Thursday, December 20, 2018

Breath of Fresh Air & Home for the Holidays!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, December 20th and it was an honor once again to join the Board of Governors and the past presidents of Carolina Golf Club for the annual Past President's Dinner on Tuesday evening.  I truly believe it is one of the greatest traditions that makes Carolina special and it's always nice to join the group to reflect on and discuss the events of the past year.  Obviously the U.S. Mid-Am was a large topic of discussion and the overwhelming sense of pride of a job well done by all was great to experience.

Having said that, I'm sorry to rain on everyone's parade but more heavy rain is expected today. :(  In fact, the annual Christmas Balls event was cancelled because of today's forecast.  LAST TIME I mentioned how 2018 keeps throwing weather related punches and I thought our winter storm 
(the snow was beautiful by the way) might be the round house to end the year.  Seems Mother Nature had other plans as we received a deluge of 1.38 inches rain last weekend (on top of the melted snow) and now just as the course is beginning to turn the corner as it relates to carts on the fairways we have another batch of southern moisture headed our way.
This is why my team and I busted our you-know-whats this past Monday to vent all greens.  The needle tine operation (same venting we typically do throughout the summer months) was performed to assist with recovery of existing saturated conditions, but also help our putting greens withstand the next batch coming today.  In other words, let's create more space for the water to go and help get air into the root zone.  Roots grow in the pockets BETWEEN soil particles so creating air space is important when Mother Nature rains on your parade too frequently.

We also made a little fertility application to the greens and applied a light sand topdressing.  We followed that with two days of rolling to smooth the surface and correct the tufting that typically occurs with new tines and the greens are once again good to go.  Hopefully they will breathe a little easier this time around.

One thing that didn't get mentioned last time, but I have certainly discussed at great length recently on Twitter is our annual rainfall total.  Since completing the restoration in 2008 on the heels of the worst drought in NC history we have received roughly 40 inches rainfall yearly.  Our wettest year during that span was 2009 when we received 54.77 inches (wet).  The rain event last weekend pushed 2018 past 2009 as our new wettest year with a grand total of 55.16 inches as we head into today's wet weather event.  

So, if you've been thinking that perhaps it rains nearly every weekend or just before of late, you're not imagining things.  And unfortunately, with the weak El Nino in place that typically translates to a southern jet stream track in the winter bringing moisture up from the gulf and it could continue to be cold, wet and dreary for the foreseeable future considering the first official day of astrological winter is tomorrow.  Good Grief!
That's all for now, grab your hat, coat, umbrella, boots, and whatever else you need to survive the elements today and tomorrow.  It's almost time for our annual trek to the mountains of southwest Virginia to enjoy the Christmas holiday with our families (I can almost hear Perry Como now).  We depart tomorrow but we'll be back soon and remember if you're playing golf on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day be leery of arriving too early with morning lows forecasted in the 30's.  I should be back in time for the next big rain event prior to next weekend (facepalm emoji here).  I honestly believe we are going to surpass 60 inches precipitation before 2019 arrives.  Maybe it's not too late to ask Santa for some new rain gear?  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays CGC,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Friday, December 7, 2018

One Last Punch to the Gut?

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, December 7th and with the recent passing of President George H.W. Bush and today being the 77th anniversary of the day that will forever live in infamy (Pearl Harbor Day), I feel a little out of place posting a public service announcement regarding the winter storm watch in effect for our area.  I certainly mean no disrespect to the amazing life 41 lead, nor to the tragic events that eventually encouraged the United States of America to enter World War II, and as a lover of history I will be happy to discuss one or both with any of you at another time.  Right now I just want to make sure everyone is aware things might get interesting around here before the weekend wraps up.

