It's moving day at the U.S. Open. Could Arron McCurdy be on the move some day soon?
McCurdy, superintendent at the East Course, which the world is watching today as the 113th U. S. Open continues, says he loves Merion. Appreciates the opportunity that was given him, a story in itself we'll get to in a moment.
Yet, at age 36, he sounds ready to explore other opportunities.
"I'll be here till I get another job. I want to go," McCurdy says."I want to make some more money. One day I'll have a kid (8-year-old daughter Ava) graduating. I'd like to go somewhere warm. I hate the cold."
"I moved to the beach. I was a lifeguard," McCurdy says.
That is when he met Rebecca. And that is when everything changed.
"She changed my life," McCurdy says."I got my stuff together."
No kidding. Although he was a late bloomer in the golf course management industry, McCurdy didn't waste time after earning a turfgrass science degree from Penn State. In May 2004 McCurdy landed a position as assistant superintendent at Country Club of Harrisburg. Two years later, McCurdy took a similar job at WrenDale Golf Club. In June 2008, the big break arrived.
Merion Golf Club needed a spray technician. They hired McCurdy, who knew before he arrived at Merion what he wanted in this profession.
"I always wanted to do championship golf," he said.
Who better to be a mentor than Merion director of golf course operations Matt Shaffer, one of the most respected in his field worldwide?
"He stays consistent,"McCurdy says about what he has learned from Shaffer. "Matt loves this place, the membership, wants to provide for them every day. He feels we should give them the best product on a daily basis. We have a full tee sheet basically every day."
Merion assistant superintendent Patrick Joy says McCurdy is a joy to work for.
"He's very knowledgeable," Joy says. "He makes things fun but he knows when it is time to be serious. We know the ultimate goal."
So is he similar to Shaffer? Not completely, Joy says.
"They're different but they're both good at what they do," he says.
McCurdy admits he likes to joke around with his crew, keep them loose and prepare them when needed.
"I love messing with people," he says."When people are more relaxed, they do a better job. I try to break that (tension) in the first 15 minutes when someone comes to work here."
No doubt McCurdy's crew has been hard at work this week. He loves it. There's nothing like a major championship, with so much at stake, to energize you.
"The chaos is just phenomenal," he says.
As for hosting another major championship one day, McCurdy gives that possibility a thumbs up.
"I would love to do this again," he says.
But where? McCurdy says he has no immediate plan to leave Merion. Even if he does make an exit at some point, the thought of returning sometime, perhaps after Shaffer leaves or retires, intrigues him. A whole lot.
"I'd come back in a heartbeat,"McCurdy says.