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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38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.17 The riding helmet that David Beanblossom wore on the day of his catastrophic harness racing accident shows dents incurred from the collision with a guardrail. Photo courtesy of David Beanblossom When he peers into the bathroom mirror, David Bean - blossom reflects on his past. It isn't pretty. The 8-inch, half- oval-shaped scar on his left cheek is, as he describes it, "big and gnarly." More than four decades ago, as Beanblossom's family was traveling home on rain-soaked State Road 135 in Brown - stown, Ind., disaster struck. David, then only 8, sat wedged in the Buick's front seat between his father, Jim, and mother, Anna. His sister, Sherry, was in the back seat with a friend. A pickup truck coming around a curve lost control and smashed into the Beanblossoms head-on. "Nobody wore seat belts then. My head ended up between the gas and brake ped - als. That's how I got the gash on my cheek," says Beanblossom, who suffered the most serious injuries. "Mom held me in her lap like a baby, and she pressed a handkerchief against my face to stop the bleeding. I was unconscious. When I woke up and saw the blood, I passed out again." The scar serves as a poignant reminder to him that life is fragile. That every day is a gift. It also shows that he is a survivor — something he would prove over and over. "I should have been dead twice over," he says. The second time he was spared — 15 years ago — would be a real life-changer. A successful harness racing driver, Bean - blossom was catapulted 20 feet in the air during a race and was left bloody and man - gled after the mishap. At least one person thought he was a goner. As is his style, though, Beanblossom re - grouped. "I cheated death," he says. The golf course industry should be thankful that Beanblossom cheats. Facing a crossroads in his life following that per - ilous ordeal in 2002, he gave up harness racing. In one of those it-was-meant-to-be scenarios, Beanblossom eventually landed a job as an $8-an-hour crew member at Char - iot Run Golf Club in Laconia, Ind., whose logo depicts a horse pulling a passenger in a chariot. The faceless figure in the logo may as well be him. "Isn't that the craziest thing?" Bean- blossom says. Crazy, it appears, works. "Our course is in fantastic shape. It comes from the drive David has," says Jeff Krohn, PGA profes - sional and director of golf at Chariot Run. Beanblossom, a 10-year GCSAA mem - ber, was a late-bloomer and a quick riser in the profession. He did not work on a golf course until 2006, when he was 39, yet Beanblossom had played the game (he's an 8 handicap) and, after becoming estab - lished at Chariot Run, took online turfgrass courses through Penn State. In 2011, he was named Chariot Run's head superintendent. Beanblossom, schooled by faith, has cer - tainly defied the odds in life's journey. "I think everything that happened to me happened for a reason. It happened to put me where I am right now. I am lucky to be anywhere," says Beanblossom, 50. Driving force Most 18-year-olds have their license. Not many of them, though, have this type of license. At 18, Beanblossom earned a pari-mu - tuel license to participate as a harness racing driver in events in which betting was per - mitted. Early on, you could have wagered that Beanblossom would eventually pursue this line of work. It was all he knew, re - ally. The family farm in Indiana — on the Ohio River and 45 minutes west of Louis - ville — featured Standardbred horses and a half-mile oval training track that included banked turns. After school, Beanblossom would clean stalls and jog horses. "Some - thing about the horses I fell in love with," he says. "It was fun. I liked the reward of preparing them to race." Jim Beanblossom, 84, knew the young - est of his four children had a knack for horses. "If you were afraid of one, you might as well forget about it — they knew it. But he got along with them," Jim says. "David's always been smart. Whatever he did, he did the best he could, I'll put it that way." David wasted no time showing that he belonged on the harness racing circuit. In July 1984, not long after obtaining his li - cense, Beanblossom won his very first race on a horse named She's Hilarious. "She was petite, not much bigger than a Great Dane, and as red as the ace of hearts," he says. Although he didn't know it at the time, Beanblossom was establishing traits that would prepare him to be a superintendent. "Working with horses and turfgrass is so much alike that it's scary," he says. "With horses, as you do with turfgrass, you come up with a plan of attack, you nurture every day, and you're working on ways of peaking the golf course, whether it's for an event or a certain time of the year." Harness racing became a serious money - making proposition for Beanblossom, who

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