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The importance of conservation with Anuvia Legend Tim Hiers, CGCS

By |  October 24, 2022 0 Comments

Started by Anuvia and co-sponsored by Audubon International and Golfdom,the Legends Initiative celebrates superintendents who have gone above and beyond in their careers — not just in maintaining tremendous golf courses but also in their contributions to the industry, creative problem solving and mentorship. Golfdom sat down with Anuvia Legend Tim Hiers to discuss his unique job and advice for the industry.

Tim Hiers, CGCS (Photo: Anuvia)

Tim Hiers, CGCS (Photo: Anuvia)

How did you feel when you got the call telling you that you were the newest inductee into the Anuvia Legends class? Matt Shaffer called me; it was a big surprise. You’re not sitting there waiting for that call. I know the people who have won this — and this is not me being falsely humble — I’m not one of those guys. I think my tenure, being around a long time, has helped. I think of all the people inside and outside the industry who have helped me. If you remember when you were 18, 19 or 20 … we were pretty dumb. I’ve had a lot of people coach me up. The things you think you’d think about that are obvious, but you don’t think about them until someone tells you? It helps! I got a lot of advice from people in the industry.

Tell me about White Oak and what all is going on there — you have a really interesting job. It’s a large property, 17,000 acres. They breed and protect endangered species. They breed cheetahs, whooping cranes, Cape buffalo, okapi … I’ve seen animals I’ve never heard of before I came here. For example, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, which was almost extinct a few years ago. In the past three years they’ve released 600 back into central Florida. But it’s not just breeding animals, it’s conserving land properly. It’s a holistic approach.

We’re north of Jacksonville by about 20 miles, right on the Saint Marys River. The golf course was playable in late 2019, but we still don’t have a clubhouse. COVID-19 had a big impact on the operation. We hope to break ground on our turfgrass center next month. Then we’re building an eight-room dormitory. We’re going to do a lot of research here. The people inside the gate here are seeing a different side of golf than what they’ve heard.

I know I’m fortunate. I’m blessed. I never even dreamed about a job like this.

We’ll honor you next month at the Golfdom Summit with this new award. Any parting thoughts you want to share? I would encourage the younger superintendents today to use technology but not rely on it too much. It would be helpful to develop a relationship with three or four guys who have been in the business for a long time. Always be willing to bounce thoughts off those guys. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I know that’s an old axiom, but I’d rather look stupid than be stupid.

The Legends Initiative is brought to you by Golfdom, Anuvia and Audubon International.

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 sjones@northcoastmedia.net.


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