If you had the chance to listen to my radio interview with Katrek and Maginnes last month (ICYMI) you may recall hearing me talk a little about 2018 starting off with a cold winter causing winter injury to bermudagrass and damage across the Carolinas.  Then we had some record warmth and a prolonged period of dry weather, followed by two hurricanes in Florence and Michael.  In other words, 2018 has been like a boxer that never stopped throwing punches.  And just as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel for 2018 (only 24 more days in the year), looks like 2018 may have saved its haymaker for last.
Now the above tweet was three days ago and at that time I guess you could say it was still too early to tell exactly what the impact in Charlotte might be.  But by later that same day Brad upgraded the snowmeters for both areas (Charlotte from 2 to 3 and the Mountains from 5 to 7.
IMPORTANT - The snowmeters used above are not forecast accumulation totals but rather a measure of confidence that a winter storm will impact our area.  
Again, those announcements happened three days ago, and when you start talking about snow in Charlotte some folks get a little excited while others are less enthused.  And then there are those that just freak out and clean the local Harris Teeters out of milk and bread.
Hopefully you took the time to watch Brad's video linked above from yesterday.  The important thing is public safety and that is why I am taking the time to post this update today.  Like Brad I want you to be #WeatherAware and at least have the information to make informed decisions.  What we like to say in your golf course maintenance department is, "Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best!".  With that philosophy we are never under prepared and things usually do not turn out as bad as they possibly can.

With that said, what we know now is the area is currently under a Winter Storm Watch as issued by the National Weather Service.
The timing of the event appears to be late Saturday and extending into Monday.  As per normal, Charlotte is located squarely in an area of uncertainty with regards to exactly what type of precipitation it receives.  Will we get snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain, mix, rain, etc.?  I feel for you Brad!  The important thing to know is something is going to fall from the sky, and you just need to be prepared for the potential of a disruption to our normal schedules for possibly a day or even more.  Let's certainly hope it doesn't come to that, but if it does hopefully you will be able to say you were ready. #WeatherAware

On the bright side, winter storms usually do not stick around in the Queen City for prolonged periods, that's one of the reasons we chose to reside here, right. ;)  And when this one is gone we will have the golf course ready for you to enjoy once more.  Stay warm and stay safe Carolina.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Most Thankful & Radio Gaga!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, November 21st and I want to quickly remind everyone although the club is closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving the golf course is available (walking only) for those wanting to squeeze in a quick round before dinner, or perhaps you need to "walk off" some of that turkey and stuffing later in the day. Either way I hope you enjoy your time on the course should you choose to come out.  The temperature tonight is expected to reach the mid 30's which means there could be some frost.  As is customary I will make my annual inspection through the course in the early hours and if no frost is present, and nothing else out of place I will retreat back home to a house filled with family and cheer.  If there is some frost you'll find me lingering behind the clubhouse just to ensure any over eager golfers do not cause turf damage while frost is present.  If you come early maybe I'll see you but if we don't cross paths this year, Happy Thanksgiving!

