Championship Promotion – Golf Course Industry
“My dad taught me the meaning of hard work,” says Roy Bradshaw, which is now in its 39th year at this legendary property in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “He ran a full-service gas station, which I helped when I was 13. When I started at Southern Hills Country Club in 1983, I just paid attention and learned, what which, by the way, was what my first superintendent told me to do.”
‘He doesn’t think he knows everything, and he doesn’t act like that,’ says superintendent Russ Myer. “He just gets results every day, naturally.”
Bradshaw had held several positions at Southern Hills, starting on the crew, then becoming an irrigation technician, then a spray technician. In 1990, he became deputy superintendent. After the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, the position of equipment manager opened up and Myers saw the potential in Bradshaw.
Bradshaw had great knowledge of property, respect for others and exceptional leadership skills. He was, and is, a well-established family man, rooted in the community. This is the kind of person every manager wants to be on their staff. Assistant superintendents rarely remain in this role for long periods and are unlikely to retire in this position, so Myers made him an offer.
“I remember asking Roy if he ever considered being in charge of equipment,” Myers says. “He replied, ‘No.’ We talked about his career path and how I thought a successful equipment manager could solve the problems we had in the shop. We needed more organization and predictable results. I told him asked to consider trying it out for 30 days. If it didn’t work, he could go back to being an assistant. Roy is the ultimate multi-tasker and he’s willing to try anything for the benefit of the team. He jumped in the next day and never looked back.
Bradshaw was encouraged to stay on because he fully understood the agronomic requirements of the course. He was confident he could ensure equipment was ready for projects during the growing season, especially when he learned how mechanics prepared equipment for daily use. “A lot of superintendents or assistants discover these things the first time they need to do something quickly,” says Bradshaw, who has always excelled at learning on the job. People and the proper functioning of equipment are essential to getting the job done – and done well.
Bradshaw manages three staff members who assist him and there will be up to four volunteers working with him during the PGA Championship. Southern Hills has several high school students among its seasonal staff, but few have yet shown an interest in equipment management. Bradshaw loves watching the Coweta High School Tigers play football (including his descendants!), he owns a flip phone and shakes his head when rap music plays, struggling to hear the call. He is grateful to a woman who supports him, his children and his six grandchildren, who live nearby and whom he sees often.
When he retires, Bradshaw may play more golf and learn more about “our great country.” Without God, I could not have accomplished everything that happened to me. He also likes to know the people with whom and for whom he works. He is grateful to work for a club that cares about its employees and wants to see them succeed. It’s motivating.
“I trust Roy with everything that’s important to me,” says Myers. “I trust him to manage the territory and the staff that support my family. I trust him to take care of my children. He is a man of the highest integrity; he has an excellent work ethic and is constantly striving to improve. He knows where everything is in the ground of this property. He is independent – you never ask more than once. There is no aspect of the club he has not been involved in: equipment, hiring, recruiting, budgeting, irrigation, nutrition, building construction, restorations/renovations, wells, mowing, events, bridge construction, labor trees and major championships. He’s my go-to guy for everything.
Having a staff member like Roy Bradshaw is a major blessing – not just when hosting a major event, but every day of the year.
Front row, left to right, Southern Hills Equipment Technicians Tom Parker and Andy Martin; back row, equipment manager Roy Bradshawequipment technician Curtis Williamson and superintendent Russ Myer.