Travis Cook, superintendent of the Founders Course at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., is the winner of the inaugural Emerging Leader Award from GCSAA.
The Emerging Leader Award, which is sponsored by John Deere, recognizes a GCSAA member who serves the industry as a superintendent with less than five years’ experience, an assistant superintendent, a student or an associate member, and who displays continuous growth in service and leadership.
“This award is payoff for all my years of dedication to help lead our industry into the future. I believe that our responsibilities on and off the course provide great benefits to the lives around us, and most don’t even know what we do,” says Cook, a seven-year GCSAA member. “It’s my passion to spread the word about the many great contributions all golf courses and their managers provide to the world.”
Cook earned an associate degree in turf and turfgrass management from Florida Gateway College. He began his career as an assistant superintendent at Magnolia Point Golf & Country Club in Green Cove Springs, Fla. After five years there, he became assistant superintendent at The Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.). In July 2021, he stepped into his current role as Founders Course superintendent at Greystone Golf & Country Club.
“Throughout his career, he has continually sought to develop himself as a leader and turf professional,” says Jason Miller, director of golf course operations at Greystone Golf & Country Club. “He takes pride in mentoring his staff, including developing interns and assistants.”
Cook has been involved with the Alabama GCSA since 2016, during which time he has served on the board of directors as Class C representative and as communications chairman. In 2018, his dedication, leadership and commitment to professional growth led to him being named The Country Club of Birmingham’s Employee of the Year. That same year, Cook also helped with writing Alabama’s best management practices manual.
He served as a Grassroots Ambassador for GCSAA from 2018 to 2021 while also participating in the EXCEL Leadership Program as a member of its inaugural class. In 2021, Cook completed the GCSAA Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series and participated in National Golf Day.
“Young professionals like Travis Cook are already shaping the future of the golf course industry, and his commitment to developing himself and others professionally is commendable,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “Congratulations to Travis for winning the first Emerging Leader Award.”
At the local level, Cook has volunteered for a children’s hospital in Birmingham by organizing and participating in a putting activity for terminally ill children, and he has hosted a bone marrow recipient child for a golf outing. In 2020, he was an informative speaker for Middleburg (Fla.) High School’s FFA club, where he promoted careers in golf course management.
Cook will formally receive the Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego.