Widely regarded as one of the most inspirational turf grass experts in the industry, PGA Golf Club Director of Agronomy Dick Gray was named the 2016 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 9.
Gray, 73, topped an impressive list of 228 nominees from across the country, who were judged on their ability to excel in labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing careers of colleagues and assistants, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course, and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
He started his career in the 1960s, working under the guidance of mentor and legendary course designer Pete Dye at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana—a facility that hosted the 1991 PGA Championship. More than 50 years later, the two recently collaborated to renovate the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club, in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which has received rave reviews from the media.
Since joining PGA Golf Club in 2013, Gray has been instrumental in the growth and success of the flagship facility of the PGA of America. He was charged with elevating the courses and facilities at PGA Golf Club to championship standards. Now, two of the courses are ranked among the best in Florida by Golf Digest and Golfweek.
“Dick Gray and his team have been instrumental to the success of revitalizing the facility,” said PGA Golf Club General Manager Jimmy Terry. “Under Dick’s direction, the recent renovations to the Wanamaker and Dye Courses are shining examples of his passion for the game and dedication to providing world-class golf experiences day-in and day-out to our club members, PGA Members and guests.”
Among the highlights of Gray’s extensive career—where his imprint is seen today across South Florida—he helped design and build The Florida Club in Stuart, where Gray served as General Manager and Superintendent. Gray also worked with both Pete Dye and P.B. Dye on the construction of Loblolly Golf Club, in Hobe Sound, Florida. He was involved in significant greens and regrassing projects as Superintendent at both Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta and Sailfish Point Golf Club in Stuart. While at Jupiter Hills, the Club was ranked among Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Courses in the United States.” He also served as a Superintendent for seven years at Loblolly. In addition, Gray spent four years with Pathway Biologic in Plant City, Florida.
“I’m humbled to receive this wonderful honor,” said Gray. “This is a special tribute to the entire team at PGA Golf Club who dedicate themselves to elevating our facility, so it’s considered among the best in the game.”
A graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, with a degree in Botany, Gray performed graduate work with the Turf Management Department at Purdue University, before earning a Master’s of Science in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management from Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
With this honor, Gray earns a trip for two to Scotland this October for the Turfnet Members golf trip, courtesy of award sponsor Syngenta.