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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Super “Super”

A Super “Super”

Club at Sunrise course superintendent gets his day in the sun

Story by Brian Hurlburt

Photography by Colleen Chalmers of Giggle Box Photography


It’s a good thing anytime a golf course superintendent receives recognition for excellence. There may be a no more stressful and underappreciated job in the golf industry than the “super.”

Like a sports referee who only gets noticed when he makes a bad call, such is the life of your local golf course superintendent. When conditions are perfect, the super most likely doesn’t hear the accolades. But when a brown patch pops up on the second fairway or when a putting green rolls a little bumpy one day, the superintendent’s name is for sure mentioned, many times in vain.

Scott Sutton is the most recent Southern Nevada course caretaker to earn some positive recognition. As superintendent at Club at Sunrise, he was recently named the Superintendent of the Year by the Southern Nevada Golf Course Superintendent’s Association.

Sutton helped oversee the renovation of Club at Sunrise, previously Desert Rose Golf Club, and was a key member of the construction and planning team that helped the course flourish back to life as part of the $150 million Las Vegas Wash project. The engineering feat resulted in a newly constructed wash capable of withstanding a 100-year rainstorm.

And, yes, there’s a golf course smack dab in the middle of the project.

“Scott has worked harder than anyone and cares so much to make the course the best it can be,” course architect Randy Heckenkemper says. “I am glad others have noticed and recognized him for what we have known since we were under construction.”

The Club at Sunrise reopened in July 2016 after the long and arduous process of planning and construction. Sutton seemed destined for his role because he learned how to play golf on the old Desert Rose as a kid, then worked at the course in the eighties when PGA TOUR player Jim Colbert owned it. During that time, he planted the pine trees that remain throughout the course.

“I grew up on this course, and then worked here early in my career,” Sutton says. “I really got to see what this course was all about, and I am honored to be one of the people who was responsible for bringing it back. To come full circle is pretty special, and I take a lot of pride in turning it into a jewel of a municipal course.”

In addition to his time at Desert Rose, Sutton also worked as the course construction manager and grow-in superintendent at Sunrise Country Club, then later at Red Rock Country Club. He also worked as superintendent at Durango Hills Golf Course and Wildhorse. He earned an associate degree from the College of Southern Nevada in Ornamental Horticulture & Landscape Design and Management, and is a Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor and Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor.

Part of Sutton’s mission at Club at Sunrise was to create sustainability through smart design. Examples of that include the use of reclaimed water for irrigating and seashore paspalum, a turf specifically selected for its tolerance to salt levels in the soils. Use of the turf helps to conserve on average 15 to 20 percent of water compared to other turf varieties. That represents a savings of up to 35 million gallons of water per year. According to Sutton, the Club at Sunrise is the only course in Nevada to be completely paspalum from tee to fairway to green.

“I am honored to be recognized by my colleagues and peers, and it is humbling,” Sutton says about his recent award. “We work long hours, but I love every minute of being on the course. My office is 150 acres, and I really love being the steward of that environment.” 

The Club at Sunrise, which originally opened as Winterwood Golf Course in 1964, is owned by the Clark County Parks and Recreation Department and managed by KemperSports. The facility features a driving range and the Winterwood Grille open to the public.


The Club at Sunrise

5483 Club House Dr., Las Vegas



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