Golf Central Mag- Vol 25 Issue 2

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Photo Steve Kraft, PGA


Park or Park to

After a round of golf, paddle through the peaceful Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Parkor unwind on the beach at Anclote Key Preserve State Parkto experience the serenity of Mother Nature.

Tee up along Florida’s Sports Coast to discover the best golf excursions. With a wide variety of courses, everyround of golf hereis both challenging and enjoyable. Witha every round here is

L a k e J o v i t a G o l f & C o u n t r y C l u b
Discover the extraordinary lifestyle of Bent Tree in North Georgia! Enjoy access to <>vr amenities, lncl1Jding en 18hole golf course, tennis andplcklebaflcourts, equestrian center, scenic trails, pri'stlne pools, 110 acre fake, restaurants, and more. Become a Private Pass member for exclusive benefits, or explore available homes to moke Bent free your new mountain retreat. ��'li Experience the best of mountain living with vs! .- .:w"' [!I . .. [!l -> " t.·-> �y,: �· /3� � email or call 770.893.2629 to discover Bent Tree today

Memorial Month of May

I love May. Somehow, I need to interweave Mothers (and Fathers) Day, Memorial Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, Woman’s Golf Day and, oh yes, our 25th anniversary party into a short, 300 word heartfelt message.

Our 25TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY at Twin Rivers Country Club in Oviedo was an intimate, memorable gathering of friends and family. It was great seeing my little Bella Dovhey again! She has written for us since she had bright-colored bows in her hair, interviewing the likes of Herb Dixson, Barbara Nicklaus, Sergio Garcia, and Arnold Palmer! Now that she’s become one of the leading teen golfers in the country and across the pond, she is being interviewed all over the world. Being with her, her mother Pearl, and her daddy-caddy, Mike (who ALWAYS show up for her!) and all of those who showed up for us, ignited so much gratitude for every way people have made Golf Central so much fun for all these years!

I will never forget those who made the supreme sacrifice this century alone- World War I- 116K; World War II- 405K; Korea- 36K; Vietnam- 58K; Gulf War-300; Afghanistan- 400+; Iraq 1K. Thank you all for giving us our freedom. This industry has given us so many opportunities to support their sacrifice. Part of our mission as a publication is to recognize and support the close-knit relationship we have with our troops. A young Tiger Woods was taught by his father, an army Veteran, at a California military golf course. May is Mental Health Awareness month and we recognize PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), who provide activeduty military and veterans opportunities to participate in free developmental  6-to-8-week golf training sessions. The sessions will be given at more than 500 locations across the U.S. and serve over 17,000 participants in 2024 alone.

WOMEN’S GOLF DAY was founded by Elisa Gaudet, who started this idea back in 2016, which has now become a week-long global event running May 28-June 5th this year. To learn more, check out #womansgolfday. I’m proud to call Elisa my friend.

Because we publicize mid-month, we wrap our Mother’s and Father’s Day homage in the same package. I have mothered many people over the years and even been called a mother more than a few times. Always celebrate the moms, grandmoms, step moms, dads, granddads, step dads, moms who are fathers, fathers who are moms, those who can’t make up their mind what they want to be (or are) and others on these special days. Now, if you happened to have forgotten, pick up the phone and say thanks….NOW!!!

Always grateful,

Publisher: Terrie L. Purdum (

Editor in Chief: Shannon Coates (

Graphic Design: Melahn Cable

Social Media Manager: Nafanua Marlowe

Turf Pirate: Anthony Williams

Social Media Consultant & Editorial Contributor: Kennedy Lee

Editorial Marketing Writer & Multimedia Content Creator: Joseph Harmon

Photojournalist: Greg Corbo

Photographers: Lynn Pelham, Brion Price, Peter Hakansson, Tres Fenton, Mike Coonan, Becky Galloway, Madison Coates, Mac Carraway

Senior Correspondent: Rick Harris, Sr.

Contributing Writers: Jay Golden, PGA; Bob Bolton, Greg Corbo, Elisa Gaudet, Holly Geoghegan, Mike Jamison, Mike May, Anthony Williams, Tres Fenton, Ronald Malone

Editor Emeritus: Joel Jackson, CGCS Retired

Regional Partner: Doug Hollandsworth, Founder-Georgia Golf Trail

Video Visionary: Amy Fox

Business Advisor: Jim Para

Oversight Officer/Uber Driver: Rocky Miller

Media Partners: DSP Media; John Gerber, JP Peterson, Nick Geddes, Holly Geoghegan, Golf Insiders, GMS; Tony Leodora, Traveling Golfer

Golf The Wise Way: Greg and Beverly Wise, Photojournalists

Golf Central Magazine is published monthly by: Sand Hill Publishing & Public Relations 4313 Berwick Dr, Lake Wales, FL 33859

NEW PHONE: 863.875.6863


©2024 Golf Central Magazine. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without the prior written permission of the Publisher. Editorial contributions are welcome, but Golf Central Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited proposals, manuscripts and photographs. All materials submitted not accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope will not be returned. Mailing, electronic mailing or faxing of contributions constitutes an expressed warrant on the part of the contributor that all material is original and does not infringe on the rights of others. Golf Central Magazine retains all reprint rights and reserves the right to edit any submitted material to meet our specifications for publishing and or use in advertising or promotion. The Publisher and staff are not responsible for any loss or grievance by any person or persons whatsoever, due in any way or in part to the content of this publication. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse to accept any material deemed inappropriate or in bad taste.

6 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 from the publisher
the Year
2009 North Florida PGA Amateur of
Bella Dovhey, Teen Golf Star
'· WOMEN'SGOLFDAY MAY28-JUNE4,2024 Find a Location, Bringa Friend & Participate @WomensGolfDay GET SOCIAL!!! JoinWGD Connect. Create a profileand connectwithothergolfers Around the Corneror Around theWorld. [!]_. Im rl @) (j ENGAGE EMPOWER SUPPORT o� [n �\Sloft CUTTER&BUCK
Cart Girl 28 Emma Gillespie FEATURE 10 Fairfield Glade Resort Florida Golf Central 20 Grande Lakes Orlando Golf Bachelor 16 Lucas Mireles Golf Bachelorette 17 Brooke Cotes Golf Fore Charity 34 Broward College Foundation Golf Travel 30 Alabama Gulf Shores Special Events 14 Golf Central Magazine 25th Anniversary Celebrations Stay & Play 18 Hermitage Golf Course 22 Evermore Resort 40 Poconos Turf Life 54 Turf Pirate 56 Sunniland Superspotlight: William Beasley 58 GCSAA Grassroots Leadership 60 Nashville Zoo What's New 26 Miakka Golf Club Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 Departments 24 Georgia Golf Trail 36 Product Showcase 38 Competitive Spirits 42 Golf Central Station 44 FSGA 46 GAPGA 48 KYPGA 50 NFPGA 52 SFPGA Feature Article Pg 10 8 Volume 25,
2 30 16 14 22

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Fifteen Years Of

Hosting Two

Major Golf Tournaments In Tennessee, Fairfield Glade Becomes Title Sponsor

The fairways on Fairfield Glade’s Stonehenge Golf Course may look familiar to anyone who follows golf in Tennessee. Both the Tennessee Women’s Open and The Tennessee Senior State Open have been held on this magnificent course every year since 2009. Beginning this year, in addition to hosting these two prestigious golf tournaments, Fairfield Glade will become their title sponsor as well. The Tennessee Golf Association and Tennessee PGA recently announced the newly formed partnerships.

