NASHPORT – He grew up dreaming of playing professional baseball. Instead, he was committed to a completely different sport.
“I started playing golf when I was around 10 and I really enjoyed it,” said Kevin Graap. “I would never have dreamed that I would be on the other side of golf back then.”
Today Graap is Superintendent at The Virtues Golf Club, which basically means that he oversees all maintenance of the golf course.
“I was offered the position of superintendent in May 2020 and was gladly accepted,” he noted.
At 41, Graap grew up in Zanesville.
“I was very active and sociable,” he recalls. “I loved playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I started playing baseball at a young age and always wanted to be a professional baseball player. ”
Graap graduated from Tri-Valley High School in 1999 and then went to Zane State to study computerized machine tools.
“After getting a job in the field,” he recalls, “I decided not to make a career out of it. I decided to go back to the turf management school at Ohio State ATI (Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster). “
He got his first summer job in 1998 at the Crystal Springs Golf Course in Hopewell.
“I really enjoyed working on the golf course,” he said. “Then I started at Longaberger Golf Club in 2000. After my second year there, I decided that I wanted to become this professional. “
After graduating from Ohio State, Graap became assistant superintendent at Longaberger Golf Club under Mark Rawlins. After four years as an assistant, he decided to move to Illinois to take on a position as superintendent.
“After three years,” said Graap, “I decided to move back to Ohio.”
He has held positions at a number of local golf courses, including the Zanesville Jaycee Public Golf Course.
“At the beginning of my sixth year with Jaycees,” said Graap, “Mark Rawlins contacted me and said he would move on and his position as superintendent would become vacant. I wasted no time getting in touch with the GM Hung Chow. ”
“Kevin started here during the glory days of Longaberger Golf Club,” said Hung Chow, general manager of The Virtues Golf Club. “He knew how great the golf course is. After Mark retired, he came back flat out. We have been experiencing an explosion in golf since the COVID outbreak and it has adapted well to managing our tee boxes, fairways and greens to accommodate more golfers.
“He’s a pretty good golfer himself,” Hung Chow continued. “He can see the golf course more from the player’s perspective than just from the agronomic side. The golfers enjoy the course more because our course setup is more playable and fits the eyes better. ”
“Ever since I started in this business,” Graap replied, “I’ve always dreamed of taking over Mark when he retires. I love what I do and I could never imagine taking a different career path. “
The Virtues Golf Club is located on One Long Drive in Nashport. For more information call 740-763-1100 or log on to www.thevirtuesgolfclub.com.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series that focuses on people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take on ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.