August 2022

Carolinas GCSA Hosts First Wee One Event

They say charity begins at home but historically golf course superintendents have directed their charitable efforts beyond their own doorstep. Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots are just two examples of charities that benefit from superintendent raised funds in the Carolinas each year. It can be argued that even Rounds 4 Research benefits golf course owners, operators and golfers more than it does superintendents because healthier golf courses are better for play and therefore business.

Now, finally, the golf course maintenance community in the Carolinas has a chance to bring some of that charity home, with the Carolinas GCSA’s first Wee One Tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, NC on August 22. Money raised at the event goes to the Wee One Foundation, which provides financial support for golf course management professionals or their dependents who incur overwhelming expenses due to medical hardship.

The Carolinas GCSA aims to raise $20,000 with the event, through entry fees, sponsorships and a raffle on the day. “I am proud that our association is getting behind the Wee One Foundation because it does exceptional work for members of our own professional community when they need it most,” Tim Kreger, Carolinas GCSA executive director, SC, says.

A number of members of the Carolinas GCSA community have received financial support from the Wee One Foundation since its inception in 2004. Gifts from Wee One since then have totaled more than $1.8 million.

“Once the event was confirmed, I made a number of calls to industry partners asking for their support and, you know, not one of them said no,” says tournament committee member Brandon Ingle, from the Country Club of Asheville in Asheville, NC. “We have teams entered from a number of the local associations. It shows just how much people support the concept and truly want to help.”

Raffle donations can be made by calling Kim Clark at (864) 843-1150.

Calendar of Events

August 11
Piedmont GCSA Greensboro Grasshoppers Night at the Ballpark

August 18
Palmetto GCSA Superintendent Championship and Elections Meeting - Rivers Edge Golf Club

August 22
Carolinas GCSA Wee One Tournament - Trump National Golf Club - Charlotte, NC

August 23
Low Country GCSA and Coastal Plains GCSA 2022 Charlie Jones Memorial Golf Tournament - Brays Island Plantation

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

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

Attendee Registration Opens September 6th





Huge Presidents Cup Build Means Post-Event Damage

Big celebrations are often followed by hangovers and Keith Wood fully anticipates a headache after hosting the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC next month. But it won’t be from champagne, or at least not directly. No, Wood’s headache will be in trying to restore the golf course to peak condition in time for the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in May.

And that’s where the champagne comes in. With more than 500,000 sq. ft. of floor space, this Presidents Cup will be home to the largest hospitality build out in PGA Tour history. Some of the floors on which corporate hosts entertain guests during the week of September 19 to 25 have been on the ground since the build began in March.

That means some areas of the property will go a full six months – all of spring and summer – without sunlight. Wood expects the turf damage to be so severe he is already working with suppliers on providing bermudagrass sod with ryegrass overseeded in place.

“It seems there was a lot of pent-up demand from corporations to spend some money on hospitality that they didn’t spend during the COVID year,” Wood says. “So, we have a huge build. And that means they are going into areas where we didn’t even imagine anything going. And the areas where they are putting things are double- and triple-decker. It’s huge.”

The upshot is that Wood knows he will be left with a mess when players, crowds and tents are gone. “The damage to the property is going to be tremendous,” he says. “Straight after the Presidents Cup we have about three weeks of member play and member tournaments. Then there is going to be a lot of stripping and sodding and repairing in November, December and January. Hopefully, we get it put down and it makes it. The next challenge will be the transition after the Wells Fargo, when we spray out the ryegrass and see how much of that bermudagrass makes it.”

Veterans Berry and Gerdon Mark 30-Year Milestones

Longtime industry friends, from front left, John Gay, Eddie Foust, …., Dean Bedenbaugh and Brent Myers chat with Chad Berry at his anniversary party at Golden Hills

Two veterans of the golf course superintendent profession in the Carolinas achieved major milestones recently. Chad Berry, from Golden Hills Golf and Country Club in Lexington, SC and Peter Gerdon, from Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, NC, each marked 30 years of service to their clubs in June.

