From Training Partners to Life Partners

Adam and Susana

Love in Turf

Born into a large, cricket-mad family in Adelaide Australia, Adam Fry had always wanted to be a greenkeeper. It was during his apprenticeship at The Grange Golf Club that he started the connection with The Ohio Program. In 2009, Adam proved his outstanding qualities and been accepted as one of 15 Australians on the following year's turf-internship intake. 

Some 17,000 kilometres across the other side of the world, Susana Oliveira was working as a senior greenkeeper at the Castro Marim Golfe and Country Club in Portugal. In a conference organized by Portuguese Greenkeepers Association, Susana met the keynote speaker, Prof. Karl Danneberger from The Ohio State University, whom an old friend of TOP. After receiving the first introduction of the program, Susana kept it in mind and finally decided to apply after several months. With her excellent experience and enthusiasm in golf, Susana became one of only two female turf interns of 2010.

Life-changing Journey

Life is full of adventure.
Their story started in March 2010. Adam and Susana were placed together at the Harbour Town Golf Links, one of three courses that comprise the famed Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. After initially meeting up with all the other interns in Columbus, OH for orientation, Adam and Susana flew to Hilton Head Island together. It was a bit of shock for them to know that they will live with another Irish intern in a two-bed-room apartment. For Susana, she did spend some time adjusting, since she thought she would stay with other female interns there.

Just because of the side by side working and living experience, these two youths got to know each other pretty well, and they found themselves having similar interestes and passion. With easy-going and fun personalities, they made lifelong friends with the resident Harbour Town crew. All those wonderful experiences, both on and off the course, were pushing them together, and finally they secretly started dating as boy friend and girl friend.

Working Together in Australia

Leave Harbour Town

It was hard for Adam and Susana to leave Harbour Town when their intenship ended in March 2011, because of the wonderful 12-month internship, the beautiful golf course, the nice friends, and because they love each other. 

Oliveira headed back to Portugal, while Adam returned to The Grange Golf Club in Australia. Even though they were physically separated, not a day would pass where they didn’t talk to each other either on the phone, via text or Skype. In early 2012, Adam was appointed assistant superintendent at Kooyonga Golf Club. Similarly, Susana became the assistant superintendent role at the Seve Ballesteros-designed Royal Obidos Spa and Golf Resort, one of Portugal’s top courses.

Landing in Australia

In September 2012, Susana made her first trip to Australia. That two-weeks journey convinced her that she could and would like to stay for her lover. In late August 2013, Susana got the student visa and arrived in Australia again. She went to complete studies in Long Term Academic English  in March 2014. From October 2013 to 2016, Susana held a number of part-time jobs outside of turf.

On June 6th 2015, almost five years after they had first met at Harbour Town, Adam organised a surprise weekend for Susana's birthday and finally asked her to marry him. And in February 2017, they got married in Adelaide. Following the wedding ceremony, they spent their honeymoon travelling through Portugal, then went back to the US. They made a special pilgrimage back to Harbour Town in May 2017, catching up with friends and former colleagues.

Honeymoon in Harbour Town


“It’s great to see the impact of the programme playing out like this for the betterment of the industry. Two young people brought together by The Ohio Program, making a life together with such great
passion for the profession; it gives true meaning to the term ‘exchange programme’. As I often say, we don’t grow grass, we grow people.”- Mike O'Keeffe

To read the original artical, please visit "Turfgrass Management Journal"