Remembering an Arizona Golf Hall of Famer
Born and raised in Dalton, Massachusetts, Bill Emerson attended the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, a Division of the University of Massachusetts. He received an Associate’s Degree in Turf Grass Management in May 1961.
From 1962 through 1982, Emerson maintained some of the finest golf clubs in the Mid-Atlantic including Chevy Chase Club, Towson G&CC, Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, Crofton GC, and Stockbridge GC. He was a driving force within the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents. He served as President of the Association in 1977 and 1978. Emerson also served in other organizations, including the Maryland Turf Grass Council and the O.J. Noer Turf Grass Foundation. In 1982, he earned the title of Certified Golf Course Superintendent.
In 1983, Emerson moved west to Arizona and became the superintendent of Paradise Valley Country Club. During his twelve years at the club, he revolutionized golf course maintenance standards. Bill recognized the need for turfgrass research in Arizona and, along with other golf industry leaders and six private clubs developed the Par Committee. This committee was instrumental in funding University of Arizona turfgrass research and working with the Arizona Department of Water Resources on manageable water regulations.
Emerson became a leader among the Cactus and Pine, providing organization and development to the growing organization and was instrumental in taking it from a loosely structured chapter to an organized group of industry leaders. He served many years as the Cactus and Pine Treasurer. He was also the first President of the Cactus and Pine Foundation. In 1996, Bill received the Art Snyder Award for his distinguished service.
After leaving Paradise Valley Country Club in 1995, Bill worked with several golf-related management companies (Green Releaf, Golf Sat, Floratine and Arizona Sport Turf) bringing revolutionary golf course technology to many golf courses. These products seemed far-fetched in the 90’s; but have become mainstays in today’s practices. Bill has never stopped mentoring or working with today’s Superintendent and being a voice of reason.
Bill’s contribution to Arizona golf cannot be pinpointed to one monumental event. Bill has consistently and purposefully raised the standard, bringing all the entities of golf together here in the Southwest. His leadership has spearheaded education, awareness, and growth in the state of Arizona.