December 2022

Carolinas GCSA Loses Legend Bill Anderson

William D. “Bill” Anderson, CGCS, one of the true giants of the golf course superintendent profession in the Carolinas, has died suddenly. He was 71. Anderson served as Carolinas GCSA president in 1982 and later returned to the board of directors. He received the Distinguished Service Award in 2008.

As a golf course superintendent, he served a remarkable 40 years as director of golf and grounds at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, NC. In that time, he also served as president of the North South Turfgrass Association and as a board member of the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina. An avid golfer and proponent of superintendents playing the game, he still carried a single digit handicap.

After retiring in 2014, he became the agronomist for the Carolinas Golf Association, and was still in that role at the time of his passing. He entered the golf course superintendent profession with a Bachelor of Science degree in crop science and turfgrass management from Michigan State University.

Described by some as a “superintendent’s superintendent,” he trained and mentored many young people towards successful careers. As adept as he was at the grass and the details, evidenced by his long unbroken tenure at Carmel, Anderson was always cognizant of the big picture, at both an association and golf industry level.

Association veterans recall his cool head and perspective guiding the association at numerous critical junctures. In short, he was one of the association’s pillars for decades, helping transform it from the days of a few beers and even the odd scuffle around the board table to being the leading regional superintendent association in the country with an annual budget well in excess of $1 million.

The Carolinas GCSA extends deepest sympathies to Anderson’s wife, Catherine, and daughters, Claire and Lucy.

Calendar of Events

December 6
MTA Annual Mendell Bedenbaugh Memorial Tournament and Meeting - Ponderosa Country Club

December 6
TTA Annual Christmas Party/Spouse Appreciation - Brier Creek Country Club - Raleigh, NC

December 8
UTA Annual Oyster Roast and Shrimp Boil - The Preserve at Verdae - Greenville, SC

December 9
NSTA Christmas Dinner Cruise - The Lady of the Lake - Queens Landing

December 12
Palmetto GCSA December Meeting - TPC Myrtle Beach

December 15
Coastal Plains GCSA December Meeting - Shadowmoss Plantation Golf

Winter Meeting, January 22 - 23, 2023
Dataw Island Club, Saint Helena Island, SC

Registration will open this week.



People and Partners Drive Continued Show Success

The Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show continues to succeed because of the “human element” and the continued loyalty of industry partners. This year’s show in Myrtle Beach, SC from November 14 to 16 again drew strong attendee and exhibitor participation, continuing to defy a broader trend of decline for events of its kind.

The final tally of 1,356 participants in education seminars, presented in partnership with Syngenta, was just 10 seats shy of the all-time high set in 2019. While the number of exhibiting companies this year of 186, was down six from last year and 28 below the record of 214 set in 2018, companies invested a record amount in partnerships.

“Across the board, the message was very positive leaving the beach,” Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says. “But times are definitely changing, and in different ways for different elements of the industry. We must continually find ways to address those changes.”

Kreger says some of the drop in exhibitor participation was due to industry consolidation and the fact that several distributors granted exhibit space to allied companies, where previously those companies purchased stand-alone space. Another factor, he cites, was inflation which had “caused a spike in the cost of exhibiting,” even though booth pricing was unchanged from 2021.  

“There is no doubt the traditional trade show model has been squeezed by the internet and the array of electronic communication options available today,” Kreger says. “But our show remains popular and viable because of the human element. There is nowhere else in the southeast where companies can get the opportunity to get face-to-face with so many customers and potential clients. And our members show they appreciate that by turning up year after year.”

Consequently, Kreger says the association was “pleased” with overall numbers and he remains “optimistic” about the show’s future.

New President Urges Positive Approach

New Carolinas GCSA president Chuck Connolly launched his term urging colleagues to become better ambassadors and advocates for the golf course superintendent profession. Connolly was elected as the association’s 49th president at the annual business meeting during Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, SC.