Tennessee Women’s Open

Started in 1999, the Tennessee Women’s Open is one of the longest running women’s open tournaments in the country. The event consistently attracts top talent from around the globe. Past winners include current LPGA Professionals Ashli Bunch, Lauren Coughlin and Karlin Beck as well as some of the top amateur golfers in the world.

The Tennessee Senior State Open

This 36-hole tournament welcomes 126 golfers from around the state of Tennessee. Among the names atop the leader board in years past are Gibby Gilbert III, Tim Jackson and Danny Green. Kip Henley is the defending champion pulling off a one stroke win on the final hole last year.

The Storied Stonehenge Course

Stonehenge, on which the Tennessee Women’s Open and the Tennessee Senior State Open are played, is one of five Championship courses at Fairfield Glade. It was sculpted from a pristine tract of land on the rolling and wooded Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. It gets its name from the walls of native stone found throughout the 6,549 yard, par 72 layout. Natural rock cropping come into play on several holes, with a dramatic fifteen-foot layered stone retaining wall running along the left and rear of the signature downhill par 3, fourteenth hole. Stonehenge is consistently ranked among the top courses in Tennessee.

10 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2

Praise for the Tournament Partnership

“Fairfield Glade was already a wonderful host since the Tennessee Women’s Open first came to Stonehenge Golf Club sixteen years ago,” said Allison Brown, executive director of the Tennessee Golf Association. “To have them make this additional commitment to this event shows just how strong the community is here.”

“In the heart of the scenic landscape of Fairfield Glade, we find more than just a sponsor for our golf tournaments; we discover a true ally in fostering community and sports excellence,” Tennessee PGA Section Executive Director Clayton Hromadka said about the new expanded relationship. Fairfield Glade has generously stepped forward to support these events, exemplifying their unwavering commitment to enriching lives through sport and recreation.”

When They’re Coming

The Tennessee Senior State Open will be played on Stonehenge June 10th and 11th. The Tennessee Women’s Open will take place July 25th through the 27th.

The Community Around the Tournaments

Fairfield Glade is a 12,000+ acre resort and residential community situated between Nashville and Knoxville, 2000 feet above sea level. It is the highest point between the Rocky and Smoky Mountains. Those who speak for Fairfield Glade will tell you that people come there for a variety of reasons. For

meetings. To escape meetings. To score birdies. To watch birdies. To hike. To bike. To put down roots. To simply reboot. They bring rods, racquets and backpacks. The one thing they all find plenty of is fun.

In addition to five Championship Golf Courses, Fairfield Glade offers racquet sports including world class indoor and outdoor tennis and pickleball courts along with a well equipped racquet center. There are eleven pristine lakes on the property for boating and fishing and plenty of lively bass, bream and bluegill to make things interesting. Boats of various types are available for rent at our two full service marinas along with bait and tackle. Sandy beaches on lakes Dartmoor and St. George are perfect for swimming, picnicking and other warm weather activities.

If hiking is your thing, Fairfield Glade offers miles of scenic trails that range from easy strolls to ‘OH MY GOSH!” And if all that

hiking works up a hunger, Fairfield Glade offers resort casual dining at Stonehenge Grille, along with excellent food options at each golf course snack bar.

The Center at Fairfield Glade is a 36,000 square foot facility with meeting space suitable for most any event. The Center also has an indoor Junior Olympic sized pool, hot tub, sauna, basketball courts, a Trackman Golf Simulator, Sip & Savor Cafe and classroom meeting space. And you can work out in an on-site Wellness Center with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, and exercise classes.

Many Who Come To Play Decide to Stay

It’s no wonder that many who come to Fairfield Glade Resort for a get-away weekend, succumb to its charm and want to stay. For most, it’s the weather. High atop the Cumberland Plateau at 2,000 feet of elevation, summers are mild without the high temperatures and energy-draining humidity found farther south. By the same token, the community is far enough south to avoid the extreme winters farther north. But not so far south that one loses the four distinct seasons. Snowfalls are generally light and typically melted away in a day or two.

Would you like to test drive Fairfield Glade? Stay And Play golf packages are available. For information, call 888-334-5233. Just an hour west of Knoxville, off I-40. (Exit 322)

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Tennessee Women's Open - Hole 14
Lake Dartmoor

Finding His Tempo

Danny from Greta Van Fleet talks about his relationship with golf and music.

Daniel Wagner hails from Frankenmuth, Michigan. Many know him as Danny, the drummer for the hit band Greta Van Fleet. Danny’s skills on the drum set are well-renowned, but fans may be unaware of just how good of a golfer this rockstar is.

Growing up, golf was always a part of Danny’s life. “Music is something I can go back and remember moments of when I first started playing and first gained a love for it. Golf is something I can’t remember since I’ve been playing since I could walk.” Introduced to the game as a child by his father, who was an avid golfer himself, Danny was hooked. Starting around middle school, young Danny was playing numerous junior golf events in the local area and statewide. Continuing his golfing career in high school, Danny qualified for the state tournament all four years but

skipped out on his senior year to join fellow band members—twins Josh, Jake, and younger brother Sam Kiszka—on the GVF tour.

Danny’s golfing journey endured an almost two-year hiatus as music became the new career path for himself and the brothers. Danny had this to say about putting the clubs away, “It was such an immense part of my life that it was strange to have not done it in a couple of years.” Everything changed when the clubs joined the boys on tour. Danny was meeting more promoters and others within the music industry who showed him there was a way that he could play golf alongside performing and traveling full time with the band.

