Kip Tyler was a trend-setter throughout his career as a golf course superintendent.
The longest-tenured superintendent on Massachusetts' North Shore (1982-2019) in golf's modern era, he retired as one of just two New England superintendents to have hosted three USGA championships spanning the last 40 years (1984 U.S. Women's Open, 2001 and 2017 U.S. Senior Opens), joining Bill Spence, who hosted three events at The Country Club (1988 U.S. Open, 1995 U.S. Women's Amateur, 2013 U.S. Men's Amateur). Only Skip Wogan, who was at Essex County Club from 1914 to 1957, was a superintendent longer.
He also was the winner of the second TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, in 2001.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Tyler died July 24 at his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts after battling brain cancer. He was 68.
Tyler graduated from the Ohio State turf program and was an avid Buckeyes football fan. After graduating from Ohio State, his career in turf began in 1979 at Medinah Country Club, where he was the superintendent of the No. 2 and No. 3 courses.
Eventually, he moved on to Salem to prep the Donald Ross classic for the 1984 U.S. Women's Open.
"All of us in the business will never forget how he turned an apparently impossible situation in 2001 into a wonderfully conditioned golf course for a Senior Open," Don Hearn, executive director of the GCSANE, told the Salem News. "Because of that achievement, he was a much sought-after speaker at a variety of conferences in the U.S. and Canada. He was considered among the very best in the business."
Tyler had been retired only about a year when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
"I've admired Kip all these years for so many reasons," Hearn told the News. "The way he handled his illness magnified my admiration for him. He lived life with a smile and pleasant disposition no matter what the situation at Salem or at home.
Peter Hasak at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead for the past 35 years, told the Salem News that Tyler was on speed dial for many of his colleagues.
"When I came to Tedesco in 1988 Kip was the first of the local superintendents to reach out. I've never forgotten that. Work-wise, he was the ‘go-to' guy for any issues we had," Hasak told the News. "He'd always have the right answer to put us back on the right path. He always was happy to help any way he could. I called him ‘Top Gun' around here. He always made sure the new super in the area fit in with all his neighbors. I never met one, with such great accomplishments in his field, who was so humble."
Survivors include his wife, Mary Lou; sons, Christopher Tyler (Molly) and Ben Tyler (Jeanmarie); and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Tyler.