Golf Course Management

JAN 2019

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

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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 French Creek Golf Club in Elverson, Pa. "Ted is a great individual and representative of the industry. He is well-thought-out and doesn't do anything in a haphazard manner." Spurred early in his career by people such as the late famed golf course architect and fellow Canadian Geoffrey Cornish, Horton (who earned a turfgrass degree from the Uni - versity of Massachusetts-Amherst) spent 12 years at Westchester CC. "Working there for him was my first experience seeing a polished superintendent," says John Carlone, CGCS, a 37-year association member at Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y. "He was a boardroom superintendent, and he was as comfy talking with members as he was his staff. It impressed me a lot." In 2000, nearly a decade after migrating to the West Coast, Horton was on the scene at Pebble Beach Golf Links when Tiger Woods smoked the U.S. Open field, shooting 12-un - der-par and prevailing by a mind-boggling 15 strokes. Horton, then vice president of re- source management for Pebble Beach Co., supervised maintenance operations at all five courses at Pebble Beach. What Woods achieved wasn't what Horton anticipated. "That was unusual. I was hoping around par or 1- or 2-under would win," Horton says. Although he left Pebble Beach years ago, Horton's influence there remains. Under his guidance, the company developed the "Golf and the Environment" initiative, which brought together golf and environmental communities to seek environmental improvements for the game. He also delivered the idea of restoring and enhancing the much-photographed 18th- hole seawall at Pebble Beach Golf Links, a method eventually adopted by the California Coastal Commission for oceanic retaining walls. He earned the Environmental Steward - ship Award from GCSAA for guiding the process that landed The Links at Spanish Bay the state of California's first full certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audu - bon International. His efforts continue to reverberate in California, where he lives, serves as a senior consul - tant (for places such as Canada, Ireland, Morocco, Republic of Palau, Taiwan and Thailand) and develops monarch butterfly habitats in Canyon Lake. "It's safe to say that when Ted re - located from New York to California, he became the chief advocate of aggregating the dispa- rate and often disjointed components of the California golf industry into coalitions capable of much better pursuing the industry's interests and agendas," says Craig Kessler, director of government affairs, Southern California Golf Association. "He lit the way that many others, including yours truly, have followed, and the California golf industry is much better for it." Horton has served as president of the California Golf Alliance; executive director of the California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA); and senior consulting superin - tendent for BrightView Golf Course Maintenance. He was instrumental in founding Top career. "I got a job working on the grounds of a golf course. I was just a humble green - keeper earning my wings," he says. Obviously, it didn't take long for Hor - ton, who has overseen two U.S. Opens, one women's U.S. Open, a U.S. Amateur and 26 PGA Tour events, to soar. His name was introduced to the masses in 1974, when Winged Foot hosted the U.S. Open. That was the first of two legendary U.S. Opens that had Horton's fingerprints all over them. The '74 U.S. Open was dubbed "The Massacre at Winged Foot" for the course's 6-inch uniform rough mowed with light - weight rotaries and its ultra-challenging greens. Horton prepared those greens by shaving the bottom of mower bedknives and setting the height of cut to one-eighth of an inch — unheard of at that time. The punishing conditions proved a grueling test for the best golfers in the world. Hale Irwin outlasted the field by posting 7-over- par to win. There were other winners, says Horton, with pride in his voice. "I strongly believe there have to be three winners at a U.S. Open. The best golfer has to be identified. The golf course members have to win. If the score had been 18-under, they'd have been humiliated. Too often we forget the golf course also has to win," says Horton, a 51-year association member, add - ing that Irwin told him in the aftermath that it was the greatest course he'd ever seen. "While the golf course has to win, the chari - ties must win also." Bruce Cadenelli was Horton's first in - tern at Winged Foot, an opportunity that led to a lasting friendship. When Cadenelli's wife, Jeanne, was preparing for open-heart surgery eight years ago, Nancy Horton re - sponded. "She said, 'When do you want me there?' That speaks volumes about the Hortons," says Cadenelli, superintendent at Ted Horton is big into monarch butterflies — even manufactured ones. Here he is with one he made from Christmas lights and insulation paper. Photo by MacKenzie Dore

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