Golf Course Management

JUN 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.18 explore a career in agronomy upon his return, studying at the University of Missouri. After his education was completed, Anderson came home to St. Joseph and became an assistant superintendent at St. Joseph CC. He left in 1961 to become the superintendent at Lawrence Coun - try Club. With the help of Kansas State University horti - culture professor Ray Keen, Anderson began to dabble again in zoysiagrass, stripping the stolons from the zoy - siagrass with the goal of making the stolons grow. In the meantime, Anderson formed a friendship with Bob Billings, who had played on the University of Kansas' NCAA basketball tournament team that lost to North Carolina in the 1957 final. Billings emerged in Lawrence as a philanthropist, community leader and developer. One of the original stockholders, Anderson joined Billings and realtor John McGrew to make Alvamar (now called The Jayhawk Club) a reality in 1968. Not everybody, however, thought zoysia would work in Kansas. Anderson recalls a visit from Toro legend Jim Watson, Ph.D., a turf - grass research pioneer who received GCSAA's Old Tom Morris Award in 1995, and Purdue University's Bill Daniel, Ph.D., whose name graces the school's turfgrass research and diagnostics center. Anderson says that Watson wondered if Anderson's zoysia project could prove to be fruitful. "He looked at Bill and said, 'Theoretically, no way this should work.' These guys were the brainiest people in the world, but I was hard-headed. I said, 'I think it can,'" Anderson says. The key? Anderson's stolonization of zoysiagrass had a positive outcome; it allowed for good lies of shots even in summer dry spells, and players could use the course in the winter. "I was pretty proud of it," he says. Alvamar started with Cohansey bentgrass greens and Meyer Z-52 zoy - siagrass for the fairways. It became so popular that Anderson fielded inquiries from golf courses as far away as St. Louis about purchasing zoysia - grass. To meet those requests, Alvamar built a second nursery to grow it. "He brought a lot of energy, perspec - tive, to the golf course superintendent profession," says Stuntz, who was the longtime superintendent at Alvamar after Anderson's reign. It also sounds as if Anderson was a thorough mentor for his crew. "He spent a lot of time training those under him. He was pretty hard-nosed but fair," says former GCSAA President Pat Finlen, CGCS, who worked one season for Anderson in the mid-1970s and currently is general manager of The Olympic Club in San Francisco. In 1974, Anderson was at Alvamar GC when GCSAA left the Chicago area and moved into its new headquarters built on Alvamar property. "It was an honor to have them come there," says Anderson, who has four grown children with his wife, Theresa. He retired from Alvamar in 1983 and consulted on golf courses projects as far away as Japan. Anderson's greatest impact, though, was in the heartland, where he put his heart and soul into it in Lawrence. "It was just an honor to be a small part of it," Anderson says. — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor A family affair at National Golf Day Maintaining a golf course most definitely requires a team effort, something that Jennifer Torres has learned in spades as the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Makefield Highlands Golf Club in Yardley, Pa. The 11-year GCSAA member has also learned that teamwork is crucial when you are advocating for the profession and the golf course management industry, an endeavor she has undertaken recently as a member of GCSAA's Grassroots Ambassador program. So, when she made the decision to make her first trip to National Golf Day in Washington, D.C., April 25, it made perfect sense that she'd bring a teammate along with her, someone she hopes can carry on the family tradition in golf course management — her 18-year-old son, Ricardo. "I had been looking for ways to spread out and net - work more, meet new people, get more involved in our in- dustry, and someone suggested I look into the Grassroots Ambassador program," Torres says. "So far, it's been a great experience. "And being in Washington for National Golf Day has really opened my eyes to just how broad this effort is. The Jeff Murdock truly does put the pedal to the metal at work or play. Murdock, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Purple Sage Mu - nicipal Golf Course in Evanston, Wyo., often works 60-plus hours a week in the summer. He does not have an assistant superintendent and, at the time of this writing, was in the process of filling the me - chanic position. Seven seasonal employees join the staff in sum- mer, which carries extra significance this year. Purple Sage will host the Wyoming State Amateur Championship June 30-July 1. In his spare time, Murdock enjoys putting his metal detec - tor to work. He struck gold (kind of) not too long ago near an old railyard, where Murdock located a one-cent gold-colored coin from 1823. "It was beat up a bit but mostly in great shape," says Murdock, a 25-year association member who is 49. "It isn't worth much, though — it's some - thing like $19.20." The city of Evanston obviously feels as if Purple Sage is a positive influence on the community. "The city supports us with resources," Murdock says. Play usually starts in April, but that doesn't necessarily mean conditions are ideal come summer. "We've had snow in the middle of June," he says. Purple Sage's elevation is 7,000 feet and the par-72 course is more than 7,000 yards from the tips. "We're kind of up in the air here, in the jet stream. The ball flies. If you drive it 240 yards at sea level, it will be 260 to 270 here," says Murdock, noting that Purple Sage borders Utah (4 miles) and Idaho (nearly 30 miles). A graduate of Utah State University, Mur - dock's industry ties began at age 14. He was an assistant mechanic at Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Golf & Tennis Club for seven summers. He landed his first superintendent job in 1997 at Logan River Golf Course in Logan, Utah. In 2009, Murdock arrived at Purple Sage after seven years as superintendent at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Blanchard, Idaho. He and his wife, Cynthia, have two children, Kate and Thad. Murdock is one of six children of Mac and Deanna Murdock, whose work ethic rubbed off on them, he says. "We're dedicated, committed, to whatever our endeavors may be. It is due to phenomenal parents that gave us chances," he says. The chance to host the state amateur is an honor. "It lets us show - case what a small town municipal golf course can be," Murdock says. — H.R. ACT ON COURSE OF 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.18 The groundbreaking ceremony for GCSAA's offices in the early 1970s at what was then called Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence, Kan., included club superintendent Mel Anderson (second from left); 1973 GCSAA President Clifford A. Wagoner, CGCS, with shovel; and Alvamar original stockholder Bob Billings, far right. Photo courtesy of Mel Anderson

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