Masters of the Moss

An ode to those who tend to Golf's most unique and challenging landscapes



Dick Gray Q&A (PGA Golf Club) PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

Dick Gray is a Turf Lifer, a greenskeeper of the highest order. At 73 years young,

he's tended to some of the finest parcels of American golf landscape for his entire

adult life. From his early beginnings with Pete Dye at Crooked Stick and The Golf

Club (in Columbus, Ohio), Loblolly Pines (Hobe Sound,Florida), the Florida Club,

Jupiter Hills and now at PGA Village's four championship courses at PGA Golf Club

and their state of the art learning center and 6 hole short course. Gray is unassuming

and down to earth, easily shares his knowledge and life experiences - an absolute

pleasure to get to know. We sat down for our Q & A with the old school keeper of

sod at the PGA of America's flagship property at the Taplow Pub inside the clubhouse:

 

 

 



LinksNation: You were named TurfNet Magazine Superintendent of the Year

for 2016, your thoughts?

 

Dick Gray: To get that award, there are two thousand guys and women who

could have won that award. I know that for a fact, because that many of us

do the same thing at the same intensity for all the same reasons. I was lucky

enough to have somebody who could write something (marketing specialist

Adriana Vizcaya) and tell the story. I've never had a sidekick like Adriana.

There's a lot of guys out there who do everything I do and better, but don't

have anybody to write the story. I feel very fortunate and humbled but I

had a lot of help.

 

 

LN: You're not a big fan of the title "Superintendent", why?

 

DG: There are alot of superintendents. you've got the Police Superintendent,

School Superintendent you've got the building Superintendant, But there's

only one superintendent that does any greenskeeping, and that better be

your core stength. If you look at this thing as a big umbrella that has ribs,

and everyone of these adds ribs adds strength to the umbrella. You have

a rib of leadership, Agronomy, communication, so whatever these strengths

are that people have, that's all part of the rib of this umbrella. Not evry umbrella

is the same size. If you're not a good greenkeeper you're gonna be mediocre.

What makes it click is the greenskeeper, so when somebody asks, that's just

I said

 

 

 

 

 

LN: You're 73, where are you findiing the energy to take on all of these

renovation projects?

 

DG: I don't see it as an energy stealer. It's something that I like to do, with

people that I like to do it with. I get Go to the Golf course every morning, so I

don't see it as Work. Physically I was always a late bloomer. Back when I was

25, Pete Dye told me to go to Columbus to look at The Golf Club that he re-did

in Albany, Ohio, Chuck Compton was the Super and Mr.Jones (Fred Jones) was

the owner, the last thing Pete told me was "I think you better start shaving".

I take after my Mother's side, (Norwegian), I look like my maternal Grandpa.

Handsomely bald (laughter). On the flipside of that I do the same Wresting

workout that I've done since I was 50-40-30 we have a gym over at the house,

I just keep doing what I always have. I don't do it as well, and I don't do it

as much but I don't physically or mentally feel like I'm 73.


LN: What are the biggest challenges for you and your staff?

 

DG: Really it's Time. My job is to polish the apples, and in a sense to sell the

apples. If I don't have time to polish the apples, I can't sell them. We're

getting better because we have 7:30 tee times now instead of 7:03, we

don't have time to get the table set and get the meal prepared before we

get this onslaught of people. Hopefully they appreciate the conditions we

give them even though they're not always ideal because we're always

running from play.

We have a a mission statement, tournament ready everyday. Our mantra

is that "There isn't going to be anybody better than us". We have to better

than the competition. From a pride standpoint, and the (PGA Golf Club) logo

we need to be as good as we can possibly be. That's a little frustrating

because we'll probably never quite get there... We're always fighting time to

get as much done as we can, as effectively and economically and still exceed

expectations.

 


 

LN: What kind of influence has Pete Dye had on you and your career (Gray and

Dye go back nearly 50 years from their days at Crooked Stick in Indiana),

not only from a greenskeeper standpoint but also your renovation work?

 

DG: He has been a driving influence for me, when you go back over your career,

there have been those people in your life that have made a difference. I liken

it to a pinball, they put your ball in motion and the lights light up, at some

point in time that ball starts to run out of places to go and that flipper restarts

it back up again - Pete was one of those main flippers for me. He was the one

who really got the ball rolling. When I first met him after 2 hours together, I

thought "I really like this guy", and I was young. He was very self deprecating.