When asked about the similarities between golf and being in a band, Danny said, “Being in a band is also like that situation where you’re on a [golf] team, you’re all together, but my job on stage has nothing to

do with anyone else’s position on stage. “Trusting that your team will perform is something Danny learned through golf and is something he still uses today with GVF. As for nerves, “Golf kind of helped me realize that it’s okay to be nervous. I’m nervous because it’s exciting.” Controlling nerves is a key part of golf and band life, no matter if you’re leading a tournament or playing for thousands in Madison Square Garden.

As Danny’s relationships with golf and music grow, he is enjoying the benefits of being a rockstar on and off the course. “I’ve checked off a few [dream golf courses], and I owe that to music.” Some notable courses would be St. Andrews, TPC Sawgrass, Olympia Fields, and Pebble Beach. Whether it be golf or music, Danny has no plans of slowing down, and for those of us who are fans, this is music to our ears.

12 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 celebrity corner

As with the traditions of the Masters pimento cheese sandwiches and moon pies. We have our traditions of great supporters for our annual Masters Party at the MercedesBenz of North Orlando. We are very appreciative of both Walter

Grundorf and Duane McShane for the hosting once again of the party. New for this year we added some good live music from Seth Pause. Also new was the Golf Scratch Off Contest for the Golf Central golf bag for the low score of the day. Our mission of raising both funds and awareness for those

faced with gynecological cancers is continuing each year. This year’s proceeds to AdventHealth Cancer Institute was over $3,500. We would like to thank, Alestone Brewery, Francesco’s Restaurant, Heathrow CC and 50 States Vodka for participation on the food and beverage side.

14 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 special events
By Nafanua Marlowe Golf Central Team #3

25 Years and Counting!

Personality, energy, sense of humor, intelligence and a blonde bombshell all stacked up in one amazing person. Wasn’t Marilyn Monroe spectacular?

The same could be said about a young woman with foresight and a dream. Terrie Purdum, publisher of Golf Central Magazine created a ‘golf lifestyle’ magazine different from all other golf publications. Whether it’s Cart Girl of the month, Golf Bachelor, Celebrity Corner, Stay &Play, Super Spotlight or many other features, Terrie’s dream became a reality.

Second in command is Shannon Coates. Not only do Terrie and Shannon work together like twin sisters, the world misses out by not seeing the two of them in action.

High energy humor combined with getting things done is extremely impressive and highly entertaining. Watching them sing and dance together at the 25th anniversary party at Twin Rivers Golf Course was …. let’s just say…. you don’t see shows like that in Las Vegas!

There are many others who have helped make the magazine a success over the years. One of the most important is their designer, Melahn Cable, who has patiently been by their side for almost 20 years.

Hats off to Terrie, “The Queen Bee,” for all she has done to create a unique magazine that has been and continues to be enjoyed by so many in the wonderful world of golf.

15 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Queen Bee and Shannon Scott and April O'Conner with Shannon Jay Golden and Terrie Shannon and her parents, Mike and Cindy Streeter

Lucas Mireles

friends called Combat Sales. Combat Sales is a training development agency that focuses on creating tailored online training courses. We address common issues in online education by ensuring our content is calibrated to the learner’s needs, effectively constructed and designed, and engagingly delivered through our proprietary Learning Management System (LMS). Our goal is to enhance the learning experience, making it more enjoyable and effective for learners. Last is I am the Chapter Owner of the Heart of a Lion Amateur Tour for Tampa Bay, with this I am able to be always be around and be involved in my favorite sport and get to hold some of the most competitive tournaments South Florida has to offer!

What should someone know about The Heart of a Lion Amateur Tour. Although we are new, everyone here comes from golf tournament backgrounds and have created a fun competitive atmosphere to give golfers a once in a lifetime experience. I’m super excited to kick off this tournament and willing to take any suggestions to make this tour better and better for years to come.

What song do you listen to on the way to a date?

You’ll hear me wither belting out Hooked on A Feeling by Blue Swede or Night Fever by the Beegees.

What do you fear the most?

Un-realized/ Un-used potential… I’m a believer that although we were all put on earth for different reasons anyone can accomplish anything with a certain determination and effort. This will always be my biggest driver. But a close second is for sure sharks, I love to see them, but only from a boat.

What are some of your great accomplishments?

I’m huge into challenging myself physically and mentally… Some of my best accomplishments have been completing the 75 hard program which is going 75 days on a strict diet, no alcohol, 2 different workouts one being indoor and one being outdoors and reading 10 pages of a book a day. I also completed a 72-hour water fast. I also set a goal to learn Spanish and although I’m not fully fluent I am conversational at the least.

What’s your karaoke song of choice Suspicious Minds by Elvis or Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs… and yes, I bring the stage presence.

Favorite Sports Team

I get it from my dad’s side of the family but I’m a huge Dallas Cowboys fan.

Where were you born? Did you grow up there?

I was born in Saint Louis, Missouri where I grew up for 20 years. I then moved to Springfield, Missouri for my college at Missouri State University where I studied Marketing and Advertising and minored in Sales. After college I moved around based on my job doing door to door sales, I was located to Indianapolis, Chicago and Cleveland for some time before landing in Tampa Bay, Florida where I have lived for the past 2 years.

What do you do for a living?

I am a marketing consultant for a digital/ direct mail marketing company, where I help build marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses. But on the side, I have been helping develop a startup company with 2 of my really good

Aside from golf; what do you prefer for fun and relaxation and what your perfect day?

I’m a huge outdoors guy… I love Fishing, Beach Volleyball and Hiking. I’m also really into music but live music especially. But my perfect day would include me, my family and my friends with a couple beach pina coladas listening to some live music.

What golf apparel do you like to wear?

I love finding the golf shops that just start out or aren’t as well-known but my favorite is Putterfingers located here on Clearwater Beach.

Whom is your celebrity crush?

De Armas

Whom is your golf crush?

Favorite charity to support?

The Heart of a Lion Foundation: This foundation has done so much for a group that has continued to get mistreated in our society. The men and women that actually protect this country and protect all of the freedoms that we all take for granted. Major Ed and JD have really created a great foundation here to help these veterans out… and it’s nationwide!

What else would you like for us to know about you?

I’m Latino and I really enjoy learning more about Latino culture and all it has to offer. Once a year I take a trip to a few Latin countries to learn more about the culture and see the beauties south/ central America have to offer. Finding out more about your culture through actual experiences is something I will recommend to anyone!

16 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 golfbachelor

Where were you born? Did you grow up there?

I was born an hour and a half west of Boston in a city called Fitchburg. I lived there until I was 22 and moved to Boston.

What is the most challenging golf course you have ever played?

Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head is probably one of the hardest courses I have ever played. I lost 2 balls off the first tee and I am not even a bad golfer…

How often do you golf?

I live in Massachusetts so the golf season is short, but for 6 months, from May to October I try to get out at least 2 to 3 times a week. In the Winter I am lucky if I get an average of a round in a month! I try to play about 60-70 rounds a year.

Is “acting your age” overrated? Absolutely! I know 70 year olds who are more fun that 25 year olds! Everyone should have fun no matter the age!

Aside from golf; what do you prefer for fun and relaxation?

I love to go and relax at the beach on the weekends.

What golf apparel do you like to wear?

SMOKE SHOW GOLF!!! I am the CEO and Founder of Smoke Show Golf a ladies golf apparel line so I love to rep my cool prints and patterns!

Whom do you most admire for their inner and outer beauty?

Nelly Korda. She is a class act!

Steak, chicken, or seafood?

All of the above please! I am not a picky eater.

Tell us something about yourself that only your closest friends know. I have had my cosmetology license since I was 18 years old. I have always loved fashion and beauty.

What three things would you need to survive on a deserted island? My dogs (I hope that counts as 1 even though I have two haha), my golf clubs to keep me busy, and a fishing pole.

Who would you like to have with you on the same deserted island; and why? My Mom. She is the best and would be great company to have!

What do you find to be the most annoying habit people demonstrate on the golf course?

Slow pace of play. This drives me crazy…

Name the three most important things to you in this world. My family, my dogs, my health.

Given the choice; would you select love, success, or money to keep yourself happy?

Success- success to me is a mixture of love and financial freedom and overall happiness.

What do you fear the most?

Not succeeding. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take so at least I shoot my shot so already half way there!

What three people would you most like to play with in your fantasy golf foursome?

Nelly Korda, Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland

Brooke Cote

What are some of your great accomplishments?

Starting Smoke Show Golf Company!

Relaxed evening at home, or nightclub and cocktails?

I am an extroverted introvert. I love a quiet night in relaxing.

Favorite comedian?

Becky Robinson- Entitled Housewife. She is Hilarious and does the funniest golf jokes/skits.

Favorite charity to support?

Ron Burton Training Village, Animal Rescue League and First Tee!

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 golf bachelorette
Instagram- @smokeshowgolfco website-

Come for the Golf, Stay for the Luxury at a Top Tennessee Public Golf Course

Two exits past Nashville’s bustling airport sits a golfer’s paradise. With two 18-hole championlevel courses, cottages, a Tik-Tok famous pro shop, and sheep, Hermitage Golf Course has established itself as one of the state’s premier public courses.

Get Lost in the Greens

The President’s Reserve, designed by architect Denis Griffiths (designer Atlanta’s Chateau Elan Resort Courses), trails through 300 acres of natural Tennessee wetlands and along the banks of the beautiful Cumberland River. Playing up to 7,200 yards, the President’s Reserve is designed to cater to a diverse range of golfers, providing both challenge and enjoyment depending on the player’s skill level and preference.

The General’s Retreat, built in 1986 by architect Gary Roger Baird, hosted the LPGA Sara Lee Classic from 1988 to 1999. With

the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River and a variety of tee placements, golfers of all capabilities thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality offered at the course.

Stay and Play on Property

Built in 2016, eight luxurious cottages overlook the course. With a private putting green, bunker area and fire pit, the Hermitage Golf Course lodging options gives some of the best views of the property. The cottages are available year-round, offering easy access to many of the course amenities. Each cottage features a great room, two bedrooms (two queen beds in each), kitchenette, two bathrooms and a screened porch.

Slated for 2025, two new lodges will be added to the property portfolio with ground breaking expected later this year. Created with golf groups in mind, each two-story lodge contains eight bedrooms with a private bath in each. Groups on each floor can congregate post-round in the great room for celebratory drinks before retiring for the evening.

Golf Shop This is Who?

Golfers who spend any amount of time on social media are bound to come across the Hermitage account. Made famous with “Golf Shop this is Chris,” the account has trailblazed a path of fun and sarcasm for golfers and pros across the country as

18 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 stay & play

it pokes fun at the wide variety of calls the pro shop receives. Yes, it’s the Course with the Sheep Drive up to 10 tee box on President’s Reserve and golfers will likely run across the renowned Scottish Blackfaced sheep that joined the Hermitage Golf Course in 2012. As a nod to the ancestor of golf, Scotland, more than 40 sheep roam the course year-round and have become the official brand and mascot. Sheep selfies have

taken over social media with many proclaiming that your round of golf isn’t over until you’ve been photographed with the sheep! Great golf outings are no accident. They are the result of knowledge, excellent playing conditions and impeccable service. Hermitage Golf Course hits a home run every time with their well-designed, highly conditioned course, all for an incredible price. For more information, find them online at

19 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2

An Oasis in Orlando

Grande Lakes Orlando offers something for everyone, from tranquility, to family fun, to championship golf.

In Spanish, “grande” can mean big, gigantic, great and large, among other adjectives associated with vastness.

Upon arriving at Grande Lakes Orlando for the first time, you’ll immediately notice why this adjective was chosen for the resort’s name. Not only are its various lakes quite large, but the resort itself is, too— more than 500 acres, in fact.

Yet, despite this vastness and the overwhelming busyness surrounding the resort (as it’s located less than 20 minutes from Universal Studios and 10 minutes from SeaWorld), you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of calmness. After all, the resort is full of wildlife, leading you to experience an oasis in Orlando.

To experience its wildlife firsthand, guests can enjoy ecotours on the resort’s Shingle Creek, along with falconry experiences and a sunrise safari. If you prefer to relish nature while simultaneously exercising,

you may participate in archery, fishing or mountain biking as well. And, as a further differentiation from its big city surroundings, the resort also has a sustainable farm, garden and apiary, known as Whisper Creek Farm.

“Ingredients from the farm and apiary are infused into the resort’s restaurants, lounges and

cocktail bars,” said Jon McGavin, area general manager of Grande Lakes Orlando. “We have 12 outlets for food and beverages in all.”

In addition to these natureinspired, more tranquil offerings, the resort provides a variety of exciting options for entertainment as well, which are either geared for adults or families. For instance, the resort has an award-winning spa that features an adults-only pool and a spa café, which offers numerous unique treatments. On the other hand, children and adults alike will love the Grande Lakes Waterpark, as it has three slides, a lazy river, luxury cabanas and firepits.

Furthermore, the resort provides two hotels to choose from: JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. The JW Marriott is more ideal for families, while The RitzCarlton is a better option for adults (although children will certainly treasure their time there as well).

