Golf Course Management

MAR 2014

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

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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.14 tee chairman at the club. "The more you get to know him, the more you think of him." Unparalleled work ethic doesn't hurt. "That sucker works a lot harder than most doctors," says Franks, a dermatologist. "Keith and his staff (featuring assistant Kyle Bunney, superintendent Brandon Wright and equip - ment manager Jeff Brewer) made the busi- ness of the greens committee easy. The course looks so good that it looks like we're doing our job well." Wright says, "He's good about giving us op - portunities to try to grow ourselves." Byron Freeland, former club president, insists Ihms is a rare breed. "When he tells us something, we don't have to second guess it. It's his attention to detail," Freeland says. "I've never heard anybody criticize the superin- tendent, and that is unusual. That is remark- able, actually." The silent treatment works in that instance, but Ihms is vocal. His ability to communicate resonates from his staff to the clubhouse. "Keith and I are very close," Country Club of Little Rock PGA professional Darrell Shel - ton says. "I try to fnd out more about what he's doing than what I tell him I'm doing. He's always seemed to have great direction on what he wants to accomplish." When Ihms tours the course with gen - eral manager/chief operating offcer Blaine Burgess, there is a routine that has come to be expected. "Every time I go out there (golf course), he's pointing something out, whether it's a tree dying or a green that's not getting enough sun - light," says Burgess, who admires how Ihms meshes with everybody from the entry-level laborer to past board presidents. "We do some - thing like a checkbook accounting system every week so I can see where he stands. He kind of stands above because he is so orga - nized and detail oriented — not only on the golf course but also in his administrative du - ties. It's just the overall package that he brings to the table." A major renovation in 2010 reunited Ihms with Foster, who eventually landed the reno - vation job for Bent Tree several years earlier. Now, the Country Club of Little Rock secured his services for a redesign. "I saw Keith through the design lens, con - struction lens and the technical lens," Foster says, "and he was fantastic. I love to see my work better than it is. I told him, 'You made my work better than it is.' I say that, even though to this day when he sees me he boos me." When Nita died, Foster spoke that morn - ing with Ihms. In fact, they spoke often after she was diagnosed. Top: Country Club of Little Rock General Manager/Chief Operating Offcer Blaine Burgess (next to Ihms) and Class A PGA Professional Darrell Shelton review restoration plans for the course from 2010. Bottom: Country Club of Little Rock GCSAA Class A superintendent Brandon Wright, whom Ihms calls his "right-hand man," on the 17th fairway. 044-057_March14_Pres.indd 50 2/18/14 1:40 PM

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