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"Tom Irwin’s biggest value is that they take pride in my success. They help out with all the details that make a superintendent better."
—Shannon Slevin, Shorehaven Golf Club Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk is not a city for the faint of heart, if you’re a golf superintendent. Located on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast,” Norwalk is part of Fairfield County, the sixth wealthiest county in America. Many of those prosperous residents play golf – and when they do, they have high expectations.
17th hole, Shorehaven Golf Club
Shannon Slevin knows this well. He’s been superintendent at Shorehaven Golf Club for the past three years. “Most clubs in this area have a fairly demanding membership,” said Slevin. “They all expect to compete at the same level as the big clubs in the neighborhood.”
Delivering a golfing experience equal to the best of Fairfield County is a challenge Slevin relishes. He’s a career golf course superintendent whose experience has spanned everything from course construction to major event hosting.
“I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Turfgrass Science in 2000,” he said. “As part of an initiative to recruit exchange students, Ohio State’s turf program got me a seven-month position at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland. While I was there, they hosted the European Open.”
Working at the 5-star resort course provided Slevin with an early grounding in the business and an appreciation for high standards.
Returning to the US, he took his first assistant golf superintendent position at the Pelham Country Club, a Westchester County, New York course noteworthy for hosting the 1923 US Open. After six years at Pelham, he tried his hand at golf course construction for two years before becoming the golf superintendent at Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club, an oceanside course in Branford, Connecticut.
“I walked into four greens that were vandalized with some type of liquid that was spilled all over the putting surface,” Slevin recalled. “It took us about three months to get them fully recovered, but it was enough to gain the confidence of the membership.”
It was at Pine Orchard that Shannon Slevin first encountered Tom Irwin’s Jeff Houde.
“I was in my second year at Pine Orchard and I was having issues with the soil structure,” said Slevin. “So we started doing some soil testing, and I really liked their ‘soil first’ approach. We developed a good relationship.”
When Slevin moved on to Shorehaven – another seaside location – in 2010, he experienced similar problems.
“Our irrigation water is an issue,” said Slevin. “We’re dealing with high bicarbonates and a slight sodium imbalance. We also have to deal with tidal flooding during high lunar events. Tom Irwin has helped us to understand how to deal with that.”
“Tom Irwin’s biggest value is that they take pride in my success,” said Slevin. “They help out with all the details that make a superintendent better. And they keep you on top of things, bringing innovative ideas to their clients before other companies do.”
One of those innovation is the online planner, which Shannon Slevin uses on a daily basis.
“The planner is a living, breathing document,” he said. “It’s been a huge help to me. It saves me time and effort and gives me the flexibility to plan my season in advance. It helps me to build and budget my applications and organize my activities around events. It has a ton of helpful features.”
Saving time and effort is especially important to Shannon Slevin these days.
“I’ve been married for almost three years. My wife Gloria and I have two beautiful daughters, Mairi, and our newborn, Hadley,” said Slevin, “having time to hang with them is what it’s all about.”
Shannon welcomes you to contact him if you have any questions about his experience with Tom Irwin: firstname.lastname@example.org