GSI Executive Search News

GSI Executive Search appoints Mark J. Woodward, CGCS, MBA, as Principal and Head Agronomy Consultant

May 12, 2022

DALLAS, TEXAS – GSI Executive Search, an Ethos Club & Leisure Alliance company and one of the nation’s leading recruitment firms specializing in placements for the private club and hospitality industries, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark J. Woodward, CGCS, MBA, as Principal and Head Agronomy Consultant.

Woodward brings more than 50 years of diverse experience in many facets of the golf industry to GSI where he will specialize in Golf Course Superintendent and Director of Agronomy searches, as well as assisting with agronomic consulting and other related projects. Most recently, Woodward served as Director of Agronomy at the prestigious Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona before retiring in December 2020. Prior to that, he served as a Senior Vice President for OB Sports Golf Management where he managed 12 golf courses in three different states.

Woodward spent most of his career in the Arizona golf industry but also served as the CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) based out of Lawrence, Kansas. In a nationwide search in 2005, Woodward was selected by the City of San Diego to serve as the Golf Operations Manager to prepare Torrey Pines Golf Course for the 2008 U.S. Open Golf Championship. While at Torrey Pines, Woodward also hosted three Buick Invitational PGA Tour tournaments and three Junior World tournaments.

He also spent 31 years managing multiple facilities for the City of Mesa, AZ, including two golf courses, two tennis centers, two major league spring training facilities for the Chicago Cubs, and a Park Ranger Program.

Woodward has a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from Arizona State University (ASU) in Environmental Resources in Agriculture and a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. He has served on local golf course superintendents boards (Cactus and Pine GCSAA) numerous times and on the national board of directors of the GCSAA for seven years, including a term as president. Woodward was CEO of the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), and along with the CEOs of the PGA of America, the Club Management Association (CMAA), and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), he played a key role in starting the “WE ARE GOLF” coalition and the “NATIONAL GOLF DAY” programs that are still active today.

In 2006, Woodward was named one of golf’s “Most Admired Operators” by Golf Inc., the same magazine that recognized him as one of the top 35 “Most Powerful People in Golf” in 2008 and 2009 Generations of the Woodward family have worked in the Arizona golf industry, dating back to 1938. Over the years, there have been as many as 10 members of the family who have served as golf superintendents in Arizona. In 2021, Woodward became the third member of his family to be inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame.

“Agronomy is key to any club and we’re proud to be welcoming one of the best in the business to our team at GSI Executive Search,” says Bob Jones, President of GSI Executive Search. “Mark’s expertise will help us better serve our clients as they’re seeking candidates with this specialized background, and we’re thrilled to have him leading our consulting efforts in this area.”

Shawn Emerson, an Agronomy Consultant at GSI Executive Search, shared, "I’ve always stated that relationships lead to partnerships, and I am excited to be working with GSI Executive Search, Ethos Club and Leisure, and Mark Woodward. Combining our resources will produce a dynamic team, well versed in agronomy, water conservation, construction, and club management. This partnership creates one of the strongest teams available to any club seeking outside expertise."

"I couldn’t think of a better place to work during this time of my life,” says Woodward. “GSI has an excellent reputation in the private club and hospitality industry and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue doing what I love by advising golf clubs about the practice of agronomy.”

About GSI Executive Search

GSI Executive Search, an Ethos Club & Leisure Alliance company, is a full-service executive search firm serving the private club and hospitality industries throughout the U.S. The firm's hands-on, thorough, and results-oriented approach has led to successful placements for over 27 years with more than 800 client clubs/organizations and over 1,200 search assignments. For more information, visit

Mark J. Woodward, CGCS, MBA
Principal and Head Agronomy Consultant, GSI Executive Search