The Smithers Golf and Country Club has a new greens superintendent.
Murray Grasdal grew up in a rural setting in northern Alberta before studying turf management at Fairview College.
After graduating he bounced around to a few different golf courses. Highlights, he said, included extended tenures at the Golden West Golf Course in Edmonton and the Grand Prairie Golf and Country Club.
Most recently he comes to Smithers from Mackenzie, B.C.
“I moved to Mackenzie I guess looking for a little bit of a slower, step back from the mainstream of the larger golf courses,” he said. “I took a couple of summers off, volunteered, helped our a little bit, it’s only a nine-hole course there. Last year I took over their operation and I picked the bug back up I guess you could say.”
He said there were a few openings this spring, but he was especially interested in Smithers.
“I definitely love the mountains and the alpine type [setting],” he said. “I’m a big outdoors type guy, fishing, hunting and things like that. That was why I moved to MacKenzie and that would be why I enjoy coming here, for sure.”
He also said he was pleasantly surprised by the course itself.
“I definitely love the layout out and a lot more rolling terrain than I was anticipating,” he said. “I like the water, I’ve always liked water with the flowing creeks and things like that that makes it a little more challenging.”
Since Grasdal arrived a couple of weeks ago, he’s been working on clearing the greens and said they’re looking pretty good.
“I’m going to say today, okay,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of colours we really don’t like to see on some of them, but they’re also quite wet and the ground’s still frozen and whatnot, so a couple of them will be a little bit of a decline in some of the turf, but to where we’re going to lose the turf, I don’t think any of them are at that point yet.”
Grasdal declined to make a prediction on when he thinks the course might be able to open, but said they’re going to try to be ready before May 1 as former superintendent Steve Kerbrat always attempted to do.
He also brought along an assistant. Brad Wasylciw is a former oilfield worker who Grasdal took under his wing at Grand Prairie.
“I talked to the club and they had stated they didn’t have one… so I asked him if [he] would like to come out for a short period of time at the start of the year and we would see and talk to the group and the group seems to be happy with how we’re going to go about starting,” Grasdal said.