Courtesy of Athletics

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Yale Athletics announced the hire of Jeffrey Austin, director of agronomy at Quail Hollow Country Club in Ohio and a former assistant superintendent at Augusta National Golf Club, as the new superintendent of Yale Golf Course.

Austin replaces Scott Ramsay, the former superintendent, who left in March 2020 to serve as superintendent of Farmington Country Club. Ramsay was the superintendent for Yale Golf Course for 17 years. Matthew Golino has served as interim superintendent since, and Austin is set to start work next week.

“We already knew what we needed,” Yale Golf Course General Manager Peter Palacios said about the search for a new superintendent. “We needed to find someone who not only had the economic [knowledge] but also was able to be someone we can put in front of our distinguished alumni or administration or those individuals who are supporters of the Yale Golf Course when the time comes to really talk about how we’re going to maintain the golf course.”

In a Tuesday phone call with the News, Palacios expressed confidence that in Austin, Yale found someone who could “maintain a high level of playability for many, many years” at the course.

The decision to hire Austin was made by a committee that included Palacios, Yale’s Director of Athletics Vicky Chun, Associate Athletic Director for Advancement and External Partnerships Scott Lukas and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Fan Engagement Nathalie Carter. Men’s golf coach Colin Sheehan ’97 and women’s golf coach Lauren Harling were not on the hiring committee, Palacios said.

Palacios told the News that more than 100 people applied for the position. Of those who applied, 95 moved on past the first phase. Palacios said that he personally called all the references of those on the finalist list, but that Austin’s hire was ultimately the result of a unanimous committee decision.

Chun expressed excitement about Austin’s hire in the announcement, adding that his experience at Augusta National and Quail Hollow will “make the Yale Golf Course an incredible place to experience the game for years to come.”

Austin will move to New Haven from Ohio, where he has worked at Quail Hollow Country Club in Painesville since 2014. In all, Austin has more than 16 years of experience managing golf course maintenance, according to the Yale release.

Before working at Quail Hollow, Austin lived in Augusta, Georgia and worked at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament. Like Yale’s course, the Augusta course is considered to be an American Golden Age architecture design. Austin’s duties at the world-famous Augusta course included overseeing the pesticide application program, assisting in course setup during the member season and the Masters Tournament and training interns.

Even after he moved to Ohio and Quail Hollow, Austin continued to return to Augusta and volunteer for the Masters.

“While here, [Austin] demonstrated agility in his ability to listen and learn, strengthen his understanding and application of agronomy practices and a passion for our sport and the cathedrals on which it is played,” Augusta National Superintendent Brad Owen said in the statement. “We are proud to call Jeff an Augusta National alumni and look forward to seeing him every year when he returns as our invited guest to assist us with our tournament.”

Austin’s appointment comes after a summer during which the Yale Golf Course and its condition suffered criticism. COVID-19 shut the course down, leading to an extended closure and limited upkeep before the links reopened last September. “The entire University shut down, every single staff person went home and the course suffered from that,” Ramsay said last fall.

Austin holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton and a turfgrass management certification from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Eugenio Garza García covers baseball, golf and athletic phasing. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, he is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Economics and English.