It is always good for the game of golf when Tiger is leading or in the hunt on the weekends. People watch more golf and generally get excited to get out and play. Right now we need people excited about golf as we continue our climb out of the recession within the golf industry. Now if we could only figure out how to stop sharing our profits with 3rd party tee time sellers...
These topics are not the reason for my article, but rather to say congratulations to a job well done to a good friend and former employee Don Thornburgh. Don was an intern of mine more years ago than I care to remember while he was studying at Purdue University in Indiana. He was always a hard worker and a thinker trying to figure out everything from efficiency of operations to "how do I land that top job I want?" This past year Don landed that job with Trump Golf. After paying his dues as an assistant for many years in warm weather climates like Southern California, Arizona, and Florida building and maintaining courses, he was rewarded with a great opportunity! Don skipped the step of becoming a head superintendent and went straight to the Director of Agronomy working for Donald Trump at his newly purchased Doral Golf Resort in Miami. Don now directs and oversees the superintendents that manage the day to day operations of the 5 courses on the resort.
Last weekend was a culmination of Don and his teams' hard work over the past 7-8 months to get the Blue Monster in top condition for the world's best golfers. TV always makes golf courses look good with their blue filtered lenses that make yellow turf look lush and green. I remember sitting in the shop after our morning detail with our crew at Southern Hills during the 2001 US Open. John Szklinski, head superintendent walked in with and said, "what course is that?" What we just got done mowing was a mild resemblance of the perfectly green conditions seen on ESPN.
When I called Don this week to say congratulations, I asked how he felt about the course. He said he now has a new understanding and respect for water management and how turfgrass can withstand the fine line we as turf managers tip toe between turf life and death. He said he was "way past his comfort level, but the numbers on the moisture sensors reassured him things would be fine." And on TV the course looked dry but green none the less. So much for brown is the new green. Augusta is just around the corner and superintendents everywhere are squirming in anticipation of the questions, "why can't our course look like that?"
|Don is standing to the left of Tiger in this picture and his superintendent is on the far right.|
Congratulations to Don and his staff! Now catch a quick breather before you rip up the course April 1st for a complete remodel. There truly is no rest for the weary...or is that the wicked? I'm proud of you Don! Best of Luck, buddy.