five years.
Richard participated in one of our Assistant Situation roundtable conversations earlier this
Some career superintendents make their marks by hosting major tournaments or pushing the agronomic envelope. Others quietly go about their business of growing great grass while also navigating the potholes and pitfalls that invariably spring up in private clubs over time. John Carlone, CGCS, has done that over 37 years as a golf course superintendent at two clubs in one of the toughest markets in the industry: Long Island, NY.
Fresh out of the University of Rhode Island (where he had a nota
Sean Tully of the Meadow Club in Fairfax, California, has made a name for himself as a fan and ultimately an expert on classic-era golf course architecture, particularly Alister MacKenzie designs.
The Meadow Club, where Tully is director of grounds maintenance, is in fact the first course in North America designed by MacKenzie and one of several in Northern California. Tully's expertise in the field has resulted in many opportunities to speak at other golf courses in the region, often to e
For more than 30 years, David Fruchte has been superintendent at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina, the site of this year's U.S. Women's Open, which once was owned by LPGA legend Peggy Kirk Bell. A graduate of the turfgrass program at Purdue, Fruchte learned the trade from the legendary David Stone at the Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since 1990, Pine Needles has become the epitome of resort golf in the highly competitive North Carolina Sandhills regio
Nate Jordan first came on our radar as an active user of the TurfNet Forum during his first gig as head superintendent, then at Saratoga Lake Golf Club in upstate New York. He created a stir when pondering whether his resume and career trajectory would be enhanced by stepping back into an assistant role at a Top 100 club, which he did for a year before finding that not completely suited to his personality and demeanor. He then went on to five years as superintendent at Mount Hawley CC in Peoria,
The big question on the turf industry's mind after the epic 2016 Ryder Cup Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, MN) was, "Where's (senior assistant superintendent) Ryan Moy gonna go?" Turns out the answer was one just about nobody expected: Head Groundskeeper for the Minnesota United Football Club at the still under-construction Allianz Field in St. Paul and their training grounds in Blaine, MN.
Once Ryan settled in there he was followed by former Hazeltine interns Mitch Ronnin
For parts of four decades, Ralph Kepple has been the caretaker for the historic home course of the late Bobby Jones. A graduate of Ohio State, Kepple was named superintendent at East Lake Golf Club in 1992 and since 2018 has been the club’s director of agronomy. During that time, East Lake has been synonymous with the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship for 21 years.
In this episode of All Stars of Turf, Kepple talks about the keys to career longevity and some of the changes that hav
For more than 15 years, Mark Hoban has built a career of promoting a sustainable and minimalist approach of managing golf course turf at Rivermont Golf Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. At age 67, he insists he is only getting started.
Hoban, who prepped under Palmer Maples at the nearby Standard Club, uses biologicals, homemade compost tea and other organic nutrients to promote healthy turf and soils that require very little fungicides and are naturally resistant to disease pressure.
To say Nate McKinniss is on the career fast track would be an understatement of almost immeasurable proportions.
McKinniss, 27, is the golf course superintendent at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, where Job 1 is keeping the course what he called “Golden Bear ready.” That's a nod to Jack Nicklaus, who designed the course, has a home there and is the host of its biggest event, the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament. McKinniss has worked at the club in suburban Columbus since he gradu
Steve Cook has had a career laced with high profile tournaments, including two U.S. Amateurs, a Ryder Cup, and a PGA Championship while at Oakland Hills, and a BMW Championship in 2019 at Medinah Country Club. Yet to him, a career should be more about contribution than achievement.
He has mentored and graduated many assistants onto their own successful superintendent careers, and takes great pride and satisfaction in the ongoing relationships with them. His primary criterion for hiring an a
We are thrilled to recognize Luke Kringler, assistant superintendent at Laurel Creek Country Club in Moorestown, NJ, as our first Rising Star of Turf.
"Nominated" (unbeknownst to him at the time) by John Slade, superintendent at Laurel Creek and a Charter TurfNet Member, the email exchange with Peter McCormick back in November went like this:
John: I'm looking to get one of my techey young guys to work on some job postings. Over the years, I've had five employees become Supers -- but
TurfNet is pleased to recognize Joe D. Wachter, CGCS, of Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis, MO, as our first All Star of Turf.
Following a life-long passion for all things green, in 1990 Joe transitioned at age 32 from a ten year stint in school bus system management — supervising 150 drivers and a $3 million budget — to an assistant superintendent position at nearby Sunset Country Club under Lee Redman.
Joe consulted his younger brother Ed, superintendent at Franklin County Country C