October 2023

Trio of New Faces Running for Board

Three new faces are running for election to the Carolinas GCSA board of directors this year. They are Eric Dusa, CGCS from Marlboro County Golf and Recreational Complex in Bennettsville, SC; Matt Jones, CGCS from Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, NC; and Todd Lawrence, CGCS from The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, NC.

They join five sitting directors running for the board at the Carolinas GCSA annual business meeting on November 15 during Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, SC. Pete Gerdon, from Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, NC is nominated for president, with Alex Tolbert, from Orangeburg Country Club in Orangeburg, SC, running for vice president. Brian Green, from Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, is nominated for secretary-treasurer.

A Michigan State graduate Dusa has experience as superintendent at Cheraw Country Club in Cheraw, SC and at White Plains Country Club in Pageland, SC where he spent 11 years. Then he spent four years as agronomist-superintendent at nearby Southern Eighths Farm and Equestrian Center. He spent another four years as director of agronomy at Traces Golf Club in Florence, SC. Before joining Marlboro County, was a parks manager for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for five years.

Jones joined Forsyth in 2017. He is a graduate of Ohio State’s turfgrass program and interned at Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH and Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, GA. He spent nearly two years as second assistant at Chicago Golf Club before moving to Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, where he spent five years working for Carolinas GCSA past president, Brian Powell, CGCS. Jones is a past president of the Piedmont GCSA.

Lawrence arrived at Wakefield in 1998 for the final stages of grow-in. Previously, he was golf course superintendent at Raleigh Country Club after spending five years under Carolinas GCSA past president, Keith Williams, CGCS at Keith Hills Country Club. Lawrence grew up on the family tobacco farm in Angier, south of Raleigh and is a graduate of North Carolina State University. He has hosted an annual event for what is now the Korn Ferry Tour since 2001.

Calendar of Events

October 8 - 10
Virlina Cup
Golden Horseshoe Golf Club
Williamsburg, VA

October 9
TETAC 2nd Annual Eric Duncanson Memorial Golf Tournament - Carolina Trace Country Club - Sanford, NC

October 10
Piedmont GCSA Fall Fundraiser - Grandover Resort

October 11
WNCTA Ernie Hayes Foundation Fundraiser - Reems Creek Golf Club - Weaverville, NC

October 18
UTA Golf Championship and Annual Business Meeting - The Cliffs at Mountain Park

October 23
Low Country GCSA 2023 Inshore Fishing Tournament

October 24
TTA 2023 Golf Championship - Treyburn Country Club

October 25
Sandhills GCSA October Meeting - Quail Ridge Golf Club - Sandford, NC

November 13-15
2023 Carolinas GCSA Conference & Trade Show - REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN




Win the 27-Hole Challenge and Go Fishing in Panama

One lucky golf course superintendent will share a lifetime memory with a friend or family member thanks to this year’s 27-Hole Challenge at Conference and Show. The grand prize for this year’s drawing is a five-day fishing trip for two to Panama. The contest is now open to all Class A and Class B superintendents from outside the Carolinas as well as in.

“While we’ve made a lot of members happy with a cash grand prize in recent years, we’re thrilled to be able to offer them an adventure experience this year,” says Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger. “I know some of our members who won golf trips to Scotland or Pebble Beach in the 27-Hole Challenge years ago still talk about how much fun they had. We’re sure this year’s winner will also make some lifetime memories.”

The 27-Hole Challenge is presented in partnership with John Deere Golf, Revels Turf and Tractor and Beard Equipment. This year’s grand prize is offered in partnership with Ecological Improvements.

The 27-Hole Challenge is one of a host of features that make the entire Conference and Show experience so popular. More than 2,000 people are expected at this year’s show which runs November 13 through 15. Many of those features are free to conference attendees, including the Assistant Superintendent Reception on show eve, the Blue Ridge Turfgrass Association breakfast on the Monday morning, and the Fellowship Breakfast on the Wednesday morning before the annual business meeting.

Another feature this year that costs nothing to enter is the Carolinas Canines contest featuring four-legged employees in golf course maintenance. This new photo gallery of golf course dogs on the trade show floor carries a $300 cash prize for the owner of the dog voted “best in show” by attendees. Two runners-up will receive $100 prizes in the contest presented in partnership with Flyaway Geese. Send photos to info@cgcsa.org. Entries close Friday, October 27. Please send files at original or large size.

Prospective attendees are reminded that the advanced fee registration deadline is October 31. After that point, prices increase by $25 or more for most events and education seminars. For all you need to know in advance of this year’s show, see your Conference and Show program.

Weather and Golf Course on Perfect Par

A full field of close to 90 players enjoyed the mountains of western North Carolina and mountain golf at their absolute finest at the Carolinas GCSA’s annual Fall Mountain Meeting earlier this week. An education session, golf tournament and reception the night before, were all hosted by Linville Ridge Golf Club in Linville.