It's hard to believe another year has past since my annual Thanksgiving list.  I penned my first list in 2010 and I enjoy taking time to reflect on the previous growing season.  Believe me, I am well aware my lists pale in comparison to the lists penned annually in the Charlotte Observer by Ron Green, Sr. but to me it wouldn't be Thanksgiving at Carolina without a look back at some memorable moments.  This year, in no particular order I'm most thankful for:
  • Tommy Fleetwood - The Englishman definitely has hair I dearly wanted in my high school days and he is not afraid to go low.  His final round 63 in the U.S. Open may have only brought him within one stroke of the trophy, but it may also be the round of the year.
  • Francesco Molinari - This man was the worldwide player of the year in my book despite two major championship victories by Brooks Koepka.  Francesco won the European Tour's flagship event in May (The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth), then won Tiger's event on the PGA Tour, the Quicken Loans National at TPC Avenel in early July, then held off Tiger Woods.  Yes, that Tiger Woods to win The Open Championship at Carnoustie!  
    Champion Golfer of the Year!
  • Moliwood - Speaking of Tommy and Francesco, their Ryder Cup pairing and subsequent "bromance" was truly something to behold.  They elevated their games to take down every team our captain, Jim Furyk threw their way.  The European Tour does a great job with their social media communications and they played up the pairing in a way that only European humor can.  It was definitely fun to watch and funny to follow.
  • Tiger Woods - Speaking of Tiger Woods, whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that Tiger's presence on the PGA Tour this season spiked attendance and viewership.  As some like to say he doesn't move the needle, he is the needle.  I wasn't a huge fan early in his career, but over time I came to appreciate his talent and greatness, and then he was gone.  The struggles he encountered since winning five times in 2013 even had me believing he would not be back.  Watching golf with Tiger in contention this year was fun, thanks Tiger!
  • Brad Panovich - If you haven't noticed by now I'm a huge fan of BP!  I closely monitor the weather because it directly impacts everything we do on the golf course each and every day.  I've paid attention to a lot of different weather broadcasters throughout my career and Brad Panovich is certainly the best, because he's a meteorologist.  And more importantly, he cares.  Whether it is forecasting long streaks of mild weather or inclement storms like Florence and Michael, I rely closely on Brad for his accurate predictions.  I still owe you a round of golf Brad, probably more than one if I'm being truthful.  I promise we'll get it done.
  • New Sod - Speaking of weather, the period between Dec 1, 2017 through Jan 20, 2018 was the coldest in Charlotte since 2010-2011 and the harsh temperatures took a toll on bermudagrass in heavy traffic and shaded areas.  We sustained the most winter injury since the spring of 2015 and thanks to our grass suppliers and the efforts of the Greenkeeping team, we were able to replace those damaged areas with new turf.
    Modern Turf
  • My Staff - Speaking of the Greenkeeping team, these guys were true rock stars this year!  Whether it was working their you-know-what's off in harsh environments to producing the more difficult conditioned golf course as measured by scoring average ;) during the U.S. Mid-Am, these guys really impressed me this year, and hopefully you too.  Thank you guys!  You're the best!
    Best Staff in Charlotte
  • The USGA - Speaking of the U.S. Mid-Am, thanks to the United States Golf Association for providing us the opportunity to showcase Carolina Golf Club on the national stage.  What a treat it was to see the golf course adorned with banners and signage signifying the importance of this event.  It's hard to believe we started preparing for this moment shortly after Tournament Director Bill McCarthy first saw Carolina Golf Club in April 2015 and now the event heads west to Colorado Golf Club next year.  Time flies! 
    United States Golf Association
  • The Red Army - If not for the tireless efforts and enthusiasm of you we would not have been successful.  I was truly awed and inspired by the enormous support of the volunteers under the leadership of Ben Maffitt.  At the volunteer reception last month I shared the following sentiments: It is truly an amazing experience to witness the people that employ you work so hard with such tireless effort, energy and enthusiasm.  You made me proud!  Thank you!
     (L-R) Will Barr & Ben Maffitt
  • John Szklinski - It was a real treat to work closely on this year's U.S. Mid-Am with my peer from Charlotte Country Club, John Szklinski.  John and his team went above and beyond to ensure me and my staff need only focus on the golf course as they supplied many items necessary for both venues.  The meetings, phone conversations and text messages the past two years brought us even closer together and I'm proud to call John my friend.  Thanks John!
    John Szklinski
  • Stephen Woodard - The former Greens Chairman holed a 20 foot putt on the first playoff hole outside Richmond, VA to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Mid-Am.  Stephen would go on to easily advance (although the final hole didn't go smoothly) through the stroke-play portion of the event to the field of 64.  Stephen won his first match advancing to the round of 32 and nearly made it to the sweet 16 losing 1 down on the 18th hole at Charlotte Country Club in his second match.  Thanks Stephen for making us all proud!
    Stephen Woodard
  • Brett Boner - And speaking of making us proud, Brett worked so hard preparing for this year's U.S. Mid-Am.  He and Stephen partnered earlier this year to win The Anderson at Winged Foot Golf Club in June and then on the same August day Stephen was surviving the playoff to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Am, Brett was WINNING medalist honors at his qualifying tournament in Philadelphia!  Brett told me he wanted to make a deep run, and boy did he ever.  Who will ever forget that magical finish in the semifinals against 2016 champion Stewart Hagestad.  Although the clock struck midnight before we wanted, it was one magical season for Brett and Carolina Golf Club.  And oh yeah, he won his second Charlotte City Amateur Championship earlier this year too. :)
    Thanks Brett!
  • Jerry Morris and John Archer - I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the efforts these two members of Carolina Golf Club displayed in the face of a fast approaching major championship on the heels of Tropical Storm Florence.  They both gave their time and energy to assist my team cleaning up the golf course and grounds and were a huge help in us being successful with limited time.  Thank you both, you're angels!
  • Carolina Golf Club - I truly am blessed to be entrusted to care for your golf course, and I am thankful for the friendship and support you provide me each year to do so!  From the Board of Governors to General Manager Billy Cleveland to Greens Chairman Ed Oden I could not ask for better leadership, guidance and support.  Thanks for your trust and confidence, and I look forward to an even better conditioned golf course in 2019.
    With Mr. Cleveland During U.S. Mid-Am
  • My Friends - One thing that is truly special about the golf course industry or turf business is the relationships and friendships that are forged.  I've been blessed to make many close friends in the business and I always cherish the opportunities we spend together.  Taking the time to network and share experiences makes us all better superintendents.  Thanks guys, you're the best friends I could ever have!
    Fellow Carolinas GCSA BOD Members
    Fellow Hokies, SBI Alumni, Swag & Best Mates!
    Mr. & Mrs. Strutt from England!
  • My Family - 2018 was a special year in our family as our little princess, who isn't so little anymore and her teammates also made a deep run.  Our granddaughter Haley was the starting catcher on her high school's varsity softball team as a freshman.  They won the District tournament, were Runners-up in the Regional tournament and advanced to the Virginia State 2A Semifinals where they suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in 10 innings.  I've never been more proud of her in my life, she has grown into an amazing young woman, I guess she must take after her grandmother! :)  Who just also happens to be the glue that bonds us tight.
    2018 Lebanon Pioneers!
    Don't Run on Her, Seriously!
    My Princess!

