July 30, 2015 – Steve Sheets, whose stamp on golf course maintenance stretches from the mountains to the sea, has won this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the 1,800-member Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association. Sheets is director of golf course maintenance, development and operations at Linville Ridge Golf Club in Linville, NC.
The award is the highest honor the association bestows and will be presented to Sheets during the Carolinas GCSA annual Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, SC which runs November 14-16. That event draws more than 2,000 people to the Grand Strand every fall and is the largest regional gathering of golf course superintendents in the country.
Sheets has been at Linville Ridge since 1984 playing an integral role in the success of the property which, at almost 5,000ft above sea level, is home to the highest golf course east of the Mississippi River. In addition to the golf course, he oversees POA, landscape maintenance and all new projects undertaken by the development which spans 1,800 acres and has 384 homes and condos. The golf course is open from May 1 to October 31 and sees about 10,000 rounds each year.
During his time at Linville Ridge, Sheets served two terms as Carolinas GCSA president and was also president of the Western North Carolina Turfgrass Association. Earlier still, while he was superintendent – from age 23 – at Belvedere Plantation in coastal Hampstead, NC he served as president of the Eastern North Carolina Turfgrass Association. He is believed to be the only person to have led all three organizations.
While it has been more than 20 years since Sheets served on the Carolinas GCSA board, his influence continues to play out in the standing superintendents enjoy within the golf industry today. He was an instigator of efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the role of superintendents among golfers and the general public. He helped establish the Carolinas GCSA’s Superintendent Image Campaign, raising money to disseminate “proper information, not hearsay” about the work superintendents do.
“There are many people responsible for building what we enjoy as members of the Carolinas GCSA today and Steve Sheets is certainly one deserving of our thanks,” says Carolinas GCSA president, Bill Kennedy, CGCS from Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, SC. “His contribution is one of the pillars on which our association, indeed our profession is built. He has given a tremendous amount in board rooms, in countless conversations with colleagues and with a parade of young people who have gone on to successful careers.”
Sheets grew up in Asheboro, NC and was often at the golf course while his father played. At 15 he took a summer job on the golf course maintenance staff at Uwharrie Country Club. His father would drop him off in the morning then pick him up after work. Often they would play some golf before heading home. Eventually sheets signed on to the then-fledgling turfgrass program at North Carolina State University where he studied under the likes of Drs. Bill Gilbert, Carl Blake and Leon Lucas. All through high school and college he worked on golf courses, including Uwharrie and Pinewood Country Club. His first assistant superintendent position was under Bernie Greene on the South course at Whispering Pines in the North Carolina Sandhills. Within 12 months he had the opportunity to become superintendent at Belvedere, where he spent seven and a half years before taking the job at Linville Ridge.