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John E. Kaminski, Ph.D.

Director, 2009 to Present

Dr. Kaminski's interest in golf course management began as many did; with the game of golf.  John's memory of his first time on the golf course was clearly still in his mind when he spoke with us.  "I remember missing my bus to middle school and asking my dad to give me a ride.  We drove towards school and then continued right past.  The next thing I knew I had a new set of golf clubs and was playing my first 18-hole round." It was from this impromptu introduction to the game of golf that John officially got the "bug".

While far off from academia, John had selected Penn State's Landscape Contracting program in hopes of getting into the field of Golf Course Architecture.  Halfway through his schooling at Penn State, John took an extended internship at Desert Mountain Properties in Scottsdale, AZ.  It was during this time that John realized his passion for the maintenance side of golf.  After returning to school, he met with Tom Watschke (advisor of Penn State's Turfgrass Management Program) to discuss his options. Following Dr. Watschke's advice, John entered the Turfgrass Science program and ultimately finished with degrees in Turfgrass Science and Landscape Contracting as well as minors in Business and Horticulture.

It was during John's summer internship working for Paul R. Latshaw (PSU 2-Year Graduate) at Congressional Country Club that his interests started moving beyond the golf course.  "During a one-on-one meeting, I asked Mr. Latshaw what he thought about graduate school," John recalled,"and he immediately told me to contact Dr. Peter Dernoeden (Turfgrass Pathologist, University of Maryland) by the end of the week." And so, John's career took yet another turn as he headed to his home state of Maryland, where he ultimately completed his graduate degrees.

Prior to taking over the 2-Year Program at Penn State, John spent four years as Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology at the University of Connecticut. Now at Penn State, John hopes to continue the tradition of success that the 2-Year Program has exemplified over the past 50+ years, but also hopes to bring a new and fresh approach to educating future golf course superintendents.