“The JW Marriott is a great destination for family getaways, as it has 15 family suites, complete with bunk beds and specialized amenities, ranging from bathtub toys and mess-free markers to

20 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 florida golf central

projectors and stuffed rocket ships,” McGavin explained. “Meanwhile, The Ritz-Carlton offers the only Club Level experience in Orlando, which provides guests an even more luxurious, exclusive experience.”

As an example of the hotel’s adult vibe, The Ritz-Carlton also has a Club Concierge, daily culinary presentations and a variety of

Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. Home of the PGA TOUR’s annual PNC Championship (a tournament that enables professional golfers to play alongside one of their family members) and a PGA TOUR Challenge event, the 18-hole championship course has been created for golfers of all ages and skill levels.

Featuring five sets of tees, the Greg Norman design has closely mowed turfgrass, short rough and an ecosystem of cypress heads, live oaks, ponds and wetlands. As a result, it has been certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course.

“Due to its location on one of Central Florida’s most biologically diverse and beautiful

adult. In addition, after 3 p.m., juniors 15 and under will play complimentary with a paying adult.”

If guests prefer, they may obtain group or private instruction from golf professional Larry Rinker, PGA, as well. And, once they’ve finished their instruction or rounds, guests are welcome to relish the club’s upscale, fullservice clubhouse, which has a pro shop and a restaurant and bar, known as Fairways Pub.

As the resort prepares for the upcoming summer, it invites guests to also participate in its second annual “GLO Summer” programming.

“During ‘GLO Summer’, guests can expect exciting summer holiday festivities and an Oasis

unique activities, including exotic sports car test driving and caviar and wine tastings. Additionally, guests can visit the hotel’s Michelinrecommended restaurant, known as Knife & Spoon. A signature steak and seafood restaurant, it was conceived (and continues to be led) by award-winning chef John Tesar. Likewise, the JW Marriott has a Michelin-recommended dining option too, known as Primo. Led by award-winning chef Melissa Kelly, Primo serves authentic Italian cuisine, as well as organic produce and top-notch wine.

Of course, as a golf fan, one of the resort’s offerings stands out above everything else: The

ecological sites, The Ritz-Carlton is the region’s premier golfing destination,” stressed August Decker, director of golf.

Offering golf carts to each guest, the course also provides a Caddie Concierge Program, enabling them to acquire course navigation, hole descriptions and target lines. Their golf balls will be located as well, while they’ll receive services like course strategy tips, flagstick attendance, golf club cleaning and yardage statistics, too.

“Families are also encouraged to play together,” Decker said. “Before 3 p.m., juniors 15 years old and under will acquire 50 percent off the rack rate with a paying

Coconut Cabana experience,” McGavin said. “They’ll enjoy weekly firework displays too, along with fire dancer performances and poolside games and treats.”

He added, “Come experience our oasis in Orlando for yourself. You’ll certainly be glad that you did!”

21 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 21
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Grande Lakes Hole 10

Gentlemen’s Golf Group

2024 Edition – Cinco de Mayo

What happens when you pair

“Cinco de Mayo” with 16 men at an awesome Golf Resort, for an extended weekend of –camaraderie, golf, food, beverages, cards, corn hole, ping pong, and storytelling? You get a ton of fun, amidst “highly competitive” golf. *Notice I put quotation marks around “highly competitive”.

The Evermore Resort in Orlando, Florida was this year’s destination for the GGG’s (Gentlemen’s Golf Group). The accommodation was spacious and provided a great opportunity for the group to enjoy a variety of activities. The first night we treated ourselves to a private dining room experience at the Resort’s Twin View Restaurant. The service was great, and the food was awesome. I must commend the staff for being able to keep a room full of visiting golfers

under control. Maybe that’s why we were in a private room?

During our walk to and from dinner we noticed that the Resort features an oasis that contains 8 acres of water and 20 acres of beach, inside the Resort. It truly made you feel like you were on a Caribbean Beach, with the ultrablue water and white sand beaches. We were there to play golf, but we all remarked how cool it would be to visit with our families.

The house we stayed in had more than enough beds to

accommodate everyone, and since they were spread across three stories, if you needed a powernap, you could get far enough away from the fun to catch a few winks.

Our Golf Competition included 3 days of “games”. Day 1 – a twoperson Shamble (both tee off, pick the best and both play in from there, you use the lowest score). Day 2 – a two-person Scramble (pick the best of both player’s shots, until you hole out). Day 3 – straight up mano-a-mano match play.

The Jack Nicklaus designed Links Course and Cypress Course proved to be well-groomed tracks that provided moments of excitement and angst (a reference to the skill sets of our players, not the course itself, LOL). The practice facility allowed us to help burn off the prior night’s sins, while warming us up for competition.

Friday and Saturday we were

22 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 stay & play

treated to home-cooked meals from the large kitchen and grill, created by our very own Chef Gonzo. For the wives and girlfriends that were not in attendance, you would be proud of how well we cleaned up after ourselves.

We’ve enjoyed a variety of destinations over the past several years, and we would all admit that the accommodation, amenities, and golf at the Evermore Resort was the most convenient and enjoyable yet.

If you are looking for a golf-getaway for two, or a destination for a family reunion of 20+, the Evermore Resort would be an excellent choice.

23 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
For more information or call 877-246-0575.

Very few resorts in the world can accurately claim to be ‘all things to all people,’ but the Jekyll Island Resort & Club is a worthy candidate to join that exclusive club. In addition to first-class accommodations, some of which border the beach and overlook the nearby Atlantic Ocean, there is list of things to do and places to visit which make Jekyll Island a fun, delightful, enjoyable and enlightening place to visit.

On Jekyll Island, there are ten miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean plus kayak tours, bicycle rides, bird watching, tennis, paddle boarding, horseback riding, fishing, boating, canoeing, croquet, and many golfing opportunities at the nearby Jekyll Island Golf Club, which is part of the Georgia Golf Trail.

With convenient access off I-95 and located not far from the airports in Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia, Jekyll Island is an easy-to-arrive destination. And, once you arrive, you’ll find it diffi-

cult leaving, but easy making return reservations.

“Jekyll Island is one of the best places where you can go to unwind and relax while enjoying fresh seafood, long walks along the beach, poolside siestas, and time off the grid, and golf,” said Doug Holland-

sworth, Founder, Georgia Golf Trail.

“For golfers, the Jekyll Island Golf Club is one of the most popular getaways on the Georgia Golf Trail.”