Berry’s parents turned a dairy farm into a country club in 1988 and Berry began work there 30 years ago, partnering with his sister, Dian, who serves as general manager. Berry’s two sons have also worked at the club. He is a past president of the Midlands Turfgrass Association.

Family, friends and industry colleagues helped celebrate his 30th anniversary with a luncheon at the club in late June. The gathering was like a who’s who of golf course maintenance in the Midlands with the likes of retired Forest Lake Club superintendent John Gay, former Harrell’s sales veteran Eddie Foust and Dean Bedenbaugh from Ponderosa Country Club in attendance.

Earlier in the month, a similar circle from the mountains of western North Carolina gathered to mark Gerdon’s 30 years at Grandfather. Current secretary-treasurer of the Carolinas GCSA, Gerdon was a major presence in the profession even before joining the club. In the early ‘80s, he hosted six Greater Greensboro Opens for the PGA Tour at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, NC.

During that time, he played a round at Grandfather during a vacation with his wife. That night he told her, prophetically, “That’s the place where I want to be the golf course superintendent one day.” Just as presciently, in 2004, having then been at the club for 12 years, he told Carolinas Green magazine, “If they ever want to get rid of me, they’ll either have to fire me or retire me because I’m not going anywhere.”

Series of Storms Provide Laine a Tough Welcome

Will Laine started his first golf course superintendent position at Pine Lake Country Club in Mint Hill, NC on June 20. Over the next month, the golf course was pounded by half a dozen storms that downed a total of 25 large trees and, in one 14-day period, dumped 14 inches of rain on the property. “The job has been everything I imagined and then some,” Laine says, wryly.

Not surprisingly, a number of Laine’s colleagues at neighboring facilities in the Charlotte area also had their issues as the result of the storms. But it appears he got the worst of it. Clearing one tree that came down across a cart path and fell into an irrigation pond cost $7,000 in crane hire alone. “Really, it’s my crew I feel sorry for because they are ones having to put everything back together, then turn around and do it all over again, and again,” Laine says.

In another storm about a week after the initial onslaught, the course took on 3.5 inches of rain in about an hour. Laine told members in his newsletter report: “Because of how hard and fast the water came out of the sky, major flood damage occurred throughout the course. The cart path on No. 13 eroded away and the walk bridge on No. 16 washed out during the storm. Approximately 50,000 gallons of water were pumped out of all the bunkers on the course.”

Laine says the club has plans for a major renovation, but work might not begin until 2025. Among other things, the project is expected to include converting greens from bentgrass to an ultradwarf bermudagrass and redesigning bunkers and installing Capillary Concrete liners.

Laine came to Pine Lake after about four and a half years as an assistant superintendnet, including stints at the Country Club of Asheville in Asheville, NC, Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC and River Run Country Club in Davidson, NC. Before that, he interned for more than a year at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC.

Director Knight Leaves Golf After 22 Years

Carolinas GCSA director Daniel Knight has left the golf course superintendent profession to take a position with a landscaping company. Knight, who spent the past four years at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC, leaves after 22 years in and around the golf course maintenance industry.

Starting out as “a grunt,” he worked his way through the ranks, along the way spending seven years with McConnell Golf, followed by short stints at Meadowlands Golf Club in Winston-Salem, NC and Vereens Turf and Landscape Supply, before moving to Grandover. He was elected to the Carolinas GCSA board at last year’s annual meeting in November.

“It’s definitely hard to leave the golf industry as a whole but I am excited for the change,” Knight says. “The job was brought to my attention by a friend, and I think it will allow me a little more work-life balance.” Knight and his wife have three children between the ages of 12 and 4. Although like golf, the landscaping industry took off during the pandemic and remains busy. “It might be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire in that respect,” Knight says.

No decision will be made on a possible replacement until the Carolinas GCSA board meets in Winston-Salem this week. Association bylaws provide for the president to make an appointment, subject to board approval, for the remainder of the term in question.

“We’re sorry to lose Daniel but fully respect his decision to pursue what he feels is best for him and his family,” says Carolinas GCSA president, Billy Bagwell, from Callawassie Island Club in Okatie, SC. “We thank him for his service to the board and the superintendent profession and wish him the very best.”