Raise your hand if you want 12 energetic and thoughtful teens to dedicate hours to helping with course maintenance. This is exactly what the FW Buchholz High School girls’ golf team did one day in August, after practice, when each member of the team spent nearly two hours helping remove the goosegrass from the greens. from their original course, the Hawkstone Country Club, in Gainesville, Florida.
Under the direction of the Superintendent Joe holden, which helped build and grow the Gary Player 18-hole concept which opened in 1993, the girls started with a short intro and safety demonstration. They learned what goose grass is, how to identify it on the greens, and how to carefully remove it with utility knives. There were six knives to share so coach Marc Ellard and the girls designed a system to maximize efficiency. Some girls placed tees to identify goose grass, some brandished knives, some filled the larger holes with green sand, and others collected the plants.
Holden had the idea of ââhaving members of a golf team help out on the course a few years ago. Hawkstone is also home to the Oak Hall School Boys’ Golf Team, coached by Frank Anderson. The boys’ team have helped out on several occasions, this year pulling doves from bunkers and previously pulling green kyllinga weeds during the rainy season. “I told the girls they had the easier job of the two,” Holden says, laughing. âBut seriously, it’s hard to assign people to whom I don’t have to do tedious tasks that make a big difference. ”
âThe bunkers and greens aren’t bad, but sometimes you get to the end of summer and have issues with staffing and prioritization of tasks. You have to fix it, âHolden adds, and extra help at this time of year is invaluable. There are five full-time maintenance staff at Hawkstone, including Holden, and its strong seasonal staff are mostly university students who work part-time and have to leave their jobs when it’s time to return to campus.
Holden knows that his flexible working system saves money on manpower and gives his affectionately named “turfers” the chance to work. This offers Holden a chance to stay the course in a way that meets his high expectations and those of the club. “Most of us superintendents have had to be very creative in how we try to accomplish the tasks that we want to accomplish, to make the course as good as possible with the hours of work we have available.” says Holden, referring to the workforce across the industry. challenges.
Ellard, who coached Buchholz’s women’s team for 11 years, led them to Florida State competition last year and they are working for another deep run in the playoffs. âThis is the first year that our team has participated in this type of project. What a great way to give back to the course and gain insight into the maintenance of the greens, âsaid Ellard. âThe girls loved the event. Many did not know what hen grass was or how to spot it. This gave them a better appreciation of what goes on in the interview. I think they will be more careful to take care of the greens, fairways and bunkers around our course.
Braydn smith, currently the # 1 player on the team, strives to improve every day. Hawkstone being a private club within the ClubCorp portfolio and the team enjoying the use of such an excellent facility, members notice and appreciate when the student-athletes volunteer to help maintain the 6,502 yard layout. , par 72. âI loved helping take care of the greens at Hawkstone and loved being able to give back to the people who let us practice there,â says Smith, who now knows more about how to protect the greens. greens. âThe work of the student-athletes is very effective,â says Holden, praising their efforts, and it helps them appreciate what it takes to create great playability and aesthetics.
Holden takes pride in not only his part-time job system, but also a reclaimed water irrigation process that he has put in place. He also works on the âeye developmentâ of his employees. The Hawkstone staff have playing privileges and Holden believes that “the effectiveness of your team (whether they play or not) is how they develop their eye.” What they see is out of place and being able to notice a tiny little thing is definitely part of it, âhe says. He also finds the original greens, planted with Jones Dwarf Bermudagrass, to be in good condition and the cultivar to be very hardy and manageable. âHe’s got a backbone,â Holden says.
Finding a volunteer who might want to join the crew would be a huge bonus. âEvery once in a while you meet someone who expresses an interest in agronomy, maintenance and everything that goes behind the scenes,â Holden explains. Both teams did a great job learning what it takes to stay the course, improve playability and how to work together for an efficient and environmentally friendly result. The student-athletes, members and crew of Hawkstone can be proud of their club and their collaboration, and Holden should be proud of continuing to execute a great idea.
Lee Carr is a Northeast Ohio-based writer and a frequent contributor to the golf course industry.
Learn more about Hawkstone
At Hawkstone Country Club, where Evan Walker is the Head Golf Professional, junior golfers have no shortage of ways to learn. ClubCorp offers weekly CRUSH IT! Junior golf programming. CRUSH IT stands for Trust, Respect, Understanding of Self-discipline, Hard Work, Integrity and Talent. The program helps junior golfers ages 4 to 11 reach their potential on the course and encourages âGolf Skills, Life Skillsâ. Hawkstone also offers weeklong golf camps, tournaments, private and group golf lessons.
Thanks to Mindy Herrick, a former member of the Buchholz Girls’ Golf Team, who works for the Hawkstone Country Club. She took and shared the photos and was enthusiastic and supportive of this engaging event.