He remarked on the path of so many superintendents that “began with a summer job that turned into a passion that became a career.” “I ask you, where has that love gone?” he said. “It’s not all gloom and doom, what we do. We are leaders at our facilities. We’re leaders at our clubs. But a lot of times, we’re too willing to take the back seat and let other people take the credit. It’s great to be that type of leader. But at the same time, we need to work to be recognized as the professionals and the leaders that we are.”

Connolly’s election was soon followed by another announcement, that he is taking a new position as director of agronomy at 36-hole Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, SC.

In one of the highlights of the week, Danny Allen, from Aero Short Course in Myrtle Beach, SC received the Distinguished Service Award. The award caps an almost 50-year career including nearly 40 at Camden Country Club in Camden, SC, a term as association president and two separate stints on the board of directors. The award was presented by his brother, Randy, himself a past-president and DSA winner.

Riley Boyette, from Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, NC won his fourth Carolinas GCSA golf championship, presented by Toro and Smith Turf and Irrigation, as one of nearly 340 golfers who teed it up across three courses.

Charles Davis, from Inland Greens in Wilmington, NC won the $3,000 grand prize in the 27-Hole Challenge, with more than $10,000 in cash and prizes, presented by John Deere Golf, Greenville Turf and Tractor and Revels Turf and Tractor.

SC Governor Praises Golf’s Contribution

Golf course superintendents were among industry representatives who drew praise from South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster at a recent event celebrating the game’s contribution to the state. Close to 80 golf industry members attended the event at the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia in October. Golf generates more to the state economy than any other single entertainment or recreation activity.

Gov. McMaster told those gathered that the game generated $3.3 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2021 – contributing to 38,000 jobs and $18.3 million in Admissions Tax collections.
“In South Carolina, golf is more than a game played on some of the most beautiful courses you’ll find anywhere in the world,” he said. “It’s an economic engine fueled by passionate, hardworking people who love and honor the golf tradition, and who make an incredible impact on our economy and quality of life.”

That golf was able to generate that level of activity a year after the onset of the pandemic was in large part due to years of collaboration with state government officials and regulators. Where the game was shut down in some parts of the U.S., golf remained open in the Carolinas because decision-makers trusted industry commitments that it could operate safely.

Much of that trust was built over years of outreach led by the Carolinas GCSA employing government relations specialists in both states. The work of Charlie Rountree III in South Carolina and Chris Valauri in North Carolina emphasized providing solutions rather than asking for anything. And that is exactly what the golf industry delivered during the pandemic.

“For golf course superintendents to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Governor of South Carolina celebrating golf’s contribution shows just how successful our government relations efforts have been,” says Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger.

Power Outage Creates Pandemic Echoes

A targeted weekend attack on power substations that knocked out electricity to about 40,000 customers in Moore County, NC also created some headaches for golf course superintendents. A state of emergency was declared in the county and a curfew imposed after deliberate gunfire crippled the substations in what authorities described as an “intentional” attack.

At Pinehurst Resort on Monday morning, the Carolina Hotel was in darkness except for some areas on the ground floor where generators provided lighting and power for IT systems. At the resort’s main golf course maintenance facility, generators also allowed gas pumps to operate and refuel equipment.

“But the funny thing was, we realized today that without power we couldn’t get our big garage doors up at the shop,” says Pinehurst’s director of golf course and grounds management, Bob Farren, CGCS. “It wasn’t a situation we’ve come across before because, say, when an ice storm takes out the power, it’s not like we need to be mowing.”

On this occasion though, many people had nothing else they could do except play golf and so golf courses were busy. Farren likens the atmosphere to the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic when golf courses were full when many other businesses and activities were shut down. Farren says staff soon hooked a generator to the garage doors allowing maintenance operations to proceed.

The power outage also forced the cancellation of an outreach event at the hotel involving the USGA Green Section, now headquartered at Pinehurst.

“I’ve wondered before, when you live this close to Fort Bragg and the Harris Nuclear Plant, does that make you really safe or does that make you a target?” he says. “Unfortunately, this shows how vulnerable we are, not just in Moore County, but anywhere.”