Kinsale Golf Club has named Rusty Mercer as its director of agronomy.
Founded by longtime southwest Florida businessman Anthony Soave, Kinsale anticipates opening its Gil Hanse– and Jim Wagner-designed course in the fall of 2024.
“Having an experienced agronomist like Rusty on site when Gil and Jim are directing the shaping and building of the course is a seamless plan for Kinsale Golf Club,” Soave said. “We are a golf-only club so high-quality course conditions are paramount. Rusty will ensure that our membership has a top-shelf golf experience from Day 1.”
Mercer, most recently the director of agronomy at the Streamsong Resort in central Florida, has nearly 35 years of experience in golf course maintenance. He has also served in agronomy leadership positions at Hot Springs (Arkansas) Country Club and The Golf Club at Cuscowilla in Lake Oconee, Georgia.
During his time at those facilities, he has worked with prominent golf course architects in new construction projects, including Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw at Hot Springs, Cuscowilla and Streamsong Red; Tom Doak at Streamsong Blue; and Hanse and Wagner at Streamsong Black.
“I am really excited to join Kinsale Golf, which is a great opportunity for me in my already fulfilled career in golf,” Mercer said. “I have a passion for the game, and I believe what separates great golf courses from simply good ones is optionality in how one chooses to attack every golf hole. Working with Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner again as they build the course with the philosophy of Macdonald and Raynor will make sure that ground game will be alive and well at Kinsale.”
A graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in agronomy with an emphasis in golf and turf management, Mercer and his wife, Sharon, have two grown sons.
Kinsale Golf Club is located on prime southwestern Florida land owned by Soave. Designers Hanse and Wagner will employ C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor design elements on the Florida landscape.
The course is intended to have the look and feel of a links course with an almost limitless variety of challenges for golfers of all skill levels. It will operate with a membership of 250 from October through May of each year. The facilities will include an 18-hole golf course, driving range, teaching and short-game areas, practice putting green, and a clubhouse.