Golf Course Management

AUG 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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Page 53 of 126

08.14 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 49 Three years later, the Senior PGA Championship came to town. Within weeks of its conclu- sion, a mammoth renovation was launched. Meier, in the eye of it, needed to make crucial choices. One of them focused on what type of grass would be chosen to regrass the greens. In fact, it arguably was Meier's toughest decision of them all. This would be the second time in seven years that the greens were going to be regrassed. In 2006, Valhalla switched from Penncross to a Penn A-1/A-4 bentgrass blend. In the summer of 2011, heat and humidity had taken their toll, and action was in order. There was no time to daw - dle, particularly since this PGA Championship was less than 36 months away. That may seem hardly ample time to restore greens that had become, in a word, unacceptable. "Literally, you were putting on sand," Thorp says. "The PGA of America was concerned. Members were disheartened." Scott DeBolt, director of JacklinGolf at Jacklin Seed Co., was perfectly blunt when asked the importance of Meier's greens grass decision. "If he made the wrong choice and those greens failed, he's looking for a job," DeBolt says. Meier, 36, had been on the job less than a year when Valhalla reached a crossroads. Although it hasn't been in existence nearly as long as nearby famed Churchill Downs, home of the Ken - tucky Derby, it sounds as if Valhalla had a thoroughbred in the form of Meier to guide such an important project. "He is the workhorse, the every-down running back," says Valhalla PGA club professional Chris Hamburger. "He doesn't need my help." Yet when Meier set out to create the course he envisioned for Valhalla, he leaned on others rather than becoming a loner. If anything, Meier was thorough in his approach to getting it right. Whether he visited other golf courses to collect ideas, spoke to endless industry members that he felt he could trust or bounce ideas off the course designer — none other than Jack Nicklaus — Meier showcased the resourcefulness of an Eagle Scout. "This course is a fagship of the PGA of America. The whole plan for Valhalla during this renovation was to ensure it was one for the ages," Meier says. "We wanted to set this place up for a long, long time." If anyone can make it happen, David Beanblossom knows it's Meier. "If you're going to build a golf course on the moon, he's your guy," says Beanblossom, superintendent at Chariot Run at Horseshoe Southern Indiana. "He can get grass to grow anywhere." A son finds his niche Judy Meier's son fooled her — a couple of times. After she and Roger Meier Sr. had two girls, everything changed June 10, 1978. They were expecting their third child, and Judy assumed it would be another girl. She got a surprise at birth. It was a son. Left: Meier and assistant superintendent Joey Downard conduct Stimpmeter tests. Photo © Montana Pritchard Right: Valhalla GC is ready for its third PGA Championship. Photo courtesy of PGA of America "He is the workhorse, the every-down running back. He doesn't need my help." — Chris Hamburger, PGA club professional

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