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.

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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.17 transform restaurant oil and grease into fuel for turf equipment. A barn behind his shop was used for recycling, and reclaimed lum - ber was used to make recycling containers. "We minimized the 55-gallon trash cans throughout the facility and reused them as recycling containers. Members became ac - customed to sorting their own waste. Ev- erything we did had a purpose behind it," Heptig says. Sheep, worms and butterflies In the late 1700s, Spaniards settled in San Luis Obispo, a coastal California town halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, where strawberries are luscious, soil is rich, and the sun shines more than 300 days a year. In 2007, Heptig and his wife moved to San Luis Obispo, where she is an associate professor in the agribusi - ness department at California Polytechnic State University. When Heptig landed the superinten - dent position with San Luis Obispo County Parks & Recreation in March 2008, Dairy Creek had no sheep. The golf program was struggling in a recession economy. The one thing that brightened Heptig's outlook also comforted him. "I had, and still have, an amazingly qualified and well-educated staff," he says. Soon, they learned that Hep - tig had big plans for them. For Dairy Creek. And for everyone else — golfers and non- golfers alike. After graduating from K-State, Heptig bounced around in the field, finding work while his wife, Christiane Schroeter, com - pleted her Ph.D. at Purdue University. At one point, he passed a PGA Playing Abil - ity Test (PAT), and even competed in mini tours while still serving as an assistant super - intendent at Coyote Crossing Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ind. When Schroeter accepted an assistant professor position at Arkansas State Univer - sity, Heptig was offered the superintendent job at Paragould. The challenges there were many. "Dead grass on 3-year-old putting greens. Fertility and irrigation issues. Build - ing a staff. I was able to use every arrow in my quiver," Heptig says. "The relationship I was able to build with my membership was invaluable. At first, I think they wondered who they had chosen to care for the course when I core-aerified the greens six times in the first year." Randy Bellinger, who owned Coyote Crossing GC when Heptig worked there, says Paragould hired the perfect person to fix the issues. "As an employee, he was great. Hard worker. Highly motivated. Always had an eye on the environmental aspect. Josh always was wanting to learn more and do more and take it to the next level to fulfill his dreams," Bellinger says. As he is doing nowadays at Dairy Creek, Heptig created a culture at Paragould. He dabbled in biodiesel technology, trying to Top: Monarch butterfly clusters at Morro Bay GC, and one of Heptig's daughters cradling a butterfly. Bottom: Heptig observes an owl box at Dairy Creek GC. The owls are part of the integrated pest management program and help control vertebrate pests on the course.

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