2020 Superintendent of the Year

2020 Superintendent of the Year: Josh Clevenger, Claremont Country Club:

I’m Josh Clevenger, proud husband, father and Golf Course Superintendent at Claremont Country Club in Oakland.

Twenty-five years ago, I began my career in golf course maintenance in Reno, NV, working on the crew and starting my education toward becoming a superintendent. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with and for many great people in the industry, all having helped me get to where I am today.

The last eleven years at Claremont have been amazing for my family and me. I thank the Club, the Claremont membership, and the maintenance staff for their support and efforts throughout the years.

I am humbled and honored to receive this award from my peers, and have a great respect for all you do every day. Thank you.

2020 George Santana Distinguished Service Award

2020 George Santana Distinguished Service Award:

In 1982, Bob Klinesteker (photo: middle)  and his wife, Pam, moved to the Bay Area after Pam accepted a job with an architecture firm in the City. Bob came without a job lined up, but he had his degree in turfgrass management from Michigan State University and had Superintendent experience under his belt.

The first week in town, Bob met with Lou Tonelli at Lake Merced. Lou had told Bob that his resume was better than most of the Superintendents in the area at the time and hired him in the interim. He passed his resume around the Bay Area, and within just a couple of weeks got an opportunity to meet with Kjell Qvale and Sandy Tatum at San Francisco Golf Club, as their superintendent was retiring. It would be the last real interview Bob would need.

Over Bob’s 38 year career, he’s seen and done almost all you can imagine. He’s put in multiple irrigation stations, tackled English daisies with pitch forks, and battled the anguina pacifica nematode. In recent years, he’s been known for putting in bentgrass greens when no one believed it was possible to do so in San Francisco. Look at those greens today and you’ll see otherwise.

When Bob was told of this award being presented to him, his first comment was that he rarely attended events. While accurate, the reply from the Awards Committee would be that you don’t have to attend a meeting to make an impact on an industry, and that is what Bob has done. Whether he knows it or not, he has been a mentor to a lot of the younger guys coming up in the industry, just by making himself available.

While Bob’s time at SF Club winds down, by no means will things be slowing down for him. He’s actively involved with his daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Mason, as they revamp their newly purchased home in Oakland, and no doubt he and Pam have a few trips lined up.

2020 Bert Graves Affiliate Merit Award

2020 Bert Graves Affiliate Merit Award: Suzanne Johnson, Pacific Material Resources

Unbeknown to Suzanne, her path to Owner and President of Pacific Material Resources started soon after graduating high school. Upon graduation, she got a job with Bank of America. With the help of good mentors, she was able to self-teach the financing and accounting principles that led her into an accounting position with Santa Clara Transfer.

In 2008, Suzanne saw an opportunity to go on her own with Pacific Material Resources. Asked if it was difficult being a woman in the industry, Suzanne said, “it’s ironically not as much of an old boys network as you’d think.”

Being a woman in the industry actually gave Suzanne an opportunity. With many government contracts, there are tax incentives to use locally owned and minority run businesses. Couple that with her hard work and passion for the job she does for her customers, and you have a recipe for success.

Shortly after 2008, Suzanne folded her passion for golf into her business and joined GCSANC to make the contacts in golf. Suzanne got into golf because her husband of 48 years, Steve, wanted to play golf with someone on their vacations. She loves the sport because she can do it individually or take part in a team game when she wants. It’s also relaxing for her after a stressful day at work.

What makes a stressful day for Suzanne? Lately it’s the computer systems, but also meeting customer’ expectations. She always wants to do a good job for her customers, and she puts a lot of pressure on herself to do so.

The most appealing part in the golf industry for Suzanne is researching new products to meet customers’ needs.

In addition to golf, Suzanne likes to run and go boating. Suzanne and Steve have a home on Marla Bay, where they’ll occasionally take the boats or wave runners out to watch the Edgewood Classic.

Suzanne and Steve have two children, Stefania and Shawn, whom she sees as frequently as possible, although they live in Kentucky and San Diego, respectively. She also gets to enjoy her 4 grandchildren, ages 5,4,3,2.

