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19th Hole: Tom Fisher

By |  December 15, 2020 0 Comments
Tom Fisher (Photo: Annie Hutchinson)

Photo: Annie Hutchinson

Tom Fisher

Superintendent // Wildwood Golf Club, Allison Park, Pa.

After 18 holes of golf, what can I get you to drink? I’ll take anything from the LaCroix vintage at this time. I’ve got a toddler and an infant, and the brain fog of a 2 a.m. bottle is never worth any type of libation. In my more formidable years, I’d have one of anything.

Tell me about your young family … We’ve got a little girl, two and a half years old, and a little boy about 6 months. My wife, Mary Katherine, works in the oil and gas industry in the Pittsburgh region. We’ve been married since 2012 and met at Penn State.

What drew you to Penn State? I wanted to get into landscape architecture to build golf courses. They asked me for my portfolio, and I said, ‘I don’t have a portfolio.’ My roommate at the time was a turf major, Andrew Dooley, and he said, ‘why don’t you go into this?’ The rest is history.

Tell me about Wildwood GC. Wildwood was founded in the 1960s. Prior to that, it was a golf course but had changed hands between the Boy Scouts of America and the University of Pittsburgh. It was designed and built by Emil Loeffler. He built and designed a lot of courses in the Pittsburgh area. We’ve had a U.S. Open qualifier and a U.S. Senior Open qualifier a few years ago. On paper, it’s short, but it’s got teeth. We just had a club pro event, and it wasn’t too friendly to anyone.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop? I have a cup cutter on me every day. I like to cut cups as often as possible. That way, I know the moisture of the greens, and if there’s insect damage, I can dig right in. If I could hook it on to my belt loop, I would.

What was playing on the radio on the morning commute today? WYEP is our local public radio music station. Every morning, they do a Grateful Dead tribute called ‘Waking the Dead.’ It goes really well with coffee.

What was the coolest thing you saw in 2020? The uptick in rounds. The weather was fantastic for getting outside and golf. It was great for the pandemic, keeping people outside. To have so many golfers who were appreciative to play in good weather with good conditions … just a good summer.

Do you have any holiday traditions you really enjoy? On Christmas Eve, my buddies and I have breakfast at Piper’s Pub on the south side of Pittsburgh. We’ll sit there for four hours, and breakfast graduates to beers. I don’t think that’ll happen this year with the dining restrictions. Beyond that, my mom will do Seven Fishes — it’s an Italian thing — on Christmas Eve. I’ll go out and get two dozen oysters. Nobody else likes them, so I pretty much eat two dozen oysters on Christmas Eve.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Nov. 10, 2020.

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