Golf Course Management

MAR 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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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.19 "We were ready for a new opportunity, and to try new things somewhere else," Barajas says. "I just feel fortunate that this position was available at a place as special as Boca Grove, a great golf course and great people. We're very lucky." For the folks at Boca Grove, the feeling is mutual. "I've belonged to country clubs that had talented superintendents, but they didn't have the greatest people skills," says Randy Miller, who was on the nominating committee that hired Barajas, in addition to serving as Boca Grove's greens chair - man throughout Barajas' tenure there. "We were not looking for that here. We wanted someone who could deliver a good product on the golf course, but also someone who felt like they were a part of us and what we were doing here. And that's what we found in Rafael. He came across to us as the real deal, and he's lived up to that." Presidential privilege Although Barajas was never shy about his desire to give back to the golf course management industry and willingly stepped into roles at the chapter and state levels, national ser - vice was another matter. At least initially. "I was asked to run a couple of times, but at first, I really didn't think I was qualified," Barajas says. "I worried because English was my second language ... that I didn't have the vast vocabulary that others have. ings like that held me back a little bit. But I was never afraid of the challenge, the responsi - bility and the opportunities it could present." And now, he's thrilled that he eventually accepted that challenge. "It's been a great privilege, the greatest of my ca - reer," he says. "More than that, it's an awesome responsibility to represent all the members of GCSAA — and the whole golf industry, really. I'm honored that so many had so much faith in me to do that." To Gibson, it's an accomplishment that he has every right to be proud of. "I told him the other day, 'Don't hide your enthusiasm for this, your excitement. You committed to this many, many years ago, and you deserve full credit for staying with it and seeing it all the way to this point.' I'm just really proud of the path he's taken to get here, and all of us at the club feel the same way." Scott Hollister ( is GCM 's editor-in-chief. Top: Since joining the club in 2015, Barajas (center) has focused on building a strong team in Boca Grove's maintenance department, a team that now includes (from left to right) Nava; Hibbert; Claudia Talamantes, the administrative assistant in the maintenance department; Anthony Poma, equipment manager and a one- year GCSAA member; and Yohan Hernandez, the assistant equipment manager and a two-year member of the association. Bottom: Barajas calls his election to become GCSAA's 83rd president "a great privilege, the greatest of my career. ... I'm honored that so many had so much faith in me to do that."

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