October 2021

Early Registration Deadline Nearing for Conference

Now is the time to make the most of the early bird discounts and register for this year’s Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach, SC from November 15 to 17. The deadline to qualify for early registration pricing is midnight on Sunday, October 17. Early registrants also receive their conference credentials by mail, which means no waiting in lines on site.

“It’s all systems go for the show and the buzz is starting to build,” Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says. “There is a lot of positivity from members and exhibitors alike. Booth sales and attendee registrations are really picking up steam, so folks should jump online at their first opportunity and sign up.”

This year is the first that the association did not print and mail a hard copy of the conference program. Instead, an all-electronic program was emailed to members and prospective attendees and is available on the home page at www.carolinasgcsa.org, along with registration links

“We want to be sure that folks don’t miss the early registration deadline because they don’t have a copy of the program sitting on their desk to remind them,” Kreger says. “My advice is to sign up as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on the seminars you most want to attend. Seating is limited.”
The Carolinas GCSA will follow all CDC, State and City of Myrtle Beach guidelines related to COVID-19 as may apply at the time of the conference. Masks will be available on site and attendees are encouraged to wear a mask during all seminars, on the trade show floor and all other indoor activities.

“When it comes to wearing a mask in the absence of a mandate, it is a personal choice,” Kreger says. “It is not a political one. So, let’s keep the mask and vaccine debate off the trade show floor and keep the focus on business and building the relationships that we hope will serve us long after this pandemic is history.”

Calendar of Events

October 7, 2021
Piedmont GCSA Fall Fundraiser - Deep Springs Country Club

October 11, 2021
Coastal Plains GCSA Chapter Championship - Wild Dunes Resort Links Course

October 12, 2021
BRTA Annual Fall Golf Championship - Sugar Mountain Golf Resort

October 19, 2021
UTA Annual Business Meeting and Championship - Fox Run Country Club

October 26, 2021
WNCTA Fundraiser Tournament for Cruso Community - Springdale Country Club

November 2, 2021
Piedmont GCSA Maintenance Tournament - Winding Creek Golf Club

November 15 - 17, 2021
Carolinas GCSA Annual Trade Show
Myrtle Beach Convention Center,
Myrtle Beach, SC






Superintendents Help Mark NC Golf Day

While labor and supply shortages have hurt some industries during the pandemic, golf has gone from strength to strength, a fact that was celebrated recently with North Carolina Golf Day. Carolinas GCSA leaders attended a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion for the official signing of a proclamation celebrating golf’s contribution to the state’s economic, social and environmental health.

Superintendents played a critical role in keeping golf open across the Carolinas at the onset of the pandemic and since. The early emphasis on modifying practices to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus has been overtaken by the workload from record levels of play. Courses have seen unprecedented traffic, yet course conditions remain excellent across the board.

“Our members have plenty of reason to be proud of the job they have done during a challenging time,” says Carolinas GCSA president, Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG, who attended the ceremony, from Highlands Country Club in Highlands, NC. “Because the success of our industry in the Carolinas really does rely on the consistency of the product our members put out day after day, regardless of all the variables thrown at them.”

Gov. Roy Cooper declared August 31 as North Carolina Golf Day. As he signed the resolution, Gov. Cooper said: “Not only does golf and the great tournaments it attracts increase tourism and create good jobs, but it also provides a great way to exercise and relax which has been particularly important during the pandemic.”

NC Commerce Secretary, Machelle Baker Sanders, said: “Golf is more than an enjoyable pastime, it’s an important economic engine for North Carolina’s economy. Many small businesses benefit from golf’s popularity in the state and the national spotlight it brings, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sectors of our economy.” Of course, the same is true in South Carolina, which hosted the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort in May.
Scarborough’s Inspiration Preserves Tree Legacy

A flash of inspiration, a dash of artistic talent and many hours of chainsaws roaring have transformed a dying tree into a unique landmark at Santee-Cooper Resort in Santee, SC. Golf course superintendent Gene Scarborough came up with the idea to create chainsaw art out of the ailing live oak behind No. 5 green. “The tree was dying a slow death and getting to the point where it was dangerous, losing limbs and so on,” he says. “So, I thought maybe we can make lemonade out of this lemon.”