2020 Excellence in Turfgrass Management – Private

2020 Excellence in Turfgrass Management – Private: Steve Agin, Ruby Hill Golf Club

Steve grew up in Cincinnati, where he played a lot of junior golf. Throughout high school, Steve worked in golf course maintenance, after which he attended the OSU Assistant Training program.

Following completion of the program, Steve moved to Tucson, AZ, where he worked at a few courses at the staff level. While in Tucson, Steve got his Bachelor of Agronomy from University of Arizona.

Upon completion of his turf degree, Steve’s first big break came with the Assistant position at La Paloma, a Jack Nicklaus Design. La Paloma was a big step in the level of maintenance and opened many doors.

Steve’s first Superintendent job came by means of Grand Oak Golf Club in Indiana. It was an 18 hole course that had been closed and Steve was tasked with resurrecting it.

Through a connection made at La Paloma, Steve was asked to be the grow-in Superintendent for the Jack Nicklaus designed Springfield Royal in Hua Hin, Thailand. Steve was recently single and went for it despite knowing nothing about the culture.

Steve grew-in Springfield and stayed on for 4 years. While there, he was recruited to be the grow-in superintendent for a 36-hole course in Kuning China. 18 holes designed by RTJ Jr. and 18 by guess who? Jack Nicklaus. While Steve was Superintendent, his course was rated #1 in China!
While in China, Steve married his now wife Sylvia and made the move back to the USA.

In 2001, he was hired at Ruby Hills, where he has now been for nearly 20 years, and where he is accompanied by his German Shepherd, Coco.

He started turf reduction projects before they were cool and started bringing in definition with the use of native grasses.
Steve accepts this award on behalf of the folks that work for him and who have worked with him over the years.

He’d be remiss if he didn’t mention Arcis Golf and what they’ve meant to Ruby Hills and its future.

2020 President’s Award

2020 President’s Award: Mark Mahady, Mark M. Mahady & Associates, Inc.

Mark Mahady began his golf and turfgrass career as a caddy at Somerset Country Club in West St. Paul, Minnesota (1965). At age 13, Mark’s first professional contributions to turfgrass maintenance involved washing and waxing the maintenance shop floor at Somerset Country Club for a salary of $1.00/hour (1967). Mark worked as a summer maintenance crew employee at Somerset Country Club from 1968-1976.

Mark Mahady received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota (1976), and his Master of Science Degree in Plant Science with a specialization in turfgrass research from the University of California, Riverside (1979).

For the last 28 years, following an eight-year stint with Chemlawn Services
Corporation, Mark has served as the President of Mark M. Mahady & Associates, Inc., a turfgrass research and consulting firm located in Carmel Valley, California that provides agronomic and diagnostic services to the golf course, sports field and landscape industries.

Mark is a Certified Professional Agronomist, a California state certified Pest Control Adviser and Qualified Applicator. He was the recipient of the 2004 Award of Excellence as presented by the California Weed Science Society.

Mark has presented research information at national, regional, state, and local conferences, and published articles in professional journals and trade publications. Mahady has over 40 years combined experience in the areas of practical turfgrass field research, and golf course, sports field, and landscape agronomic program development.

His company, Mark M. Mahady & Associates, Inc., guarantees precise agronomic evaluations and replicated field research, timely reports, quality interpretation, and complete confidentiality.

2020 Excellence in Turfgrass Management – Public

2020 Excellence in Turfgrass Management – Public: Vince Ferrante, Del Monte Golf Course

Vince received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from San Diego State University. A native of the Monterey Peninsula, Vince moved back to the area and started his career in golf course maintenance at Quail Lodge & Golf Club as a part time Greenkeeper, working his way into a management role.

Vince joined the Pebble Beach Company in 2007 as Assistant Superintendent at Del Monte Golf Course. He did a long stint as Assistant Superintendent at Spyglass Hill from 2007-2016.

In 2016, he started his current position as Golf Course Superintendent at Del Monte Golf Course, earning his Class A status in 2019.

Aside from work, you will find Vince hunting, hiking or fitting in an occasional round of golf.