Lawrence, Kansas, United States: After nearly two decades as a golf course superintendent, Kevin Sunderman has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
Sunderman comes to GCSAA uniquely qualified for the position, with more than 19 years of experience in professional golf course management, prior experience in the financial services sector, a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in turfgrass management and a master’s degree in business administration from Florida Southern College.
He most recently spent 17 years at Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club in St Petersburg, Florida where he was Director of Grounds.
He previously held the superintendent position at Whetstone Golf Club in Caledonia, Ohio, and assistant superintendent position at TPC at Prestancia in Sarasota, Florida; Snee Farm Country Club in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; and East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar, Florida.
During his career, Sunderman developed his skills beyond professional golf course management by leading multiple long-range strategic planning initiatives and gaining financial management experience as a Series 7-licensed financial advisor.
After six years on the GCSAA Board of Directors, Sunderman has had deep exposure to the GCSAA headquarters team, including work with the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show, corporate partners, education, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, advocacy, environmental programmes and the GCSAA Foundation.
“When the opportunity arose for Kevin to join the GCSAA team, we knew we had found our next COO,” GCSAA Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said.
“His knowledge of GCSAA and the industry, business acumen and leadership skills provide the association with a speed of transition that will prove advantageous as we expand and enhance the programmes and services we deliver to our membership. All members will continue to benefit from his knowledge, passion and dedication.”
Sunderman has been a GCSAA member for 21 years and became a Certified Golf Course Superintendent in 2019. He is a Past President of the Florida GCSA and Florida West Coast GCSA and served on various national GCSAA committees.
He was first appointed to the GCSAA Board of Directors in 2017, was elected Vice President this year, and was nominated to be GCSAA President in 2023. Sunderman will relinquish his position on the board to become COO. The transition of Sunderman’s Board responsibilities and details regarding this process will be announced in upcoming communications.
“I am extremely excited to be joining GCSAA as the COO. Being a member of the association has had a tremendous impact on my life and career as a golf course superintendent,” Sunderman said.
“From the time I first served on a chapter board to the GCSAA Board of Directors, it was always about service and leadership. That hasn’t changed. This gives me the opportunity to continue to serve the industry that has meant so much to me in a new way,” he added.
Sunderman succeeds outgoing COO Bob Randquist, who is retiring on October 15 after 4½ years on the staff and 46 years as a GCSAA member.
As COO, Sunderman will be responsible for managing a broad and complex array of functions and facilitate multiple projects to meet the objectives of the association. While he will represent GCSAA and maintain relationships with industry and allied partners, his main focus will be on internal stakeholders and being an integral part of the headquarters’ culture.
Sunderman said: “The past six years serving on the GCSAA Board provided me with valuable opportunities to develop relationships with GCSAA Chapter leaders, as well as to meet, listen and learn from many GCSAA members while expanding my knowledge of the great way GCSAA staff serve our members.
“As COO, I am looking forward to using these insights to guide the GCSAA team in providing benefits that will have a true impact on the lives of our members. I appreciate everyone at Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club; they are a wonderful group of people that I will truly miss.”
Sunderman, whose family includes his wife, Melani, son, Trent, and daughter, Elise, will relocate from Florida to Kansas. He will begin his tenure as COO on November 7.