Reference Letters

March 3, 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

I have known and worked with Mark Black since 1984 when he was the Golf Course Superintendent at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Florida. Mark was present during the construction and was responsible for the grow-in maintenance of three championship golf courses there. By 1987, the Club’s original Marsh Course was included on Golf Digest magazine’s list of the Top 100 Courses in the United States.

After almost fifteen years at Bonita Bay, Mark was asked to become the Head Superintendent at Quail West Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida. Quail West is a very high-end golf community with two courses that were also designed by our firm. Mark continued to do outstanding work there for over eighteen years.

To say that Mark is a stickler for detail when it comes to preparing golf courses for daily or tournament play would be an understatement. He is recognized as a true professional throughout the golf industry and his relationship with me and our Company has been no exception over our many years of working together. He knows how to establish and maintain fine turfgrass of the highest quality. His understanding of the game of golf and how it is played is extensive. This combination has proven to be very successful for providing exceptional playing surfaces from tee to green. He has hosted many tournaments for the PGA Section, US Open Qualifiers and Senior Tour events. Throughout his career, Mark has trained many fine assistant superintendents who are now at some of the top clubs in the Naples and Fort Myers area.

I strongly support Mark in his new venture into Golf Course Consulting and extend my endorsement for his knowledge and abilities.

Arthur Hills

To whom it may concern:

On behalf of the membership and staff at The Club at Bella Collina, I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for Mark Black, President of J. Mark Black Consulting. Recently, Bella Collina employed the services of Mark during a time when our course (specifically our greens) were in distress and had come under attack by an unidentified disease. At the time, the likelihood of the club losing our greens seemed almost certain.

Mark was contacted and without hesitation, stepped forward and immediately diagnosed and recognized the issue at hand. He was able to meet with and collaborate alongside our course superintendent to develop a comprehensive plan to treat and resolve the problem. His knowledge and expertise coupled with his intense passion were invaluable in helping us to resolve this critical issue. In addition, he was instrumental in helping all of us to feel confident that we were in good hands and that the direction he had taken would unequivocally save our greens. Subsequently, soil samples were sent to the Central Florida Soil Laboratories which confirmed his initial diagnosis. His expertise and analysis helped to expedite treatment including the fact that we did not lose valuable days waiting for soil samples.

With Marks help and consultation, we not only saved our greens but more importantly avoided any interruption in play in addition to the inconvenience of course closure and many costly repairs. Mark continues to be an integral part of our golf maintenance plan by advising us in areas of agronomy, budget control, water treatment as well as insect and disease control.

I would highly recommend that anyone who is in need of agronomic direction and consultation employ Mark’s services.

Jerry Thompson
General Manager
P.G.A Master Professional

My familiarity with Mark Black is three-fold:

First, I played in numerous golf tournaments at Bonita Bay during Mark’s tenure and I always left in awe of the playing conditions at all five courses.

Secondly, I had the privilege of Mark being my Greens and Ground Superintendent at Quail West Golf and Country Club for 16 plus years.  Again, having played competitively throughout S.W. Florida, I was in a position to compare Quail West vs. other courses.  Quail West’s playing conditions were consistently superior to all others.

Thirdly, I had the honor of being Quail West’s first Greens Committee Chairman upon members takeover and it is here I really got to know the man I admired for years.  Mark’s knowledge, dedication, loyalty, management skills, work ethic, fiscal responsibility, industry contacts, and member awareness is second to none.

Mark Black is truly the Best of the Best!

Ken Swetz

Having been in the golf business going on 40 years, I have had the pleasure and honor to work with many fine fellow employees and managers. We all know that it takes a team effort to be our best.

I personally had the pleasure to be a part of a team at Quail West Golf & Country Club for 18 years, when our GM, John Conti, and our Golf Course Director of Grounds, Mark Black, and I were part of a team that most humans will never be lucky enough to experience! We had a run like no other! The opportunity to work for that long of a period when the three top managers all respected one another’s talents and areas of expertise, and we all constantly tried to ALWAYS want to help one another, to make each of us be our best- is to say the least, VERY special!

Mark Black has a very unique style of management. He has the ability to get the very best out of everyone involved! The playing conditions at Quail West were ALWAYS “Tournament ready”! Mark has an attention to fine detail that is second to none!

When it comes to his knowledge of grasses, Mark has no peer! Mark was the first superintendent to bring Ultra Dwarf greens to SW Florida. A grass that is now commonplace. The quality of the playing conditions that Mark has ALWAYS put forth can NEVER be questioned! Top shelf!

As a person, Mark Black once said to all of us at a job meeting; “My grandpa told me a long time ago, it all comes down to basic good manners. Treat people how you want to be treated, and say Please and Thank you”

This may sound simple, but Mark walked the talk!

What I also admired about Mark, if he had a question or concern, he would pick up the phone and ask for help, and at the same time, he would be the first person there to help another course who needed assistance. To put it simple, Mark Black is the most caring person you will ever meet! A man that I am proud to call “My friend”!

Most sincerely,

Shawn Ward, PGA

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