May God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving Carolina Golf Club!   

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

P.S., Thank you to General Manager Billy Cleveland for sharing the announcement yesterday of my recent election as President of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association at last week's annual Conference and Show.  And thank you to those emails filled with congratulatory remarks and encouragement I received yesterday.  It is a huge honor to lead my peers, but an even bigger honor to represent Carolina Golf Club in the process.
I had the good fortune to speak live on PGA Tour Radio with Brian Katrek and John Maginnes last Wednesday as the newly elected president.  If you would like to hear the interview you can find it HERE.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Too Tough!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, November 9th and Tough Day has been rescheduled again due to inclement weather!  :(  If anyone wants to play a little golf today they are welcome to do so, just be sure and bundle up as a cold, wet day is waiting to greet you.  We'll try again for Tough Day on November 30th.  If you're looking for a silver lining to the wet, gray skies outside, hole locations for Tough Day are already selected and marked, so maybe you can find them and get in a little practice between now and November 30th.  ;)

After a warmer than average October, the pattern has changed and we are now on what seems like the constant receiving end of moisture traveling along the southern portion of the jet stream.  Since the beginning of November we've had measurable rainfall 7 times totaling over 1.6 inches and as a result the fairways have become saturated restricting golf car access.  If it seems to you Cart Path Only restrictions are more frequent and/or last longer this time of year you're not imagining.  Yes, the golf course does drain well but when soil temperatures drop water infiltration rates slow.  Also, the shorter day length and lower sun angle this time of year greatly reduce the rate of evaporation compared to summer.  Now add the fact bermudagrass growth is slowing (uses less water) as the plant continues preparation for winter dormancy and you begin to better understand how one inch of rain can limit fairway access for a few days this time of year compared to summer.
Unfortunately, this could possibly just be a sign of things to come this winter.  Long-range forecasts are arriving and it looks like a weak El Nino is setting up in the equatorial Pacific.  What does that mean for us you ask, well typically El Nino winters contain above average precipitation in the southeast.
And if the recent wet weather isn't enough, believe it or not we are expected to receive our first true cold air of the season (I'm talking winter like temperatures) next week.  In fact, we may have our first FREEZE as early as Sunday morning, and take a close look at Wednesday and Thursday of next week in the 10-Day Forecast depicted below.
Brad Panovich, WCNC
I'm thinking it's a safe bet the bermudagrass will be dormant brown by next weekend.  If you're looking for some good news, I am hearing there should be a return to milder temperatures sometime within the last 10 days of November before winter locks in for good, so we will still have some opportunity to enjoy fall golf at Carolina.

