Golf Course Management

MAR 2015

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

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74 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.15 it won't sheet-fow off the putting surface, the moisture accumulates in those areas. In those parts of the green we're battling pythium root rot and additional disease pressure. "Obviously, I'm not the frst one to man - age aging greens with an above-average accu- mulation of mix, but I can tell you we main- tain an aggressive aerifcation program in the summer months," Black continues. "We con - tinued incorporating and diluting organics with as much sand as we could. But there just comes a time when they won't perform to the standards of member expectations — and our own expectations." Full-circle proposition Push now comes to shove as Black and course architect Drew Rogers have embarked on a comprehensive plan for improvement of the Preserve, where all 18 greens and sur - rounds will be rebuilt, along with all 56 bun- kers. It's likely the Lakes Course will get a sim- ilar refurbishment when the Preserve project is complete. Both 18s at Quail West are credited to ar - chitect Arthur Hills, whose frm Rogers joined the year the Preserve Course debuted. Rogers subsequently oversaw design and construction of the Lakes Course. "You cringe a little bit when you consider how Florida courses were built at that time," says Rogers, who formed his own architec - ture frm, JDR Design, in 2010. "Back in the '90s, it was more typical to build the green separate from the surrounds. A cavity is built up with the layers of materials that compose a USGA green, of course. But there was one big, looming problem that few in the industry paid enough attention to: You've got a cavity that is built up with layers of materials that are frankly different from everything around it. "When we build today, we make darn sure the surrounds are identical and seam - less — that, in terms of the soil profle, you can't tell the green edge from the outside edge. Unfortunately, once greens in this part of the country get to be 25-30 years old (the typical life span of a USGA green in Florida), you can tell exactly where those edges, those transition areas are," Rogers continues. "Little bumps and trenches develop around the edge of the green that are tough to maintain. And if your ball settles there? Well, it defnitely affects playability … and aesthetics." The work at Quail West is a full-circle proposition for Rogers, not merely for his revisitation of early designs, but also for the presence of Mark Black. The two met in the early 1990s, when Black was golf course su - perintendent at the Bonita Bay Club, perhaps Naples' most prominent, multi-course devel - opment. Black would leave Bonita Bay for Quail West in 1998, but his time there was noteworthy. Not only did he oversee the devel - opment of some fve separate 18-hole tracks, but Black also trained a veritable army of as - sistants who've gone on to take superintendent positions at some of the fnest clubs in the Na - ples area. "I just keep running into these guys, and they're all recognizable because they clearly bring Mark's expertise and dedication along with them," Rogers says. There is Matt Taylor, CGCS, a 22-year member of GCSAA who looked after the Fazio-designed East Course at Bonita Bay be - fore taking the top job at 36-hole Royal Poin- ciana in Naples in 2000. Rogers is now reno- vating the Cypress course there. There is Kenyon Kyle, CGCS, who left Black's tutelage to build and grow in Shadow Wood Preserve in Estero. That was an Arthur Hills design where Rogers, by then a full part - ner in the frm, assumed lead architect duties. Kyle, a 19-year GCSAA member, then went off to Amelia Island before returning to Na - ples at Audubon Country Club, where he and Rogers are now collaborating on another re - furbishment program. Then there's Hal Akin, CGCS, another 19- year member of the association who stayed put at Bonita Bay and today presides over the New Marsh, Creekside and Bay Island layouts. "There are lots of other Mark Black proté - gés I don't even know, but clearly here's a fel- low who produces talent," Rogers says. "Guys Black has mentored a host of superintendents who have gone on to manage some of southwest Florida's top golf facilities. "When we build today, we make darn sure the surrounds are identical and seamless — that, in terms of the soil profle, you can't tell the green edge from the outside edge." — Drew Rogers

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