June 2022

Carolinas Haul from Auction Near $80,000

Momentum is huge in sports and Don Garrett, CGCS believes it is about to play a major role in the future of Rounds 4 Research, the online auction of golf rounds to raise money for turfgrass research. “People want to be part of something big and this thing is starting to get big,” Garrett, the Carolinas GCSA auction committee co-chair, from The Walker Course at Clemson University, says.

With co-chair Daryl Ewing, from Carolina Lakes Golf Club in Indian Land, SC, Garrett had just overseen a campaign that netted the Carolinas a grand total of $79,097.20 from the sale of 249 items and three cash donations. “I was concerned for a long while during the auction (which ran from April 25 to May 1),” he says. “It was like pulling teeth to get people bidding. But boy, in the last 40 minutes or so, that thing just blew up.”

Garrett believes more than a decade of groundwork, building brand recognition and the pool of golfers looking to bid, has finally reached a point where the auction could see exponential growth over the next few years. “This is golf helping golf and I think people are really starting to get that,” he says. “We’re beginning to raise money that can really make an impact but we’re still only scratching the surface.”

Indeed, with more than 900 courses in the Carolinas, the auction still only has a participation rate slightly above one in four in the region. But Garrett believes growth at the national level could help raise awareness and engagement at the local level. This year’s auction set a new high nationally raising more than $482,000. That sort of number generates attention on its own, underlining Garrett’s point about momentum.

Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says he was “ecstatic” with this year’s result.

Calendar of Events

June 13
Coastal Plains GCSA Summer Shamble - Yeamans Hall Club

June 14
BRTA Sporting Clay Tournament - Hunting Creek Preserve - Harmony, NC

June 23
WNCTA June Meeting - Mountain Glen Golf Course

July 8
Low Country GCSA - X Golf Event - Tanger 2 Outlets

July 15
Palmetto GCSA Pelicans Baseball Night

October 9 - 11
Virlina Cup
Camden Country Club
Camden, SC

October 16 - 17
Fall Mountain Meeting
Blowing Rock Country Club
Blowing Rock NC

November 14 - 16
Carolinas GCSA Annual Conference and Show
Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Myrtle Beach, SC




Fruchte and Women Create Open History

In winning the U.S. Women’s Open last weekend, Minjee Lee made more money than a woman ever has in a golf tournament with a check for $1.8 million. In winning it at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Resort in Southern Pines, NC she was also part of another record. It was the fourth time that former Carolinas GCSA director David Fruchte, CGCS has presented the golf course for the championship.

On each occasion, players have praised Fruchte’s work and that of his team. This year that included key staff like Scott Nuzum, Chris Mintmier, Cody Self, Juan Santos, Raymond Smith, Tom Stier, Christopher Montague and Robert Schillawski. Just as significantly, or maybe even more so in the bigger picture, the team also included a record 35 women volunteers.

While GCSAA says only two percent of superintendents are women, that share is certain to grow thanks to efforts like this, supported by Sygnenta and others, to get women in golf course maintenance experience at major events. As USGA executive director Mike Whan told the women volunteers during the event, their efforts would be seen around the world and be “just as cool in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea or Australia, because young girls are going to be watching this all over the world.”

At the same time, just over an hour away in Raleigh, another Carolinas GCSA veteran Todd Lawrence, CGCS hosted the Rex Hospital Open for the Korn Ferry Tour. Lawrence has hosted the tournament at TPC Wakefield since 2001, the year the event was won by John Maginnes, who many in golf course maintenance know more recently as co-host of the radio show Katrek and Maginnes on Tap, which regularly features interviews with golf course superintendents.

The Carolinas remain in the golfing spotlight this week when the Korn Ferry Tour heads to Greenville, SC where Kyle Callaghan hosts the BMW Charity Classic at Thornblade Club.

Brotherly Love Goes Down to the Wire

Stand back Tin Cup and Bagger Vance, a couple of brothers, identical twin brothers in fact, recently starred in one of the most dramatic and unlikely scenes at the Carolinas GCSA Assistant Superintendent Golf Championship. Daniel Anderson, from Cowans Ford Golf Club in Stanley, NC and twin, Matt, from Verdict Ridge Golf and Country Club, in Denver, NC are fiercely competitive during any round.

But when they stood on the tee at the closing hole at Carolina Lakes Golf Club in Indian Land, SC in early May, the “chirping” between the two was loud. With the championship and a place on the Virlina Cup team on the line, Daniel led Matt by two strokes. It looked like a winning lead after Matt’s approach spun back off the green and teetered on the lip of the bunker.

“I was in the bunker in two but even if I made bogey there was no way he was going to make birdie. He was so dead,” laughs Daniel. “But then he steps up and darn makes it! So, my six-foot putt for par suddenly feels like it’s a 20-footer. Luckily, I slid it in the side for a 73.” One shot better than his brother.

Nearly 40 assistants signed up for the event hosted by Carolinas GCSA director, Daryl Ewing, and presented in partnership with Green Resource. For the Anderson twins, it was just one more chapter in a long history of competitive golf careers. During the high school senior year, they played the entire season with their aggregate scores ending up just one shot apart, with Daniel coming out on top again.

