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Superintendent Profile: Steve Whiting Pinery Country Club

How did you get your start in the golf industry?
At the age of 16 I started working on the golf course at Lake Forest Country Club in my hometown of Hudson, Ohio. I worked every summer there during high school.

Can you tell us a few things about your early life, where were you born, what high school, first jobs?
I was born in the suburbs of Chicago, IL but grew up in Hudson, OH. My dad and grandfather were golfers so I started playing golf in the Junior Golf program at The Hudson Country Club. In the summers I worked at the Lake Forest Country Club. After high school graduation I continued to work full–time on the golf maintenance crew there.

Can you tell us a little about your family, how you met your wife, kids names?
I actually met my wife, Heather, at the Country Club of Castle Pines while she was working on the summer grounds crew. In 2008 our outdoor wedding ceremony was held right at the country club and now we have two wonderful sons, Tristan and Tyler.

Where did you go to school for turfgrass management?
In 1992 I was accepted into Ohio State University’s Golf Management program. After one year, I moved to Hilton Head Island and worked at Old South Golf Club. Soon after I was accepted into the Penn State Turfgrass Program and graduated in 1996. I then headed back to Hilton Head and became Assistant Superintendent at a grow–in/construction of Old Carolina Golf Course. But I was up for a new challenge and headed to Colorado. For four years I was Assistant Superintendent at the Country Club of Castle Pines. And since 2001 I’ve been Head Superintendent at the Pinery a 27 hole private country club in Parker Colorado. With a continued goal to transform the Pinery into a premier private golf club.

Who was your earliest mentor in the industry and how did he inspire you?
All of the golf course professionals that I’ve worked with throughout the years have had an impact on my career. But Terry Bonar at Canterbury Country Club in Cleveland, OH was my first mentor. He taught me the technical skills about golf course management. He also taught me that the job is not only about growing grass – it’s about managing people and creating a successful team. And I embrace my team every day!

pinery-country-clubHow do you work with people to create a team?
It’s easy – I treat them as an equal. I reward employees when they do the right thing and educate them if they do not. And I never forget where I started. It seems like just yesterday that I was on the grounds crew pushing a rotary mower around.

 

What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being Superintendent here at The Pinery for 15 years. I have enjoyed improving the golf course conditions every year and creating a great work environment for my team. At the same time, implementing multiple environmental and educational programs. Such as our Audubon Certification, recycling programs and our blog www.pinerygcm@blogspot.com. These adopted programs have been challenging and rewarding.

What item or person could you not do without at your golf course?
My team , the members and fellow golfers!

What is your favorite part of the job, least favorite?
My goal has been to create a sustainable golf course that is one with nature. I enjoy the outdoors and love having the course as my office. My least favorite is the brutal 30 mph Colorado winds – especially when it’s cold outside.

Do you collect anything? Hub caps, license plates, signs…
I would rather create than collect but I have inherited some antique golf clubs. I’ve also collected various logo golf balls through the years.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Celebrate!

Few people know I like to…
This spring we created a honeybee hive at the Pinery. So, I guess you can add Beekeeper to my arsenal. It has truly been an exciting adventure.

What do you like to do away from work? If you have time to yourself what do you like to do?
Since we live in Colorado, we have many outdoor sports and activities to keep us busy. I love them all but I especially like camping with my family. It’s wonderful being tied to nature, and the peacefulness of the Colorado Rockies is something very special.

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