The 19th Hole: Justin VanLanduit

By |  April 2, 2018 0 Comments

Justin VanLanduit
Superintendent // Briarwood CC, Deerfield, Ill.

After 18 holes, what’s your drink of choice? If I’m in Wisconsin, a Spotted Cow, because that’s the only place you can get it. Otherwise, just a nice cold beer.

How did you get into the business? I was basically dragged off my parents’ front lawn into it. I grew up on a farm, across the street was a 9-hole golf course. I was mowing the lawn and the superintendent, Steve Wolf, walked across the street and said, “How would you like a summer job?” I said, “Doing what?” He said, “Doing what you’re doing right now.” I was in the sixth grade and started working summers making $5 an hour. A hundred dollars a week as a sixth-grader was a pretty big deal.

Tell me about your family. There are three humans and one dog — my wife, Erin, and I have been married for eight years. My daughter Rourke is 2. And we have a Weimaraner named Kaylor.

What are your sports teams? The Cubs, the Bears and the Blackhawks.

If you got to take an at-bat for the Cubs, what song would you want playing as you strolled to home plate? “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine. I saw them at Lollapalooza a few years ago; that was the most intense live show I’ve ever seen.

Lollapalooza 2008. I was at that show, too, and I agree.

So, where’s the best food in Chicago? If you want deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, I’d say Lou Malnati’s. If you want a steak, I’d say Gene & Georgetti or Gibsons.

You recently had back surgery. I’m stunned to hear you had back problems, based on golfing with you. I’ve been battling my back for five years. The thing is, when I’m feeling good I can really hit the ball, but I’ve been using a protective swing for a while.

Is your game a result of hard work or talent? It used to be talent, now it’s hard work. I played in college and used to play to a +2, now I’m a -4. I also just have to accept that a little of it is getting older, as well as muscular dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy? Yes, I was diagnosed six years ago with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. It mostly affects the face and shoulders. For example, I struggle putting luggage in the overhead compartment. I’ve come to terms with it and I’m very proud that my wife and I have gotten involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In two years we’ve raised $20,000. Now that I’m laid up with back surgery, I’m working on creating my own not-for-profit foundation.

Do you have a name for it? Yes, it’s based on my nickname: The Turf Tank Foundation.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Feb. 19, 2018.

Photo: Golfdom

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