He stayed right there on the ground with you, he walked around, he never

talked down to you, just Straight out. He made me feel like I was important,

he took me under his wing. Pete is a superintendent's Architect, he really

is. Some guys will say "look what he designed, you can't maintain it", well

it's your job to figure out how to do it. Then years later I got hooked up with

his son P.B at Loblolly. Mr.Sullivan (the owner of Loblolly Pines in Hobe Sound

that just recently passed away), Pete (and Alice) were the people that has the

greatest influence. You learn to see what they see, and you learn to look for

what they look for. Those people had the greatest impact, and I could never re-

pay them, I wrote them both similar letters explaining that.


 

LN: Seems like you've passed the influence they've had on you to others.

 

DG: I think as you further along you realize you don't have to be afraid of your

job anymore. You can forget "You" and start teaching and coaching. My feeling

is I may not out think our competitors, but I'm going to our coach them. The

word used to be manage, you have to manage your people - well you manage

finances, you coach people. To get them to do it the way that you want them

to do it is coaching. It's teaching with emotion, that's what it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
PGA Golf Club's Gray Named TurfNet 'Super Of The Year' PDF Print E-mail

 

 

(PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.) - PGA Golf Club's Director of Agronomy, Dick Gray,

was named the 2016 TurfNet "Superintendent of the Year" at the Golf

Industry Show earlier this month in Orlando.

Widely regarded as one of the most inspirational turf grass experts in the

industry, Gray topped a list of 228 nominees from across the country.

Entrants were judged on their ability to excel in labor management, maximize

budget limitations, educate and advance the careers of colleagues and assistants,

prepare for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele,

upgrade or renovate courses, and deal with extreme or emergency conditions.

Since joining PGA Golf Club in 2013, Gray has been instrumental in its growth

and success. Charged with elevating the flagship facility of the PGA of America,

Gray led a team to renovate and re-grass the Wanamaker and Dye courses.

Now PGA Golf Club is one of only a few resorts in America with two of its

courses ranked among the best in state by Golf Digest and Golfweek.


"Dick Gray and his team are leading an impressive transformation that has

cemented PGA Golf Club among the elite golf destinations in Florida," says

Jimmy Terry, PGA Senior General Manager. "The stunning renovations are

shining examples of his dedication to providing great course conditions day in,

day out to our club and PGA members, and guests."


Gray's career started in the 1960s where he worked under the guidance of his

mentor, friend and legendary course architect, Pete Dye, at Crooked Stick Golf

Club in Carmel, IN, host of the 1991 PGA Championship. More than 50 years later,

Gray and Dye collaborated to renovate the Dye Course which has received rave

reviews. Gray's imprint can been seen throughout south Florida: he helped design

& build The Florida Club in Stuart, worked with Dye & P.B. Dye on the construction

of Loblolly Golf Club in Hobe Sound, and oversaw a re-grassing project at Jupiter

Hills Club (ranked among "America's 100 Greatest Courses in the United States")

in Tequesta.


"I'm humbled to receive this honor," says Gray. "This award is tribute to the real

magicians at PGA Golf Club, my team, who push themselves every day to deliver

the best possible conditions on our golf courses."


With the honor, Gray earned a trip for two to Scotland in October for the TurfNet

Members golf trip, courtesy of award sponsor Syngenta.


To learn more about PGA Golf Club: pgavillage.com, 772.467.1300.












 
BROKEN SOUND CLUB TOPS 2017 ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS PDF Print E-mail


BOCA RATON, Fla. (Jan. 3, 2017) -- Broken Sound Club (BSC) in Boca

Raton, Fla., a 5-Star Platinum Club of America, has been chosen as

the Overall and National Private recipient of the 2017 Environmental

Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA), which are presented annually by the

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and

Golf Digest in partnership with Syngenta and Rain Bird's Golf Division.

The private, gated golf and country club community that is home to

the PGA Champions Tour's season opener - the Allianz Championship

for 10 consecutive years - ranks as the only Florida or Southeastern

U.S.-based ELGA winner at the national or international leader level.  


