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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Five finalists named for Superintendent of the Year Award


2016 Superintendent of the Year Dick Gray (right) of PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and the club's general manager Jimmy Terry.

From finding innovative sources of irrigation water and tackling the mother of all construction projects to managing a national championship under grueling weather conditions, redefining personnel management and even donating an organ to help save a colleague, five finalists with vastly different resumes have been named for the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.

Finalists include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis; Brian Conn, Transit Valley Country Club in East Amherst, New York; Dwayne Dillinger, Bell Nob Golf Course, Gillette, Wyoming; Pat O'Brien, Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, Cincinnati; and Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG, Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Carlos Arraya
Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis
Arraya was nominated by former green chairman Tom Schneider namely for resurrecting Bellerive's bentgrass greens that had been struggling after several hot summers, but he was recognized by the judges for his personnel management skills. Arraya's philosophy, which was borne mostly out of tragedy, puts life and people first and product second, with the understanding if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the golf course. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Brian Conn
Transit Valley Country Club, East Amherst, New York

While struggling to deal with his father's suicide, Conn was moved to act on an email seeking potential organ donors for fellow superintendent Scott Dodson. One year after a successful kidney transplant, both men and their families are linked in perpetuity. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Dwayne Dillinger
Bell Nob Golf Course, Gillette, Wyoming
When Bell Nob faced escalating costs for potable water and no realistic alternative sources, Dillinger developed a protocol for mixing water from two separate wells. One well was virtually devoid of calcium, the other was too rich in it. The result was a combined water source that has helped the county that owns Bell Nob save more than $1 million since the plan was implemented. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Pat O'Brien
Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, Cincinnati
As the man in charge of a $12 million construction project that touched almost every part of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club - except the golf course, O'Brien spent the past two years making vast changes to the club's infrastructure while constantly serving as a liaison between contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors and city officials, all of whom often were going in different directions. And he did it all while enduring weather conditions that constantly threatened to derail the project. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
Wharton endured what he called the worst year for weather in his 14 years at Carolina Golf Club. The year started with dead Bermudagrass attributed to winterkill and ended - almost - with Hurricane Florence's arrival on the doorstep of the USGA Mid-Amateur. Wharton led the course through every challenge, pulled off a successful tournament, took on the role of president of his association and drew the admiration of members and colleagues. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

The winner will be named Feb. 7 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The winner and a guest will win a trip for two on the 2019 TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland in the fall.

Finalists are chosen from our panel of judges spanning the golf industry on criteria that include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.

The winner will be named Feb. 7 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The winner and a guest will win a trip for two on the 2019 TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland in the fall.

Previous winners include: Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX & Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013); Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).

Edited by John Reitman

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