Recent course work includes a needle tine venting of greens and a fertilizer application (18-9-18) to boost root growth and development as we head into winter.  Plant protectant applications for the prevention and management of Spring Dead Spot have been made to all bermudagrass tees and fairways, with necessary follow-up apps scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving.  You may recall CLICK HERE we already wrapped up fall preemergent applications for the prevention and management of poa annua on all bermudagrass areas.  Our collars and immediate surrounds require a follow-up application and that is scheduled for next week.

Also happening next week is the 56th Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association Conference and Show.  Held annually at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the show consists of our annual golf championship, two days of accredited education and the largest regional trade show in the golf industry.  Senior Assistant Matt Claunch will accompany me for three days while we leave the crew in the capable hands of Assistants Eris Sosnowski and Hunter Patterson.  Based on the forecast above looks like the team will be busy with leaf removal and course cleanup.  It is that time of year.  As Vice-President of Carolinas GCSA, I am nominated to become the 46th President of the association during the annual business meeting on Wednesday, November 14th.  It is a huge honor to be trusted by my peers, but it's an even bigger honor to represent Carolina Golf Club.  

Before I go, I would be remiss if I failed to mention on this very day the one thing that is most important to me on this very special day!  Happy 22nd Anniversary Mrs. Greenkeeper!  Thank you for all your love and support, you're the greatest!  
Bonus points awarded to those that correctly name the two courses in the collage above.  Double points if you know the holes.  Hint: they share the same hole number.  Leave in the comments below.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Friday, October 19, 2018


Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, October 19th and we are in the middle of the third of three rounds played today in our annual Fall Member-Guest.  Tomorrow is the final two rounds followed by the Shootout to determine this year's champions.  Once again we are hosting a major event on the heels of a tropical system and you wouldn't know it by looking at the golf course.  Although this year we've endured those weather related challenges, we've been blessed to come through each with minimal impact.
But I'm not here to talk about the weather, or even the golf course.  In a twist I thought I would share something golf related of personal interest with you.  Over the past few days I saw not one, but two things that had me thinking about days gone by.  You see, although I'm not that far removed from my baby face days, I am old enough to have played this game with liquid center, wound balls that would smile back at you if hit a little thin.  The other evening I stumbled across this tweet about the Tommy Armour 845 irons and I couldn't resist reposting it with a comment.  
I still remember exactly where I was when I had a conversation with my old boss about getting new clubs that lead me to purchase the 845's.  My first cousin had recently grown into his late father's Ping Eye 2's and started to get the better of me on the course, I needed more forgiveness if I was going to keep up.

Next I ran across a video from down under.  Former touring professional Mike Clayton with the help of Mark Hayes and current touring professional, Lucas Herbert conducted a semi-scientific test with old and new golf balls using both old and new equipment.  Now this video is a little lengthy (about 15 minutes) but it's interesting to hear the commentary from Lucas as he is experiencing the differences required to hit the older equipment versus the new and Mike Clayton as he explains to Lucas there was no such thing as club fitting back in the day.  Good stuff for my fellow geeks when you have time to check it out. The Great Distance Debate 

