Black Desert Resort Golf Course announces turf management leadership team
Courtesy of Troon

Black Desert Resort Golf Course announces turf management leadership team

Ken Yates and Jordan Rhodes will lead agronomy efforts of new southern Utah course.

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Black Desert Resort Golf Course, a new Tom Weiskopf design currently under development in Ivins, Utah, recently welcomed Ken Yates as golf course superintendent, Jordan Rhodes as assistant golf course superintendent and Brenton Rice as general manager. The 18-hole facility, set amid ancient black lava fields of Southern Utah, is now in the grow-in phase, with nine holes scheduled to open to daily-fee play this November, and the remaining nine holes opening in spring of 2023.  

Yates will lead Black Desert Resort Golf Course’s agronomy team and oversee grow-in and daily maintenance of the par-72 course, expansive practice facility and the property’s 36-hole illuminated putting course. Yates has 33 years of turf management experience and has led the agronomic teams at courses in Edwardsville, Illinois, Las Vegas, Nevada, La Paz, Mexico, San Antonio, Texas and Montgomery, Alabama. He most recently served as a division manager at Casa Verde Golf, a Scottsdale-based golf course construction and renovation company. Yates is a graduate of Iowa State University.

Rhodes is now in his fifth year working in turfgrass management, quickly working his way from agronomy crew member to assistant superintendent in just three years. He comes to Black Desert from Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stevens Henager College in Orem, and has turfgrass management certifications from the University of Georgia and Penn State.  

Rice has 15-plus years of club management and leadership experience in operating upscale clubs. He most recently served as executive vice president for The Bay Club Company, where he oversaw membership sales and strategic planning across 24 properties in California and Oregon focused on fitness, sports, family and hospitality. In his 11-plus years with The Bay Club Company, Rice held a number of leadership positions including general manager of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, a 27-hole property in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He began his career in the golf and hospitality industry in 2006, working as an assistant golf professional at Big Horn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California.

“We are thrilled with the team that is being assembled at Black Desert,” Troon senior vice president Bill O’Brien said. “Brenton is a strong leader, and has a passion for developing, coaching and mentoring others. Ken has an advanced knowledge of agronomy and turfgrass management practices. And, Jordan has an incredible work ethic and a keen eye for detail.”

Troon will manage the golf operations, golf course agronomy, food and beverage, and marketing for the golf facility, the centerpiece of the 600-acre resort community.