Turf & Rec

Features Profiles
From the Editor: July-August 2017

Canadian super true to his roots


August 23, 2017
By Mike Jiggens


Topics

The Dodsons may not be the first family among golf superintendents in Canada, but with four generations now having worked in the profession, they’ve got to be near the top.

There have been countless second and third generations of golf superintendents throughout Canada over the years, but four is a rarity.

This issue of Turf & Rec features a profile of Scott Dodson, himself a third generation superintendent in the business. The story angle isn’t so much about his family’s involvement in the golf and turf industry, but the fact that he’s a Canadian citizen working south of the border at a private country club in Buffalo, N.Y. That itself is also a rarity.

Dodson’s father Arthur was a longtime superintendent at Maple Downs Golf Course in Maple, Ont. while his great uncle Bill Bluett was a superintendent at the Mississaugua Golf & Country Club. Dodson’s two older brothers are both superintendents and, although his own children chose not to enter the profession, a nephew of his is a golf superintendent and a niece is a turfgrass researcher at Olds College in Alberta.

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Buffalo’s Park Country Club has been Dodson’s employer the past 25 years. There, he’s treated as a professional who puts his turfgrass management education to proper use to deliver the playability and conditions his members expect. The Park Club actually has a waiting list of prospective members, and that is something of an anomaly in this day and age when growth in golf has become somewhat stagnant. For him, it’s a good problem to have and something his fellow superintendents likely envy.

Job security in the golf course profession can be a shaky thing. Sometimes all it takes is for Mother Nature to throw a nasty curve that, if the superintendent isn’t able to deal with the results in a timely and suitable fashion, he may find himself falling out of favour with the club’s membership.

The higher ups at the Park Club are appreciative of what Dodson has done over the past quarter-century, and he has recently pulled through once again with an extensive bunker makeover project.

The Park Club is a superb layout and a good test of one’s golf skills. I’ve had the privilege of playing there a few times and it has been a treat on each occasion. I’m crossing my fingers that yet another opportunity awaits me.

In spite of having worked in the United States the past 25 years and living there for much of that period (he now resides in Fort Erie, Ont.), Dodson is a dyed-in-the-wool Canadian although he holds dual citizenship. For the past 16 years, however, he dons his red, white and blue colours to head up the Western New York Golf Superintendents Association team in its annual Fall Classic golf rivalry against the Western Ontario Golf Superintendents Association. I suspect it’s more a case of “Go, team!” than it is “Go, U.S.A.!” In the event it is the latter, we’ll pardon him.

He says he misses the Fall Classic trophy that has been absent from his desk for the past two years. Dodson’s a good guy – and a Toronto Maple Leafs fan to boot – but I hope he goes yet another year without that trophy.

Dodson’s remained true to his Canadian superintendent roots by maintaining his membership in both the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association and its chapter Western Ontario Golf Superintendents Association. He continues to attend events sponsored by those associations while maintaining his camaraderie with their members, many of whom he has known for decades.

 He has also been heavily involved with the Western New York Golf Superintendents Association during his tenure at the Park Club, including terms as both treasurer and president.