An Oak Bay golf course assistant superintendent was recognized nationally for exceptional performance and contributions to the industry, in part for his ability to lead, mentor and encourage staff through multi-million dollar projects, while raising their expectations of themselves in the process.
T-Jay Creamer from Victoria Golf Club won the inaugural CGSA/Toro Assistant Superintendent of the Year Award, which is presented to an individual who has demonstrated professionalism, leadership, innovation and a team approach in their work.
“T-Jay has become our greatest asset embodying all the characteristics of a great assistant and ultimately the ideal superintendent. T-Jay has the depth, diversity, dedication and the dynamic management skills necessary to be a star in our industry. I unequivocally recommend T-Jay,” read the award nomination letter by Paul Robertson, superintendent of Victoria Golf Club.
Creamer has worked at the Victoria Golf Club for 12 years, the last six as assistant superintendent. He is also very active in the associations that represent the industry, currently sitting as vice-president of the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendents Association.
Most days for Creamer are spent managing golf course staff, which grows to almost 30 in the summer, and making sure things are running smoothly and efficiently.
“My mornings are spent out on the course making sure it is up to standards. Also seeing what needs to be done in terms of upgrades and projects,” said Creamer.
Three such projects were some of the most complex construction projects ever attempted in the golf industry, according to Robertson, which involved a $4.5M irrigation and drainage project, a $5M golf course renovation and a $2.5M turf care center.
Not only does Creamer manage staff through these large projects but he does so in a way that buoys the staff.
“He is quick to recognize the potential in a fellow team member. He uses this gift to promote, encourage and mentor the employees raising their expectations of themselves in the process,” said Robertson.
The award winner was quick to credit others who have contributed to his success.
“My ability to be successful I have to attribute first to my father who was a golf course superintendent at Crown Isle Resort in Courtenay. Basically, I grew up my whole life working beside him and learning the industry and learning the craft,” said Creamer. “Secondly, to Paul Robertson, superintendent of Victoria Golf Club. He is a phenomenal resource and exceptional to learn under.”
Currently completing his Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass online from Penn State University, Creamer feels lucky to be able to live in Victoria and work on such a beautiful course. A personal highlight is when the orcas swim by in the summer.
“We get our own little private whale shows. Occasionally the whale pod will come by at five o’clock in the morning when we are out on the course. We’ll get on our radios and call the rest of the staff over to watch them. It’s always a fantastic show with nothing else around, just us and nature,” said Creamer.
The only thing that compares to the beauty of the property, according to Creamer, is the people.
“All the staff, from crew to the clubhouse, are great. The people who have been here a long time know it’s like family. It truly is that,” said Creamer.
T-Jay will be presented with the CGSA/Toro Assistant Superintendent of the Year award during the CGSA Awards Ceremony in Quebec on Feb. 28.