From superintendents to golf course agronomy consultants

Dave Delsandro and Jeff Corcoran are the brains behind consulting firm Agronomic Advisors.


Dave Delsandro and Jeff Corcoran at the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix
Dave Delsandro, left, and Jeff Corcoran have joined forces to launch golf course management consulting firm Agronomic Advisors. Photo by Montana Pritchard

Those not privy to the backstory behind the formation of fledgling golf course management consulting firm Agronomic Advisors logically might have assumed it was a protracted, highly choreographed and deliberate affair.

After all, the two men behind it — Dave Delsandro and Jeff Corcoran — were well-regarded superintendents at big-name, major-championship venues and self-described meticulous Type-A personalities simultaneously transitioning away from their day-to-day duties into a related but drastically different direction.

“Really, it happened organically,” says Corcoran, who will juggle his duties at Agronomic Advisors with his job as GCSAA Class A director of agronomy at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., through the end of this year. “I had an idea probably that after 2023 I would attempt to do some transition out of Oak Hill. Dave and I had a bunch of conversations and had been friends a long time. Through various conversations, we saw we were headed in the same direction and realized that rather than trudge through it ourselves, we’d do it together. We realized we were probably a stronger force together than apart.”

“It was a great opportunity to utilize some of the opportunities I’d had and Jeff had had,” added Delsandro, who transitioned away from his job as GCSAA Class A superintendent at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., at the end of 2022. “We both were ready to go in a little different direction, out of the daily-operation aspect a little bit — what we’ve done for the bulk of our careers. This is a great opportunity to be able to continue to build relationships and still work with our peers and colleagues. We love new challenges.”

Both men certainly rose to meet their last challenges.

Corcoran, a 27-year GCSAA member, has been at storied Oak Hill since 2003. He hosted two PGA Championships, including the one in 2023, and two Senior PGA Championships. He worked in 2019 with architect Andrew Green to renovate Oak Hill’s East Course, including reconstruction of all greens and bunkers, new tees, tree removal and fairway recontouring.

Delsandro, a 22-year GCSAA member, was involved in preparation, restoration and hosting of venues for four national championships, including two U.S. Opens. Delsandro was first assistant superintendent at Oakmont for the 2007 U.S. Open and director of U.S. Open operations and special projects when it returned in 2016.

One needn’t squint too hard to see the similarities in the men or their careers — gleaming résumés at tradition-rich venues with similar names just a couple of hundred miles apart — but to hear Delsandro tell it, their greatest compatibility is considerably less obvious.

“Both of us are grinders,” he says. “Game respects game. We just work, man. We just work, work, work. We love it. We feed off of it, and we feed off of each other and the conceptual, innovative process, moving chess pieces across the board. It’s nice to maintain that competitive outlet.”

They’ll channel that competitiveness into a collaborative effort at Agronomic Advisors, a consulting company focused on a wide range of services, including consultation on agronomy, operational management, construction preparation and management, tournament prep, capital planning, team building and more.

“We’re so blessed to have experienced so many things in our careers,” Delsandro says. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to help superintendents in a really diverse way. It’s not just necessarily agronomics, or projects or championship-tournament golf. It all starts with a conversation with the superintendent. Are there any ways we can help you? If the answer is yes, what does the scope of services look like? How do we help your club?”

Delsandro says Agronomic Advisors worked with roughly a dozen clients since it soft-launched in 2023, and, “for every client in 2023, we provided measurable cost saving over what our fees were.”

Because of that, the two are quick to point out they are eager to work with clubs with budgets that are considerably smaller than their previous employers’. 

Corcoran and Delsandro discussing agronomy outside
Corcoran, left, and Delsandro stress they can consult on issues beyond agronomy, including construction, tournament prep, capital planning and more. Photo courtesy of Agronomic Advisors

“I think a lot of guys tend to pick up the phone and call their peers in the same demographic,” Delsandro says. “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is, people think of the superintendent at Oakmont, the superintendent at Oak Hill and think they have unlimited budgets. That’s the furthest thing from the truth. Are the resources there? Yeah. But we prided ourselves on being extremely responsible from a financial standpoint, making sure every resource was optimized to the greatest extent.”

Like the company’s formation, the men described their specific duties as being fulfilled “organically.” Neither professes a propensity to gravitate toward one specific consulting task, and despite their subject-matter mastery and big personalities, they haven’t yet butted heads.

“Surprisingly not,” Corcoran says. “I had a conversation with Dave about it. I wrote a report, and he went in and turned it upside down a little bit. I said, ‘Dave, man, I’ve been relying on people to make me look better my whole career.’ We complement each other really well. We come from golf courses that have big statures, but to be successful as a golf course superintendent, you have to put your ego aside.”

Both men helped their successors transition. Mike McCormick, a GCSAA Class A superintendent and 11-year association member, replaced Delsandro at Oakmont CC. And Fred Doheny, an assistant under Corcoran for the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC, will take over for Corcoran. Doheny, a GCSAA Class A superintendent and 20-year association member, spent the previous 10 years as superintendent at Greenwich (Conn.) Country Club.

Andrew Hartsock is GCM's senior managing editor