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19th Hole: Chad Thomson

By |  February 3, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Golfdom Staff

Photo: Golfdom Staff

Chad Thomson
Superintendent // Beaver Creek (Colo.) GC

After 18 holes, what can I get you? I’ll take a stout or a porter.

Tell me about Beaver Greek GC. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., opened in 1982. It’s a short course, fairly tight. We’re semiprivate, open from early May through early October. We typically get 12,000 rounds a year. This past summer, we got 16,000 rounds.

Tell me about your family. I have two young daughters, ages three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half. I’ve been married since 2012. We go rock climbing a lot.

How did you get into rock climbing? I originally got into it because I had a friend take me repelling. Then, I had a friend tell me about climbing. I fell in love with it, and I’m still doing it 25 years later.

Did you get your wife into climbing? No, we met climbing. She moved here for a teaching job. Her first weekend in Rifle, she was looking for climbing partners, and everyone said she should get ahold of me. We met, and that was that.

What do you recommend visitors do if they’re not skiers? The views from the top of Vail Mountain are spectacular. You can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain in the summertime.

Why do bears attack the flag sticks here? I’m told it has something to do with the salt on the stick from people touching it. We go out first thing in the morning, and the pin is either laying on the ground or snapped in half. The cup will be pulled out, and the turf is lifted up.

How did you end up here at Beaver Creek? This is my 25th season here. When I left Pennsylvania, I wanted to operate Sno-Cats on Vail Mountain in winter and get a job on a golf course in the summer. I moved out here and got a job operating a Sno-Cat. That spring, I asked my supervisor if there was a job with a trail crew. He said no, but ‘I’ll call Shane down at the golf course.’ I came here, interviewed, got the job and worked my way up. In 2005, I went to Rutgers University for the two-year certificate program. I took over as superintendent in 2009.

How has the course changed over 25 years? The trees have gotten huge and are causing extensive damage. The roots are popping up through cart path, and trees were planted too close to greens. There are about 100 trees I’d like to remove over the next five to 10 years.

Do you still have the urge to drive the Sno-Cat? Every day. You’re driving around a quarter-million-dollar piece of machinery, cruising around a ski resort in the middle of the night, going up hills and down steep hills. It’s pretty fun.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Nov. 11, 2021.

This article is tagged with and posted in 19th Hole, Featured, From the Magazine, People

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a 18-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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