While on Jekyll Island, stay at the Jekyll Island Club Resort (319 Riverview Drive, Jekyll Island; 912319-4349) or at the Jekyll Ocean Club

24 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 georgia golf trail
Jekyll Island Club

to the National Landmark Jekyll Island Historic District make it a special place to stay. This resort also has a sun-soaked swimming pool with a fire pit nearby. For beach lovers, there’s a complimentary shuttle which will take you to and from the nearby Atlantic Ocean seashore.

cottages: Crane, Cherokee, and Sans Souci. Built in 1917, the Crane Cottage features Victorian era architecture with a fabulous garden. Built in 1904, the Cherokee Cottage is an Italian Renaissance structure. The Victorian-style Sans Souci was once owned by the late J.P. Morgan.

At the Resort, there are six on-site dining destinations: The Wharf, Grand Dining Room, Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar, The Pantry, The Pool House and The Bar & Alexander Lounge. The Wharf overlooks the surrounding marshlands.

The Jekyll Ocean Club is a modern, all-suite addition to the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort. The Ocean Club is a AAA Four Diamond resort which sits along its own stretch of the island’s pristine ocean coastline. Here, guests enjoy the spacious outdoor pool deck with a fire pit, a spacious hot tub, lounge chairs, and dining served from the resort’s beachfront kitchen and bar, Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar.

To book your visit to Jekyll Island, check out or

Jekyll Island awaits your arrival.

25 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Jekyll Island Club

After Making His Golf Mark Around the World Dana Fry Has His Eye on Greatest Project Yet

Ronald Reagan started out as a play-by-play baseball announcer on radio. Crooner Perry Como was a barber. Bob Hope was a boxer, long before he ever told his first joke. As a member of the University of Arizona golf team, Dana Fry’s focus for his career path was strictly on playing golf. After all, he had just set the course record (64) at Randolph Park in Tucson, then went home to Kansas City in the summer and set another course record (62) at Minor Park golf course.

In 1983, the summer before his senior year, Fry met Andy Banfield, lead designer for renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio. The meeting turned into a summer job offer, working on the monumental project at Ventana Canyon Golf and Raquet Club in Tucson. The project was one of the greatest technological efforts of its time. While Fazio and Banfield created golf holes by blasting through the rock walls of the canyon, Fry had the less exciting job of flagging Saguaro cacti for transplanting before the blasting took place.

Soon he learned how to operate a bulldozer and became engulfed in the intricacies of golf course design. Fry never finished his studies at Arizona. He put his golf clubs aside, for the most part, and went to work full-time for Fazio. His real education had only begun.

He worked alongside visionary Fazio disciple Mike Strantz, most notably at Callawassie Island near Hilton Head.

In 1988 an offer came along to join Dr. Michael Hurdzan and his architectural firm. Their first great joint project was Devil’s Pulpit in Canada. Two year later they followed with another course, Devil’s Paintbrush, in the same area.

During the golf course

building boom of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Hurdzan/ Fry team created more than 100 courses, the vast majority of them in the United States.

Many were located in America’s Northeast – well-known courses such as Shelter Harbor in Rhode Island, Fieldstone in Delaware, Glenmaura National in Northern Pennsylvania, Jericho National in New Hope, PA, Olde Stonewall near Pittsburgh and the Militia Hill Course at famed Philadelphia Cricket Club. He also did a unique design in 1999 at Sand Barrens

26 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 what's new
Dana Fry Jason Stratka

in South Jersey, a course that was purchased 20 years later and dramatically re-designed by Fry as Union League National.

The crown jewel of that era was Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Opened in 2007, it hosted the U.S. Open only 10 years later and stands as one of the great courses of the Upper Midwest region of the country.

In 2012 Fry ended his partnership with Hurdzan and joined with Jason Straka, who had worked in the Hurdzan/Fry ranks for 17 years. The new Fry/Straka team took their talents worldwide.

They now have courses in many exotic locations such as Abu Dhabi, China, Vietnam, Italy and more to come. Fry even moved to Hong Kong for five years to cultivate the very active Asian golf market. But in 2013 he returned to the United States and made Naples, Florida his home. It was a natural move. Two of Fry’s greatest accomplishments were his designs at Calusa Pines and Naples National. The two courses are universally regarded as the Nos. 1 and 2 courses in all of Southwest Florida.

And it led to Fry’s involvement in what might turn out to be his greatest project yet.

Miakka Golf Club (spelling taken from the old Indian name), located about 30 miles east of Sarasota, Florida is a project of mammoth proportions.

Start with the fact that it already has TerraNova Equestrian Center, one of the most magnificent equestrian centers in Florida. Now add the fact that the entire golf project will engulf an unheard of 1,100 acres for the course, short course, practice area and putting course.

Miakka Golf Club is the brainchild of Steve Herrig, an entrepreneur and CEO of a large insurance company in nearby Bradenton. His first connection was to bring his Bradenton neighbor and former PGA Champion Paul Azinger onboard as a consultant.

Choosing an architect was a more difficult task. After conducting a national search, and with direction from Azinger, he decided on Fry/Straka.

“It was clear to me, relatively quickly, that Dana and Jason were very highly organized and they complement each other

perfectly,” said Herrig at the ground breaking ceremony in April. “Dana is sort of the mad scientist and Jason is the technical expert.”

Once that partnership had been formed, Fry picked up the ball and ran with it. “My goal is to make this course the best golf course in all of Florida, if not the world,” was Fry’s bold statement from the outset.

That kind of goal is impossible without a like-minded commitment from the owner.

“The one common trait – well, we have a lot of common traits – but the one that has the most effect on this project is our passion for building the very best golf course that we can do.” said Fry. “That came across in very short fashion. I’ve been doing this for a long time and, now that I have gotten to know Steve, he is the most committed owner I have ever seen.”

That commitment extends the clubhouse and cabins, designed by renowned Pennsylvania architect Mark Myers in a “Florida Cracker” style with large porches and weathered wood. The fairways and tees will use Stadium Zoysia, an expensive strain of grass that allows the ball to sit up and provides perfect lies. The greens will feature the finest bermuda hybrid strain of grass.

While the club is meant to promote an intimate relaxed atmosphere, make no mistake, it is ultra-exclusive. All memberships are by invitation only and each

prospective member must meet with Herrig first.

Since the course runs along a two-mile stretch of the Myakka River, the environment also is of utmost concern. Rather than cut down trees, large live oak trees were uprooted and transplanted to other parts of the property. About 350 acres of the property are being preserved as native areas. Drainage is a major design concern and the grass will require about a third less water to maintain.

