A former GCSAA president and longtime golf administrator has been tabbed to take the reigns of the association as its new chief executive officer.
Mark J. Woodward, CGCS, the association's president in 2004 who is currently the golf operations manager for the city of San Diego, is the choice to replace Steve Mona, CAE, who became the chief executive of the World Golf Foundation March 3. Woodward is the first golf course superintendent to serve as GCSAA's permanent chief executive.
“We were extremely pleased with the quantity and quality of candidates that were interested in the position. Without a doubt, Mark presented the best fit for the association,” GCSAA President David S. Downing II, CGCS said. “He is a talented individual with a myriad of skills and abilities that will serve him, the membership, the association, the industry and the game well. He has a strong track record of service to GCSAA and success as a golf course superintendent and an administrator. His efforts have earned him rave reviews in bolstering golf operations for the city of San Diego.”
In his current role in San Diego, Woodward has been crucial in preparing city-owned and operated Torrey Pines for this June's U.S. Open, to be played on the facility's South Course. As a result of those duties, Woodward will transition to his new role at GCSAA on July 1.
“It is important to him and to GCSAA that he sees to completion the U.S. Open," Downing said. "It is a wonderful celebration of the game and it is only fitting that he finishes his integral role in conducting the event.”
A familiar face to GCSAA, Woodward has been actively involved as a committee participant, a member of the board of directors and 68th president of the association. He is in his 30th year as a GCSAA member and first achieved the status of certified golf course superintendent in 1986.
Woodward has a strong golf course management background. He began his career as an assistant golf course superintendent at Mesa’s Dobson Ranch Golf Course, helping to construct the layout. Two years later he assumed the superintendent position and then in 1987 assumed the additional duties of managing Mesa’s Riverview Golf Course. His grandfather Jay is one of only three superintendents to have been inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame and was recognized as one of 11 GCSAA members to be recognized for outstanding service at the association’s 50th anniversary celebration. Other family members to have served in the superintendent profession include his son Matt, son-in-law Cody Swirczynski, a cousin, Mike Pock, and his sons, Ernie and Jay.
In addition to his past volunteer service to GCSAA, Woodward is active in the National Institute of Golf Management sponsored by the National Golf Foundation. He joined the NIGM board of regents in 1992, serving as its chair in 1999. He was a trustee for the Environmental Institute for Golf, serving as secretary in 2004.
In his capacity in San Diego, Woodward developed a five-year business plan that has resulted in generating an additional $3 million in revenue from 2006 to 2007, including the implementation of the Advance Tee Time program that added $500,000 in revenue in the first year. His department has hosted numerous high profile events including three junior world golf championships, three city amateur championships, three PGA Tour events and the upcoming U.S. Open — on top of the three golf facilities annually hosting 260 golf outings. His plan resulted in creating 20,000 additional tee times available for the public golfer. From a golf course standpoint, Woodward has implemented a management plan that has produced drastically improved course conditions and enhanced environmental stewardship.
Woodward was named to his position in San Diego in January 2005 after serving 31 years in various capacities with the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Ariz. His last position there was parks and recreation administrator, which included the oversight of two golf courses, a tennis facility, the Chicago Cubs spring training home, a minor league baseball training site, a park ranger program and a cemetery. He is a 1974 graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in environmental resources and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.