19th Hole: Matt Cavanaugh

By |  February 13, 2020 0 Comments
Matt Cavanaugh (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)

Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography

Matt Cavanaugh

Assistant Superintendent // Rush Creek GC, Maple Grove, Minn.

Matt, what can I get you? A Dr. Pepper.

Tell me about your family. My wife of 18 years is Lisa. We have two boys, Declan — he turns 8 today — and Soren, who is 6. The boys are monsters (laughs) … Soren and I are oil and water; we’re both so stubborn.

Photo of Matt & his bride courtesy of Matt Cavanaugh

Photo of Matt & his bride courtesy of Matt Cavanaugh

You showed me your wedding photo … did you and Lisa elope in high school? (Laughs) No, we were high school sweethearts, though. She’s the only girl I’ve ever kissed. I proposed between my junior and senior year at Kansas State. That next year, I graduated in May … I had a full-time job in June … we bought a house in June … we got married in July. 2002 was a big year.

What do I need to know about Rush Creek? It’s a high-end public facility. If you’ve got the green, come play. It’s on the outskirts of Minneapolis, not many houses, but that will change as people move in. Amazingly, people rarely leave here. I’m one of the shortest-tenured people here, and I’ve put in 17 years. The owner is amazing, and that’s reflected in the staff … I’ve never been at a place where the clubhouse staff and the maintenance staff get along so well.

You worked in academia, you worked for a chemical company and now you’re a superintendent. What’s one commonality across all the segments? Every industry works hard. From the superintendent standpoint, we all say, “Ahh, they got it easy.” Each part of the industry has its unique challenges. In the end, for me? I came back to this side because it was the easiest! And I have no problem with you putting that in print because I worked in all three, and I got that perspective.

We had a speaker call in sick for the Golfdom Summit, and you filled in last minute. Do you always travel around with a Power Point presentation ready? I have a few subjects I know pretty well from my time in academics and working for PBI-Gordon. I do enjoy public speaking, and I always have a presentation in the can. Someone asked me to do a new
one that I’m working on now — how to make work fun.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop? A shovel. We dig holes in the ground and grow grass for a living. It’s the only tool I keep in my cart 100 percent of the time.

Fill in the blank: My favorite thing about winter in Minnesota is ___________? It lets me be lazy! There’s not a lot of grass growing in Minnesota in the winter. I don’t know how the southern guys do it.


As interviewed by Seth Jones, Jan. 21, 2020.



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