How Shinnecock’s Michael Ford found his way to a 300-acre office

By |  June 13, 2018 0 Comments
Michael Ford addresses the team

Assistant superintendent Michael Ford talks to the crew before the start of the day.

“I never dreamt this, but I am so fortunate to be in these boots and lace them up every day,” says Michael Ford, senior assistant superintendent at Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, N.Y.

The man tasked with leading the crew, doing roll call and handing out assignments during the U.S. Open is Ford. He’s been working alongside Superintendent Jon Jennings, CGCS, since 2013.

Ford grew up in a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. From the time he was a teenager, Ford worked in the green industry. His first couple jobs included working on his grandparents’ farm and landscaping for a local business.

Then in his late teens, he picked up golf. Golf became a hobby for Ford. He never played competitively, but he gained a passion for it. Eventually he decided to turn his passion into a career, attending the State University of New York at Delhi where he would receive his bachelor’s of business administration in golf course management so he could pursue a career in the golf industry.

Jennings and Ford

Big smiles from Ford and Jennings before the organized chaos of the U.S. Open.

During the summers, Ford interned at various country clubs around the East Coast, gaining valuable experience at some of the best courses in the country. “I started out at the Country Club of Rochester as an internship. Then I moved onto TPC Boston where I worked for a summer.”

This internship set him on the path to eventually work at Shinnecock Hills. His supervisor at the time, Tom Brodeur, introduced him to Jon Jennings, who was the superintendent at Chicago Golf Club at the time. Ford worked under Jennings that following summer at the Chicago Golf Club before graduating and moving to Oak Hill Country Club in 2011. After two seasons at the club, Jennings contacted him about a position that opened with Shinnecock Hills. Ford accepted and has been working there since April 2013.

For Ford, working at Shinnecock Hills is a labor of passion. “I never see myself sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day. Currently, my office is a 300-acre piece of property that just happens to be one of the best golf courses in the world.” Ford’s main duty at Shinnecock Hills is to direct the crew and manage the golf course, making sure everything is going according to plan from the agronomy side.

After the U.S. Open and this season is finished, Ford will be looking to transition onward into a superintendent role. Although he doesn’t know what his next chapter will be or where, he is grateful for the time he has spent at Shinnecock. “I guess I never thought I’d be working a Shinnecock Golf Club, never in my wildest dreams. [But] I think I’ve prepared myself and built up my resume and my portfolio to showcase my skillset for that next chapter.”

As interviewed by Seth Jones, written by Dillan Kanya.

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