The Club, its two Audubon Sanctuary and GEO Certified golf courses

and Golf Course Maintenance Director and Environmental Consultant

Shannon Easter will be recognized Feb. 7 during the Opening Session

at the 2017 Golf Industry Show and featured in upcoming issues of Golf

Digest and GCSAA's magazine Golf Course Management.

 

The Broken Sound Club's Club and Community a Sustainability Story



BSC began its sustainability efforts on the greens with reclaiming water

and adding birdhouses, a butterfly garden and true native areas. Looking

internally at club operations, BSC moved to paperless accounting,

cardboard and paper recycling and installing of water reduction toilets,

shower heads, motion sensor lighting systems with LED fixtures and bulbs

and replacing Styrofoam cups with biodegradable products made of corn

starch before its large investment in on-site composting.


According to GCSAA, BSC's sustainability mission and efforts through the

on-course stewardship of its Maintenance Director and Environmental

Consultant Shannon Easter, the Club's 115-acre, 36-hole facilities - BSC's

Club Course and The Old Course -demonstrate that golf courses can be a

welcome habitat for native wildlife, including some endangered species.

"This great honor recognizes the high standard our board leadership,

membership and golf course maintenance team set for ourselves every

single day 'on and off' our golf courses," notes BSC GM and COO John

Crean, CCE. "Our sustainability mandate combined with hospitality is the

Club DNA that drives us, encouraging other communities, clubs and courses

to follow suit."

 


Awardees are selected by an independent panel of judges representing

national environmental groups, turfgrass experts, university researchers and

valued members of the golf industry to recognize golf course superintendents

and their courses for overall course management excellence and best

management practices.  Such practices include areas of water conservation,

water quality management, energy conservation, pollution prevention, waste

management, wildlife and habitat conservation, communication and outreach

and leadership. In addition to the national winners, 19 chapter and nine merit

winners were chosen from GCSAA's 98 affiliated chapters.

"The ELGA winners are not only stewards for the environment, but

excellent examples of the focus our industry keeps on sustainable

efforts," said Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. "They are on the frontline of how

superintendents are making great playing conditions and environmental

management practices work in tandem."


 

 

 

Most recently, BSC became the first club community to install a Tesla

charging station and employ a beekeeper to install/maintain 22 beehives

on its golf courses where one million bees produce 1,000 lbs. of pure,

natural honey per year for members. The Club's 2013 transformational

design and build of its Moonstone Spa and Fitness Center earned Leadership

in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S.

Green Building Council (USGBC).


 

BSC has received honors from the Florida Department of Environmental

Protection for its impressive 95% recycling rate that is consistently three

times the statewide recycling rate for the commercial sector and was a

Green Corporate Citizen award finalist at the department's '12 Corporate

Recycling and Waste Conference. The Club was the second golf facility in

the U.S. and 14th in the world to be GEO Certified, the sustainability

assurance of the Golf Environment Organization, an international non-

profit dedicated to supporting sustainability in the sport of golf.


"Having created the first industrial composting project in Florida, BSC

continues to 'naturally' save lives and dollars while improving the quality

of life and healthfulness of those who live, work and play within its

community," noted Shannon Easter about BSC that holds a "Healthiest

Club Designation' from Prevo Health Solutions. "We save countless birds

and other wildlife on our golf courses, while responsibly reducing landfill

disposal and minimizing the adverse effects fertilizer and other chemicals

have on golfers and residents."


Broken Sound Club is located at 2401 Willow Springs Drive, Boca Raton,

FL. For Club membership, contact Membership Director Maureen Schreiber

at (561) 241-6800 or visit www.brokensoundclub.org.

 


About Broken Sound Club:
Whatever one's passion or interest...their active enviable home life,

business life, sporting life, and social life complement each other perfectly

at BSC. Known as the "friendly" club for its signature blend of warmth,

elegance and genuine hospitality, this award-winning private gated golf

and country club community offers a choice of 27 lushly landscaped intimate

residential villages, each with its own character. All are just minutes away

from its main clubhouse with indoor/outdoor dining, two signature Audubon

Sanctuary and GEO Certified golf courses, a two-acre $6 million poolscape

with bistro, a $7 million 35,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and 23

tennis courts. Close to two international airports and private Boca Raton

Executive Airport, BSC is a few miles from pristine beachesBoca's burgeoning

Class A office parks, a vibrant Downtown, A-rated public and award-winning

private schools, two universities, FAU Stadium, world-class shopping, dining,

culture, sports, recreation and nightlife.