And just when I thought I was through reminiscing I received a package out of the blue from dear friend and former college classmate, Paul Van Buren.  Paul is superintendent at the Kanawha Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia outside Richmond.  You can imagine my surprise when I opened a box to find unopened sleeves of Titleist Tour Balatas staring back at me.
What can I say, sometimes it's nice to revisit the past as I believe it helps us keep a healthy perspective on the present.  Thanks for letting me reminisce and I look forward to the next time I see you on the course.
Flashback Friday! 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, October 11th and the sound of heavy rains from Tropical Storm Michael echo off the roof top of the Turf Care Center.  It has been less than four weeks since Florence dropped over seven inches rain on Carolina Golf Club and caused severe flash flooding in other parts of the Queen City, not to mention the devastation she imparted on the North Carolina coast and places east.  Michael made landfall early yesterday afternoon as a Category 4 Major Hurricane wreaking havoc along the Florida Panhandle.  My heart aches for all those in its path.
Hurricane Michael
Similar to Florence, we've known about Michael and his projected path across the southeast and through the Carolinas for several days as indicated below by this tweet from Brad Panovich this past Monday.
And we've been preparing the golf course for his arrival to the best of our abilities.  It's just this time the end goal is slightly different.  Florence was arriving prior to us co-hosting a national championship and there were certain parameters we needed to meet for our friends with the USGA (mowing heights, green speeds, surface firmness, etc.)  In case you've forgotten CLICK HERE for the link to my post on the morning she arrived.  

In this case we are in a transition as we are attempting to ready the course for the coming winter and subsequent dormant season for our bermudagrass tees, fairways, and rough.  Now don't get me wrong, tomorrow is Men's Guest Day and Fall Member-Guest is next week and we are still striving to produce the best conditions possible for you and your guest's enjoyment, but considering we are nearly six weeks into meteorological fall it's almost past time to prepare warm-season turf for hibernation.  Yesterday we mowed all closely mowed areas and wrapped up a single mow on the rough for this week.
Assuming the golf course is playable tomorrow barring damage from wind and/or debris it will most likely be Cart Path Only for our Guest Day event.  It will also most likely be the first of next week before some areas of the golf course (I'm referring to tees, fairways, and rough) see a mower again.  Thus we will use these several days in between to raise mowing heights on tees and fairways as we do each and every autumn to assist with plant health as we approach winter dormancy.  

That's right, every year the height of cut (HOC) is raised on tees and fairways as we exit summer and enter into the fall golf season.  By increasing the HOC we have more leaf material for photosynthesis which in turn means the plant can produce more food for storage prior to hibernation.  Most year's we begin this process immediately following the Club Championship usually contested around Labor Day, but this year we were required to maintain those lower HOC's through the U.S. Mid-Am and with the unseasonable warm temperatures lingering right up until now, we are just managing to find this opportunity to make the transition.  We have managed to recently complete our annual fall pre-emergent herbicide treatments to all bermudagrass areas for the prevention of unwanted poa annua this winter and next up is preventative fungicide treatments to tees and fairways for Spring Dead Spot control, but the soil temperatures are still too warm to initiate treatment as a result of the unseasonable warm temperatures we've endured lately.

Did you know that September 2018 was the third warmest September in Charlotte and warmest since way back in the 1920's!
Also, the unseasonable warm temperatures continued right into October as we managed to reach at least 90 degrees on October 4th and 5th bringing our total for this year up to 74!
Needless to say, the team and I, and the turf eagerly await the arrival of seasonable temperatures.  It's been a long, warm season this year and I believe everyone is ready for a cool down - and lower humidity.  It appears once we escort Michael through town today Autumn is ready to knock on the door.  Everyone please stay safe, pray the power stays on, and I look forward to seeing each of you again soon.

Brad Panovich

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Monday, October 1, 2018

Mid-Am Recap, A Lot of Fun!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Monday, October 1st and although the sting of another Ryder Cup defeat is fresh in everyone's mind, my staff and I are still on cloud nine after successfully co-hosting the United States Mid-Amateur Championship.  Can you believe in the past 15 days we went from enduring Tropical Storm Florence and cleaning up the golf course to grooming and providing championship conditions to test 264 of the best mid-amateurs from around the world.  In a word, amazing.  

