Golf Course Management

AUG 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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08.19 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 37 Colligan says. "It was overdue for some TLC." He credits Kemp, whom he calls "a whiz" at rerouting and conquering flood plain issues there. Being a local made this job extra special for Colligan. It was timely for business, too. "During the economic downturn, munis kept us going," he says. ey're not done yet revamping Rock - wood, home to e First Tee of Fort Worth. More facility upgrades are on the horizon, in - cluding a new clubhouse and, Sturm hopes, improvements at his maintenance facility, lo - cated in a flood plain and close enough that he can hit a wedge into the Trinity River. Bunton, meanwhile, views municipal golf as a key source to help the industry grow. "ere always seem to be questions whether munici - palities should be in the golf business. I think municipal golf courses are able to keep costs down a little and provide accessibility for all golfers," she says. A USGA champ champions Pennsylvania course John Jackson has vivid memories of Downing Golf Course in Harborcreek, Pa. — some from even before the plane landed. Class A superintendent Alan Zielinski oversees Downing Golf Course in Harborcreek, Pa., which hosted the USGA's U.S. Amateur Public Links 50 years ago in 1969. The course has been buoyed by implementing the Longleaf Tee Initiative, which is designed to increase course playability and golfer enjoyment for players of all ages and skills. This month, Downing GC will host the Erie District Amateur Championship. Photos by Karen Bukowski "On the flight in to Erie (Pa.), they came on and announced they'd had 24 inches of rain the week before," Jackson says, "but I ended up having a good time." In 1969, Jackson won the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Downing. "e greens were just excellent," says Jackson, who in his career made two cuts in the PGA Champi - onship and currently is the general manager at Corte Bella Golf Club in Sun City West, Ariz. "It was as good a golf course as I had played." Nowadays, GCSAA Class A superin - tendent Alan Zielinski, who has been there since 2005, oversees Downing and nine-hole J.C. Martin Golf Course, courses where the city is always exploring creative ways to in - crease revenue while attracting new golfers. Like other municipal courses have encoun - tered nationally, it has been challenging to have revenues exceed expenses at times. Zielinski, meanwhile, goes about his business. "I took several business classes at Penn State and learned then to be budget- minded," says Zielinski, a 23-year associa - tion member. "e way I see it, you treat this as your own business. If you do that, I think you'll always make good decisions." Downing implemented the Longleaf Tee Initiative, modeled after the Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Southern Pines, N.C., and designed to increase course playabil - ity and golfer enjoyment for players of all ages and skill sets. "We've had people who hadn't been here in a few years come back, and they're thrilled," says Karen Bukowski, Downing's golf professional. "Municipal golf courses sometimes have limited budgets and resources, but Alan's done an amazing job with what he has." Zielinski's staff members are all part- timers, many of whom are retired. Down - ing isn't holding a USGA-level event, but its Erie District Amateur Championship that starts Aug. 16 is a big deal. "ey're used to playing country club conditions. We'll put our best foot forward," Zielinski says. "We'll make the place shine, the best it can be." Beating the odds in Las Vegas Who doesn't want to make a haul in Las Vegas? is haul, however, had nothing to do with hitting the jackpot.

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