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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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 An early adopter It's not too much of a stretch to say that Manning grew up in the golf business. No, he didn't have a mother or father who worked in the game or was obsessed by play - ing it. And, no, Manning didn't have much interest in picking up the sticks himself when he was a kid. But in high school, a friend con - nected him with a job on the crew at Ansley GC, and that part-time gig planted the seeds for a long connection with the club, its super - intendent, Young, and the business of golf course management. Shortly after graduating from high school, Young offered Manning a job as the irrigation tech at Ansley, and Manning quickly snatched it up. Just six months into that job, the club's assistant equipment manager moved on, and Manning transitioned into that role. And not long after that, when Ansley's head equipment manager left, Young turned shop operations over to Manning. In 2002, Manning took what might best be described as an eight-year sabbatical away from Ansley. He spent four years working for a company that specialized in sports field con - struction, another two with golf course con- struction company ForeFront, and then found a spot as a road technician for the Jerry Pate Co., one of the largest turf equipment distrib - utors in the Southeast. ere, Manning first connected with Cory Phillips, who eventually became one of Man - ning's closest friends. Now the equipment manager at the Golf Club of Georgia in Al - pharetta, Phillips preceded Manning as an MVT winner, taking the top prize in 2015. "Cory had been a road tech for a short amount of time when I arrived and kind of trained me on the job," Manning says. "I think we sort of showed them that we could do less sales and more true tech work and still make some money. So that's what we did, and it was really fun. Between he and I, we really set up that program and turned it into some - thing really successful." But life on the road was not an easy one. "In one year, I put over 70,000 miles on the service van I was driving," Manning says. When the opportunity to return to Ansley in 2010 as the head equipment manager pre - sented itself following the retirement of an- other club stalwart, Larry Friedman, Man- ning jumped at the chance. Young fully acknowledges just how much he and Ansley benefit from having someone with Manning's institutional knowledge in the shop and how lucky he has been as super - intendent to have just three equipment man- agers at the club in its 28-year history. "He's been a consistent piece here and is definitely a sounding board for me on a whole lot of things," the 34-year GCSAA member says of Manning. "If we're going to do a major project or anything significant here, Trent is one of my go-to people." Driven to serve Just as easily as Young credits Manning for the key role he plays at Ansley, Manning re - turns the favor when talking about his educa- tion in the golf business. Most notably, Man- ning cites the example set by Young as it relates Manning is a fixture at Ansley GC, where he first started working as a crew member while in high school. He's served as the club's head equipment manager since 2010. superintendent at Ansley, Courtney Young, CGCS. And that respect shone through loud and clear in the voting for GCM's 2018 Most Valuable Technician Award, presented in partnership with Foley United. A finalist for the second consecutive year, Manning won this year's award over fellow finalists Patrick Drinkard from the Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas, and Hector Velasquez from Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah. "ings like the MVT aren't things I seek out," Manning says. "I like doing what I do behind the scenes. But to say I'm not honored to get this award would be wrong. I know it's a special recognition, and I'm grateful to every - one who voted for me."

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