#ThankASuper Spotlight Series: Ethan Johnson
In honor of international “Thank A Golf Course Superintendent Day,” we’re highlighting some of the outstanding superintendents within the KemperSports family.
Director of Agronomy
Village Club of Sands Point (Sands Point, NY)
# of years worked at Village Club of Sands Point: 5 years
Total years worked in the industry: 20 years
How did you get into the golf maintenance industry?
I was going to school for computer science, and after finishing my freshman year I went back home and worked on a golf course. After that, I changed my major and never looked back.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Seeing the sun rise on a barren golf course. There’s nothing better than seeing the course in its most pure state at the start of the day.
What advice would you give to your younger self or younger superintendents just starting out?
Network as much as possible. It’s the biggest tool for growth in our industry.
What are a few career accomplishments you are most proud of?
The Village Club of Sands Point was my first true superintendent job in leading a full team. When I got here, the course was in rough shape. But over the last five years, we’ve been able to bring the course back to its former glory that was initially laid out by Tom Doak. It’s been a team effort and the culmination of everything I’ve learned over the last 20 years and putting it all to use on the property..
This past year, have you and your team worked/completed any exciting construction/renovation projects?
We just built a new driving range tee area that went from 6,000 square fee and 24,000 square feet. We also increased the driving range by 25 yards, built six new hitting stalls and helped install Toptracer Range, which our members are having a lot of fun with.
What insight do you have about the future of the industry? Are there any innovative practices you’re helping lead to benefit the environment/your facility?
Given where we’re located, we’re super water conscious because of all the local regulations. It’s figuring out how to strike the sweet spot of lessening our environmental impact without sacrificing playability. Day in and day out, we’re constantly evolving our practices and protocols and looking for areas of opportunity to stay ahead of the curve.
What does the game of golf mean to you and how has that helped fuel the passion you have for your career?
Growing up, I played golf with my dad and grandfather at a small muni in Texas. It was just your everyday golf course where you’d pay your $10 green fee and off you went. Throughout my life and my time in the industry, one of the biggest thrills I get is recreating that experience by bringing my dad to play a course I’ve worked on. It’s a way for us to bond and represents some of my favorite golf memories.
See below for the full series of #ThankASuper spotlights:
- Cesar Enriquez, Swenson Park Golf Course (Stockton, CA)
- Shaun Donohue, Tidewater Golf Club (North Myrtle Beach, SC)
- Darren Bache, Cypress Head Golf Club (Port Orange, FL)
- Scott Sutton, The Club at Sunrise (Las Vegas, NV)
- Will Bell, Forest Creek (Round Rock, TX)
- Heather Schapals, Chambers Bay (University Place, Wash.)
- Nick Yackle, Deerpath Golf Course (Lake Forest, Ill.)
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