Master Greenkeeper 81: Gregory Jones
In June 2021, Gregory Jones of Champions Run in Nebraska became the 81st BIGGA member to achieve the Master Greenkeeper certification.
Working most of my younger days on a cattle ranch, I knew I wanted to spend my days in the outdoors. Having grown up in a small town in western Nebraska, golf was something to do and a way to spend time away from work, but I never imagined I could do both. During a visit to Kansas State University, the tour guide asked if anyone knew that they had a golf course management degree? Not knowing what path I was headed down, I decided to give that a try.
The first few weeks of school I decided to join the college turf club. That is where the world of golf course turf management opened my eyes. I had no idea how big the community was or how great the people are who work in it. I was hooked.
After college I spent a year in Colorado as an assistant superintendent before making my way to Wyoming. That is where I met and worked for Dwayne Dillinger CGCS. A lot of folks in the industry know Dwayne, he is one of those people you meet and do not forget. I was lucky enough to spend four years learning from one of the best in the industry and I will always be grateful for everything he taught me.
From there I made a giant leap to California where I took over the superintendent’s role at a 9-hole resort course in Laguna Beach. Things began to snowball, and I moved into a director of agronomy role for Montage Hotels. With those responsibilities I oversaw the resurrection of Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage. This a facility like no other and I was challenged each day. After a phone call from a good friend in Omaha, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to move back home. In 2012 I took over the director of agronomy role for Champions Run, where I work today.
The MG certificate was something I wanted to accomplish since hearing about quite a few years back. I finished my CGCS in 2016 and started my work on the MG shortly after. Being a part of this group is an honour, having only 85 in the world makes it even more special, I’m not even sure it has even sunk in yet.
Throughout all my time on the course and my travels I want thank my wife Kary, who is my rock. She is the most supportive wife a “turfie” could as for. I honestly don’t know how she puts up with me and my schedule but I am the luckiest guy alive to have her in my corner! We have two boys, Zack and Gage who have both worked for me on the course and I spend most of my free time watching my boys play sports, fishing, bowhunting and traveling.
Congratulations Gregory on becoming Master Greenkeeper number 81! More information about the Master Greenkeeper Certificate is available here.