Boyette Wins Title Bankert Lands Ace

Riley Boyette won his third Carolinas GCSA Golf Championship with a one-over par round of 73 at True Blue Golf Club yesterday. Boyette, assistant superintendent at Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, NC, held off a late rally by reigning champion Terry English, from Kiawah Island Resort’s Oak Point course to win by two. Boyette’s previous wins came in 2016 and 2017 when he was at The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek in SC.

More than 300 golfers teed it up at True Blue, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and Wachesaw Plantation in the annual event presented in partnership with Smith Turf and Irrigation. The great weather was matched by the conditioning of the golf courses thanks to host superintendents Kevin Thompkins, Jackson Clemons and Scott Fretz.

Another highlight of the day was a hole-in-one on the par three 7th hole at True Blue by Mike Bankert, director of agronomy at Legends Resort. Bankert used an eight-iron to hole out from just over 140 yards, completing a unique double, becoming the first superintendent in Carolinas GCSA history to score an ace in the same month he appeared on the cover of Carolinas Green.

STI president Anna-Lindsay Yarbrough welcomed golfers at True Blue. Results from the championship, four ball and captain’s choice formats will be available at the STI booth on the trade show floor today with trophies available for pick up from the booth on Wednesday.

Show Time Means Face Time at Last

Perhaps even more than the first-class golf, world-class education and top-class trade show, what people are looking forward to most at Conference and Show this week is, well, other people. The cancellation of last year’s event created a void for many in the golf turf industry, not just professionally, but also personally. We’ve haven’t just missed colleagues since November 2019, we’ve missed friends.

Even so, some familiar faces will be missing this year and maybe none more familiar than that of former USGA Green Section guru, Pat O’Brien. This is the first Carolinas Show O’Brien has been absent from in more than 30 years. Now retired, chances are he would have been here if he wasn’t busy with one of his twin daughter’s weddings.

Another of similar renown and vintage who is absent this week is George Frye. A legend at Kiawah Island Resort where he grew-in the Ocean Course and hosted the Ryder Cup in 1991, Frye, who, in his latter career founded Transgolf, has been battling some health issues and underwent another eye surgery earlier this month.

Many from the Lowcountry and elsewhere in the region will also miss Scott Martin, CGCS of Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply. Martin was gravely ill with COVID-19 but after many weeks in hospital is now home and making good progress in his recovery. It is the first show he has missed since his first in 1993.

On the flipside, someone who will be here, just eight months shy of his 90th birthday – arriving late Tuesday from Kansas City, MO – is Palmer Maples, Jr., CGCS. Our Distinguished Service Award winner in 2001, Maples attended his first Carolinas Show in the ‘60s. That’s an attendance record now spanning seven decades. He overcame his own serious battle with COVID-19 in 2020 and, like Martin, is sincerely grateful for all the prayers and support that came from the Carolinas family.

Former Leaders Among Big Field at Sporting Clays

Where do Carolinas GCSA past-presidents go when their board service is over? Well, more and more of them are turning up at the annual Sporting Clays Championship. This year, four past-presidents were among a capacity field of 64 at Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown yesterday.

It matched the largest turn out in the history of the sporting clays championship which is presented in partnership with Bayer and Carolina Fresh Farms. The last year so many shooters competed was 2103. The first sporting clays championship was in 2005 with 35 shooters.

Past-presidents taking aim were John Williams, CGCS (1997) now with Oakland Plantation Turf Farm, Don Garrett, CGCS (1998) from The Walker Course at Clemson University, John Davis (2011) now with Tri-Link Solutions, and Adam Charles (2017) from The Preserve at Verdae.

Charles wasn’t just a “big” gun in the field, he was also the top gun, winning his third sporting clays championship to go with wins in 2017 and 2018. This year’s winner of the affiliate division was Jason Whitecliff of Syngenta.

Assistants Social Shapes As New Show Staple

The Carolinas GCSA Assistants Committee opened Conference and Show week with a bang when close to 70 people attended their now annual gathering at Banditos Cantina on Sunday night. Committee chair Richard Brown was thrilled with the turnout which he says almost doubled the crowd at the first event in 2019.

“It was cool to see so many people,” says Brown, from Orangeburg Country Club. “Hopefully, this event will continue to grow and really become a staple of show week. It was so good to be able to catch up with people face to face that you hadn’t seen for so long.” Music was provided by Daire Barefoot, son of Bo Barefoot of Precision Laboratories.

Green Resource was the presenting partner of the event once again.

The biggest social event of the week is tonight when close to 350 people are expected at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club for a special Carolinas Night on the Beach from 7pm to 10pm. Party goers will be kept warm in a large tent on the lawn adjacent to the clubhouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This year’s Carolinas Night features a special performance by musical duo Midlife, and a sneak peek screening by social media sensations, Turfbusters.

USGA GPS Service on Show in Championship

Some golfers in the Carolinas GCSA Golf Championship yesterday had their “performance” measured in ways far beyond their scorecard. At True Blue Golf Club and Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, these golfers rode with GPS trackers, provided by the USGA, that recorded their path around the golf courses.

The trackers are part of a USGA program that uses data to help “facility managers prioritize resources.” The USGA GPS Service is a “data analysis and visualization platform that allows facility managers to enter, track and analyze data related to course maintenance and surface performance.”

Hunki Yun, now based in Greenville, SC is the USGA’s director of partnerships, outreach and education, USGA research, science and innovation, and was on hand to distribute the trackers. Available for purchases in a range of packages, the USGA says the service gives managers information to make decisions that will help their bottom line.

“The ability to see where golfers go – and where they don’t go – allows facility managers to manage resources so they deliver great on-course experiences to their golfers more effectively,” Yun says. “We want to thank everyone who took part and invite them, and everyone else, to come by the USGA booth at the trade show and see the information the trackers provide and how this service can help them at their facility. Of course, if anyone still has a tracker, we would also be grateful if they could bring to us on the trade show floor.”