Long known as “the Dean” of golf course superintendents in the Rocky Mountain region, Stan Metsker has done more than grow grass. Wherever he has worked, he has mentored, giving would-be superintendents an opportunity to learn their craft from a master. He spearheaded the creation of a national certification program for golf course superintendents. He founded, and was the first editor of, the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendent Association’s newsletter. He has served as president of the Rocky Mountain Turfgrass Association. And along the way, he has filled his walls with deserved awards from his peers, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
With all that, he still found time to discover a salt-tolerant alkali grass, Puccinella distans, which will grow in high-salt areas where nothing else will grow. Now marketed nationally as Fults Alkali Grass, it has been the salvation of fairways across the country, and Stan has never received a royalty. His share went to Colorado State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture in 1958.
Superintendent at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs for almost 30 years beginning in 1973, Stan began his association with golf in 1948 as a caddie at Wellshire Golf Course in Denver. After college, he worked for Ted Rupel at Cherry Hills Country Club, including during the 1960 U. S. Open. His first super’s job was at Lakewood Country Club, and in 1963, famed golf course architect Press Maxwell hired him to help build the course at Boulder Country Club. When the course was competed, Metsker was named superintendent. In 1973, Pete Dye hired him to assist in completing the Country Club of Colorado and he stayed there as superintendent for almost three decades. This course became one of the first to bring back the concept of a contrasting rough featuring drought-tolerant grasses.
No sport requires as many skills in the preparation of its playing surface as does golf, and during the 42 years Stan Metsker served as a golf course superintendent, he defined the quality of the playing environments at at some of Colorado’s finest courses, providing opportunities for other unsung heroes to do likewise. He retired in 2001 and was given a lifetime honorary membership to the Country Club of Colorado.