 

Visit BSC at www.brokensoundclub.org or find us on FacebookTwitter

and YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Interview: Jack Nicklaus PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

Jack Nicklaus is the greatest Champion our game has ever seen,

he knew how to take a tough loss with grace and he knew how

to console and respect his challengers after they were defeated

by him. When he walks into a room you feel it, it's a strong

presence. Much like Arnie, Jack William Nicklaus is the sports hero

to so many . . . and he carries it well. He knows how important he

is to those and doesn't shun that responsibility.


Nicklaus was on hand as the honorary Captain of the American

Team of Mid & Senior Amateurs at the opening ceremonies for

1st Annual Concession Cup on Tuesday, April 29th 2014. It was

an honor to sit down with the Golden Bear for a brief Q&A about

the Concession Cup, Amateur Golf, Course design, and the Ryder

Cup at his course in Scotland, at Gleneagles.




LinksNation: It's been 45 years since the actual Concession putt was

given to Tony Jacklin at Royal Birkdale in the 1969 Ryder Cup, can

you look back to it's origins and today . . .


Jack Nicklaus: I didn't think it was a big deal, it was just a short putt.

Tony (Jacklin) thought it was a big deal, and the golf world did too I

guess - to me it was just the right thing to do at the time, now they

have a golf course here called the Concession named after that event.

Tony's done a great job here with the theme and Ryder Cup memorabilia,

now to have an amateur event with Tony and I as honorary captains is

very special. Hopefully it will be a great event and the players will enjoy

the golf course.


LN: These are some of the best Mid Ams and Senior Amateurs in the

world, there should be some high quality golf, your thoughts . . .


JN: You'll see some good golf, no question about it. People will enjoy

seeing them play.


photo by Scott Baker

Vinny Giles, Jack, Tony Jacklin & Garth McGimpsey Tuesday at the

Concession Cup press conference




LN: This is quite the stage for many of these players, as you stated

in the press conference - Amateur golf is where it all began for you.


JN: Some of these players are former Walker Cup players and some

have not played in an international competition before, those players

will see it as a new experience and I think will enjoy it. The ones who

have, will enjoy a renewing of that experience, two years from now it

will be played in Great Britain and back over here in another two years,

being played on a bi- annual basis. It's kinda neat much like the Walker

Cup - that's the thing that launched my career, because of the Walker

Cup, I played in the Masters, I got into the British Amateur, the U.S

Open that year. I got into all kinds of things because of the Walker Cup.




photo by Jason Bruno

The gorgeous par-5 seventh at Jack Nicklaus' Concession Club



LN: When Tony (Jacklin) pitched you the plan and concept to build

this course, was there a plan for this course to become a champion-

ship type venue for an event such as this?


JN: Yes. He wanted to have a championship course, that's what

Kevin Davis (The original owner) wanted when we first started.

He wanted to have a strong golf course if we were going to have

an international competition, with the golf course being suitable

to handle that. I think the golf course might be a little too difficult

for its membership at times, it will certainly test the best players

in the world.


LN: How has your design philosophy changed or evolved over the

years?


JN: It changes everyday, it depends on what I'm doing. To tell you

what my design philosophy is anymore, I'm never sure. It all depends,

alot of people say it depends what side of the bed I get out of in the

morning.


LN: I've noticed in recent years, the green complexes you've designed

have become much more challenging, your thoughts . . .


JN: Now I've gone the other way, I've gone from flat greens, to smaller

greens, to larger greens, to rolling greens to difficult greens to mild

greens - I'm in a mild green state right now. That's the side of the bed

I got up on this morning.


LN: Has that been influenced by developers or members ?


JN: Depends on what you're trying to accomplish, depends on who

you're designing the golf course for and what they're trying to

accomplish, what they really want and what the property is - that

determines what you have to do.


LN: I've talked some with John Sanford (A mutual friend of Nicklaus

and I & an accomplished course designer himself working with the

Nicklaus design team on Trump's new course in NYC) regarding the

Ferry Point project, can you expound on that?


