Golf Course Management

JUL 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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Page 23 of 137

"It's been nonstop, but we're doing great," says Shumate, a seven-year GCSAA member. "I can speak for the whole team when I say we want to finish it and finish it right." Making it to the finish line has been challeng - ing. Besides work, Pope and Shumate's crew has traversed tragedy and been in constant rebuilding mode throughout this journey. "Seven people on our crew lost their homes or had them badly damaged. One of our long-term employees lost his sister," Shumate says. "The hardest thing to watch was the search and rescue process as they traveled up and down a scenic play - ground we call home, looking for victims. It was heartbreak- ing. The human element to all of this — that's when it really hits home. There's more to it than what we do." In the process, Pope got insight about himself. "I learned that I probably can handle anything," he says, although he still hasn't exactly determined how tomatoes began sprouting near that cart path. He is proud, though, of what the crew did manage to grow. "It was a pretty special moment when we got the last green seeded on Sept. 16. We rebuilt all the greens in 52 days," he says. "That was a major milestone." The work that Pope, Shumate and their staff have accomplished hasn't been overlooked. "Now that the grass is in, and we're in great shape, it's that much more impressive what they and their staff have done," says Jamie Hamilton, associate director of golf at The Greenbrier. "We all know it's going to be well received. All of them, from the word go, have been pretty incredible to watch." Shumate, meanwhile, says he more frequently opens his weather apps. "I'm not going to lie — I worry when we have something (storms) coming," he says. Yet he and many of those around him have weathered the ultimate storm the best way they can. "Nothing seems too big to handle now. It seems everything is doable. Our crew was placed out of their comfort zone, and they have pulled it off," Shumate says. "You could see the passion and the pride they had to do whatever it takes." — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor Rounds 4 Research reaches new heights The 2017 Rounds 4 Research fundraising program to support turfgrass research sold more than 1,080 rounds and brought in more than $217,000 in its May online auction, making it the most successful in the program's six-year history. Rounds 4 Research is managed by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of GCSAA. The Carolinas GCSA raised $50,000 and was the leader among more than 70 GCSAA affiliated chapters and turfgrass organizations that received proceeds from the auction to support turfgrass research at the local level. The Georgia GCSA was next, with nearly $20,000 raised for its association. The top bid was $5,200 for a round of golf for four donated by Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C. Other high bids included $2,650 for four players at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, and $1,600 for four players at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn. "I made the decision that this was for a good cause, and it was something I wanted to do," says Dr. Christian Clark, a gastroenterologist in the Tulsa, Okla., area who placed the top bid to play at Sage Valley. "It will be well worth the price to be able to play with several friends. I used to live in South Carolina, and I'm looking forward to making the trip." GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans says, "We are thrilled that Rounds 4 Research had its most successful year ever. This is a wonderful program that allows golfers to help sup - port the future of the game through important turfgrass research while playing the courses they love." The national campaign is supported by a $50,000 do - nation from The Toro Co., while Golf Channel, Golf Advisor and GolfNow provided promotional support. Nearly 60 golf course management companies donated more than 350 rounds to the auction, including Billy Casper Golf, Club - Corp, Marriott Golf, the PGA Tour TPC network of courses, and Troon Golf. Rounds 4 Research has raised more than $782,000 since launching in 2012. Twenty years ago, Paul Jonas lay awake listening to the rain pelt his roof. Why, he thought, did it have to happen that night? The following day, Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan., was scheduled to hold its grand opening, flush with USGA officials and golf course ar - chitect Tom Fazio present. Quite an occasion in this small town 15 miles from Wichita. For Jonas, GCSAA Class A superintendent at Flint Hills Na - tional, each raindrop brought misery. "It rained 6 inches over- night. I was lying there thinking, 'This cannot be happening,'" he recalls. In time, Flint Hills National would become a happening, highly decorated destination, and this month will punctu - ate that. Again. For the third time in its two-decade ex- istence, Flint Hills National will host a USGA champion- ship: the 70th U.S. Junior Amateur, set for July 17-22. In 2001, it hosted the U.S. Women's Amateur, and it welcomed the U.S. Men's Senior Amateur in 2007. Jonas, a 30-year association member, has witnessed it all. Hired in January 1996, he over - sees a facility that is ranked No. 97 in the Golf Digest 2017-2018 biennial ranking of "Amer - ica's 100 Greatest Golf Courses." The pri- vate course, founded by Thomas Devlin, was ranked as high as 43rd in 2005-2006. "I knew his (Devlin's) expectations when I started. I knew it was going to be something terrific," says Jonas, 55, a Kansas State Uni - versity graduate, schooled by people such as Robert Carrow, Ph.D., and now-retired super - intendent Cliff Dipman. "It's a superintendent's dream to grow-in a golf course." Original Cato/Crenshaw bentgrass greens are Jonas and staff's main challenge. "These greens, in the heat of summer, are our No. 1 bat - tle. Some days I wonder if I looked at them wrong," Jonas says. He and his crew also tackle a 31-acre practice facility, which Flint Hills National says is the larg - est in the U.S. Although that original grand opening at Flint Hills was post - poned by a month back in 1997, it simply was a minor setback for a heartland gem that Jonas (who, with his wife Julie, has chil - dren Katie, Maggie and Austin) has nurtured the entire way. "At other courses, you're looking at mountains, oceans, and we're tucked away in Andover, Kan. We all take great pride in that," Jonas says. — H.R. The Old White TPC sustained significant damage from June 2016 flooding. Photo courtesy of Josh Pope ACT ON COURSE OF 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.17

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