Golf Course Management

NOV 2012

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 145

front NINE see more @ Going the distance for a cause Robby Acosta did not know the lady whose son will never see his father again. Acosta, golf course superintendent at The Country Club of V v v Golf Digest senior travel editor Matt Ginella gave a pretty nice shout out to Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS, MG, for his efforts at the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club. After the dramatic conclu- sion, in which the Europeans rallied to retain the Ryder Cup against the Americans, Ginella tweeted this: And to Curtis Tyrrell, Dir. of GC Operations, congrats on making early call to close course, truck in sod, aerate and reseed. You won 3 up. Ken Mangum, CGCS, received the Florida Gateway College A.S. Distin- guished Alumnus Award, 2012. Mangum oversees the Atlanta Athletic Club. Sapphire Valley in Sapphire, N.C., sat next to Vanessa Cole during a Folds of Honor Foundation ceremony in which she told of how her young son, Carson, would receive a Folds of Honor Founda- tion Future User Scholarship for college someday, awarded to him after his father, Chief Warrant Officer Brent S. Cole, died serving his country. That's what Folds of Honor does for families in times like this, when their worlds are shattered and resources become uncertain. "She lost her husband, he lost his father, but the Folds of Honor was making it possible for him to go to college," Acosta says. "It showed me how much good Folds of Honor can do for families who have someone that protects our freedom. It truly is a worthy cause." Acosta certainly has climbed on the cause's bandwagon, but he is more than simply a passenger. In fact, Acosta has grasped it and run with it — run being the operative word. Acosta, a 22-year GCSAA member, raised more than $3,000 for the Folds of Honor Foundation when he competed in a half Ironman Sept. 30 in Augusta, Ga. Acosta completed the event (a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run) in 6 hours, 7 minutes, finishing 1,942 out of 3,335. Not too bad, huh, for a guy who sometimes puts in 50 hours weekly at his job. This was Acosta's first half Ironman, and he cer- tainly had come a long way since his training began in January. "When I started training, I couldn't run half of a mile without a break," Acosta recalls, "and I had to learn how to swim. I swam in the lake across the street from the club. By summer, I was train- ing 16 hours a week. Originally, I wanted to run a marathon, but I upped the ante. I thought if I was going to do something, I would do something that is hard and something worthwhile." Acosta, 45, got married right out of high school (his wife, Brenda, also works at the club), and worked in a glass factory in Jacksonville, Fla. He got laid off and chose to seek a new path. He wanted to enter the golf course management program at Lake City (Fla.) Community College (now called Florida Gateway Col- lege), but it wasn't that simple. John Piersol, executive director for industrial and agricul- ture programs at the college, informed Acosta that a prerequisite of entering the program was work experience on a golf course. Acosta landed a job at a course in St. Augustine, Fla., driving 90 miles each way for nearly a year. "I worked 30 hours a week, did anything the superintendent wanted, push mowing, weed eating, whatever," Acosta says. "Back then, gas (price) wasn't an issue, so that helped." In time, Acosta attended Lake City CC, which led to a career in the business, starting with an assistant's position at San Des- tin Beach Resort in Florida. Now he is in his 14th season at The Country Club of Sapphire, nestled at 3,400 feet elevation in the 20 GCM November 2012 GCSAA member Robby Acosta competed in the ESI Ironman 70.3 in late September in Augusta, Ga. Acosta, golf course superintendent at The Country Club of Sapphire Valley in North Carolina, raised more than $3,000 for the Folds of Honor Foundation. Photo courtesy of extreme western part of the state. The club also is a major sup- porter of Folds of Honor Foundation, the recipient of $150,000 from the club throughout the years, including Acosta's pledges. Acosta has lost 20 pounds, and he is planning to compete in a full Ironman next year. Brenda Acosta expects he will tackle that challenge the same way he pursued the half Ironman. "He has done 15 miles of training in a pouring rain," she says. "I won't see him much when he starts training for this one. I bought a bike to try to keep up with him while he trains, and also so I can see him. I still get to see him at work. He loves his job." Acosta can't imagine working anyplace else. "These are down-to-earth people who give so much to oth- ers," he says. Acosta also has shown he can be pretty giving, too. "I hope I can motivate others to help out in their communi- ties," Acosta says. — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor 9

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