Trump Golf Links Ferry Point



JN: It's been 10 years in the making or 12 years I suppose, certainly

hope that we got it pretty close to right . . . since it's taken a while

doing it. It's for the city of New York, it's right at the Whitestone

Bridge in the Bronx, you're looking at the New York/Manhattan skyline.

Since Donald Trump took it over, he's actually got the thing to the

finish line, he's done a very good job of doing that. The golf course is

strong. I think the city of New York has 17 public golf courses, (the

process has been going on) thru the last term of Guiliani and the last

3 of Mayor Bloomberg. They said they had enough courses that the

average person can play, they wanted a golf course where they could

host a World Championship event. They could hold a Championship

event on this golf course . . . they could hold a U.S Open, or PGA

Championship or anything else they want to hold there. It's an old

dump site that we covered with sand. There aren't any trees on the

interior part of the golf course, there's alot on the outside of the golf

course, but the interior is basically sand. We moved the sand around

and created a links style course which seems to fit there very well, it's

on the water . . . the wind will be a great factor there.



Jack congratulates Tom Watson at Pebble Beach in 1982



LN: I know you're close friends with Tom Watson, what will he bring

to the Ryder Cup team this year that maybe the past few captains

haven't?


JN: I don't really know from a tangible standpoint, but from an

intangible standpoint - Tom is a great winner, Tom's won 5 British

Opens, Tom is loved in Scotland . . . the players will all look up to

him, and respect him. So there are many intangibles there, tangibly

you're still going to have to play golf. The players that will play golf

well will win, it's on my golf course at Gleneagles - the golf course is

a strong course. If the weather is good, they'll shoot some good

scores on it, if the weather is bad they'll struggle on the golf course

- like they would on many Scottish courses in the weather. It will be

a great event and I think Tom will do a great job as captain.


 



Special thanks to Tom Sprouse and Jane Dally.












 
Ken Nice - Bandon Dunes Resort PDF Print E-mail

 

 

Ken Nice - Director of Agronomy at Bandon Dunes Resort

 

 

In the fourth edition of "Masters of the Moss", LinksNation traveled across the

country to experience Bandon Dunes Resort and it's 5 spectacular golf courses:

Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old MacDonald and Bandon Preserve

(which opens today, May 1st).The Director of Agronomy at Bandon Resort is Ken

Nice, he's a native Oregonian and the man responsible for the care and well being of

the terrain that former USGA Executive Director David Fay called "the epicenter of

golf on planet earth".Since Bandon is now regarded as such by many knowledgeable

people in the industry, it goes without saying (but I'll say it here), Ken Nice is one of

the most important people in the world of golf today . . . he conducts himself with an

air of casualness and a quiet confidence that immediately command your interest and

respect.After our initial face to face meeting at Bandon Preserve was cut short by a

timely hail storm, Ken and I managed to finally have our Q&A just last week.

 

 

LinksNation: There is 85 holes of golf at Bandon, how big is the property at Bandon

Resort?

 

Ken Nice: The entire resort property is 3300 acres.

 

LN: How large is the staff that you manage?

 

KN: We have roughly about 100 staffers in the agronomy department

 

LN: What are the biggest challenges for you with the golf courses on a daily basis?

 

KN: Probably one of the biggest challenges is how we deal with the wind, not only as

it relates to irrigation distribution, but also it can move an amazing amount of sand

overnight.Preparing bunkers day in and day out with the north wind howling, it's

such a harsh environment during the summer months.For us the wind is probably our

biggest challenge during the high season.

 

LN: The winds are more severe during the summer months?

 

KN: Yes, it's a constant 20-30 mph everyday, it starts in the morning . . .

sometimes it does die down at night but you cant always count on that.

 

LN: That must create an ever evolving set of golf courses.

 

KN: Yeah, in fact the bunkers at all of the golf courses do evolve over time, they

change . . . they are different than at the time of construction.Irrigation distribution

and also fertilizer applications become more of a challenge in terms of -When is your

window?When is it not?That's why I think it's easy for me to identify wind as our

greatest challenge, because it impacts so many of our functions.Every property has

it's challenges, it's always interesting talking to other Superintendents . . . like all

things, there is no one right way to do things, but at the same time there are

certainly fundamentals out there that all of the best guys don't stray very far away

from.

