The Carolinas GCSA announced that Will Holroyd from Musgrove Mill Golf Club in Clinton, S.C., will receive the association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Holroyd will be honored at a special ceremony at this year’s Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Nov. 13-15.
A veteran of more than 40 years in the golf course superintendent profession, Holroyd commands a stellar reputation for his golf course conditioning, mentoring of aspiring superintendents, and service to the industry. He graduated from Clemson University with a degree in horticulture in 1975, and started out as superintendent at Oconee Country Club in Seneca, S.C., the following year.
In 1980, Holroyd moved to Pickens (S.C.) Country Club, and in 1985, he transitioned to Fairfield Glade (Tenn.) Resort. He came home to Clinton in 1988 to help open Musgrove Mill, a new Arnold Palmer design on the banks of the Enoree River. There he has hosted some of the biggest events in South Carolina golf, including two State Amateur Championships. The quality of his work at Musgrove Mill can also be measured by his tenure there — that he has served the golf-only club as its sole superintendent for nearly 30 years speaks volumes of his expertise.
His nomination for the DSA was accompanied by 17 letters of support from individuals across the industry who have benefited from Holroyd’s expertise and input over the years. They include superintendents, vendors and researchers, including Drs. Bruce Martin and Bert McCarty, both of whom have won multiple honors and awards for their work.
Both men credit Holroyd with helping get them established in the turfgrass program at Clemson. As a founder and long-serving president of the South Carolina Turfgrass Foundation, Holroyd helped secure new and recurrent funding for Clemson, lobbying legislators in Columbia, the state capital.
“That money allowed me to shift my appointment to 100 percent turf, buy a part of Dr. Jim Camberato’s time, recruit Dr. McCarty from the University of Florida, and replace Dr. Bob Mazur and Dr. Landon Miller’s positions when they retired,” Martin wrote. “I literally say, that without the leadership of Will, Clemson would never have pushed turf to a higher level (that we still enjoy) in the College of Agriculture.”
McCarty wrote that adding Holroyd’s name to the list of previous award recipients would serve to further “enhance its status.” “It is apparent Will has exceeded all necessary qualifications for receiving this prestigious award,” he added.
Other campaigners on Holroyd’s behalf included Carolinas GCSA president Adam Charles from The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville, S.C., and past president Don Garrett, CGCS, from The Walker Course at Clemson University. Holroyd gave Charles his first job on a golf course at age 15. “Will’s leadership of many young people like me has created a large network of professionals in our industry including many superintendents, assistants, sod suppliers, chemical distributors and more that have become leaders ...” Charles wrote.
Garrett also started out under Holroyd during his freshman year at Clemson in 1982. After two seasons working for him at Pickens Country Club, Garrett was told he could not come back for a third. Instead, Holroyd encouraged him to apply for a job with the legendary James G. “Whitie” Wright at Greenville Country Club.
“His reasoning was that Whitie had more experience than him and a much larger budget, and that the name recognition of the club’s Chanticleer course would be a big benefit to me when I graduated,” Garrett said. “To this day, I still think about how this selfless act on Will’s part helped me to grow. After all, he had invested a lot of time training me. But he put my growth and well-being above his.”
Will Holroyd will become the 29th recipient of the Carolinas GCSA Distinguished Service Award in the 63-year history of the 1,800-member organization.