Current Golf Course
Royal Calcutta Golf Club
Date of Birth
Years in Current Golf Course
TD. Growing up in rural farmland country on a horse farm operated by my parents we were surrounded by agriculture, crop production, dairy and beef production, poultry and, most significantly, massive tracts of land and forests that tied me to the Earth forever. Down the country road and across the street was a 9-hole golf course that became my second job, the job that I actually was paid to do; our farm and horse trade chores were compulsory to the sustenance of our family. We, my older brother and I, eventually found time and interest to play golf and subsequently, we were able to negotiate our labor services with free golf. Who wouldn’t do that at the ages of 11 and 12 years? It was a great gig and, for me, ultimately, intensified my growing love of the land and learning what it meant to not only work the land but, understand how to work the land through both farming and golf course maintenance. For my brother, it took him to the heights of working directly for Arnold Palmer at his private club as his Golf Course Superintendent, later to become a PGA Teaching Professional and a Certified Club Manager. As years past, we graduated from High School and moved to the golf capital of the 1980’s, Florida, USA, a return to the state we were born. All the while, finishing up High School, we maintained what turned out to be a joint family affiliated Golf Course Management Operation and our source of teenage income, somewhat in partnership with the owner of that 9-hole golf course, Mom and Dad building on their operations of Restaurant/Food and Beverage Businesses and Grill Operations at the course. Well, from there, returning to Florida as college students in a region where there were more golf courses being built than qualified people available to build and manage them, we found our natural area of employment was among some of the finest golf course operators in the World, while still searching for that gratis game of golf-working relationship. So, the inclination and happenstance of the times and the encouragement of established Golf Course Superintendents so adept and skilled in the field, coupled with their keen mentorship lead both my brother and I to enroll in a college program completely dedicated to Golf Course Operations and Agronomy Practice. Today that college is Florida Gateway College, which, at the time, emphasized education on Forestry, Golf Course Operations and Pre-med, Nursing-based programs.
TD. Prior to college, the obvious in-field teachings of the first Golf Course Superintendent-Golf Professional I had worked for at that small rural golf course on the shores of Lake Ontario. While attending college, I worked full time on golf courses for four years. I spent my first 1 year of college attending State College of Florida while on the waiting list to enter Gateway College; there was a long line of applicants to the program since the Golf Boom of the 80’s and 90’s was just getting into full swing, needing Qualified Superintendents with a high caliber, focused education. Transitioning from High School to College I worked for Certified Golf Course Superintendent, Eddie Fatica at The Plantation Golf and Country Club, a high-end, 36-hole private golf club in Venice, Florida. Thereafter, during college I had two main internships, August National Golf Club, home of The Master’s Tournament was a three-year gig while enrolled and actively in class full time. During the summer months between semesters, I worked for an Engineer who operated a highly reputable Golf Course Construction company called Moore Golf Inc., it was a company built when several engineers came away from the massive and famous Wads worth Group of Golf Course Construction specialists, with numerous office bases all over the World. I had the opportunity to be introduced to and work with a number of World Class Golf Course Architects, Engineers, Community Developers and, Scientists. I was also introduced into the eco-political realm of government oversight of Master Planned Communities that included much more education beyond Golf Course Development; environmental mitigation and establishment, infrastructure planning, road way and drainage development and management. I had actively engaged in learning the aspects of housing development coordinated with Master Planned communities as an Owner’ Representative/Site Manager, inspecting specifications and counting quantities to meet budget demands and operating schedules and, so much more. Golf Course Superintendents often have skill sets well beyond agronomy and turf grass management.
TD. I have a Degree in Golf Course Operations with an emphasis on Agronomy and Golf Facilities Management. That background includes all the aspects of Turf Grass Agronomy and Golf Operations such as, Turf Grass Physiology and Biology, (Emphasis on Botany and Plant Nutrition.), Pathology (Study of Diseases of Turf), Entomology (Study of Insects), Financial Planning and Management, Soils Chemistry and Management, Agricultural Chemistry, a bit of Arboriculture and Silviculture, Landscape Design with an emphasis on Landscape Architecture and it’s study of land uses, Horticulture, Structural Construction Techniques and Management, Emergency First Aid & First Responder Training and Certification, CPR Certification, Equipment and Asset Management, Golf Course Construction Planning, Development and Management PGA TOUR Level Operations for International PGA TOUR Sanctioned Events. Over the years, I have attended many varied study programs, seminars, think tanks and expert symposiums from Environmental Management, Community Management, Facilities Management, Human Resource Management, Aquatic and Wildlife Management, Community Infrastructure Planning and Development, Facilities Securities and, Facilities Securities and their issues for Mass International Events Planning and Management, Supply Chain Symposiums for large international agricultural industry suppliers and manufacturers and Community and Government symposiums on development, water management and land area uses and management. I also had the honor of successfully participating as Lead Manager to an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification for Environmental Responsibility and the Establishment and Management of Environmental Sustainability for one of three 36 Hole PGA TOUR/TPC Facilities. I also have training in and held Government Operating Licenses in the areas of Turf Grass Management, Aquatic Management, Natural Area Management, Special Use or, Restricted Use Pesticides, Right-of-Way Road Easement Management.
