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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Dobie focused on recording superintendent's biographical history

Someone should remind Frank Dobie that he is retired.

Dobie, 82, spent 60 years as a golf course superintendent, including an incredible 56 years as head greenkeeper and general manager at the same place before he retired (supposedly) in 2020.

That would be enough work for most superintendents. Dobie definitely is not most superintendents.

Although Dobie no longer actively works as an agronomist, he stays busy actively promoting the industry he loves. 

Since 1988, he has been president of the Musser Foundation, which recognizes excellence in turfgrass research, and his next undertaking is to record a biographical history of golf course superintendents - sort of a Baseball Almanac, but for golf greenkeepers.

"Athletes all have their history recorded by the media," Dobie said. "Nobody is doing that for superintendents."

Until now, anyway.


Retirement is not enough to keep Frank Dobie away from promoting the role of golf course superintendents. GCSAA TV image

Dobie has developed a fill-in-the-blank form that superintendents can populate with their professional history, similar to a really in-depth LinkedIn account. It is a project he started in the early 2000s and is focused on today more than ever.

To date, he has received more than 80 submissions from other superintendents. Recently, he sent a letter to the alumni club at Penn State, his alma mater. So far, 54 Penn Staters have requested the form.

Dobie's goal is one day to help form a hall of fame for superintendents. The concept has been shot down at the national level, including in Lawrence, Kansas as well as at the World Golf Hall of Fame. Original plans at the World Golf Hall of Fame included a place for superintendents. Today, there is not a single superintendent in the WGHOF.

Dobie first became a superintendent in 1961. By 1964, he was superintendent and GM at Sharon Golf Club in Sharon Center, Ohio. Fifty-six years later, 2020, Dobie finally retired from Sharon. Today splits time between Ohio and Naples, Florida

He was instrumental in developing a hall of fame for superintendents at the chapter level in Northern Ohio, and believes that is the model for widespread acceptance. And the biographical histories he collects could play a pivotal role in helping expedite that process.

"How can we have a superintendent hall of fame if we don't know their history?" said Dobie.

Quite an undertaking for someone who is retired, or at least is supposed to be.

"Oh, I'm living my retirement," Dobie said. "But I still like putting together the piece of the puzzle."

Want a form? Email Frank Dobie and he will be happy to send you one.

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