Lucas Andrews arrived in Guelph on the cold evening of January 31, 2016 – quite a change in temperature from Pointe Vedra Beach, Florida where he currently resides and works! Lucas is an Associate Diploma in Turfgrass (ADTM) 2010 graduate. Since his time at the University of Guelph he has had many huge successes in the golf industry, all while still in his twenties! Some of his most recent successes include being promoted through the roles of Assistant in Training at TPC Sawgrass, Assistant, and now Superintendent at the Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Lucas’ first stop on Campus day one was at opening the annual Turf Manager’s Short Course (TMSC) at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI) with Stephen Fleischauer, Interim Director of the GTI/ADTM program. Lucas spoke to the full classroom with poise as they heard about the volunteer program at TPC Sawgrass for The PLAYER’S Championship and how they too could become involved with a world class golf venue! John Watson, GTI Communications Assistant, was also in attendance at the opening of the TMSC as well as University of Guelph Turf Club co-presidents’ and second year DTM Students, Adam Kimber and Steve Rabski.
Lucas’s second and subsequent stops on day one were in-class with both first and second year DTM students. Lucas described himself as “humbled” to have been presented with this opportunity to return to the classroom and connect with some of his University faculty instructors, current students, old friends and colleagues. Students were very interested to hear Lucas’ stories of the turf industry including his beginnings at Predator Ridge Resort in British Columbia, his internship at ‘The Home of Golf,’ The Old Course at St. Andrews during his time as a DTM student, and his more recent experiences at TPC Sawgrass.
Day two also had some great class time opportunities for Lucas and he remarked that it was refreshing to get back in the classroom and hear some lectures about turfgrass management. The main event on day two was a public lecture at the Cutten Fields Golf Club. The event was very well attended – over 70 people! After another fantastic introduction by Stephen Fleischauer, Interim Director, GTI/ADTM program, Lucas presented to the enthusiastic audience about his background that led him to a career as a Golf Course Superintendent and what it takes to host The PLAYER’s Championship! The sheer amount of labour, agronomic and cultural precision that is required to live up to the standards at an event of this magnitude was impressive and was very well explained by Lucas. It was also refreshing to see a couple of video clips of the golf course crew having a good time while preparing the course at TPC Sawgrass – hard work is never fun if one can’t have fun while doing it!
A well attended social event after the presentation was an excellent breakout opportunity for the audience to share some time with Lucas in an informal environment, and network with colleagues and members of the turfgrass industry. The food prepared by the Cutten Fields was fantastic and the atmosphere was great – one could feel the energy in the room!
To close the 2016 Superintendent in Residence program, it is just one of many fantastic opportunities for University of Guelph’s turfgrass students. In addition to their program required Summer Internship, Superintendent in Residence is great exposure for students looking to advance to new heights in the turfgrass industry and connect with some excellent role-models. With the success and unconfirmed record crowd in attendance this year at the public lecture, we are eagerly awaiting 2017 and are very excited to advance this popular program to the next level.
The Guelph Turfgrass Institute would like to thank our 2016 sponsors TDI Golf Classic Restorations and XGD Systems for their support of the Superintendent in Residence Event at the Cutten Fields Golf Club. The GTI would also like to thank the Cutten Fields Golf Club for hosting the Superintendent in Residence public lecture and social, and for supporting this great program year after year!
Article authored and published by John R. Watson, Guelph Turfgrass Institute Communications Assistant
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