February 2023

Strong Carolinas Presence Expected Back in Orlando

The last time Carolinas GCSA members were preparing to travel to Orlando, FL for a GCSAA Conference and Show the world was on a cliff’s edge about to plunge into the pandemic. This time, for the first time since then, the national show will be back to normal with no mask ordinances or restrictions of any kind. That leads to expectations of a high turnout from Carolinas GCSA members.

One of the highlights of the week will be the largest Carolinas Night at the National since 2020. An anticipated 200 Carolinas GCSA members and friends will spend three hours reveling at Dave and Busters on International Drive on the Wednesday of show week, February 8.

Members are urged to register as soon as possible for Carolinas Night to obtain the best pricing. The cost for anyone who registers before close of business tomorrow, Wednesday, February 1, is $65, which covers buffet food, two drinks and $25 power card. The price after tomorrow and on-site jumps to $90. The night is free to children under 16.

“We’re expecting a great night with a big family presence since many members tack a family trip to amusement parks onto their conference experience,” Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says. “We also thank our presenting partners helping make the night more affordable - AgStone, Aquatrols, Club Car, Environmental Landscaping, Envu, Huntington Bank, SiteOne Landscape Supply, Southern Ag. and Sunbelt Rentals.”

In March, Clemson University’s Madren Center and the Walker Course will host the annual Southeast Regional Conference in conjunction with the USGA. The event opens with a golf tournament on Monday, March 27 with Carolinas GCSA director and past president, Don Garrett, CGCS as host superintendent. A full education program follows the next day.

The program for the event and registration details will be available soon at www.carolinasgcsa.org.

Calendar of Events

February 8
2023 Carolinas Night Orlando - Dave & Busters
Register by February 1st $65
After February 1st and onsite $90

February 20
Low Country GCSA Member-Member- Ocean Creek Golf Club at Fripp Island

March 27 - 28
Southeast Regional Conference
In Conjunction with the USGA
The Madren Center
The Walker Course at Clemson University
Clemson, SC

Fall Mountain Meeting Date and
Location TBD

November 13 - 15
Annual Conference and Show
Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Myrtle Beach, SC

Booth Sales Open in July
Attendee Registration Opens in September



Sandhills Association Kicks Back into Gear

After several years in abeyance, the Sandhills GCSA is back in action and looking forward to building momentum as the year goes on. “We are excited to announce the resurgence of the Sandhills GCSA,” says new president, William Brooks, from Dormie Club in West End, NC. “Our new board of directors, sponsors and the Carolinas GCSA have worked hard to get things going again and we are sure it’s going to be nothing short of great.”

With the town of Pinehurst providing the greatest concentration, the Sandhills GCSA looks to serve superintendents and their golf course maintenance teams at the nearly 50 golf courses in and close to Moore County. About 40 people attended a “comeback” meeting and golf event at Dormie Club in January.

Interest in reconstituting the association began to build last year. Brooks says a number of people were instrumental in getting the ball rolling again including John Jeffreys from Pinehurst No. 2, Rusty Smith from Mid-South Club and Brett Sullivan of Smith Turf & Irrigation. “Tim Kreger and Kim Clark at the Carolinas GCSA office were both very helpful also,” Brooks says.

Brooks also cited the help of retired superintendent Bill Patton, who is the Sandhills GCSA’s new secretary, as integral. “Bill was an attorney before he became a superintendent, so he has been great organizing the legal side of things, our tax status, bylaws, that kind of thing,” Brooks says. “We also want to thank Adam Ancherico of Eastern Turf Equipment and Ben Peters of Syngenta for bringing back the annual holiday brunch in December, where we were able to talk to a lot of people and let them know what was going on.”

The Sandhills GCSA had been out of action since late 2018 because of a host of factors, Brooks says. Membership information . Sponsorship information .

Fred Yelverton Earns National Recognition

One of the great supporters of golf course superintendents in the Carolinas, Dr. Fred Yelverton, is about to be honored for the same kind of support he has offered superintendents nationally. Yelverton will receive GCSAA’s Outstanding Contribution Award on February 8 at the association’s annual Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, FL.

“Fred Yelverton’s dedication to the turfgrass industry through research and education is undoubtedly worthy of the Outstanding Contribution Award,” says GCSAA chief executive officer, Rhett Evans. “Yelverton has worked closely with GCSAA for more than 20 years, from teaching seminars to serving on the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show Committee, and he has positively impacted the industry and the lives of GCSAA members.”

