One of the most influential men behind Myrtle Beach’s reputation for outstanding golf course conditioning is being honored by his peers Wednesday.
Fred Meda, 68, was the man in charge of golf course maintenance for the former Myrtle Beach National company for nearly 30 years.
When he arrived in 1977, the company’s stable constituted just three of the roughly two dozen in the area.
Upon retirement at the end of 2004, he oversaw the preparation of 10 courses and the Grand Strand boasted well over 100 courses.
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Meda’s contribution to that growth was to institute standards and systems that elevated the golf course conditioning not just on the courses he was responsible for but those throughout the area.
“Fred kind of invented the way it’s done today,” said Tim Moraghan, who was the United States Golf Association’s director of championship agronomy for more than two decades. “In his reporting methods, his clear lines of responsibility, the criteria his people were expected to meet, and his management style and the way he ran the operation, he was ahead of his time.”
For that and more, Meda is receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the 1,800-member Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association. The presentation will be made at 3 p.m. during the association’s 50th annual conference and trade show that is occupying 100,000 square feet of exhibition space and providing more than 100 hours of formal education at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
“Fred hadn’t been here all that long before the standard of golf course maintenance at the beach went to a whole new level,” said Randy Allen, certified golf course superintendent who hosted multiple Senior Tour Championships when he was at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club. “There was a lot more attention to detail so then expectations went up and accountability went up too. He just wanted excellence and he worked hard to get it.”
At first Meda was reluctant to make the move to the beach. He was firmly ensconced at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., and a recruiting phone call from Myrtle Beach National founder and Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Famer Clay Brittain at first fell on deaf ears.
Undeterred, Brittain drove north soon after and eventually won Meda over.
Bill Anderson, another winner of the distinguished service award, said Meda’s influence behind the scenes was as significant as it was on the golf course. Anderson, who has been superintendent at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte for more than 30 years, said Meda helped keep superintendents “in the know” about job openings and emerging solutions to issues on their golf courses.
He described Meda as “The Godfather” of golf course maintenance in Myrtle Beach.
“He was the most successful superintendent with the biggest job,” Anderson said. “He knew who was doing what and how well they were doing it. He knew everything that was going on. He was a political broker. But everybody liked him.”
Meda was influential in establishing the Palmetto Golf Course Superintendents Association along the Grand Strand, which remains one of the largest local superintendent groups in the Carolinas.
He spoke regularly at meetings and turf conferences around the country, won a Superintendent of the Year award from the Carolinas GCSA in the early ‘90s, and was the Carolinas GCSA president in 1981.