Our latest All Star of Turf is Jason Haines, whom many in the industry will remember for his high profile social media presence (as @PenderSuper) that suddenly went dark several years ago. As the golf course superintendent at Pender Harbour Golf Club and later Sunshine Coast Golf Club in British Columbia, Jason developed (by necessity) a low-input, minimalist turf maintenance strategy that he shared and brainstormed with his Twitter following of 8,000+ before deciding to step away from social media entirely. In the interim he was invited to speak at turf conferences in the US, Canada and internationally.
In April of 2023 Jason made the leap from British Columbia 3000 miles east to take over the reins at Cabot Links on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Along with Cabot Cliffs and a newer 10-hole short course, Cabot Links is part of Cabot Cape Breton and is ranked #35 on the World Top 100 golf courses. Cabot Cliffs is ranked #1 in Canada.
In this fascinating conversation with Peter McCormick, Jason recounts the reasoning behind the advent of his minimalist turf maintenance programs, explains his departure from social media, and the positive move east to Cabot Cape Breton for him and his family. He uses the term "awesome" quite a bit in the conversation.
The transition from growing Poa in British Columbia ("unsustainable", in his words) to tee-to-green fine fescue in Nova Scotia: "In a word, awesome."
About joining the team of high-performance turf managers at Cabot: "I was used to working by myself. It's awesome to be a part of this group. Everyone here is here to be awesome. It’s easy to be inspired here. But just because somebody comes to work here doesn’t make them awesome... they have to make this place awesome in the first place."
"This is the perfect job for me, everything that I have been working toward with the minimalist style of greenkeeping in a links setting. This has been one of the most rewarding seasons of my career — so good — can’t believe I’m here."