“Relocating live oak trees is only part of the effort to maintain the natural environment here,” explained Straka, who is the engineering mind behind the project. “Since the Myakka River is a protected river, everything we do has to get filtered. Even all of the drainage will go into filtration areas. People won’t even know about them when they are playing golf but they are there.”

If it seems as if every aspect of making Miakka Golf Club one of the grandest projects in the world has been considered … well, it has. Fry’s career has brought him around the world and now back to Southwest Florida, where he makes his home. The grand plan – along with the leadership of Herrig and the consulting expertise of Azinger – all points toward a golf statement that will be heard around the world. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025 ... and golfers everywhere are waiting to see it.

27 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
The team out on the course–Dana Fry, Steve Herrig, Jason Stratka, Paul Azinger


Where did you grow up? I was born in Michigan, and moved to Florida when I was 9 years old. I spent a lot of time at Highlands Reserve as a kid.

Which group of people did you associate most with in high school? I was on the golf team and spent a lot of time with my friends from the team.

Do you enjoy playing golf? Are there any golfers in your family? My stepdad is a PGA pro, and gives lessons at Highlands.

What do you feel makes this club special? I always say we’re a family business because our staff gets along so well and many of them have worked here for many years.

What is your favorite part of being a cart girl? What is your least favorite part? I love interacting with the customers. I get to meet and talk to people from all over the world. Although, the summers are hot and there’s no AC on the beverage cart.

What is your memorable moment working as a cart girl? On Valentines Day earlier this year, I was hit in the head with a golf ball. It was a quick trip to the ER and one staple to fix it up.

What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on the golf course? I meet people who want me to make fun of their friends’ outfits, or call them funny nicknames. Sometimes they’ll tip you big just to say it.

What is your idea of “the perfect date”? I really just want to be somewhere we can have fun, talk and connect with each other. Topgolf, dinner and drinks, a picnic in the park, etc.

Relaxed evening at home, or nightclub and cocktails? It depends on my mood but usually I’ll take a relaxing evening at home.

Favorite comedian? Shane Gillis

Favorite type of movie? A comedy for sure

Favorite charity to support? Paws for Veterans

cart girl
Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 28

If You’re On A Collision Course With Boredom, It’s Time To Change Course. To This One For Example.

Too much work and not enough play often leads to boredom. But too much play on the same golf courses can also take you there. Whatever the cause, Fairfield Glade has the cure and the courses.We’re an easy drive from anywhere in the Southeast. With 5 dramatic and demanding courses, among Tennessee’s best, according to Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine, you won’t be bored anytime soon.

In addition to our five Championship Golf Courses, we offer miles of hiking trails, pristine lakes for boating and fishing, a world class Racquet Center for pickleball and tennis. Along with stables for horseback riding and hayrides. Stay & Play packages are available. Call and book your stay. Then bye bye boredom. It’s simply a matter of course.

Now the fun begins.

For information or reservations, call 888-334-5233 •

Alabama Gulf Coast

The New and the Old of Alabama’s Gulf Coast Set the Scene for a Golf and Lifestyle Bonanza

The golf trip

It is the lifeblood of the golf industry. It bonds people together. It creates memories. It adds excitement to vacations. It transforms the game of golf into a very social, all-day activity. Is there anyone who doesn’t remember their first golf trip?

Mine should come as no surprise. It was to one of America’s iconic destinations -- Pinehurst, North Carolina. Needless to say, it was a major hit. I have returned many times.

And that first golf trip was followed in short fashion by a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That was in1985 … and I have been back every year since … one, two, three, four and even five times in a calendar year.

I am addicted to the golf trip.

Golf trips have taken me (in groups from 4 to 48) across the country – Las Vegas, Mesquite (NV), Tucson, Scottsdale, Colorado, Utah, Illinois, Northern Michigan, French Lick (IN), all over Florida, Reynolds Plantation (GA), Cashiers (NC), Greenville (SC), Hilton Head Island, Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Nemacolin (Western PA), The Homestead (Hot Springs, VA), the Jersey Shore, New York’s Catskill Mountains, Ocean City (MD), Williamsburg (VA), Biloxi (MS). And around the world – Ireland, Scotland, Morocco, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Jamaica, Nevis-St. Kitts.

Exhausted? Hardly.

The quest for new places to play and new things to do never ends.

That’s why this latest trip to the Gulf Coast of Alabama was such an eye-opening and rewarding experience.

The two areas of concentration were the beach town of Gulf Shores –lovingly known as the Redneck Riviera -- and the historic city of

Mobile – the southern extension of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Two totally different environments, with two common denominators – great golf and some of the finest seafood anywhere in America.

Placed in that setting, the latest golf trip was guaranteed to be nothing short of a spectacular success.

Each location has enough great golf and enough additional activity to make for a captivating golf trip. But both locales are situated so close to each other – slightly more than a one-hour drive –that they could be combined into one, huge, memorable golf trip.

And the Southern Hospitality is as genuine as can be.

“Our state motto is Sweet Home Alabama,” explained Kerry Teague, from the Alabama Tourism Department, “but Alabama also has become a pretty sweet place to visit.”

Visit Mobile

That term is not just an invitation, it is the name of the

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
golf travel 30
Felix's Fish Camp Seafood boil at Felix's Fish Camp
Airboat Ride on Mobile Bay
Beach Club in Gulf Shores

marketing arm for the charming city perched on the shores of Mobile Bay. Going back 30 or 40 years, marketing Mobile would have been a tough assignment. It was no longer the thriving shipping port that was once the tenth-richest city in America.

But an amazing renaissance has taken place in recent years. New buildings have been constructed. Old buildings have been renovated. The historic downtown district is now a bustling collection of historic hotels, sophisticated and charming restaurants and lively night spots.

“What has been happening in Mobile is truly amazing,” said David Clark, president and CEO of Visit Mobile. “Corporations and vacationers are coming here and spending inordinate amounts of dollars. Our tourism industry is booming.”

That industry will get a boost soon with the completion of a new downtown airport that will feature many more non-stop flights from cities across America.

The most notable addition to the downtown district is the historic Renaissance Battle House Hotel & Spa.

This luxury hotel has roots back to 1852 but literally rose from the dead thanks to a major renovation in 2007. It had been closed for more than 30 years until it was purchased by the Retirement Systems of Alabama and made part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Hotel Collection. The historic style of the hotel is complemented nicely by modern amenities.

