Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

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 02.16 BMPs. GCSAA and the USGA are getting together to write a template for BMPs. In my mind, Peter is the father of all of that." For his part, McDonough sees those BMPs, as well as golf 's inclusion in a state environmental stewardship bill that was signed into law in 2011, as proof of just how valuable partnerships can be in these pro - cesses. He credits Donna Johnson, the for- mer president of the Virginia Agribusiness Council, with opening many of the doors that golf has been able to step through in the state. "You have to actively participate, and you have to think outside the box," he says. "Donna and the Agribusiness Council gave us all a broader view of how government policy works and the role we could play. That's a $79 billion industry in Virginia. To be able to get a seat at that table and then set ourselves apart with the BMPs, that was just huge." Stewardship at home With so much of his efforts focused ex - ternally, it's easy to overlook just how much McDonough has invested on the home front and in the course he manages at Keswick Hall. Dubbed "Full Cry," the 7,100-yard layout is a recent Pete Dye redesign of an original Arnold Palmer tract that reopened for play a little more than a year ago. But as McDonough explains, "I don't even want to use the word 'renovation.' It's more like a whole new golf course. It's built within the same corridors as the old course, but they're all new holes. The pars on the holes are different. How you play them is different. Pete redid the whole thing, top to bottom." The one thing the 90-year-old master golf course architect didn't disrupt, how - ever, were the many environmental fea- tures that McDonough has nurtured in his nearly two decades at the facility. And, in some cases, the work allowed him to build on those achievements. McDonough is particularly proud of the course's new cart paths, the frst in the country to use Po - rous Pave, a permeable surface that will allow water to pass through the paths. The old cart paths were even recycled into one of Dye's signatures, the retaining walls he used around greens, tees and bunkers throughout the property. Full Cry frst achieved Audubon Inter - national Cooperative Sanctuary certifca- tion in 2002, one of 35 Virginia courses active in the program. McDonough has guided efforts that have included the instal - lation of 25 acres of buffer zones along the streams and ponds found on the property, and the conversion of an additional 25 acres of maintained turf to native areas and other low-maintenance vegetation. The Keswick Club has documented the presence of 80 different bird species on the property, as well as whitetail deer, fox, mi - grating geese, rabbits and squirrels. Each member of McDonough's maintenance team undergoes annual environmental ed - ucation to arm them with skills that allow them to maintain the course while still pro - tecting natural resources. 'Just be there' The renovation project at Keswick Hall took nearly two years to complete and, un - derstandably, put a bit of a crimp in Mc- Donough's ability to take on outside causes. But with that in the rearview mirror, he's looking forward to re-engaging in those efforts. He's getting reacquainted with the Virginia GCSA's government relations com - mittee, and he's hoping to participate in Na- tional Golf Day activities in Washington, D.C., this May. He's also on board as a par - ticipant in GCSAA's Grassroots Ambassa- dor program. As McDonough sees it, half the battle when it comes to environmental steward - ship and advocacy is just showing up. And he plans to keep showing up. "You've got to be there, just be there," he says. "Presence equals perception in a lot of circles. "The other part of all this for me is I've made a lot of new friends I would've never met. I've learned so many things I never would've learned. When I look back on all I've been involved with, I never, ever would have been exposed to so many things that are important to me now if I hadn't gotten involved." Scott Hollister ( is GCM's editor- in-chief. McDonough, fourth from the left, cites Gov. Bob McDonnell's signing of an environmental steward - ship bill in 2011 and golf's inclusion in that bill as a shining example of the power of partnerships. Photo courtesy of Peter McDonough "You've got to be there, just be there. Presence equals perception in a lot of circles." — Peter McDonough

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