Now they work just eight miles away from each other. Remarkably, both their bosses are named Mitchell – Mitchell Clodfelter at Cowans Ford and Mitchell Shaw at Verdict Ridge. “And you won’t believe it, but our GMs both happened to be called Scott,” Daniel says.

Virlina Cup Pioneer Returns to Team

A veteran who represented the Carolinas in the inaugural Virlina Cup matches back in 2009 returns to the team for this year’s contest against Virginia at Camden Country Club in Camden, SC from October 9 to 11. Doug Lowe, CGCS, a Carolinas GCSA past president, from Greensboro Country Club in Greensboro, NC earns his place as the sponsor’s pick by the event’s presenting partner, Syngenta.

Lowe will also serve as co-captain, collaborating with non-playing captain, Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger. Kreger’s captain’s pick this year is event host and Virlina Cup regular, Nick Price, from Camden Country Club.

Virginia holds the cup after a narrow win at James River Country Club in Newport News, VA last year but trails 7-4 over the history of the event. Last year’s match came down to the final putt on the final hole of the final match. Virginia’s Jeff Cornwall rolled in a six-footer to give his team victory 8.5 points to 7.5.

This year’s Carolinas team is high on experience with just one new face, that of Daniel Anderson from Cowans Ford Golf Club in Stanley, NC. Anderson earns his spot as this year’s Carolinas GCSA assistant superintendent champion (see story above).

Riley Boyette from Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, NC retains his place on the team as the reigning Carolinas GCSA superintendent champion. The rest of the team is made up of players who earned their ticket at various qualifying tournaments earlier this season.

The team is: Daniel Anderson, Cowans Ford Golf Club (NC); Riley Boyette, Carolina Country Club (NC); Barry Graham, CGCS Wildcat Cliffs Country Club (NC); Terry English, Oak Point – Kiawah Island Resort (SC); Ryan Hull, Methodist University Golf Course (NC); Doug Lowe, CGCS Greensboro Country Club (NC); Bradley Pope, Heritage Golf Club (NC); Nick Price, Camden Country Club (SC).

Association Adds Labor To BMP Library

The Carolinas GCSA has added labor to its library of Best Management Practices for golf in the region. Recently, the association emailed all members a 19-page document detailing strategies and techniques for addressing the current labor shortage affecting golf course maintenance operations across the region.

“Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet in the document,” says Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger. “But we do believe that presenting this information will help some superintendents form a better plan when it comes to hiring, training and retaining employees at their facility. The current labor market is so tight and competitive that a lot of the old methods of finding people, or waiting for them to come knocking, simply don’t apply anymore.”

“Carolinas Labor BMP” stresses the importance of creating a potential recruiting pipeline with “local municipalities, school systems, workforce development boards and community programs.” 

“Engaging educational institutions is a priority,” the document says. “That engagement can come through supporting scholarships for local college students or hosting field trips for elementary, junior high, and high schools to explore golf courses from a science, math, biology and learning perspective. These levels of engagement are important to begin to develop future generations of golf maintenance professionals.”

The document also provides information on broadening the potential talent pool by looking to build a more diverse team and taking a more deliberate approach to the recruiting and hiring process.

“Gut instinct alone isn’t a reliable predictor of successful work performance or job retention. Interviews are the best tool when making strategic hiring decisions,” the document says. “Research has shown that structured interviews are about two times as impactful as those that are not.

“Retaining employees impacts bottom-line results, as an average cost to replace a worker is 30 percent of the annual salary…Once employees are hired, it is crucial to create a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork, learning, and professional development. This is important for reducing turnover, creating motivation, and increasing productivity.”

Carolinas golf course maintenancedepartments provide full-time andseasonal work for a diverse workforceacross both states. Talent acquisition isconducted through collaborating withlocal municipalities, school systems,workforce development boards, andcommunity programs.
Superintendents frequently hire studentsfrom local schools and universities forfull-time or part-time employment andinternships.

A BMP in this process is creating asystem for continuous labor supplythrough developing multi-level local andstate relationships to secure an activelabor pool. Through creation of a workingsystem, the ability to secure qualified jobcandidates becomes turnkey, saving bothtime and financial resources.

BMPs provide strategies for overcoming labor shortages and minimizing training and recruiting costs, plus lowering turnover and associated expenses.

Develop relationships within the community through a variety of school and government-basedprograms to diversify workforce
Utilize social media, newspapers and other platforms to communicate opportunities andongoing workplace culture ponsor events, host meetings with key community influencers, including schooladministration, chambers of commerce and parents evelop relations with the local school systems, vocational schools, community colleges, anduniversities; provide continuing education opportunities

Inclusion is different from diversity. Simply hiring adiverse candidate base is not enough to positivelyimpact a company. These candidates should feelembraced by their workplace and colleagues. Theyshould feel empowered to actively engage with theircompany and coworkers. Inclusion occurs when allemployees experience a sense of engagement andbelonging.

Employees come toorganizations with plenty of connections, andcompanies would be remiss not to takeadvantage of these ready-made networks toexpand their recruiting initiatives.