Crawford named superintendent of the year

Crawford named superintendent of the year

Duluth director of golf course operations at TPC Sugarloaf recognized by Georgia GCSA.

November 8, 2013
Trent Bouts

Mike Crawford, CGCS, director of golf course operations at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, has been crowned Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association. Crawford was honored with a special presentation during the association’s annual banquet at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.

The award is the latest in a growing list for Crawford, who this year added the Greater Gwinnett Championship on the Champions Tour to the list of professional tournaments he has prepared the golf course for at TPC Sugarloaf. He was the host superintendent for the PGA Tour’s AT&T Classic from 1997 through 2008.

“Mike Crawford embodies the expertise and professionalism every superintendent aspires to,” says new Georgia GCSA president, Mike Brown. “He is as committed to the golf industry at large as he is to the golf course superintendent profession and his golf course. That he is able to consistently deliver such a level of dedication in each sphere is not just remarkable, it’s inspirational.”

Crawford led the Georgia GCSA as president in 2008-09 and is secretary-treasurer of the Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation, which he has served as a trustee since 2004. In 2010, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America honored his leadership on water use issues with an Excellence in Government Relations award. Working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the University of Georgia, Crawford spearheaded efforts to provide the state with new data on golf course water use leading to science-based policy which improved conservation.

Earlier this year, Crawford hosted a day-long golf course operations immersion for youngsters from The First Tee of Atlanta as part of a new “Careers on Course” program sponsored by the John Deere Company. Two dozen children aged 12 to 17 were introduced to the game from the grass roots to clubhouse operations with hands-on opportunities and talks from a range of department heads.

“Whether he’s on the front lines or behind the scenes, Mike gives it everything he has,” Brown says. “He truly grasps the concept that what is good for the golf industry is good for everyone in it and good for the communities around those golf courses. He is one of those rare people who can lead both by direction and by example. He thoroughly deserves this award.”

Brown, from The Standard Club in Johns Creek, was elected president at the association’s annual meeting which was part of a two-day end-of-year conference and celebration at Atlanta Athletic Club. At the banquet, the association launched a new video promotion for the golf course superintendent profession. The video is available for viewing at www.vimeo.com/78408239.

In other major news from the event, Atlanta Athletic Club’s Ken Mangum, CGCS and Mark Esoda, CGCS from Atlanta Country Club were inducted into the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Hall of Fame. Richard Staughton, CGCS from Towne Lake Hills Country Club, received the association’s Distinguished Service Award. Joe Hollis, from Atlanta Country Club was named Assistant Superintendent of the Year.

The Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation also presented its annual Environmental Leaders in Golf awards recognizing Cliff Lewis, assistant branch chief from the Georgia EPD, and the golf course maintenance team from The Landings Club in Savannah. The Landings Club on Savannah’s Skidaway Island recently became the first community in Georgia to join Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program. All six of the club’s courses are designated Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.

Chris Bennett and Jordan Bell received the 2013 President’s Award for their efforts with the Georgia GCSA assistant superintendents committee to build a sports field for Goshen Valley Boys Ranch. At the time, Bennett was at Ansley Golf Club at Settindown in Roswell, where Bell still works. Through volunteer labor and donated materials worth about $40,000, the project transformed a pot-holed and weedy pasture into a 60,000-sq. ft. athletic field for non-profit facility serving boys in the state foster care system.

David Noto, from Mossy Creek Golf Course in Cleveland, won his second superintendents golf championship with a round of 79 on Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course, site of three PGA Championships, a men’s and women’s U.S. Open and the 1963 Ryder Cup. Noto also won in 2011. As the Georgia GCSA superintendent golf champion, Noto receives an automatic exemption into the field for the Georgia State Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship in 2014.