Golf Course Management

OCT 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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20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.18 for him. "He was a good guy to work for, and you always could go to him," says Conway, who was on the scene in late August when Minnick returned to Lawrence CC for the photo shoot for this story. When he saw Minnick dressed for the picture, he smiled and told him, "I'm glad you and I didn't lock horns." In 2008, Minnick left Lawrence CC to start his own lawn and landscaping business in town, Green Concepts. He departed the superintendent field for family reasons. "I was gone all the time. I wanted to see my kids more," he says. For several years, Minnick was a fixture at GCSAA head - quarters in Lawrence as Green Concepts was awarded the con- tract to maintain the grounds at headquarters. Overseeing the care of turfgrass and landscape for an association that is heav - ily invested in that type of work and has thousands of members could be considered a load of pressure, but Minnick welcomed it. "Of course it was a big deal. Think about all those people who were looking at it," he says. "I have a passion for every property that I have taken care of." In 2017, Minnick sold his business and began a new chapter. Currently, he serves as an agronomist and assists in business devel - opment for Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects and also is a proj- ect manager for the Natural Grass Advisory Group, an independent education, advisory, management and analytics firm focused on the improvement of natural grass sports surfaces. Much of Minnick's spare time is devoted to taekwondo. And, yes, there's a weapon involved. The combat weapon is padded and 24 inches long. Dressed in a dobuk (it looks like a robe) and head gear with a mask, participants use the combat weapon to try to hit the head, body and leg of an opponent to score points. "It (competition) only lasts two minutes. Two intense minutes," Minnick says. "I've seen broken bones, bloody noses, even with the face mask on. Things can go awry." Minnick constantly seeks improve - ment — in everything he does. "Per- fect practice makes perfect. You need to listen to feedback, do your homework, and don't just spin your wheels. You have to self-evaluate all the time," he says. Motivation was plentiful. Did we mention that Minn - ick lost in the final a year ago? It propelled him to new heights this year. "That particular guy (Buckmaster) was good at defending attacks, so I made him attack me, and that worked to perfection," he says. Sometimes Minnick misses being a superintendent. The end result in that job was special. "To go from so-so to spectacular in a couple of hours that brings out the best in the golf course made it worthwhile," he says. Minnick sees some indirect correlations in the sport and being a super - intendent. "It's the ability to stay focused on what you're doing," he says, "that focus, that drive, to make things right." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor Remembering Riley Stottern Riley Stottern, CGCS Retired, spent more than half a century — 53 years — as a member of GCSAA. He served as the associ - ation's president in 1986 and was on the board of directors from 1981 to 1988. A third-generation golf course superintendent, Stot - tern was involved in the design and construction of eight golf courses and claimed a long list of honors and awards from various local and regional golf associations. But to measure Stottern — who died Aug. 30 at his home in St. George, Utah, at age 75 — simply in golf terms would be to sell the man short. So says Don Hearn, CGCS Retired, a 49-year member of GCSAA. "Riley was a wonderful friend and, more importantly, a wonderful person — very caring and family-centric," says Hearn, executive director of the GCSA of New England. "When we were younger and on the GCSAA board, our families would spend time together at the Conference and Show, now the GIS." Hearn says Stottern's reach went far beyond the golf course. "Riley would always take the kids to a place they wanted to go and enjoy the time spent with them," Hearn As a left-handed pitcher in junior college, Scott Wicker possessed one particularly dependable pitch. "I had a good curveball. But every - body's got to have a fastball that goes by people. If you're throwing it 85 (mph), you're not going to go very far," he says. Although baseball wasn't in Wicker's future, it's so far, so good in his chosen profession. Wicker has covered plenty of ground in a 25-year career as a superintendent, including his job since 1999 at Black Creek Club in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he serves as the GCSAA Class A superintendent and is hosting the 31st annual Tennessee Mid-Amateur, scheduled Oct. 4-6. This isn't the first time Wicker has prepared the course for events. The Nation - wide Tour — now Web.com Tour — had a stop there for nine years (golfer Matt Kuchar posted a hole-in-one at the course in 2006). "The Mid-Amateur is a great event. It's always nice to have a state tournament, and you like to showcase your golf course for that kind of an event where some - body is trying to win something," says Wicker, who supervised and coordinated the grow-in there. Wicker, 48, is homegrown. He's from Chat - tanooga and lives about a mile from where he grew up. One season of working during college at Chattanooga Golf & Country Club ignited his career path, which included a turfgrass degree from Rutgers University after he had already secured a business degree from the University of Tennessee. "I took up the game and fell in love with it," he says. He was mentored by superintendents such as Jeff Hollister at Chattanooga G&CC and David Stone when Wicker served as an assistant at the The Honors Course in Chat - tanooga. Wicker landed his first superintendent job at Lookout Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club, where he supervised and coordinated a restoration of the Seth Raynor design. His management style? "We try to common-sense everything to death," he says. "I really think it's my job to lead by example. They (crew) have to know you're invested." He and his wife, Leah, are seeing their sons follow in their father's footsteps, although Scott never insisted on it. Sam is majoring in turfgrass at Mississippi State; Seth is a left- handed pitcher at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn. "I'm very proud of both my boys as they try to find their way," Wicker says. — H.R. ACT ON COURSE OF 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.18 After his title triumph, Minnick was surrounded by his family, including sons (from left) Bennett and Gannon, and his wife, Heather. Photo courtesy of Brad Minnick

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