Penn Staters Master the Links

April 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm 2 comments

The Masters is underway today, and Bloomberg News has a very cool feature on how Penn State grads have come to dominate the top golf courses in the country. We’re not talking about the players, of course, but rather the folks who maintain the flawlessly manicured playing surfaces that host Phil, Rory, Tiger and the rest.

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The first fairway at Augusta — almost too perfect to be real.

Per Bloomberg, this year, for the first time, the courses hosting all three U.S.-based majors will be overseen by Penn State-educated superintendents. Marsh Benson ’96 is the man in charge of the immaculate turf at Augusta National, host of the Masters, while Matt Shaffer ’96 oversees the course at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., site of the this year’s U.S. Open, and Jeff Corcoran ’95 handles the same duties at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., host of this year’s PGA Championship. In all, 10 of the last 16 majors have been played on grass maintained by former Nittany Lions.

There’s also a great anecdote about how Penn State golf course management grads need to know almost as much about formal table settings as they do about keeping a perfect fairway. Like I said, it’s worth a quick read.

Penn State has the largest turfgrass program in the country. It’s nice to see confirmation that, in this case, quantity and quality appear to go hand in hand.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Don Dries  |  April 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I’m also a graduate of Michigan State University, and their latest Alumni Magazine has a large piece on how their turf grass program is the best in the nation. Do we need to go to a mow off?

  • 2. Ryan Jones  |  April 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Admittedly not the most objective sources here, Don. Personally, I’d decide this one by reminding you that Penn State has the best ice cream of any college in the country, and that that ice cream is produced by Penn State cows, who eat… Penn State grass.

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