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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Yale Golf Course reopens - search begins for a superintendent

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Better late than never.

When Yale Golf Course in New Haven, Connecticut, did not open last spring during the early days of the pandemic, it appeared, at least by many of the photographs circulating at the time, that it might never open again. The course was closed as part of the university’s response to the pandemic, and photographic images seven months ago showed a course not ready for play even if it were open.

Ranked by some as the top college golf course in the country, Yale Golf Course finally opened Sept. 28 with a new general manager - and no superintendent.

Between the time when the course closed 11 months ago and the Covid outbreak in late winter, Yale lost longtime superintendent Scott Ramsay, CGCS, who left for The Country Club of Farmington in Connecticut, as well as then-general manager Peter Pulaski.

New general manager Peter Palacios told the Yale News that one of his priorities over the offseason will be to hire a new superintendent.

The Yale campus was shuttered in mid-March, which included closing the golf course, which the university traditionally treats as part of the overall university infrastructure rather than a standalone golf entity. All employees across all sectors of campus operations were sent home. According to Vicky Chun, the athletic director at Yale since July 2018, what she described as a "skeletal crew" was permitted to stay on and work a minimal number of hours to maintain the golf course.

Ranked by some as the top college golf course in the country, Yale Golf Course finally opened Sept. 28 with a new general manager - and no superintendent. . . . New general manager Peter Palacios told the Yale News that one of his priorities over the offseason will be to hire a new superintendent.

"Once the university made the decision on the Spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all of our staff joined our students in a remote setting," Chun told TurfNet by email in July. "In keeping the health and safety of our employees at the forefront of our decisions, a skeletal crew worked at both the Yale Golf Course and Yale Bowl fields. Even though the golf course grounds crew was skeletal, we did receive permission to add additional hours to their schedule."

Yale is ranked No. 49 on Golfweek's list of Top 100 Classic Courses, and No. 1 on the publication's list of Top 30 Campus Courses. Getting the course there and keeping there always made Ramsay work extra hard for his lofty Superintendent of the Year status, and he has said in the past that it was always a challenge to unwind years of neglect that occurred before he arrived in New Haven in 2003.

The club, which is subject to flooding, recently completed a $400,000 drainage project, and was well on its way to marked improvement until Ramsay, the 2006 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, left for the Country Club at Farmington and the coronavirus closed campus.

"The Yale Golf Course is one of numerous athletic facilities that we are extremely proud of and have plans to improve," Chun told TurfNet. "When I started as Director of Athletics, I immediately recognized the importance of the course and we pushed its improvement where it was better maintained this last year as compared to the recent past. I have had many discussions with alumni who are excited about the direction the course is headed in terms of improvements. A strategic plan has been started to bring the course back to its glory. We were on our way until COVID-19 hit."

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