Scarborough shared his idea with golf pro Steve Smart, who sketched a design for what the tree could look like “in about 15 minutes.” The resort then sought bids from chainsaw artists, which came in at anywhere from $8,000 to $60,000. “I’m not sure what we would have gotten for $60,000!” Scarborough says with a laugh. In the end, a duo from North Carolina got the job for around $12,000.

Scarborough estimates the tree was between 60 and 150 years old with such a full and round canopy that it was used as the basis for the resort’s logo for many years. But as far back as 2001, Scarborough identified the tree was declining. A tree specialist called in from Clemson University in 2009 said it was beyond saving.

“We kept trimming back the dead limbs,” Scarborough says. “But finally, we just had to bite the bullet. It was at that point that I had an ah-ha moment, and said, ‘Why don’t we turn this into something that looks pretty cool. Let’s turn it into a sculpture.’”

Scarborough, who is about to enter his 25th year at Santee-Cooper, says the tree project has created buzz from more than the chainsaws. It made local television news and has generated considerable interest on social media.

“People seem to be excited about what we have now,” Scarborough says. “There’s still some landscaping and lighting to put in place. But this will be something that will be seen by about 80 percent of the people who come here as they drive in. It will be a talking point.”

Lewis Sees Dormie Club Through to “Pinnacle”

When Billy Lewis arrived at Dormie Club in West End, NC back in August of 2010, a lot of people asked why he bothered. “They wanted to know why I could come all this way when the club was going to close in 30 days or so because it was broke,” Lewis says. “Well, here we are more than a decade later and going stronger than ever.”

Indeed, it has been a big year for Dormie Club, culminating with a grand opening week to celebrate a new 16,600-square-foot clubhouse and on-site accommodations in 15 cabins. Lewis, director of agronomy, superintendent William Brooks, and assistant superintendent Todd Swansiger, also finally got a new maintenance facility this year.

“For years we were operating out of an old brick house,” Lewis says. “It’s so gratifying to reach this pinnacle because I have always believed in the golf course. It doesn’t mean anything that I just happened to be here, but people love this golf course. They were so happy to play it even when we had so few amenities that they had to use port-a-johns.”

Dormie Club was intended to be a high-end, private, walking only course with luxury homes but the Great Recession brought those plans to a screeching halt. For a time, the course was open for public play, at its peak charging as much as $220 a round. “And people were happy to pay that amount and couldn’t wait to get out there and play it again, they enjoyed themselves so much,” Lewis says. “Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw did such a magnificent job with the design.”

New owners bought the property in 2017 and it became fully private in May. Other developments this year include an expansion project on the driving range. Lewis, a Carolinas GCSA past-president, couldn’t be happier. “It’s been a crazy year but a very good one,” he says.

Metzger Helps Sea Pines Through Renovation

Sea Pines Country Club in Hilton Head, SC, where Tom Metzger is golf course superintendent, reopens next month after a major revamp. Tees, fairways and greens have been regrassed and a number of bunkers reshaped with all being fitted with Capillary Concrete liners. The fairway on the ninth hole has been recontoured and a new pot bunker introduced. The club has also expanded the practice facility and added a new short-game area.

Fairways and tees were sprigged with Celebration bermudagrass and greens with TifEagle bermudagrass. Putting surfaces were also restored to their original size. Metzger worked on the project with golf course architect Phil Smith and MacCurrach Golf. The golf course designed by Arnold Palmer was updated by Clyde Johnston in 2001.

This latest polish is part of a long-range rejuvenation of the facility that provides for a complete renovation between 2028 and 2030. After reopening the course and practice facilities next month, Sea Pines will unveil a new, state-of-the-art indoor teaching and practice center, which includes TrackMan 4 simulators and monitors, and indoor hitting bays that open onto the expanded practice range. The range itself has been lengthened by 25 yards and eight new targets added.

“Phil Smith Design, Tom, James (Swift, director of golf) and the entire team have done an amazing job of planning and executing this signature project, and the vision of our board and membership is coming to fruition,” chief operating officer and general manager, Robbie Ames, says. “To complete impactful capital improvements of this level in less than six months is astounding and a testament to the unwavering commitment of our members and our team.”

Sea Pines Country Club is a private, member-owned club within the gates of the famed 5,000-acre Sea Pines community on Hilton Head Island.