Two high profile superintendents are making career changes.
Paul B. Latshaw, CGCS, is leaving his position as director of grounds at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, to replace Matt Shaffer, who is retiring as the director of golf course management at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Shaffer, 64, tells GCM that he plans to stay at Merion for as long as Latshaw wishes during the transition phase. Latshaw tentatively begins at Merion in late March.
It also will be a homecoming of sorts for Latshaw, 29-year association member. When he was 26 in 1992, Latshaw became superintendent at Merion. He stayed there until taking the job at Oak Hill Country Club in 1999. At Merion, Latshaw oversaw the 50th U.S. Girls' Junior Championship in 1998. Son of 2017 Old Tom Morris Award recipient Paul R. Latshaw, Paul B. Latshaw has been at Muirfield Village GC since 2003, overseeing the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour, which is hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, who for years has praised Latshaw's work there.
"I truly love Muirfield Village. Now, though, to get back and finish my career where I started is something great," Paul B. Latshaw, 51, said this afternoon. "Really, all of this wouldn't have happened without Mr. Nicklaus giving me the opportunity at Muirfield Village in the first place."
He says that he informed Merion officials last year that it would be in his and their best interest to begin searching for his replacement, mainly because of a major project on the horizon at Merion in which Shaffer has been assisting on in the blueprint phase for three years. Shaffer has known Paul B. Latshaw for years and approves of his hiring.
"I'm glad I don't have to go against that guy. He's that good," says Shaffer, 36-year GCSAA member. "His knowledge, his passion, his love for Merion ... he was the first person I thought of (to be considered for the job). And it's up to him (how long he wants Shaffer to stay). I don't think his learning curve will be as steep as maybe it would be for somebody else. This project is really big, and it needs to be owned by him."
Paul B. Latshaw is eager to partake in that project. "I always wanted to do a major renovation like that," says Latshaw, who hosted the 2003 PGA Championship when he worked at Oak Hill and hopes another USGA championship is on the horizon at Merion. "I feel really blessed."
Paul R. Latshaw, who resides in Souderton, Pa., certainly is thrilled that his son will be moving closer to him. Now, they will be only an hour apart instead of 11 hours. Still, he knows his son faces challenges and will hit the ground running.
"Taking a job in the spring is difficult. Everything is happening all at once. I hope he gets to Merion quickly," Paul R. Latshaw says. "I'm really excited about this."
So is his son. "He (his dad) hasn't been out to see me very much (at Muirfield Village). I'm sure when he comes out to Merion, he'll tell me everything I'm doing wrong, and we'll adjust it," Paul B. Latshaw says.