 

LN: How many rounds are played at Bandon each year?

 

KN: Between 120-130 thousand rounds

 

LN: What's a typical day for the grounds staff ?

 

KN: 5am start, crew out the door by 5:30, basically here at Bandon we try to get

all of our mowing done ahead of the first group, so that our guests don't interact

with mowers.Then the crew takes lunch and reassembles afterwards to odd projects . . .

from there, if it's busy they might be working on divot repair, that's something we do

daily.

 

LN: How much different is maintaining these links courses as opposed to a typical

American layout?

 

KN: Certainly the mowing frequency is less, in fact everything is less . . . fertility,

irrigation, and mowing.The only thing that is equal to or even possibly more, is our

top dressing schedule.That's something that is a very necessary practice for us.The

thing with fine fescue that you find is, it's not so much what you do, it's what you

don't do.You have to observe a level of restraint.We rarely verti-cut, you minimize

service disturbance with fine fescue as opposed to other grass species.There is very

minimal grooming, no hollow core aerification, always small solid tines, we never pull a

plug (there have been no plugs ever pulled from the greens at any of the courses at

Bandon Dunes).So, basically a combination of low to moderate fertility, a consistent

top dressing program and some venting open for infiltration, I see no reason to pull a

core.Our goal is to build the profile up, accordingly if you have a perfect profile your

building up, why remove it.This helps keep our true firm surface, and also it

minimizes some competing grasses.Any annual Bluegrass that may try to move in,

has a tough time . . .  having no hollow cores open for that, helps our cause.

 

LN: One of the things I found while there, was how authentic all of the golf courses

actually played as links, to a lesser degree with Trails which obviously isn't on the

coast line.I've played and reviewed a few courses in the top 100 in America that are

links style, but DON'T play like links at all.

 



Par 3 - second at Bandon Trails

 

 

 

KN: Our thinking is Bandon Trails looks like a parkland course, but plays like a links course.

 

LN: When I was asked by friends and colleagues about the experience of playing the

courses at Bandon, other than the obvious things like weather, scenery and the dramatic

looks of the holes, I told them "I never hit a lob shot in the 5 rounds I played"! Everything

around the greens was along the ground.

Even after a torrential rain at Bandon Dunes early a.m that Tuesday (on 4/3), where

the greens were under water (and we walked off the course) . . . 4 hours later when

I returned to the 1st tee at 12:30 it played firm and fast.That was something I

didn't expect . . . as an American golfer that is something I'd never experienced.


KN: That is something that has been a pride for us, that the golf courses are

maintained that way, and that's the experience that people are going to get when

they're here, we really embrace that we get to maintain authentic links courses in

every sense of the word.We feel kind of a connection with all of the guys who are

in the U.K and Scotland and what they do, it's the right property, the right climate

the right soils but then most importantly above all is an owner (Mike Keiser) who has a

vision and it filtrates down to everybody.


LN: Where did you go to school?


KN: I went to two schools, first went to a school called Willamette in Salem, Oregon

and actually graduated from there with a minor in Econ and a major in Psychology.

Then I spent about 6 or 7 years as a self employed landscaper.I started to get interested

in golf, and thought this is kind of a good combination.My father who was a retired professor

at Oregon State at the time, told me about Tom Cook's Turfgrass program at the University.

He's been the professor to many Superintendents in the Northwest, so at that point I decided

it would be a good idea to formalize my education in Landscape & Turf, so I went back to school

for another two years and earned my degree in Horticulture and Turfgrass science.


LN: Did being a local and growing up in Oregon help somewhat with knowing the conditions?


KN: I wasn't too far away from Bandon Resort, maybe a 3 hour drive.It's kind of

different, even though Bandon and Corvallis are only 3 hours apart, it might as well

be a 12 hour flight to Scotland . . . you go from the valley and the heavy clay/loam

soils to sand and coastal climate, it's really quite a contrast.It's nice as an Oregonian,

obviously I have alot of pride in Bandon Dunes and to have the opportunity to work

on the property, but also as an Oregonian to have Bandon Dunes here in the state,

it's a double pride thing for me.


