As many of you know our team members at HP including myself take the opportunity each season to volunteer at PGA events around the country to help the host Agronomic Teams. Each experience is a little different, the take home ideas and strategies in leadership and turf management are diverse, many relationships are forged and we come back invigorated with ideas to share at HP.
This September, I was afforded the opportunity to be part of the Volunteer team that would assist Superintendent, Chris Tritabaugh and the Hazeltine National Agronomy team with preparing the course for the Ryder Cup. In all honesty, I really did not understand the magnitude of this event, but I quickly realized this event was unlike any other.
-Hazeltine National Agronomy Team
Upon arrival, for orientation the near 150 turf volunteers consisting of Golf Course Superintendents, Assistants, turf industry folks coming from Minnesota and around the world were greeted to a perfect conditioned golf course from the 50 members of Hazeltine National. The team had been preparing this gem for many, many months for this event. The weather before the event was record breaking wet, but you could hardly tell from the past improvements with infrastructure and the efforts of the Hazeltine Staff.
At each event I attend I am always amazed at the high quality agronomic conditions (this was no different at Hazeltine) however, the leadership of Chris Tritabaugh and Ryan Moy, Assistant Superientendent was amazing. They were calm, poised and the team leaders executed well. There was no question there was a clear Vision of what was needed to be accomplished and how it was going to be executed was well laid out. From the time we arrived on site we felt we were part of something special, the atmosphere was conducive to have fun and enjoy the experience while getting the work completed for a world class event. The use of social media by the majority of the staff and volunteers was transparent and offered a behind the scenes look into agronomic practices and the culture of the organization. It also helped with memories and for this blog, proividing many photos that I pulled from various Twitter feeds! Thanks!
Team A- one final shot!
During the event I was part of Team A, led by Mike Graves, Assistant Superintendent. My primary role was working with the stimp team, the team consisted of Charles Granger (Professor- Horry Georgetown Technical College, SC) Mike Manthey (GC Superintendent, Mn) and Paul Maccormack (GC Superintendent, PEI Canada) Our primary role was data collection for ball roll distance, and let me tell you the greens were smooth!
Having a little fun with Stimp Team A...
Like many of the volunteering opportunities; the networking, discussions and idea sharing were incredible, I was fortunate to be part of this team and look back fondly at this experience. Thanks to Chris and his wonderful staff! Special thanks to the entire Hyde Park Grounds Team for their work while I was gone, it is always nice to come back to the property looking and playing fantastic!
To top off the experience, the golf was great....I was able to watch the US team take the Ryder Cup back after a little bit of a drought. Good Stuff!