Golf Course Management

APR 2013

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

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Hoisting the GCSAA National Championship trophy never entered Charlie Costello's mind entering the 2013 playing of the event in San Diego, but a strong two-day total of 3-over-par 147 made that a reality for the superintendent at Phoenix CC. Kyle Stanley, you now have a kindred spirit in Charlie Costello. For those who don't know Stanley or his claim to fame, he is the professional golfer who famously wasted his chance to win the 2012 Farmer's Insurance Open by spinning a short approach shot off the 18th green of the South Course at Torrey Pines and into the small pond that fronts that green. He bounced back the very next week with a convincing win at the Waste Management Open, but his miscue in San Diego was one of the moments of the year on the PGA Tour. Almost one year to the date later, Costello found himself reliving Stanley's nightmare. Resting just 90 yards from that same 18th green at Torrey Pines and needing only a par to win his very frst GCSAA National Championship, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Phoenix Country Club fred away at a similar hole location, watched as his shot landed just short of the hole … and then spun back violently off the front of the green and into that very same pond. "All I could think about was Kyle Stanley," says Costello. "I really thought I had hit the perfect shot, but it came up a few yards shy of what I was going for and I paid the price." Unlike Stanley, though, Costello didn't have to wait a week to get his redemption. Immediately dropping another ball on the 84 GCM April 2013 same spot that spawned his ill-fated frst shot, his second attempt was darn near perfect, almost fnding the bottom of the cup before settling just a few inches from the hole and leaving him with a tap-in putt that would eventually win him the tournament outright. "Everyone hopes they can win a tournament like this one, of course, but I never seriously thought that I could ever do it," the 17-year GCSAA member admits. "I don't know that I had ever even sniffed the top 10 before this year. But I got into a good rhythm on the frst day and, for the most part, just kept it going during the fnal round. It was just really unexpected and really very special for me." SRO in San Diego Costello's victory capped a big week for the GCSAA Golf Championships, which was presented in partnership with The Toro Co. for the 19th consecutive year. The event rode the momentum of a new schedule, new playing options and a roster of fve of San Diego's most popular golf facilities to some of the biggest participation numbers the event has seen in recent years. All told, 448 participants took part in at least some portion of the event before heading downtown for the GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show. That's 120 more than took part in the 2012 event in Palm Springs, Calif. That overall number included 104 players who competed in the National Championship, 226 who took part in the Golf Classic and 76 who played in a one-day shamble event. The traditional Four-Ball competition that opened the festivities attracted a total of 332 players. Hosting those players for three days of competition were a who's who of San Diego golf. Both the South and North courses at Torrey Pines — which just one week earlier had played host to the 2013 playing of the Farmer's Insurance Open — welcomed GCSAA competitors, as did Aviara Golf Club, the Champions Course at La Costa Resort and Spa, Maderas Golf Club and the North and South courses at Morgan Run Resort and Club. Front-runner Costello's recovery shot on 18 and the tap-in putt it left him were remarkable, no doubt, but they didn't completely end the drama. The shot that ended up in the drink — coincidentally, the pond Costello found on that hole is the only water that players have to deal with on the entire South Course at Torrey Pines — actually opened the door to a handful of other competitors to at least dream about sending the tournament into extra time.

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