October 2022

Hurricane Ian Hammers Coastal Courses in SC


Storm debris on a golf course rarely includes a boat attached to a dock but that’s what Chris Allen found on No. 13 tee box at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Hurricane Ian barreled into the South Carolina coast on September 30 as a Category One hurricane after wreaking havoc in Florida.

A number of courses, from Debordieu Club in Georgetown to the Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach, sustained damage from winds and a storm surge of six to eight feet. “I think the amount of storm surge caught a lot of people off guard,” Steve Hamilton, CGCS from The Dunes Golf and Beach Club says. Hamilton lost more than 40 sizeable oak trees, a similar number to Scott Brown at the Surf Golf and Beach Club 15 miles north.

Allen actually found a total of eight docks on the golf course at Pawleys Plantation. “It was a little messy,” he says, with considerable understatement. “The wind was insane.” Five holes – Nos. 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17 and No. 18 tee box – were submerged and a dyke on course will need to be inspected by the Army Corps of Engineers before Allen can reopen the cart path that runs along it. Using an alternate routing, Allen reopened all 18 holes on Monday thanks in part, he says, to much-needed help from clubhouse staff.

While debris clean up was a focus for courses in the storm’s path, including as far inland as Charlotte, NC, those inundated with saltwater face ongoing issues from bermudagrass yellowing. For Hamilton, and maybe others, that challenge is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that his irrigation lake went from freshwater to saltwater. “We’re pushing debris into big piles and have a tree contractor out working,” he says. “It leaves a mess, but it could have been a lot worse.”




Calendar of Events

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

October 10
Coastal Plains GCSA Chapter Championship - Rivertowne Country Club

October 10
TETAC 1st Annual Eric Duncanson Memorial Golf Tournament - Carolina Trace Golf Club, Sanford, NC

October 11
Blue Ridge Turfgrass Association Fall Fundraiser - Linville Golf Club

October 13
Piedmont GCSA Fall Fundraiser - The Cardinal

October 16 - 17
Carolinas GCSA Fall Meeting - Blowing Rock Country Club

October 18
UTA Annual Business Meeting & Golf Championship - The Rock Golf Club & Resort

October 18
WNCTA Ernie Hayes Memorial Fundraiser Tournament - Hound Ears Club - Boone, NC

October 25
Triangle Turfgrass Association Championship - Treyburn Country Club

November 14-16
Carolinas GCSA Annual Trade Show Myrtle Beach Convention Center
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November 14 - 16
2022 Carolinas GCSA Conference & Trade Show –
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Wood and Team Produce Seamless Cup Experience

Good golf course superintending can be like good policing – easily overlooked. When things go as planned an awful lot can be taken for granted. So, the fact that Keith Wood and his team at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC were so under the radar during the Presidents Cup, it was absolutely to their credit. They did a great job.

U.S. team captain Davis Love III did make a point of thanking Wood, his staff and volunteers in his post-win remarks. But overwhelmingly, commentators and officials focused on the play, the players and - thanks to LIV Golf - those players who weren’t there. Golf.com produced a piece highlighting 30 observations about the event and not one of them pertained to the condition of the golf course. Nor was it mentioned by anyone in nearly 45 minutes of pomp and ceremony before the first tee shot.

“As a product, that golf course really shone brightly,” says Carolinas GCSA executive director Tim Kreger, who served on the volunteer staff all week. “And that only happens because of the expertise and dedication of Keith and his team, with help from some very dedicated volunteers. I think they deserved a lot more credit and recognition than they got. Maybe the whole LIV story took some attention away, I don’t know. But I can tell you that those guys at Quail Hollow did the Carolinas very proud on the world stage.”

Kreger says one of the great behind the scenes stories was that Wood produced another immaculate product with an entirely new team from that which hosted the PGA Championship in 2017. “Not one of his three assistants were on staff back then, yet they took the reins and ran with it and did not miss a single beat,” he says. “Keith deserves enormous credit for the way he empowers people, gives them the opportunity to grow and move on and succeed.”

Carolinas’ First Tournament For Wee One Raises $23,000

The Carolinas GCSA’s first tournament to support the Wee One Foundation raised $23,000 for the charity that helps golf course management professionals and their families who are faced with overwhelming expenses due to medical hardship. More than 20 teams competed in the four-person captain’s choice tournament hosted by superintendent James Sowers at Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, NC in August.