Following Florence* there was much to be done to get Carolina back in shape.  You may recall from last time CLICK HERE I talked at great length about our preparation on the front end in an effort to encourage the golf course on the back end.  I'm happy to report our applications and plans worked to perfection, but we also had extra help.    

Jerry Morris showed up very early on Monday morning following Florence.  I jokingly told him he should start ball hawking in the irrigation reservoir to save time but he said he wasn't here to look for balls he was here to work and wanted to know what he could do to help.  In fact Jerry showed up and helped remove storm debris each of the next two days as well, and when he showed up again on Thursday morning after official practice rounds had started we had to politely turn him away.  Thank you for everything Jerry!  You were a real trooper and an inspiration.

John Archer also showed up on the Monday following Florence.  I spotted someone blowing storm debris into piles in the clubhouse parking lot, then realized it wasn't one of my staff members.  John had arrived and started working getting things cleaned up.  Later that same day he and Senior Assistant Matt Claunch made quick work of the large pine tree on No. 5 that fell over during the storm.  Thank you John, that is some level of enthusiasm.
Greens Chairman Ed Oden and Former Chairman (2009-2010) Rob Campbell, Jr. wanted to help and made the effort to come out and assist where possible.  The storm cleanup efforts were pushing us behind schedule with other things we needed to accomplish in the three days the course was closed for tournament preparation.  Ed's presence and support was a big help and I greatly appreciate him going the extra mile. Rob also pitched in where possible driving my truck across town to pick up signage and assisting with installation of gallery rope and stakes.  They both continued their support of the greenkeeping team throughout the week volunteering to do whatever needed and on occasion attended our daily Agronomy Meetings with the USGA to get a behind the scenes look at true tournament preparation.  Thanks Ed and Rob!

Of course I am most proud of my staff and the fact they delivered on providing the USGA with true championship conditions that withstood the efforts of the competitors.  Only twelve of the 264 managed to break par and the low round was a three under 68 shot by Medalist Stephen Behr of Florence, SC.  The stroke average over the two days of play was 76.229 with the 397 yard par 4 11th ranking the most difficult with a stroke average of 4.637 (Firm Greens).
Evening Fairway Mowing

Number 3

But one of the things I will always remember about the 2018 U.S. Mid-Am was the "Red Army" lead by General Maffitt and General Cleveland.  I was absolutely blown away by the energy, effort, and enthusiasm of so many members each and every day I was moved to tears.  I spoke with my peer at Charlotte Country Club, John Szklinski and he stated the same thing.  To see the very people that employ us give their time and work so hard to make this the best championship ever was truly awe inspiring.  You definitely made me proud.
Will Barr (Scoring) and Co-Chairman Ben Maffitt
General Manger Billy Cleveland Does It All!
All Smiles!
Greens Chairman Ed Oden
Club President William Smith Directs Traffic!

What can I possibly say about Brett Boner and Stephen Woodard that hasn't already been stated.  In case you missed it, Julie Williams from did an amazing piece on them CLICK HERE prior to the beginning of match play.  She may or may not have been tipped off by a local golf course superintendent who happens to be their biggest fan not related.  ;)
Brett Boner Begins Play on No. 1 
Stephen Woodard Begins Play on No. 10
Anyway, I couldn't be more proud of both men for qualifying, playing in front of the home town fans and advancing to match play.  Then Brett Boner makes a run so deep that turns a magical moment into one that none of us will ever forget.  It was so cool for me to see so many of you each afternoon at Charlotte Country Club as we walked the fairways with our man to lend our emotional support.  Who will ever forget that semifinal match with 2016 Champion Stewart Hagestad and the resounding fist pump on the last!
One of these days there will be a group of members sitting on the patio drinking cold ones and sharing stories about Carolina Golf Club, and someone is going to say, "Remember that year we co-hosted that USGA Championship and Brett nearly won the damn thing!  That sure was a lot of fun!"  
Chris Hughes on the Bag!

Yes it was, Carolina.  Yes it was!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

*For a brief recap as reported by on how both tournament courses were impacted by Florence CLICK HERE.