Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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16 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 done in other similar situations, I might add). I spent five days at Bellerive during the PGA, reporting on golf course management opera - tions. Only a few hours after the story posted, I met with Arraya and the senior maintenance team at Bellerive to show them the story and see what, if anything, they wanted GCSAA to do about it. I found Arraya's reaction enlight - ening and a fantastic example for the rest of us to follow the next time — and there will be a next time — something like this happens. ere was anger in the room, to be sure, and I saw a brief look of disappointment in Arraya's face as he finished the story. But he regrouped quickly, traded the disappointment for resolution, and told me, "I don't want or need you to do anything. We're not respond - ing to this." en, turning to his team, he said, "Guys, I told you there would be challenges, that things like this could come up. We've done great work up until now. We're happy where we're at. Kerry (Haigh, chief champion - ship officer for the PGA of America) is happy where we're at. is doesn't change anything." And that was it. e crew members took a deep breath, did their best to forget the story and got on with their work. e story didn't immediately fade from the spotlight, but by midweek, it was no longer at the top of news feeds, and the course ultimately revealed itself as an amazing stage for one of the most excit - ing major championships in recent memory. e moral of this story is simple, at least in my view. e awareness of superintendents and the jobs they do has increased exponen - tially in the last 10 to 15 years. at's a good thing. But that increased awareness can come with a price, especially at major events, with conditions getting extra scrutiny, often from those whose agronomic backgrounds aren't quite as developed as those who've chosen to make this business their livelihood. When that happens, let's all remember the example set by Arraya and the healthy per - spective he brought to this situation and to all of his work throughout PGA Championship week. e work matters, but it's not the only thing that matters. Sometimes, taking a deep breath, taking that next step and just moving on can be the best response of all. Scott Hollister is GCM 's editor-in-chief. Scott Hollister shollister@gcsaa.org Twitter: @GCM_Magazine A lesson in perspective (inside gcm) On Monday of PGA Championship week at Bellerive Country Club, almost any - one involved in the golf course management business would have forgiven Carlos Arraya, CGCS, for letting his emotions get the better of him, even if only for a moment. It had been a long and trying run-up to the event for the club's director of agronomy and grounds. e preceding months had been an agronomic perfect storm for a Midwestern golf course with bentgrass greens preparing for a major in August — coldest April on record, followed by the hottest May on record, fol - lowed by the hottest and driest June since the early 1950s. Don't even ask about July. Championship week began with its own challenges. While the first morning of work on the course had gone relatively smoothly, there was a less-than-ideal weather forecast looming for Tuesday, one that called for heavy rains. Based on that forecast, plans had to be altered, most notably the expedited removal of 41 turf fans that had kept Bellerive's greens going through that grueling St. Louis summer. Arraya was also carrying a heavy personal load. at Monday would have been the 21st birthday of his late son, Isaih, who had been killed in a car accident two Augusts earlier. ere were remembrances of Isaih that day and kind gestures toward the family, but the anniversary added a somber tone. en, amid all that, the Golf Digest story hit the Internet. e headline read, "Bellerive's greens, suf - fering from Midwest heat wave, are burnt and patchy for the 2018 PGA Championship." e story had pictures and featured quotes from players and caddies, and while it was generally fairer and more balanced than the headline might suggest, it was yet another shot across the bow for golf course management, painting a picture of another major championship host with conditions on the edge. e story got immediate traction on social media, and, well, let's just say the superinten - dent Twitterverse did not handle it well. ere were angry calls for Golf Digest to learn some - thing — anything! — about agronomy before it wrote such rubbish. ere were demands for GCSAA to do something — anything! — to defend the honor of Arraya, in particular, and the golf course superintendent, in general. Behind the scenes, that's exactly what the association was doing (and what it always has The awareness of superintendents and the jobs they do has increased exponentially in the last 10 to 15 years. That's a good thing. But that increased awareness can come with a price.

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