Golf Course Management

JUL 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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front NINE 9 see more @ www.gcsaa.org Left: Golf course superintendent Bob Blalock sells barbecue sauce in his spare time. Here he is at Krogers, offering samples. Photos courtesy of Bob Blalock Right: Bob and Terri Blalock Super's sauce a hit with BBQ connoisseurs Konzem resigns COO post GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans announced June 19 the resignation of Richard Konzem as the association's chief operating officer. Konzem was hired for the position in October 2011. "I appreciate Richard's contributions to the association's operations and its members," Evans said. "We will miss him as a GCSAA team member, and wish him much success in his future endeavors." Evans said that as is standard procedure, the position will be evaluated before any posting decisions are made. 20 GCM July 2013 If you just happen to be in the greater Houston area and see a 50-something man offering samples of barbecue sauce, that guy probably is a golf course superintendent. In his spare (ribs) time, Bob Blalock, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Lake Windcrest Golf Club in Magnolia, Texas, has a nice little business going on the side. Uncle Bob's Sauces appear to be a hit in the Lone Star State, and others across the country are learning about it, too. In 2012, they sold approximately 20,000 bottles. "We just shipped 39 cases to a Von Maur department store in Iowa," Blalock tells GCM. This truly is a labor of love. Blalock has teamed up with his wife, Terri, to operate the business. Raised on an Angus cattle farm in Woodbury, Ga., about 60 miles south of Atlanta, Blalock earned a degree in animal science at the University of Georgia and quickly got a job managing a beef cattle experiment station for the university. Eventually, Blalock went to graduate school, later moved to Cleveland, and was bitten by the golf bug. "That's when I started to wonder how I could combine ag with golf," he says. He entered the world of golf course management as a crew member at Quail Hollow Resort in Painesville, Ohio, and in only 30 months became its superintendent. He credits people such as his mentor, Jim Loke, CGCS, for teaching him the intricacies of the business. "His tenacity for details, his knowledge of the nuts and bolts of agronomy and how that all works on the golf course, were things I watched and learned from him," Blalock says. "He was very cutting edge, wasn't afraid to try new things." In time, Blalock moved to Southern California. Neither Cleveland nor California, though, completely satisfed his taste buds. "You couldn't fnd any real good barbecue in those places," Blalock says. He decided to take matters into his own hands. Blalock put his memory to the test, remembering what barbecue tasted like to him as a youngster, in a house where the freezer always was stocked with beef. The Blalocks purchased a 60-gallon kettle and moved into a commercial kitchen to meet health department code requirements. "At frst we would make small batches of our sauce and started giving it as Christmas presents," he says. "I didn't know how to properly bottle it; we just found some clear plastic squeeze bottles and put it in those." The Blalocks didn't have to ask whether their product was a hit. "People started showing up with empty bottles and wanted us to refll them," Blalock says. "We saw a need to nurture this, so we did." Their sauce comes in multiple favors. One of the most popular is Georgia Juice, which he says is a vinegar/mustard-based sauce that goes well with chicken, pork or any type of white meat. The Blalocks' product line includes gourmet burger sauce, seasonings and rubs (www.unclebobssauces.com). Oh, and they also have their own restaurant. Uncle Bob's BBQ in Willis, Texas, is open Friday through Sunday at Stow-A-Way Marina. Terri's son from a previous marriage, Brandon Gorman, runs the restaurant. Blalock defers much of the credit to their success to Terri. "She is the driving force in the development of the business," he says. Blalock certainly has found a nice blend, both in his sauces and his career, and that is the ultimate reward. "It is nice to be able to create something people enjoy when we prepare our golf course each day," Blalock says, "and it is also neat to see so many people have come to like our sauces. It's all just very gratifying." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor

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