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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54 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 in-one during the round. The following day, when he was back to work on the same course, Meier answered his phone. It was Montague. He wanted to talk about what it would take to hire Meier. On Sept. 1, 2010, it was Meier's frst day on the job at Valhalla. He says the same things now that he thought then. "This place is unbelievable," Meier says. A man with some plans When Meier showed up three years ago at the golf course of Ted Willard, CGCS, it was pretty obvious this was not exactly a social visit. What gave it away? Meier was carrying a moisture meter. Willard, superintendent at Hunting Creek Country Club in Prospect, Ky., was among the frst in the region to install T-1 creeping bent - grass, which was developed by Jacklin Seed's Doug Brede, Ph.D. Although it has only been a decade since T-1 reached the market (it was frst released in late 2004), courses in the tran - sition zone more recently began to give it a closer look because of its tolerance to extreme temperatures and drought as well as its Poa resistance. The methodical and tireless quest for Meier to select the best grass for the greens at Valhalla impressed Willard. "That was smart of him. He actually came out here a couple of times," says Willard, a 29-year GCSAA member. "He was energetic. I knew he was somebody who is going places. He is going to be prepared for that PGA." Meier certainly did his homework. Practi - cally the day after he was hired, Meier began building his case for major renovations, which also included reshaping greens, a new irrigation system (when Meier arrived, Valhalla didn't have green surrounds heads), a Precision Air subsurface aeration system, multiple bunker renovations and an expanded practice area. He knew the grass on those greens wasn't perform - ing to its full potential. Meier exhausted multi- ple avenues to correct the problem. In a way, Meier went home to launch the process. Hummel & Co., a soils consulting service in Trumansburg, analyzed Valhalla greens samples. Greens were gridded. Meier suspected greens weren't draining nearly as well as they should because sewer pipe failed to hold up under the weight. Drain tiles were crushed. Organic and calcareous sand had degraded, basically turning into clay and silt. Meier knew then that a silica base was a must in the greens renovation. In his pursuit, Meier sought advice and as - sistance from numerous people in the industry. Former USGA agronomist Tim Moraghan visited him at Valhalla. So did Marc Logan, president of Greenway Golf. Among the frst to supply Meier with his analysis of the situ - ation was TPC agronomy regional director Dennis Ingram. Meier crossed state lines to become well informed. He also shared information with Pat Franklin, CGCS, at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Va. Franklin already had es - Jack Nicklaus, at right, on the course he designed at Valhalla GC. With him is PGA of America President Ted Bishop. Photo courtesy of Valhalla GC Meier certainly did his homework. Practically the day after he was hired, Meier began building his case for major renovations.

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