Experience a big deal for Munjack
LORETTO — Though she doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer, Courtney Munjack arrived at Immergrun Country Club this year to assume the duties of golf course superintendent, a position filled by women at less than two percent of golf facilities nationwide.
In coming to Loretto, Munjack has brought with her an impressive resume acquired while working at a variety of courses in the Pittsburgh area.
“We’re fortunate to have her here,” Immergrun head pro Derek Tyson said. “From the beginning, she’s done a fantastic job for us.”
Munjack grew up in Lancaster County where she was a standout athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and field hockey. She later moved to State College and graduated from high school there before attending Stetson University in central Florida, playing on the school’s volleyball squad. After three years, she returned to State College and earned a degree in Wildlife and Fishery Sciences from Penn State University.
“Soon after graduating, I discovered that the job prospects in my field were pretty sparse,” Munjack said. “That’s when I discovered golf and set my sights on a career in that field.”
In the early 2000’s, Munjack took a job on the turf maintenance crew at Rolling Hills Country Club in McMurray, Pennsylvania. While there, course superintendent John Shaw was her boss, but more importantly acted as her mentor. During that time, he encouraged Munjack to go back to school.
By 2005, Munjack had earned her second four-year degree from Penn State — this time, in Turf Grass Science. From there, she accepted a position at Totteridge Country Club as an assistant superintendent to Alan Easter. That was followed by stints at Wildwood, Southpointe and Valley Brook Country Clubs.
Finally, in 2017, Munjack was named the head superintendent at Nemacolin Country Club, just south of Pittsburgh.
“I always knew I wanted to work in a profession that allowed me to be outdoors,” Munjack said. “I enjoy the ‘hands on nature’ of being a golf course superintendent and the variety of responsibilities it entails.”
Late last year, an opportunity arose that would allow Munjack to move to Cambria County, where her husband grew up. Following an interview process last November, Munjack was hired by Saint Francis University to be superintendent at the university-owned golf course. While some of her duties are associated with the college’s campus, her main responsibilities — and time — will be spent at Immergrun.
“From the first time I walked this golf course, I really felt a personal connection,” Munjack said. “This place has a tremendous history, and the architecture of this course is just gorgeous.”
Munjack was quick to praise retiring superintendent Ed Shank, who has provided counsel, as needed, during her first few months on the job. Her maintenance crew, who include Tim Green and Kaylee Krug, have also earned high marks for their work.
As the season progresses, Munjack is looking to complete several projects, including improving the course’s bunkers and upgrading the drainage and irrigation systems. The club has also begun to add cart paths on several holes.
“A typical day for me, is to arrive here at about 5:30 a.m. and begin checking out the equipment and mowers,” Munjack said. “I’ll then go over what I want the crew and myself to accomplish that day.”
If course conditions at Immergrun are any barometer, Munjack and her crew are accomplishing plenty. As she goes about her work, it doesn’t seem to bother her that she has chosen a career that, to this point, has few females in leadership (Note: During the early 1990’s, Philipsburg Country Club’s superintendent was Deb Holdren, a Penn State graduate who eventually took a position on the groundscrew at Ohio State University.)
“I know for myself, I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears in to get where I’m at today,” Munjack said. “And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. You just have to work hard and be good at what you do.”