Rashad Wilson has a favorite park in Dublin, Ga. It serves as inspiration. A reminder. Love.
Sandra K. Scott Park represents more than a place for children to play and dogs to roam. The park is named in honor of Wilson’s mother. Sandra Scott was a Dublin pillar, having served on the school board from 1993 to 2006. It seemed everyone knew her and respected what she had accomplished. To Wilson, Scott — who died in 2006 — was larger than life.
“Mom was well known. Very strong. Tough. A leader more than anything,” Wilson says. “She was someone who would say, ‘What can I do? How can I help?’ She was a great example of standing up for what you believe. She gave me that ambition and drive.”
No doubt Sandra would be proud of her son now.
Wilson is an example of professional versatility. Not only is he a GCSAA Class A member, he has also earned the Certified Professional designation from the PGA of America (which includes teaching and coaching, general management, player development, and golf operations). Wilson operates SuperPro Golf Services in Suwanee, Ga., where he does consulting and independent contracting with facilities on their agronomy practices and chemical application plans. He is also a member of the golf professional staff at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek Course in Roswell, Ga.
Wilson is continuing to climb the PGA ranks. A member of the Georgia PGA Section, Wilson has been named part of PGA LEAD for 2020-21. It is a leadership development program that was created to progress PGA members from diverse backgrounds along a guided path to volunteer leadership roles in the association at the chapter, section and national levels. The ultimate goal of PGA LEAD is to establish a deep bench of diverse PGA members who are prepared to ascend to and through the volunteer leadership ranks of the association.
And to think Wilson once considered a career as a doctor or cardiologist. After receiving a scholarship to play golf at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., Wilson transferred after three years to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro so he could be closer to his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Her death affected his life’s path. He earned a chemistry degree, but decided that wasn’t going to satisfy him.
“I had an epiphany that life is too short,” Wilson says, “and I realized golf was what really made me happy.”
Wilson’s career journey includes being both a second assistant to the superintendent and the outside operations manager at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, Fla. “The owner knew I had a chemistry background, and they needed a spray tech. It gave me a practical application in golf for what I had gotten my degree in, which helped me on the agronomy side of golf, so it was the perfect bridge to golf,” says Wilson, who is an eight-year GCSAA member.
Experience opened more doors for Wilson, whose eventual departure from Magnolia Plantation was not totally unexpected, yet was still tough on superintendent Tim Coolican. “He was a good kid, very punctual. I always encourage people to move forward in their career, but I remember wanting him not to leave,” says Coolican, who is now the superintendent, general manager and PGA pro at Fort Belvoir Golf Club in Fairfax County, Va., home of The First Tee of Greater Washington, D.C.
Wilson secured his first superintendent job four years ago at Durham Lakes Golf & Country Club in Fairburn, Ga. It had been closed, so he participated in renovations, including installing new turfgrasses. “Invaluable experience. Project manager experience. It’s always good to expand knowledge in your craft,” Wilson says.
Next, Wilson was assistant golf pro and later the lead assistant golf pro at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga., where he was a popular figure. It says a lot about him, according to Wes Forester, director of golf there. “Somebody would say, ‘Wes, good to see you. But where’s Rashad?’ He has an engaging personality, great smile, and he’s driven,” Forester says. “It’s amazing how he’s been able to jump back and forth and flip from the maintenance side to the PGA side and keep certifications in both. That takes a lot of education.”
He has also learned to be a role model. It’s an honor for him. “Being an African American, I do mentor some kids and establish relationships with kids in the community,” Wilson says. “You see Tiger Woods, but there’s not a lot of other African Americans in golf. I can be a voice, an example — the way my mother was. Golf afforded me an opportunity for college and a great career. Golf isn’t just a game; it’s a lifestyle.”
Photo by Darryn Smith
Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.