As far as city-owned municipal golf courses go, Bayou Oaks at City Park in New Orleans is about as nice as it gets. A Rees Jones design, the golf course is the centerpiece of an effort to fund an urban renewal project for a vulnerable part of the city that struggled to get back on its feet in the years following Hurricane Katrina, which crippled the city in 2005.
Providing great playing conditions is about more than just meeting the needs of local residents and tourists who play the course. There is a deeper goal. Much deeper.
Revenue generated by the golf operation helps fund a variety of projects on that city’s east side that directly impact the residents, such as low-income housing, a school and an emergency clinic.
Keeping equipment in top shape so superintendent Ryan McCavitt and his team can give golfers the conditions they demand and so they continue to come back and spend their money, thus funding these various initiatives, is the responsibility of equipment manager Evan Meldahl. Without the golf course to help fund them, many of these programs struggle to survive - if they survive at all. Talk about going above and beyond.
If you have an equipment manager who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the past year - and there must be a lot of deserving candidates since the implementation of Covid protocols - nominate him or her for the TurfNet 2021 Technician of the Year Award, sponsored by John Deere. The winner will receive the Golden Wrench Award along with their choice of a spot in a Deere training session in North Carolina or a chance to assist with equipment maintenance at next year’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Either will result in an equipment manager who is better trained and more motivated and will make your property better.
CLICK HERE to submit a nomination.
Nominees are considered by our panel of judges on the following criteria: crisis management; effective budgeting; environmental awareness; helping to further and promote the careers of colleagues and employees; interpersonal communications; inventory management and cost control; overall condition and dependability of rolling stock; shop safety; and work ethic.
Deadline to submit a nomination is June 1.
Previous winners include (2020) Evan Meldahl, Bayou Oaks at City Park, New Orleans, LA; (2019) Dan Dommer, Ozaukee Country Club, Mequon, WI; (2018) Terry Libbert, Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; (2017) Tony Nunes, Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, IL; (2016) Kris Bryan, Pikewood National Golf Club, Morgantown, WV; (2015) Robert Smith, Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, PA; (2014) Lee Medeiros, Timber Creek and Sierra Pines Golf Courses, Roseville, CA; (2013) Brian Sjögren, Corral de Tierra Country Club, Corral de Tierra, CA; (2012) Kevin Bauer, Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Crest Hill, IL; (2011) Jim Kilgallon, The Connecticut Golf Club, Easton, CT; (2010) Herb Berg, Oakmont (PA) Country Club; (2009) Doug Johnson, TPC at Las Colinas, Irving, TX; (2007) Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club; (2006) Fred Peck, Fox Hollow and The Homestead, Lakewood, CO; (2005) Jesus Olivas, Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, Marana, AZ; (2004) Henry Heinz, Kalamazoo (MI) Country Club; (2003) Eric Kulaas, Marriott Vinoy Renaissance Resort, Sarasota, FL.