“We’re really proud to be able to give back to the Wee One because it has been so supportive of a number of our members in the Carolinas GCSA, and nearby here in the Southeast,” says Carolinas GCSA president, Billy Bagwell, from Callawassie Island Club in Okatie, SC. “It truly is a wonderful organization with a wonderful mission, and we look forward to supporting its work on an ongoing basis.”

The Carolinas GCSA plans to alternate with the Georgia GCSA in hosting an annual fundraiser. Greg Burleson, CGCS from Wade Hampton Golf Club in Highlands, NC serves on the board of the Wee One Foundation and is a past president of the Georgia GCSA.

Several Carolinas GCSA members who have received Wee One Foundation donations were at Trump National to support the fundraiser. “I think the fact we had a full field in our first year shows just how much our members think of the work the foundation does,” Bagwell says. “We also appreciate Trump National Golf Club and James Sowers for allowing us to stage the tournament at such a fine facility in such great shape.”

Wee One Foundation executive director, Luke Cella, traveled from Illinois for the event at Trump National and expressed his gratitude. “No one ever asks to get sick. And the cost of treatment, and referrals, and pursuing second opinions can get crazy,” he says. “By helping out, we relieve some of that stress and allow these families to focus on the health of whoever is sick and that is what is most important.”

October Events Prime Pump Before Conference and Show

Next month’s Conference and Trade Show is undoubtedly the high point of the Carolinas GCSA year but this year at least, October runs a close second. Including local association meetings, there is a total of nine significant events, and one significant announcement, planned this month. First off, was the Lowcountry GCSA’s annual inshore fishing tournament on Wednesday followed by the start of the Virlina Cup at Camden Country Club on Sunday.

Nick Price is not just host superintendent as the Carolinas GCSA tries to regain the cup from their Virginia GCSA rivals, he’s also on the team. The Carolinas GCSA leads 7-4 in the history of the Virlina Cup, which is presented in partnership with Syngenta.

A week later, on October 16, Carolinas GCSA members will gather for a reception on the eve of the annual fall mountain meeting, this year at Blowing Rock Country Club in Blowing Rock, NC with host superintendent, Josh Costner. The following morning begins with a presentation that association leaders hope will be the first step in an exciting new service not just for members but potentially, also staff, crew and their families.

Chad Huff, of Allegacy Benefit Solutions, will outline a new health insurance opportunity through the Carolinas GCSA. The program offers medical, dental, vision, life with long-term care, accident, cancer, critical illness, telemedicine and free identity theft insurance. “We’ve been working towards what we hope will provide viable and affordable options for a lot of our members and those close to them who might not currently have easy access to health insurance,” Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says.

In the meantime, anticipation continues to build for Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, SC form November 14 to 16. Members are reminded that early registration pricing expires on October 17.

Dusa Tackles 100 Holes Raising Money for Kids

On November 1, Eric Dusa, CGCS will play 100 holes of golf, hitting somewhere between 400 and 500 shots while he walks about 19 miles. And he’s doing it all so more kids can get to play the game that he says has been so good to him his entire life. Dusa will be one of 16 golfers taking part in the 100 Hole Hike that day to raise money for the Carolinas Youth on Course program.

Youth on Course is a national program that subsidizes green fees at facilities which allow juniors between the ages of 6 and 18 play their course for $5, or less.

“I want to give back to a game that has given so much to me,” says Dusa, who’s earliest golf days came playing as a kid growing up in Kalamazoo, MI. “Golf is in such a strong position right now, but we need to make sure it stays that way. Youth on Course is such a great program because it gives all kids a chance to fall in love with the game without breaking the bank.”

Dusa is now park manager at H. Cooper Black Field Trail and Recreation Area in Cheraw for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. A longtime Carolinas GCSA member, he has an extensive background as a golf course superintendent and still does consulting work.

A month from teeing it up soon after sunrise at nine-hole Midland Country Club in Pinehurst, NC, Dusa aims to raise $2,500 with his marathon effort. A five-handicapper, he hopes to complete each nine-hole loop in about 45 minutes then take a 15-minute break before heading out again. To prepare, he’s been walking between three and five miles a day for weeks.

Colleagues can support Dusa’s efforts at www.100holehike.org/CGAHike2022/EricDusa.