Buffalo superintendent manages two golf courses and a whole lot more.
Sheridan Park & Brighton Park Golf Courses
|Year Opened: 1933 & 1962
Location: Buffalo, New York
Superintendent: Scott Boivin
Number of Holes: 36
Turf: Bentgrass and Poa on the greens; mix of ryegrass and Poa in the fairways and roughs.
Turf Equipment: Jacobsen Greens King IV riding greens mowers (10), Jacobsen R311T wide-area mowers (2), Jacobsen HR-9016 wide-area mowers (2), Cushman Turf-Truckster utility vehicles (7)
Scott Boivin headed off to college as a hockey player and left as a turfgrass manager. During school, Boivin ditched the ice skates and found a new passion on more terra firma. After completing a turfgrass certificate at Cornell University, Boivin found himself in the right place at the right time and was hired as Superintendent of Sheridan Park Golf Course.
Over the course of 20 years, Boivin’s area of responsibility widened to include another 18-hole course and multiple sports fields including baseball, soccer, football and rugby.
Incredibly, Boivin manages 200 acres of golf turf and has set up a fertilization, aerification and herbicide program for the additional 400 acres of athletic fields and parklands with just eight full-time employees, two assistants and 20 seasonal part-time workers.
“As you would guess, manpower is our biggest issue,” said Boivin. “We used to have another superintendent that managed Brighton Park Golf Course, but there were too many inconsistencies between courses. I’ve been managing both now for three years.”
Boivin has consistently made improvements to both courses during his tenure and as a result, the pair continue to be two of Buffalo’s most popular public courses and each see about 25,000 rounds every year.
“We bought greens rollers a few years ago, which have made a big improvement,” said Boivin. “We’ll roll three times a week and skip cutting two to three times a week which keeps everything healthier. We’ll cut the greens at .160″ and roll 9.5′ on the Stimpmeter. Because of the amount of play we get, I can’t go much lower than .160″.”
When he first began lending his skills to the athletic fields, Boivin was surprised how much work soccer fields can be.
“For the soccer fields to look and play right, they really need to be overseeded regularly and topdressed all the time,” said Boivin. “I need to pull a couple guys from each course to get it done, which is a delicate balancing act.”
In addition to being creative with manpower, Boivin also has found ways to save money with a DIY approach to expensive projects.
“We took the entire winter break to build a bridge on the Sheridan Park course,” said Boivin. “We saved the town thousands of dollars that we can use for other things. But it was a fun project and the final product turned out really well.”
Another cost-savings measure Boivin implemented is a regularly-scheduled equipment purchasing process.
“Because of our regular buying habits, our budgets remain pretty consistent. We’ll buy one or two Jacobsen Greens King IV riding greens mowers each year and rotate a couple to tee mowers,” said Boivin. “We’ve been using the Greens Kings here for decades. Everyone knows them, they’re easy to maintain and good for our budget. And, of course, you get the Jacobsen quality-of-cut that keeps our greens looking and playing fantastic.”
“We also use the Jacobsen R311T wide-area rotary as well because it’s faster than the Toro machine,” said Boivin. “We run the Jacobsen HR-9016 wide-area rotary on our large flat areas and we run several Cushmans to get everything else done.”
Boivin and his team are served by Jacobsen dealer MTE Turf Equipment Solutions in Rochester, New York.
“We get good service from the guys at MTE. Our machines are pretty reliable, but when we do need something, the MTE guys are out here pretty quickly,” said Boivin.
“There’s basically more work than people, so we’ll do as much as we can. We’ll spray, fertilize, aerate the sports fields and even handle tree management, but we can’t do everything all the time,” said Boivin. “In the end, you just have to get as much done as you can with the resources you have. We put a quality product out there and I think the community really appreciates what we do.”
“In the end, you just have to get as much done as you can with the resources you have. We put a quality product out there and I think the community really appreciates what we do.” – Scott Boivin, Superintendent of Sheridan Park and Brighton Park Golf Courses