OGA-OGCSA Superintendent Spotlight – December 2019

In this month’s Superintendent Spotlight we feature Jeff Knutzen who has been with Black Butte Ranch – Big Meadow Golf Course and Glaze Meadow Golf Course for the last 19 months.

Describe your facility in 10 words or less:
Down to Earth – Family Friendly – Ponderosa Mountain Resort facility

What is a little-known fact / fun fact about your facility?
It was originally called the Black Swamp

Excluding your current facility, what is the top golf course you’ve played?
San Francisco Golf Club followed by The Olympic Club – Lake Course

What is your go-to club in the bag?
I’m still searching for that go to club. Somedays it’s my putter, other days it’s my 7 or 8 iron.

Favorite all-time professional golfer?
Jack Nicklaus

Do you have a superintendent dog?
Yes – Lucy a semi-retired Black Lab / Pit Bull Terrier rescue

Who joins you in a dream foursome?
Old Tom Morris, Alister Mackenzie and my Grandfather

What’s your favorite tool in your tool box?
Can I pick two? Most definitely my TDR 350, but also my soil profiler.

What’s your favorite sports team and why?
Kansas Jayhawk Basketball. I grew up going to Allen Fieldhouse to watch the Jayhawks play basketball. Amazing history there!

Country, Rock or other?
Other – Indie/Alternative, Blues & Jazz

What led you down the path of becoming a superintendent?
My first semester at OSU I was enrolled in Col. of Forestry and working at Trysting Tree – Pat Doran quickly changed my mind!

What’s the biggest change that has occurred while you’ve been in the industry?
Nutrient management. Utilization of the soil, MLSN, clip yield, etc as predictive models vs 20 yrs ago when 5+ lb N was standard.

What would you invent right now to make your professional life easier?
Automated equipment – It’s already a reality, and in Colorado I saw first-hand, the Cub Cadet robotic greens mowers.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve witnessed or done as a superintendent?
I had to break up a fight on the 18th hole between two senior players (easily in their 70’s) who were throwing serious punches!

Who is your mentor?
As far as a passion for turfgrass – hands down, the great Tom Cook. As a superintendent, my mentor of the last 12 years has been John Scappatura.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to become a superintendent?
Growing grass is the easy part. Being a good leader and having a strong business mind will make your job much rewarding.