In this month’s Superintendent Spotlight we feature Alan Nielsen who has been with Royal Oaks Country Club for the last 34 years.
Describe your facility in 10 words or less:
Traditional golf course with narrow tree-lined fairways and small, fast-sloping greens.
What is a little-known fact / fun fact about your facility?
Tiger Woods won the PNGA at Royal Oaks as an amateur in 1994.
Your interning for a different position at your facility (for a day), what would that role be?
Bartender, everyone loves the bartender!
What’s your favorite hole at your facility?
Hole No. 3 a Par 4 that parallels Burnt Bridge Creek.
What’s the biggest challenge your facility presents to you as superintendent?
Trees, which are an integral part of course but create big maintenance challenges.
Excluding your current facility, what is the top golf course you’ve played?
St. Andrews, the Old Course.
Have you had a hole-in-one? When and where?
Yes – on Hole No. 2 at Pumpkin Ridge Witch Hollow during a 2007 ROCC board retreat.
Country, Rock or other?
What’s your favorite tool in your tool box?
Cup cutter. My favorite job is setting hole locations
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
What’s your favorite sports team and why?
Green Bay Packers. Grew up in Wisconsin when Bart Star played.
Let’s say there’s a three-day weekend coming up—what are you going to do?
Head to the mountains to ski.
What led you down the path of becoming a superintendent?
Worked on a golf course while in Air Force stationed in Germany.
What’s the biggest change that has occurred while you’ve been in the industry?
Computerized automatic irrigation. Started at Royal Oaks when there were still quick couplers.
Who is your mentor?
Dick Malpas who was the Superintendent for years at Riverside GC
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to become a superintendent?
Develop industry friendships. It can be a hard road by yourself.