“The weather was finally kind to us this year,” Carolinas GCSA executive director, Tim Kreger, says. “And that was fitting because the golf course was in impeccable shape and deserved to be seen in its best light. We couldn’t be more grateful to Linville Ridge and our partners for the event from Tri-State Pump & Control.”

Kreger made special mention of the host golf course maintenance team of development and operations director, Steve Sheets; golf course superintendent, Tommy Clark; and assistant superintendent, Joel Whitley. Sheets is a Carolinas GCSA past president and Distinguished Service Award winner.

Weather, mainly fog, has interfered with several earlier fall meetings at Linville Ridge. But there was barely a cloud in the Carolina blue sky when golfers teed off on Monday. Earlier, they heard from GCSAA’s new Southeast field representative, Dave Dettmer, CGCS. Dettmer explained the methods for and benefits of superintendents hosting a First Green event at their facility.

Carolinas GCSA board member, Jeremy Boone, CGCS from Springdale in Canton, NC, also gave a first-hand explanation of what colleagues could expect. Boone has hosted several First Green outings at the resort course, which has undergone a major revitalization under new ownership in recent years.

Carolinas GCSA members will return to the mountains next fall for another exceptional opportunity at Grandfather Golf and Country Club, where incoming association president, Pete Gerdon, will be host superintendent. Grandfather, like Linville Ridge, has undergone some updating in recent years at the hands of Florida-based golf course architect, Bobby Weed, who grew up in South Carolina.

Veteran Gerdon in Line for Presidency

One of the most experienced and respected golf course superintendents in the profession is in line to become the next president of the Carolinas GCSA Pete Gerdon, from Grandfather Golf and Country Club, is expected to be voted in at the at the Carolinas GCSA annual business meeting on November 15 during Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Before moving to Grandfather in the mid-’80, Gerdon, 71, prepared the golf course for six Greater Greensboro Opens for the PGA Tour at Forest Oaks Golf Club. While in Greensboro, NC, Gerdon served as president of what is now the Piedmont GCSA. He also served on the Carolinas GCSA board years ago before returning to the board in 2018.

Grandfather, of course, is one of the best-known courses in the Carolinas. The Ellis Maples design has long been cited on lists of the best 100 courses or 100 best classic courses in the United States. Earlier this year, Gerdon completed a three-year modernization project at Grandfather with golf course architect, Bobby Weed.
A tee shift on hole 11 to the left expands the playing angle and sight line for drives. A new tee complex was built on hole 16, adding length and reducing the severity of the dog leg down a treacherous creek bed. Both enhancements influence the “risk versus reward” strategy.

Fairway bunkers were methodically rebuilt on holes 8, 10, 11 and 18 for improved maintainability and visual contrast. Major improvements were also made to drainage with diversion swales reinstalled on the high sides of many holes and herringbone drainage systems installed in every fairway.

Carolinas GCSA board members and some industry partners got to experience the changes last weekend. To help mark the occasion, staff members at the club “honored” Gerdon by having a cardboard cutout made from a print ad he appeared in for Regal Star back in the back in the ‘80s.

Allen Brings Pawleys Back into Action

For Chris Allen, things got “a little crazy down the stretch” but Pawleys Plantation in Myrtle Beach is open once again after a four-month renovation. Allen, the golf course superintendent, worked with Troy Vincent, design associate with Nicklaus Golf Design, and Chaz Henderson, of Henderson and Company golf construction, to complete the project.

“The end product is phenomenal,” Allen says. “The greens are beautiful, and the membership is very happy. The feedback from our public play has also been fantastic.” In a rare twist on the traditional routine of a golf course opening or reopening, Allen not only got to participate in the ribbon cutting but was also invited to hit a ceremonial opening tee shot.

“My wife and kids were there too, so it was kind of emotional after a long four months or so,” he says. “I’ve done projects on golf courses in Florida, but this was my first true renovation, and I absolutely loved it.” Allen also paid tribute to the work of Founders Group International construction superintendent, Brett Whitson.

The ribbon-cutting and opening tee shots highlighted a soft members-only opening on Sunday, which was followed by full tee sheet off double tees for public play on Monday. “After four months or so of not having to set up the golf course, it felt like we were back into it in an instant,” Allen says.

Highlights of the renovation of the Jack Nicklaus design that opened in 1988 included restoring every green to its original size, netting nearly 40,000 sq. ft. of additional putting surface. Greens were resurfaced with Tifeagle bermudagrass with Tahoma 31 on the collars. Large bunkers on holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 16 and 18 were replaced by smaller fairway bunkers, native areas and expanded fairways.