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Reading the greens

After 42 years working on the links, Colonie resident looks back on career

After almost 50 years of working in the golf maintenance business and 42 years on the greens at Albany’s Wolferts Roost Country Club, Bill Stevens stepped off the grass to retire this past April.

After almost 50 years of working in the golf maintenance business and 42 years on the greens at Albany’s Wolferts Roost Country Club, Bill Stevens stepped off the grass to retire this past April. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— In 1978, Stevens officially became the greens superintendent at Wolferts Roost, which he said was “both scary and exciting.”

“We had a great relationship,” said Wolferts Roost General Manager and CFO Pat Culligan, who worked with Stevens for 22 years. “He’s one of the hardest working people I’ve met. In the middle of the summer he’d get here at 5 a.m., and still be here until 5 p.m. He’s very dedicated. He gave his whole career to Wolferts Roost.”

Over the years, Stevens said what’s changed the most are the chemicals used on the greens, especially ones used to treat diseases.

“Back in those days, people didn’t realize the damage the chemicals were doing to the environment. They took care of the diseases, but also harmed the environment,” Stevens said. “Now, there’s a lot safer chemicals for the environment and people.”

A month into his retirement, Stevens said he’ll remain a member of the Northeastern Golf Course Superintendents Association, but wants to spend time with his family and rebuild his motorcycle. Aaron Madison, of Old Westbury and whose family also has a tradition of greens management. Stevens said his best piece of advice to any greens superintendent is to focus communication, especially within the crew.

“That’s the secret of a superintendent … you have a good crew,” Stevens said.

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