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Olds Golf Club superintendent gets 20-year service award

Jason Clouston was about 24 years old when he became superintendent of the Olds Golf Club
MVT Clouston 20 years-2
Olds Golf Club president Mike Dezall, left, presents superintendent Jason Clouston, right, with an award for 20 years of service to the club. The photo depicts the course's first hole. The plaque at the bottom says "presented to Jason Clouston in grateful appreciation of your 20 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Olds Golf Club Association." Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — Olds Golf Club superintendent Jason Clouston achieved a special milestone this past week – an award for 20 years with the club. 

It was presented to him by Mike Dezall, Olds Golf Club president, during the club’s spring annual general meeting, held April 20 at the clubhouse. 

“Jason has (been) -- and continues to be – a very integral part of our organization’s development and our success throughout his 20 years of service here at the Olds Golf Club,” Dezall said. 

Dezall said club members get to enjoy a “first-class facility” thanks to the efforts of Clouston and his crew throughout the season. 

He noted that many in attendance at the meeting have had the chance to work closely with Clouston and see firsthand his “dedication and his pride” as they served in various roles on the board of directors. 

“I’d like to congratulate Jason on achieving this special milestone, extending you a very much appreciated thank you on behalf of the Olds Golf Club,” Dezall said, spurring loud applause. 

During an interview with the Albertan, Clouston marvelled at how quickly 20 years had passed. 

Clouston grew up in Penhold.  

He began the job at the age of 24 after moving to Olds from a golf course north of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where he had served as superintendent for five years.  

Clouston admitted that back then, he only planned to work at the Olds Golf Club for a couple of years or so. 

“I didn’t ever in a million years think I’d be at Olds for 20 years,” he said. 

“Lots has changed,” Clouston said. “It’s a totally different golf course than it was when I got here. 

“I came here, the snow melted the first spring and it was quite shocking what the golf course was like. They'd just come through a drought. There was no turf anywhere on the fairways. It was quite an overwhelming job in front of me. 

“Now I stand here 20 years later and think about the tons of changes we’ve done – I think somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2.5 million worth of projects that we’ve completed in 20 years. It’s pretty rewarding.”  

Over the years, his grounds crew has grown from about eight to 22. 

All kinds of work has been done under Clouston's’ watch. 

For example, he noted the course now boasts five sets tees on each tee box as well as about 22 bunkers and five green complexes. There’s also a 19th hole that can be utilized when renovations are underway to other fairways. 

And as the Albertan reported earlier, about $300,000 worth of improvements are being completed this year on holes 12 through 14. 

“So I mean, this golf course has changed so much. It’s kind of nice,” Clouston said. 

“And you know, the board has always given me a fair bit of freedom with how we do those changes.  

“They give me some general directions as to what they want, but myself and the golf course builder get to almost put our own stamp on these facilities, so it’s kind of neat. Long after I’m gone, my fingerprint will still be on these facilities.” 

Clouston said there are a couple of accomplishments at the course over his career that he’s most proud of. 

One is the fact it was certified as an Audubon cooperative sanctuary through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program for golf courses. 

“I think at the time, we were the 13th golf course in Alberta (to have obtained that certification) and I don’t even know if there’s 20 that have gotten it,” he said.  

“I think sometimes golf courses get put into a mould where they’re (seen as) chemical users and that kind of stuff and it’s nice to show them that it’s different than that. 

“We try to strive with our team that – everybody has a different experience. Some people are here to play golf, some people are here for exercise, some people are here for plants, some people are here for wildlife, so that kind of encompasses a big part that a lot of people really enjoy.” 

Clouston said he also likes the fact that he’s been able to give club members “the ability to have such pride in their facility.” 

“I think that’s something,” he said. 

Clouston plans to continue working for another eight or nine years, “so there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said jokingly. 

He doesn’t see much in the way of major projects that remain to be done. 

“In the early years there were lots of things,” he said. “Now we’re almost to the point where they’re kind of more of wish list kind of things. There’s really no red flags any more, I guess. We’ve kind of put the fires out where they needed to be put out.” 

One big project that might be on the horizon would be some kind of expansion or renovation of the clubhouse, but he figures that’s a good 10 years away. 

“That’s up to the membership to decide,” Clouston said. 

Doug Collie

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