Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Winter Solstice, Winds of Change, and Christmas Wishes!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Tuesday, December 23rd and shortly Mrs. Greenkeeper and I will be on the road to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with our families.  We are blessed to have many family members located so close together back home, and to have the opportunity to see everybody and spend quality time with them in a short span is something we do not take for granted.  This day is also extra special because of two birthdays.  Our daughter-in-law is celebrating her birthday today and my grandfather (my best friend and hero) turns 92 years old today!  He introduced golf to me at a very young age and I cannot put into words how indebted I am to him.  I can't wait to see him!  #GreatestGeneration  

Sunday marked the arrival of the Winter Solstice and the official beginning of winter.  Thus far December has been slightly colder on average than last year, and fairly dry with nearly one-half inch of rain the first 21 days.  The cooler temperatures and extended periods of cloud cover have managed to keep the course from becoming too dry during this time, but as I write this we have received nearly one-half inch additional rain with considerably more expected in the next 48 hours.  High winds and potential severe weather threats are also forecast.  Expect softer and wetter course conditions the remainder of this month along with considerably colder temperatures.

The changing of the seasons brings some changes to my department as we approach the new year.  Friday, December 26th will be the last day for my lead assistant, Brett Stowers.  Brett is leaving to embark on a new career challenge with Medallion Athletics in Mooresville.  Brett and his wife Michelle married in late October and he actively pursued the recent golf course superintendent job opening at Rock Hill C.C.  Although Brett was a finalist for the position, the process left him reevaluating his desire to remain in golf course management.  Brett has been a member of my staff the past three years (the last two as Senior Assistant) and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication.  His efforts helped us usher in some changes to our programs as we stayed on top of technological advances in the industry.  We wish you all the best in your new career.
L to R: Ben Albrecht, Brett Stowers
Assistant superintendents moving on is the natural order of things in my profession, and it is why years ago I established the position of 2nd Assistant in order to have someone available to step up when called upon.  It is with great pleasure I announce to you today Benjamin Albrecht is officially Assistant Superintendent as of Saturday, December 27th.  Ben has worked for me since June, 2008 when he and his long term girlfriend Jess relocated to Charlotte from their home in Warren, Ohio (near Youngstown).  Prior to joining my staff at Carolina Ben worked at both Tamer Win Golf & CC in Cortland, OH and Avalon Golf & CC in Warren.  During the past 6 years Ben and Jess have married and have two children.  Their son Zane is 5-years old and daughter Sky will be two in just a couple months.  Ben has been one of the most dedicated and hard working members of  my staff since his arrival.  So much so he has worked his way up the ranks of the staff becoming a Spray Technician, Assistant-In-Training, and 2nd Assistant.  Ben was just a few credit hours shy of completing his associate's degree in turfgrass management from The Ohio State University when he relocated to Charlotte.  After much prodding from yours truly and battling with Central Piedmont C.C. over the transfer of credits I am happy to report earlier this month Ben successfully completed his A.A.S. degree requirements in Turfgrass Management Technology from CPCC.  I look forward to working more closely with Ben in 2015 as we embark on a new era in my department.    

Here is an early CHRISTMAS PRESENT to you.  I was briefly interviewed by Golfdom magazine while attending the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show in Myrtle Beach last month.  Goldom is a monthly publication dating back to 1927 distributed nationally serving golf course superintendents and others in the industry dedicated to golf course management.  The 19th Hole is a one page interview with various superintendents from across the country located inside the back cover of the magazine.  After just being elected to serve on the Carolina's Board of Directors for 2015 and 2016 it was fun to have the opportunity to talk a little about myself, my staff, and Carolina Golf Club.  Hope you enjoy!  If you would like to see the interview in it's printed format there are copies available in the Golf Shop and Main Office. 

For the record, Chad Taylor (L) and Cameron Phillips (R) tied for the Best Dressed prize this past Friday with their matching sweaters.  The staff worked really hard all year and we accomplished many great things on the course in 2014.  It is always nice to have the opportunity to reward their efforts with some goodwill.  Thank you to those members that stopped by during their rounds that day to show their appreciation to the staff!  It really means a lot to me and gestures like that go a long way with my team!

Well, that's all for now.  It's time for me and Mrs. Greenkeeper to hit the road.  It looks like we will not incur any frost issues during the course closures tomorrow and Thursday.  We worked hard and braved the cold yesterday and this morning prepping the course to the best of our ability in hopes those of you wishing to walk a few holes Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day will find it enjoyable.  The rain forecasted looks to be significant however, so be sure and bring your waterproofs!  I will return to the club on Monday, December 29th and until then my family and I would like to wish everyone at Carolina Golf Club a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS