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February 2020

Ted Horton Shares An Enduring Stewardship

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By Sally J. Sportsman

Edward “Ted” Horton, CGCS, has created a lasting legacy. Now 76, he is recognized for his lifelong dedication to golf and the environment.

In February 1998, as the subject of Golf Business magazine’s cover story, “California Dreaming,” Horton was vice president of resource management for the Pebble Beach Company. He already had made an indelible mark and would continue to do so throughout his career.

“I am proud of what I’ve accomplished,” Horton says. “I had the opportunity to work at some of the finest clubs in the U.S.

“My experience later led me to hold out a shingle for consulting, and I created Ted Horton Consulting. I’m retired now, no longer on the cutting edge of golf.”

Admiration for his leadership, however, remains undiminished.

“We are all stewards of the land,” Horton says. “With golf courses we control a significant part of open space, and we must always honor that.”

Horton knew early on that a career as a golf course superintendent would be his calling. What he could not have predicted was the imprint he would leave on the game.

“I first met Ted in the mid-1990s, at a Golf & Environment conference at Spanish Bay Resort,” says Steve Mona, executive director of WE ARE GOLF. “It was evident to me that Ted commanded great respect from both the environmental and the golf community.

“In my judgment, Ted was the person most responsible for bringing these two groups together. He also was among a small group of individuals who led the way in illustrating how golf courses were environmentally responsible land users, which was critical in positively changing the perception of golf’s impact on the environment.”

As a leader in golf course environmentalism, Horton shared his expertise widely. The Links at Spanish Bay became the first fully Audubon-certified facility in California during his tenure at the Pebble Beach properties. He won many prestigious awards for his work, including most recently the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the GCSAA. 

“I think golf is still one of the most challenging sports there is,” says Horton. “The fundamental teachings from golf are far greater than how to hit a golf club and score well.

“It’s about what it brings to young people, the integrity it demands. Golf has survived generations and world wars, and will be around for a long time after I’m gone.

“It’s been a wonderful career for me and I have been happy every moment I’ve walked on a golf course.”

Sally J. Sportsman is an Orlando, Florida-based freelance golf writer.

 

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