Farren and Chamblee Among
High Points at GCSAA Show
Pinehurst’s Bob Farren, CGCS might soon need an office extension to house the awards and honors he has received in his role as director of golf course management. Farren, a Carolinas GCSA past president, was on stage during last week’s GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix, AZ to receive the USGA’s Green Section Award for his leadership in sustainable golf course maintenance.
“This year we celebrate barrier-breakers, innovators and individuals who have witnessed – and overcome – great challenges in their respective fields of the game,” Mike Whan, USGA chief executive officer, said in a press release.
In more than 40 years at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Farren has been instrumental in advancing the facility’s focus on economic and environmental sustainability. The USGA release said, “Through Farren’s tenure, Pinehurst has become a beacon for innovation and a s successful testing ground for advanced, data-driven maintenance practices and on-course learning for generations of superintendents, agronomists and others.”
Many of the resource-saving changes Farren helped introduce – such as reduced turfgrass acreage, native plantings, reduced irrigation - will be on display when Pinehurst No. 2 hosts this year’s U.S. Open Championship in June.
Also in Phoenix, more than 120 Carolinas GCSA members and friends celebrated Carolinas Night. Attendees made the most of a relaxed atmosphere at Cham Pang Lanes, billed as “a ‘60s utopia” with duckpin bowling, pool tables and a cloud of disco balls above the bar. The good vibes began even before the doors opened when a group of Carolinas GCSA directors bumped into Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, who was happy to chat an pose for a photo.
Another highlight during the week was the announcement of Revels Turf & Tractor as John Deere’s Golf Dealer of the Year.
Carolinas Golf Loses
Two Major Figures
The golf course maintenance community in the Carolinas is mourning the recent loss of two significant figures. Ed Ancherico, who founded Eastern Turf Equipment, and Don Corbin, founder of Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply, died just a day apart in January. Ancherico was 97, and Corbin, 84. They are remembered as men cut from a similar cloth, generous and ever committed to the success of others.
Ancherico received the Carolinas GCSA Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and the same honor from the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina, of which he was a founder. He was born in Cambridge, MA on July 12, 1926. After high school, he signed a professional baseball contract as a left-handed pitcher. He played professional baseball for nine years, eventually landing in Fayetteville, NC with the Fayetteville Highlanders.
It was in Fayetteville that he settled and started his business career. He started Motor Sport and Cycle in 1954, which later grew into Eastern Turf Equipment. Ancherico valued his relationships with customers and staff so much that he went to work each day until he was almost 92 years old. He died in Fayetteville on January 24.
A day earlier, Corbin died in Greenville, SC. He was born on April 14, 1939 in Tigerville, SC where he grew up on a small farm. He graduated from North Greenville College and Furman University and was called to active duty with the U.S. Army Reserves during the Berlin and Cuban missile crises.
After 26 years in the textile industry, he bought a landscape business where his clients came to include golf facilities. He sold that business and founded Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply in 1998.
Both men saw their sons grow into the family business. Ancherico’s son Adam manages Eastern Turf Equipment and Don’s son Alan is business partner-sales at Corbin Turf.
|“Neat Opportunity” at
Doubtless there will be more than a few Clemson fans among attendees at the annual Southeast Region Conference at North Carolina State University on March 11 and 12. But real sports fans among those Tigers, not to mention supporters of other colleges, will make the most of the chance to embrace a little college sports history during a break in the conference program.
This year’s conference is on campus at the Talley Student Union center, which just happens to sit right alongside the renovated Reynolds Coliseum. NC State invested $35 million renovating the historic facility in 2016, reopening it as the James T. Valvano Arena at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum.
The coliseum houses the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame and outside, statues of Valvano, coach of NC State’s improbable win in the 1983 NCAA basketball championships, and other NC State basketball legends grace the plaza.
“It will be a neat opportunity for people to check out what is a cool part of the sports landscape in the Carolinas,” says Brian Green, conference host and golf course superintendent at NC State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course. “The meeting falls during spring break so there won’t be crowds of students around. It will be a great opportunity.”
A golf tournament on March 11 will be followed by the education conference the next day. Topics covered include everything from wetting agents, to turfgrass research, organic matter sampling, improving equipment performance and convincing stakeholders to get behind a renovation.
There will also be a special presentation by NC State legend, Dr. Fred Yelverton, on lessons learned during a career in turfgrass weed science. Yelverton, the winner of the Carolinas GCSA Distinguished Service Award last year, retires this year after a long and illustrious career at NC State. (See following story)
A Boon for Superintendents
Jack Nance thought he’d won the lottery and a lot of golf course superintendents across the Carolinas felt the same way when Drs. Bert McCarty and Fred Yelverton decided to join forces post-retirement. Nance is the long-serving executive director of the Carolinas Golf Association, which has signed McCarty and Yelverton to tag-team as the association’s consulting agronomists.
McCarty and Yelverton, of course, are two of the brightest minds in turfgrass science and by quirk of fate, both are retiring this year after distinguished careers, at Clemson University and North Carolina State University respectively. They will share the role that became vacant with the untimely death of Bill Anderson, CGCS in late 2022.
They plan to split the duties but not on strict state lines but by what makes the most sense given their home bases in Clemson, SC and Raleigh, NC. “It might be easier for me to get to a course in the mountains of western North Carolina, say, than it would be for Fred,” McCarty says. “Conversely, it’s a shorter trip for him to somewhere like Myrtle Beach. We’ll work it out as it comes.”
“This position is not easy to fill,” Nance says. “So, for us to get two of the best in the business is a home run for us. We still believe in this program that was created 42 years ago. This is a wonderful service for our superintendents who are looking for another opinion. For them to get expert advice from Bert and Fred is priceless.”
For McCarty and Yelverton too, their new role feels like good fortune. Both are happy to have a role that will keep them “engaged” in the golf course maintenance community and turfgrass science.
English Claims his First
Terry English completed a rare double by winning this year’s Carolinas GCSA Assistant Superintendent Golf Championship. English’s win at Daniel Island Golf Club in Charleston, SC in January bookends the association’s overall championship which he won in 2019. He shot a five-over par round of 77 in bitterly cold conditions.
English, from the Oak Point course at Kiawah Island Resort, was three shots clear of runner-up Harrison Rothwell, from Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, SC. As a measure of how tough it was to score in the cold, only five of 64 cards returned broke 80. The best round of the day belonged to Ron Pote, of NanoOxygen Systems, who shot a two-over par round of 74.
“It was a grind all day long,” English says of his winning round at Daniel Island Club. He made just one birdie against four bogeys and one double bogey. But two of those bogeys were as good as you would hope to see given the trouble he was in. On both occasions, on No. 10 and No. 17, he got up and down from positions where it was a feat even to get his ball on the green.
With his win, English joins Steve Agazzi, from Charleston Municipal Golf Course, who won the 2023 Carolinas GCSA Championship – his fourth – as the first two qualifiers for this year’s Virlina Cup team. Dates and venues for qualifying tournaments will be posted on the Carolinas GCSA website as they become available.
Golfers in the Assistant Championship praised the winter conditioning presented by director of agronomy, Joey Franco, CGCS and his team. A day earlier, Franco served on the education slate presented in partnership with Green Resource, co-hosting a session on renovations with Carolinas GCSA past president, Billy Bagwell, from Callawassie Island Club in Okatie, SC.