Carolinas GCSA president Chuck Connolly, from Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, agrees. “There is no doubt that Fred is right up there with his legendary predecessors from NC State. Men like Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. Carl Blake and Dr. Leon Lucas all made tremendous contributions over their careers, and Fred has certainly done that too. It is great to see him being recognized by GCSAA.”

The award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the membership through outstanding contributions to the golf course industry. The contribution must be significant in both substance and duration. The outstanding contribution may be or have been regional in nature.

Yelverton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology in 1981 and obtained a Master of Science in weed science 1984, both from NC State. After beginning his career in county extension, Yelverton returned to NC State in 1986 to obtain his Ph.D. in weed science. He completed his Ph.D. in 1990 and worked as an Extension specialist at NC State until 1995. He then became a turfgrass weed scientist in NC State’s Crop Science Department, a position he still holds.

Jones Wins Assistant Title and Trip to VA

Chris Jones is the new Carolinas GCSA assistant superintendent champion after shooting a four-over par round of 76 on the Cotton Dike course at Dataw Island Club near Beaufort, SC in January. The win earns Jones, from Callawassie Island Club in Okatie, SC, a place on the Carolinas GCSA Virlina Cup team that takes on the Virginia GCSA in Virginia later this year.
Luke Rogers, from Florence Country Club in Florence, SC; Zac Hinshaw, from Dormie Club in West End, NC; and Travis Goss, from The Landings Club in Savannah, GA, were all two shots back with rounds of 78. As Carolinas GCSA president, Chuck Connolly, from Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, SC, said after the round, “Anyone who broke 80 in those conditions was really golfing their ball.” High winds, biting cold and a course that was subjected to 1.8 inches of rain the day before made scoring tough.
Jones is no stranger to the area or to competitive golf having played in a number of SC Amateur and Mid-Amateur championships. He has been at Callawassie with Carolinas GCSA immediate past president Billy Bagwell for one year. Before that he was with Mark Mitchell at Secession Golf Club in Beaufort for two and a half years.
His championship round consisted of 12 pars, five bogeys and one birdie. It was a remarkably consistent performance in the windy conditions. Host director of golf course maintenance Brian Hollingsworth, CGCS and superintendent of the Cotton Dike course, Danny Bales, did a great job presenting the golf course in such good shape given the amount of rain the day before.
The championship, followed a half-day of education, delivered by PGA Tour agronomist Bland Cooper, CGCS and Tim Moraghan of Aspire Golf Consulting, was presented in partnership with Green Resource. Cooper is a former Carolinas GCSA board member who has now been with the PGA Tour since 2006. Before founding Aspire Golf Consulting, Moraghan spent more than 20 years as championships agronomist with the USGA. He also writes regularly for Golf Course Industry magazine.

Going Back to “School” To Take Steps Ahead

Steve Whitaker might have taken more pictures than anybody during the annual Green Start Academy in Pinehurst, NC late last year but very few of them were for his photo album. Instead, Whitaker’s series of snaps now serve as a reference library for much of what he learned during the three-day event hosted in partnership by John Deere, Envu and Rain Bird.

“I took a lot of photos of slides because some of the presentations were a little faster than I really process things,” he says. “This way I can go back over the information at my speed and absorb it fully. Because there was a lot of information to take in.”

Whitaker is assistant superintendent to John Lavelle and Chase Watson growing in Old Barnwell near Aiken, SC. He was one of four Carolinas GCSA members among a total of 50 aspiring golf course maintenance professionals at the Green Start Academy. “It is not agronomy focused, it is career focused,” Whitaker says. “It’s about getting you prepared for the next steps in your career, and I’d highly encourage anyone to take part if they get the chance.”

In December, Matt Jones, from Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, NC was among a select group who attended the annual Syngenta Business Institute in December. He came away similarly enthused about the four-day program offered in partnership with Wake Forest University’s executive education program.

Jones, and Michael Heustis, from Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, NC, were in a class of 24 superintendents who took a deep dive into subjects including management styles, leadership and negotiating. “One of the classes was on managing across cultures and generations which was particularly helpful given the current staffing dynamics,” Jones says. “Because you can easily have three or four different generations and several different ethnic backgrounds on your team, and they might all learn differently and value things differently.”