TD. The first challenge that confronts a Golf Course Superintendent seems to exist nearly everywhere within the golfing industry: Educating owners of golf courses on all the aspects and elements of Best Management Practices for their respective properties and having them realize the sources of the bottom lines in full; that there is an art to the sciences behind Agronomy, Facilities Mgmt. and what merely appears to be well groomed turf. Often owners, members and players need additional information for the justification of the perceived expenses against their expectations of play and competition; emphasis on perceived. Golf Course Superintendents are keen on expenses as investments where the folks paying the bills see red in their equations. From a scientific point of reference, it’s input and output, resources invested, experience and quality delivered, often in a semi-fixed, almost permanent state. The owners often do not have a full understanding of perhaps thousands of elements to making for a good round of golf, every day. This understanding comes with time and that resource are likely the most difficult one to get our hands on; time with owners to provide them the knowledge and information they need to understand the investments. So, good Golf Course Superintendents who know their subject find ways to expediently and purposefully convey the large scope of resource management into refined and deliberate summaries, well planned and coordinated enough to seek review and input in the most efficacious ways; after all time is difficult to manage and, a challenge all by itself. There are so many aspects and elements behind the curtain of satisfaction in a great round of golf. Highly qualified Golf Course Superintendents wear many hats and can delve into more than just agronomy; we are resource managers to the tenth degree, managing large sums of money, we understand our role as a fiduciary. We manage tons of supplies and materials annually. Human resources are half the battle with the emphasis on policy, procedure through training and educational programs that align the congruency of the departments toward the consistency of expectations of the owners, members and players. Training successful programs that stick to the owner’s expectations. We understand the natural elements; battling the weather at every corner of every day is a skill set in and of itself. We understand meteorology and how weather impacts plant life at nearly every angle in every season. We can be intensely challenged by Mother Nature, however, that’s a challenge we understand as out of our control. So, we concern ourselves with the aspects and elements within our control; real, consumable resources that usually have a price tag are what we can control. So, we put extensive and highly sophisticated plans that match up to the annual cycles of mother nature to coordinate an entire year’s sets of activities designed to sustain a golf course and, tied integrally to the important events that drive a course, club and membership, sometimes a major tournament.The next big challenge is taking all that was just mentioned and building a team of caring and talented people to align all of the resources in a well-designed management plan that delivers the product, service or expectations of the owners, members and players. Cohesiveness of the team must evolve and align toward expertly timed and efficient daily, seasonal and annual schedules and cultural practices with constant observations of process and procedure to uphold standardizations.
TD. We should all advocate for willingness to participate in industry-wide collaborative education. The Western Model for expanded and improved operational standards within the golfing industry has always been linked to networking with other professionals and asking every question that comes to the forefront of independent, local and national interests and needs with educational and knowledge-based engagement and interaction to gain answers and to raise the standards across our industry. At 53 years of age, I completely owe my knowledge and experience to the thousands of questions and answers allowed and provided by the mentors and colleagues whom have already had the experiences I sought in order to advance mine and, all the Assistant Superintendents knowledge base that I trained to become Qualified Superintendents. Often, I find, professionals have the same question and, through the collaborative efforts to find solutions to challenges, we work out remedies, sometimes completely new and innovative techniques, equipment and strategies. I owe 42 years in the industry to the many mentors and peers whom willingly took a phone call, made a trip to the property I was managing or, invited me and, sometimes, my team to “have a look” at what was going on or, the latest technology being introduced. Reciprocally, I found the benefits of returning the education or knowledge back or, to another colleague as, not only highly impactful but, fulfilling both professionally and personally. We should help each other; that goes for anything we do, not just our work, as a personal standard. Dad always taught me that.
TD. Policy and Procedure. Having first established a standard, as in any task or procedure is paramount to managing any task. Once that standard is established and a policy is developed, say, a training program, a schedule of rotation, placement or process, it should be formally placed in a policy and procedure manual to take forward in and at all levels of management. This not only sets the standard, it depersonalizes it to the responsibility of the group and the group can always go straight to the policy when questions arise as to the standard being managed. Set your procedure in a policy manual and have the appropriate authorities approve and sign-off on the policy; it will be there to review, teach, train, educate and govern the procedure until time comes when the appropriate authorities determine to take the standard in another direction. Be formal, be purposeful and do not let the policy become personal.
TD. Royal Calcutta Golf Club is currently developing a Water Re-Use Facility that will eventually be utilized to irrigate the golf course with Recycled water.
TD. As mentioned earlier, the greatest reward, benefit of Agronomy and Plant Sciences has always been the purposeful interaction and engagement with the natural elements of the Earth and the ecosystems and the environment. So many people love to watch the Sun Set; I’ve been blessed to see it rise and set, nearly every day. To me, Sun Rise is more powerful an experience.
TD. This is a great question. While I have absolutely no regrets having been a professional practitioner of Agronomy and Golf Course Management, looking back, knowing the so many aspects of Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Plant and Soil Sciences, I just might head in the direction of Geology, Forestry or perhaps even Physics. I love working with the very real aspects of life that likely are veiled outside of the curiosities of most. Our eyes are a microscope the universe, if we only looked upon them that way…
TD. Plain, straight forward pragmatism. Be a straight shooter with all you interact with; be professional and deliver the information everyone requires to afford them the ability to understand what it takes to achieve the club’s goals, plain and clear to do your job. Placating owners, managers and players isn’t helpful to your cause, be real and be consistent with conveying your job knowledge, management and resource needs to perform at your highest abilities. Provide professional and honest information to the powers-that-be. Simply telling people what they need to hear in opposition to what they want to hear is of the utmost importance to your consistent success.