Brandon Hoag, equipment manager at 18-hole Glens Falls Country Club in Queensbury, N.Y., takes regular turns mowing greens, tees, fairways and roughs to gain a better understanding of agronomy and the machines under his care. Photos by Erin Reid Coker
Brandon Hoag, the equipment manager at Glens Falls Country Club in Queensbury, N.Y., has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Most Valuable Technician Award, presented by GCSAA and Golf Course Management (GCM) magazine in partnership with Foley Co.
Now in its 12th year, the MVT Award recognizes excellence among golf course equipment managers and the vital role they play in the golf course management industry. Equipment managers are nominated for the award by their golf course superintendent, and a panel of industry judges narrows those nominees down to three finalists, who are then voted on through an online voting process.
“Golf course superintendents know full well the crucial role that an equipment manager plays in the success of a golf course operation,” says Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “The Most Valuable Technician Award is a fitting way to acknowledge those contributions, and Brandon is certainly worthy of this recognition. He is a valued member of the team at Glens Falls Country Club, and he’s a valued member of this association as one of nearly 1,000 equipment managers who are GCSAA members.”
Hoag’s first job in golf came when he accepted his current position a little more than four years ago. What he lacked in golf-specific experience, he more than made up for with proficiency in other mechanical areas. Hoag had worked on cars, trucks and all-terrain vehicles since he was a kid, and had most recently been employed as a fabricator and production manager for a local fabrication company.
Hoag quickly made an impact on operations at Glens Falls CC. According to nominating superintendent Chris Frielinghaus, CGCS, Hoag almost single-handedly revitalized the club’s unreliable equipment fleet and disorganized shop in less than a year. “He is a jack-of-many-trades,” says Frielinghaus, a 34-year GCSAA member, “and I would say he’s a master of most of them.”
“Chris has such a long track record in golf, so him thinking enough of me to nominate me for the MVT Award means a lot,” says Hoag, a one-year GCSAA member. “But to make the final three and then be selected the winner is an unbelievable honor. I’m very thankful to everyone who voted for me.”
Frielinghaus commends Hoag’s technical expertise. “He has all of the skills needed to bring a used piece of equipment up to the equivalent of a new machine,” Frielinghaus says. “He also fabricates some items instead of purchasing them new. He does not use a band-aid approach that will cost more money at a later time. He fixes everything right the first time.”
Hoag (left) with Glens Falls Country Club superintendent Chris Frielinghaus, CGCS.
Hoag has also become a fast-rising fixture in the golf business in upstate New York, engaging in equipment manager activities through his local chapter, the Northeastern GCSA, and at the national level with GCSAA.
“Brandon is a sponge. He wants to soak up every bit of information that he can and learn as much as he can about the business,” Frielinghaus says. “I’ve worked at a lot of different courses with a lot of different equipment technicians, but he is by far the most precise of any I’ve ever worked with.”
Paul Rauker, president and CEO of Foley Co., the presenting partner of the Most Valuable Technician Award since its inception, says, “Foley Co. is proud to sponsor the MVT Award that showcases all the hard work that technicians and equipment managers put in daily to ensure that their courses are in optimal condition. On behalf of all the employees at Foley, I want to congratulate Brandon on being named the 2021 MVT Award winner, as it’s a testament to all the great work he’s done at Glens Falls Country Club. I also would like to thank all those that submitted nominations, as there were many great candidates.”
As 2021 MVT, Hoag will receive $2,500 and a free year of GCSAA membership. He and Frielinghaus will also receive complimentary registration and a travel stipend for the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego in February. The Northeastern GCSA will receive $1,000 in acknowledgement of its support of Hoag during the voting process.
Also selected as finalists for 2021 Most Valuable Technician Award were Kevin Hennigar, equipment manager at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ontario, and Goodwood Golf Club in Stouffville, Ontario; and Bill Raisch, equipment manager at High Hampton Inn and Country Club in Cashiers, N.C.