Golf Course Management

JUN 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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gcm ex t ra It's not uncommon to see 70 or more members, dressed in white, playing croquet at Highlands CC on a Tuesday or Thursday evening. Photos courtesy of Brian Stiehler/Highlands CC a majority of our members, croquet was still foreign. Highlands CC past-president Wayne Beckner recalls that many members opposed the greens renovation, let alone the croquet court. Highlands CC is a second-home resort community for most of its members, and many did not want to give up time away from their beloved course while the work was being done. "Worst-case scenario, we will have one heck of a turf nursery if the court is not used," Beckner said. The board commissioned architect Ron Pritchard to complete a master plan for the property and conducted tours for fellow members to discuss potential changes. Finally, in 1998, members voted to approve the $1.2 million project — but only by a margin of one or two votes. Unfortunately, the croquet court was excluded. Highlands CC's president at the time, George Pettway, supported the project but didn't believe the board could or would approve the expenditure. The board did, however, continue to study the location of the court and met with Bob Pinson of Gainesville, Ga.-based construction company Course Crafters to determine the cost. It was at this point that four Highlands CC members raised their own funds for the project, ensuring the croquet complex would be part of the renovation project while all the necessary construction equipment was already on site. A handful of members still believed the idea was crazy, stating numerous times, "No one will ever use the lawn!" But in the spring of 1999, Pettway informed the board at their annual retreat that private funds were available to proceed with the court, and the board voted 7-2 to approve the croquet construction. Years later, this decision would pay dividends as Highlands CC is now the largest private croquet club in the United States. Maintenance matters Course Crafters began renovating tees, greens and bunkers as well as improving drainage under the supervision of Andy Laughridge, CGCS retired, a 35-year GCSAA member who was Highlands CC's superintendent at the time. And now 72 GCM June 2013

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