Golf Course Management

FEB 2017

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/776985

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Driving force Before last August, the last time GCSAA Life Member Joe Ondo owned his own car was when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, Magic Johnson was guiding Michigan State to a college basketball national title, and the TV show "All in the Family" was surpassing its 200th episode. If you see Ondo behind the wheel of a 2016 silver Buick Encore during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando this month, it represents a new chapter for him — and not simply because he no longer drives a com - pany car. For the first time in 38 years, Ondo is not the superintendent at Winter Pines Golf Club in Winter Park, Fla. Ondo, who turned in his company car when he stepped down as su - perintendent in August, hasn't exactly ridden off into the sunset, though. A fixture in central Florida golf, Ondo works part time at Winter Pines for 22-year GCSAA Class A superintendent Mike Gay. "I told Mike, 'You sit on this side (Ondo's previous seat behind the desk), and I'll sit on the other side.' Now, I go in for half a day and take off when I want," says Ondo, a 36-year association member. "And I get to play. Golf's still a challenge for me." Ondo, 64, remains an avid golfer. Did we mention skilled? Once a 2-handicap, Ondo says he's up to a 5 now. Although his handicap isn't quite the same, he's still got game. "He definitely carried me around the course on his skill set during a two-man scramble that he and I played during an Everglades GCSA event," says Ralph Dain, GCSAA's Florida regional field staff representative. "I truly enjoyed my time playing golf with him." Golf was easily available to Ondo early on. As a kid, he lived across the street from Bronzwood Golf Club in Kinsman, Ohio. Only Route 7 separated his family's home from the course, and Ondo often joined his father, Frank, to play. "We lived in the middle of nowhere. I had two sisters. And it (golf) was something I could do all by myself," says Ondo, who earned a golf scholarship to Youngstown (Ohio) State University. "When my dad had to work, the lady who owned the golf course was my Photo by Diane Court

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