Ponoka’s Kusiek wins CGSA superintendent of year award

Cameron Kusiek, 26, was chosen as the national recipient for the future superintendent of the year award sponsored by the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) and Toro Equipment.

Cameron Kusiek sits atop the Swilken Bridge crossing the Swilken Burn at St. Andrews with the Old Course Hotel in the background.

Cameron Kusiek sits atop the Swilken Bridge crossing the Swilken Burn at St. Andrews with the Old Course Hotel in the background.

By Jasmine Franklin

He took a shot and aced the finals.

Cameron Kusiek, 26, was chosen as the national recipient for the future superintendent of the year award sponsored by the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) and Toro Equipment.

“When I originally went to school I didn’t think it would be for this,” Kusiek said, in an interview from St. Andrews, Scotland where he has been a seasonal green keeper for the birth place of golf — the Old Course. “But this is where my heart is.”

The award goes to the student who is most likely to be a future superintendent of a golf course. Faculties such as University of Guelph and Olds College, nominate one student who would make the best candidate, then a resume is submitted and an interview conducted with a representative of Toro Equipment, a former superintendent architect, and a member of the CGSA.

The list was then narrowed down to a handful of candidates and Ponoka’s Kusiek was the winner.

“I want to see where this guy is in 10 years because he really blew my mind,” said Lorie Micucci, manager of member services for CGSA. “I’ve been doing these interviews for six years now and out of everyone I’ve interviewed he was the most outstanding.”

“I definitely hope to be a superintendent sooner than later,” Kusiek said.

The award sends Kusiek on an all expenses paid six-week tour through the United Kingdom to various golf sites. He also gets to attend the Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show in February, and will be sent to Minneapolis, Minn. to visit Toro Equipment’s headquarters.

“It still hasn’t settled in yet,” he said.

Kusiek’s start into the golf scene wasn’t as he expected. He originally worked at golf courses in 2001 at the Wolf Creek Golf Resort as a summer job while he was working on a science degree from University of Alberta. Upon receiving his degree and while still working at the course, he realized his heart didn’t belong to previous dreams such as sports physiotherapy.

“I went back to the golf for about 1½ years,” Kusiek said. “My superintendent at the Wolf Creek golf course suggested I think about being a superintendant – and that’s when I realized, this is where I should be.”

Kusiek went to school at the University of Guelph and took a two-year turf grass management program where he learned how to be in charge of outside golf management duties such managing labor, time, finances, grass cutting and coordinating special events.

In February of 2008, Kusiek met the superintendent of the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland while the superintendent was at a symposium.

He introduced himself to the superintendent after the symposium, beginning a relationship that landed Kusiek a job at the Old Course for the last five months.

“I’ve been here (Old Course) for five months and it’s incredible. It was the first golf course in the world and has been around for over 600 years,” Kusiek said. “It’s where golf originated, it opens your mind to a lot of things you do.”

Upon his return from Scotland in November, Kusiek will be back in Ponoka where he has been offered the assistant superintendent’s job at Wolf Creek.