LN: What did you learn from having the USGA Pub Links in 2011?


KN: It was actually our 3rd USGA event hosted, we had the '07 Mid Am and the '06

Curtis Cup here as well.It always amazes me by just how good these top amateurs

are.Their level of skill is always impressive to me, at the same time it's fun to put on

those championships with the USGA and see what tweaks we have to make.There

are some logistical things that we learned, but more than anything really is the

team effort it takes to put on a USGA event . . . luckily everybody here embraces

the Team aspect and everybody jumps in and does their part, no matter what it is.


LN: How involved was the USGA with you in the set up of the courses?


KN: They are very involved, from green speed measurements, to watering. You don't

want to lose control of the golf courses, but at the same time you want it to play

firm and fast.We more or less put the cups where they tell us to put it, they are

involved in every aspect of the golf course.


 

14th at Old Mac

 

 

 

LN: Bandon Trails and Old Mac were the courses used for the Pub Links right? Why

those two and not the two coastal layouts?


KN: They wanted two contrasting courses, and that was probably about as far apart

as you could get, atleast in terms of our property.Plus Old Mac hadn't been part of a

championship, Pacific has had the Curtis Cup, Bandon was part of the Mid Am, so it

was good opportunity to use Trails and Old Mac.


LN: Is there any of the five courses that pose a different or tougher challenge than

the others?


KN: Pacific Dunes has the biggest challenges when it comes to wind, bunker

maintenance, water and so forth.Bandon Trails has tree issues to deal with that

obviously the other courses don't.


LN: Bandon Preserve opens May 1st, were you involved in any of the actual

construction process with Coore/Crenshaw?


KN: Yeah I was involved in the planning management aspect of it, getting the

irrigation contractors and making sure we had the drainage plan.More than anything,

just making sure that they have everything they need to do their job, and then

obviously from the agronomy side of things, I had alot to do with the grassing and

how we were going to go about it.Feed rates and growing protocols that kind of

stuff.I was probably less involved in BP than I was in Old Mac, Pacific, or Trails from

a hands on stand point.


 

It hailed just after meeting Ken at BP, just one of the elements in play on the south coast of Oregon.

 

 

 

 

LN: I've heard Superintendents, including someone I respect a great deal, my friend

Matt Shaffer at Merion have told me that the newer style golf shoes with their multi

pronged sharp plastic cleats have been more harmful to their courses greens and

tees than the old metal spikes.Do you have an opinion on this?


KN: When things start to slow down here in the early fall with our fine fescue we are

susceptible to scaring and abrasion, what we call the "fall scuffys" here.Every foot

dragger leaves a scar and a scuff, I would think that the modern golf shoe does not

help our cause . . . but it's not a major issue for us, our greens don't tend to

footprint up as the day goes on.They stay pretty true throughout the day, it isn't

really anything that we're worried about or talk much about during the day.


LN: Last question Ken, but it's not golf related.I wanted to ask you about your dog

Mia . . . I remember when we met, seeing her following you around and you telling

me how she was basically abandoned by someone and was living out there in the

wild at Bandon Trails (Mia is a black/brown Papillion).





The lovely Mia


 


KN: She was out there atleast a month that we know of, she is a pretty alert little

thing and she must of had a pretty good hiding place there, she had her den

somewhere.She was pretty astute at hiding in that den, then from a food standpoint

she had been seen by enough people trying to catch her, I know I'd ride by and

place a couple biscuits close to where she was hangin out and then I'd come back

from the store and I'd see that the biscuits were gone.When they tried to live trap

her it took awhile because she wouldn't go in the cage initially, and so they would

set out food and they had to move it incrementally closer everyday.


When they finally caught her, I was away on vacation with my wife, we had just

arrived in Hawaii and were at baggage claim when the animal control and shelter

people from Coos County called me and told me "hey we caught that little black dog,

it's a Papillon" I had promised them if they caught her I would adopt her.I did some

research on Papillons and she really fits the description to a T.She's really a bright

little dog, they are the #1 small dog during the agility trials.She is great, she is so

easy to have out on the golf course, she doesn't get in anybody's way.She is definitely

a bright spot for me.


LN :I think if Mia could speak she'd say "ditto".

 

Thanks again to B.R Koehnemann and Ken Nice.