Breeding Grounds of Turf Care Leaders
“The Breeding Grounds for Turf Care Leaders”
Only three years after being hired as First Assistant Superintendents at Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club, Matt Carmeci and Zach Tolleson are now calling the shots as Superintendents at neighboring golf courses. Matt Carmeci currently holds the title of Superintendent at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, Alabama, while Zach Tolleson operates as Superintendent at Rock Creek Golf Club in Fairhope.
What does that tell you about the type of grounds and maintenance leadership at Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club? Rated as one of the “Top 10 Best Conditioned Courses in the U.S.” by Golf Advisor, it’s no surprise that Peninsula is in the business of creating turf care leaders.
“It’s very rare to have two guys that only needed a couple of years to move on to the next level,” said Jamey Davis, Superintendent, Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club. “They both know that what they did at Peninsula was very important. It was fantastic work, and it helped take us to the next level, but it’s a whole different ball game now that their names are on the door at Steelwood and Rock Creek.”
“I don’t take a lot of chances when I hire people for those positions,” Davis continued. “I knew that I was getting two really great guys, but I didn’t know that they would complement each other so well. Zach is one of the absolute smartest guys I know. He was already thinking the way a superintendent should – he has that intellectual side of him,” said Davis. “Matt was a natural leader. He has the charismatic leadership qualities that people are drawn to and can really get behind. With Zach’s agronomic intelligence, and Matt’s leadership skills, the two combined made the perfect candidates for the assistant positions I had open.”
Zach and Matt were both working under Jamey Davis when Peninsula became recognized for its’ superior course conditions. In 2017, Golf Advisor honored Peninsula with two awards, “Top 15 Golf Courses to play in Alabama (#3),” and “Top 10 Best Conditioned Course in the U.S.”
But for Jamey Davis, that’s not what determines success at Peninsula.
“The Golf Advisor awards we received were awesome, but truthfully, that’s more for my team,” said Davis. “To me, success is coming in here every day, sweating like animals, and putting in back breaking labor to get this course to where it needs to be.”
Losing two key members like Tolleson and Carmeci was hard on Peninsula, but Davis says it’s extremely gratifying to see them succeed. “Zach and Matt were more than just assistants to me,” said Davis. “I call them both friends. For them to mirror each other the way they did, in the same time frame, was really cool. These guys came here to become better, not just Superintendents, but better professionals,” added Davis. “And if I can play a part in that, which is how I was brought up in this business, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Zach Tolleson, Superintendent at Rock Creek, said Jamey Davis was the ultimate zen master during his time at Peninsula.
“He remained calm no matter what happened,” said Tolleson. “I have implemented that at Rock Creek; no matter the problem how big or small, remain calm, and find a solution to the problem.”
Peninsula Golf Club and Honours Golf were extremely fortunate to have Zach and Matt as part of the Honours Golf family. After three years at Peninsula, they each moved onto becoming Superintendents at other golf courses, exiting within three months of one another.
Two future all-stars replacing Matt and Zach are Joseph Martin and Tyler Hefner. Tyler Hefner started in October and comes to Peninsula with a wealth of knowledge and experience, recently working at Hoover Country Club and Country Club of Birmingham. Joseph Martin comes to Peninsula from Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, where he served in multiple capacities for over seven years.
Peninsula continues to seek the best and most qualified candidates as part of their grounds and maintenance crew. And with leadership from Jamey Davis, the future is bright for more shining stars to rise out of Peninsula.