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Southeast Horticulture Student to Get Slice of Future at St. Louis Area Golf Courses

A Southeast Missouri State University agribusiness major will be hitting the links this summer in an internship he earned for performing above par.

Matthew Ridings of Maryland Heights, Missouri, and a graduate of Pattonville High School, has been awarded the 2019 Roger Null Internship by the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association in cooperation with the Mississippi Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association (MVGCSA). Ridings was selected for the internship after being awarded a MVGCSA scholarship last year. Over the past year, the organization became acquainted with him and his abilities, he said.

“Matt is a great candidate, and we are confident he will succeed in this internship,” said John Briggs, golf course superintendent at Fox Run Golf Club.

Ridings, a junior pursuing an agribusiness-horticulture degree at Southeast, will spend his summer, beginning in late May, learning about turf-grass management and assisting with conducting championship tournaments at several St. Louis-area golf courses. As part of the internship, he will work closely with Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association and MVGCSA staff and volunteers.

Ridings will assist Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association staff with course setup and administration of select championships and USGA qualifying rounds in the St. Louis area. He also will participate in specific facets of golf course management and maintenance at select private and public St. Louis area courses, including Old Warson Country Club, Algonquin Golf Club and The Quarry at Crystal Springs.

The internship also offers him the opportunity to learn about cultural practices – mowing, watering, aerating and topdressing — at several golf facilities. Additionally, Ridings will be involved with proper and timely turf fertilization, calibrating both granular and liquids applications; proper and timely spraying for weeds, insects and diseases; and basic irrigation system scheduling and operation.

“I’m very excited about the internship,” Ridings said. “This is something I really want to do. It will be great for both the experience and meeting people in the industry.”

His ultimate goal, he says, is to become a golf course superintendent, preferably in the St. Louis area, after completing his degree at Southeast.

During the summer, Ridings also plans to meet the scholarship’s namesake, Roger Null, an accomplished golfer in the St. Louis area. Null was born in Le Mars, Iowa, in a golfing family. He attended Iowa State University, after which he completed stints as golf course superintendent at The Arsenal Club in Rock Island, Illinois; Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Old Warson and Norwood Hills country clubs, both in St. Louis. Null performed consulting work for many golf courses in St. Louis and the Midwest, including Boone Valley Golf Club near St. Louis, where he also served as general manager.

Null competed in local and national amateur events throughout his career, captured the GCSAA National championship three times and qualified for several USGA championships, including four U.S. Amateurs. He continues to remain action in all facets of the industry and has been instrumental in bringing some of St. Louis’ finest superintendents to the area and placing them in assistant and superintendent positions across the country.

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