Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/766215
24 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 celona, a 45-hole facility designed by Greg Norman that has hosted the Open de España on 10 occasions, most recently in 2015. My final and sole Italian destination was Golf della Montecchia in the mountains of northeastern Italy, where superintendent Brian O'Flaherty, 13-year association member, oversees the 27 holes of cool-sea - son turfgrass. Throughout my travels, I was struck by the synergy that seems to be right on the cusp of occurring in the European branch of our industry. I'm looking forward to seeing how GCSAA can help it forge ahead. Small-group discussions and role-playing activities were key components of the 2017 Syngenta Business Institute in Winston-Salem, N.C., in December. Photo by Scott Hollister SBI takes superintendents outside the box According to GCSAA's 2015 Compensation and Ben- efits Report, the average age of a head superintendent is 46.2 years old. By that measure, Wesley Curtis knows he already stands out in a crowd. At just 27, Curtis is the head superintendent at West - wood Golf Club just outside Houston. On top of the reg- ular challenges that superintendents face, Curtis is also learning on the job how to manage a team of employees who, in most cases, are older and more experienced than he is. His crew is largely Hispanic, too, so navigating the language and cultural barriers that come with that is also something that's relatively new to him. But 27-year-olds don't make their way into posi - tions such as the one at Westwood without some skill, determination and ambition. And that's why Curtis was so intrigued by the Syngenta Business Institute, why he applied, and why he was ultimately selected from more than 90 applicants to be among the 26 members of the class of 2016, who took part in the event in early De - cember at the Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. "I see tons of advantages (for young superintendents) who get to attend something like this," the seven-year GCSAA member says. "The topics covered and the things I learn are going to give me a leg up early in my career. It's valuable no matter where you are in your career, but just getting started, I feel like being here is a big advantage." Now in its eighth year, the event features advanced executive-level training presented by faculty mem - bers from Wake Forest University's School of Business. The Golf Industry Show arrives in Florida next month, and throughout the state's 170-plus-year history, it's been a popular vacation and tourism destination. Here are a few diversions you won't see on your upcoming trip to the Sunshine State, however, but that have retained a bit of their novelty as noteworthy notches in Florida's sizable archive of bygone attractions. LOST ATTRACTIONS OF Giraffes, zebras, camels and more roamed free on the 300- acre property, and the "zoo with no cages" concept was a precursor to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando. Walt Disney himself was purportedly a frequent visitor to Africa USA, and even considered purchasing it. The park was chosen over Disneyland to appear on the cover of the Aug. 1, 1960 issue of Life magazine, but in the face of noise and traffic complaints from residents in nearby, newly developed housing, Africa USA's glory days would last just a little over a year after that. Located about 30 miles southwest of Orlando, Circus World was originally a property of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The 847-acre park featured a carousel, Ferris wheel, wooden roller coaster, and 27,000-square-foot circus-tent-style building that housed an IMAX theater. Visitors could view performances that included live tiger, elephant, trapeze and acrobatic acts. After multiple changes of ownership, the final curtain closed on Circus World in 1986. The 75-acre, $100 billion theme park consisted of more than 60 miniature replicas of sites such as the Great Wall and the Temple of Confucius. Despite its opulence, the venture was plagued by controversy and protests (alleged to be a "propaganda park" owned by the Chinese government), and revenue never reached expectations. The park sat inactive but somewhat intact until 2013, when tear-down began to make way for a Margaritaville resort community, which will open this year. Splendid China's sister park of the same name in Shenzhen, China, is still in operation. Splendid China Kissimmee, Florida 1993-2003 Africa USA Boca Raton, Florida 1953-1961 This southern Florida amusement park featured a full-sized pirate ship ride, but didn't let its buccaneer motif pigeonhole it, also offering rides such as the "Grand National Steeplechase," along with arcade and carnival games and a petting zoo. Pirates World was a concert venue too, and brought in such big names as Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and The Doors. Though it was successful in its early years, the advent of Walt Disney World in 1971 would raid Pirates' patronage. Pirates World Dania Beach, Florida 1967-1975 Circus World Haines City, Florida 1974-1986 The