The spacious suites, the magnificent rotunda over the main floor, the streetside bar, the Trellis Room restaurant, the state-ofthe-art spa and the rooftop pool all combine to make the perfect launching point for a Mobile-based

“Our state motto is Sweet Home Alabama,” explained Kerry Teague, from the Alabama Tourism Department, “but Alabama also has become a pretty sweet place to visit.”

golf trip. And it is directly across the street from the second-tallest building in Mobile, the 34-story RSA Trustmark Bank Building.

On the top floor is the spectacular Dauphin’s Casual Fine-Dining Restaurant. Providing panoramic

31 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Magnolia Grove - Crossings No. 5 Battle House Hotel Cannon guarding Mobile Bay in front of Grand Hotel Grand Hotel View from Dauphin's on the 34th floor in Downtown Mobile

views of Mobile Bay, it is a mustvisit for dinner while in Mobile.

Local wild-caught Cobia and Red Snapper, plus giant sweet oysters, were just some of the superstars on the menu. The restaurant was founded by former Miami Dolphin and University of Alabama standout defensive lineman Bob Baumhower. He is CEO of Aloha Hospitality, operating 15 restaurants across Alabama.

While Dauphin’s is the flagship, the most exciting of his properties sits 424 feet below in the basement of the building. Las Floriditas is an authentic Cuban speakasy that serves “comida tipica”, traditional Cuban food, and craft cocktails … all in a colorful Havana-style atmosphere. On Thursday nights, the place really hops to the sounds of a contemporary Cuban orchestra. Las Floriditas harkens back to the famous HavanaMobile trade route that resulted in the creation of Sister Cities.

A few miles outside of town the RTJ Golf Trail begins at Magnolia Grove. This property includes two excellent Robert Trent Jonesdesigned courses, the Crossings Course and the Falls Course. Plus, it boasts the No. 1-rated Short Course in America, an 18-hole, par 54 championship layout. The new Mini Verde Ultradwarf greens are a treat.

Continuing the short drive to Fairhope, Alabama brings visitors to one of America’s most luxurious hideaways, the Grand Hotel, a sprawling property along the shore of Mobile Bay. This 175-year-old hotel represents the height of southern hospitality and charm. It sits on 550 acres of stunning

natural beauty and despite all of its history, is a modern sanctuary of golf, tennis, beach, resort-size pools, fine dining restaurant and spa.

Although the two golf courses –the Dogwood and the Azalea -- are part of the RTJ Golf Trail, they were not designed by Robert Trent Jones. They are the collaborative effort, over many years, of Perry Maxwell, Joe Lee and Ron Garl -- then renovated by Roger Rulewich, the chief designer for Robert Trent Jones.

“The pedigree of the courses at Lakewood is amazing,” remarked Niall Fraser, the director of golf operations, who also worked for many years managing the construction teams for Trent Jones and Rulewich.

“The courses were designed by great architects, then given the most loving and considerate renovations possible,” he continued. “The result is two solid golf courses that have stood the test of time.”

To recap, a golf trip to Mobile provides a choice of two luxurious, historic hotels, an amazing array of fabulous dining options, four championship golf courses and the No. 1-rated short course in America.

Gulf Shores

About 60 miles south of Mobile,

hard on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, sits the beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

In some ways, they are your typical beach towns – crowded in high-season, t-shirt stores on every corner, the Mecca of the flip-flop crowd. Except for two differences. The range of high-quality seafood restaurants is amazing. And the quality of the golf is even better.

For those who want the family beach scene, there are scores of beach condos, high rise hotels and motels. For those who want to get away from the noise of the crowd, there are two great options.

The Beach Club is a series of 15-story modern condo buildings on the beach and away from the crowded areas. They feature a good collection of amenities and are just a short drive from restaurants and golf courses.

The other option is the Kiva Lodge, overlooking the Jerry Patedesigned Kiva Dunes golf course. You can fall out of bed and onto the first tee … of one of the finest public courses in the state.

Kiva Dunes has withstood hard hits from a couple of hurricanes … and come out better than ever. It is a stark departure from the tree-lined courses that make up the majority

32 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Kiva Lodge

of the golf landscape in Alabama. It is a magical march through the dunes, with very few trees and a nice collection of spectacular vistas. The ever-present breeze also helps to temper the summer heat.

Just down the road in Gulf Shores is Craft Farms Golf Resort. It is 36 holes of masterful Arnold Palmer design work. The Cotton Creek course and the Cypress Bend course

are both playable and enjoyable layouts that are intended to appeal to golfers of all levels. Both have five sets of tees and the consistently good conditions provide for a wonderful walk in the park.

Although not part of the latest trip, Peninsula Golf and Raquet Club is another option in the immediate area. I played it years ago and it contains 27 holes – the Marsh, Lakes

and Cypress nines. Alabama native Earl Stone did the design work.

While in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, exploring the many seafood restaurants is a must. Zeke’s Restaurant at Zeke’s Marina Landing in Orange Beach is a highlight. Outdoor seating affords a great view of the many boats and spectacular sunsets. I had my first taste of Redfish, a local favorite, and really enjoyed it.

Of course, no trip to Gulf Shores is complete without a stop at the iconic Flora-Bama bar … possibly the largest beach bar in America. This sprawling complex straddles the boundaries of two states. It is a maze of indoor and outdoor rooms, many of which have different variations of live music every night. And don’t leave without sampling their signature cocktail, The Bushwacker.

A golf trip to Gulf Shores is guaranteed to be an actionpacked experience.

Bottom line – relax and enjoy the Southern hospitality of the Mobile area … then rock the beaches of Gulf Shores from morning to late at night. Pick your favorite, or combine the two for one of the most unique golf trip experiences in America.

33 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Kiva Dunes No. 12 Craft Farm - Cottonwood No. 18

The 36th Annual Broward College Golf Classic raised more than $100,000 for the Empowerment Fund, which enables the College to respond quickly to the critical needs of the Broward College community and advances key priorities to enhance student success.

“The Empowerment Fund can be a real lifeline to our students because it gives the Broward College the most flexibility in offering students access to resources when they need it most,” said Megan R. Cottle, Vice President for Advancement and Chief Development Officer for the Broward College Foundation. “It’s so inspiring to see the outpouring

was held at Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation. Rated four stars by Golf Digest, the courses are highlighted by lush fairways woven through various waterways, lending a tropical feel throughout.

of community support, from our committee members to our hardworking volunteers, many of whom have been here for more than 30 years, which underscores the level of commitment so many people have for Broward College.”

For the first time, the outing

“BrightStar Credit Union was founded by educators, so supporting education is at our core and one of the many reasons why we increased our level of support for the Broward College Foundation,” said Broward College Golf Classic Committee Chair Dustin Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing at BrightStar Credit Union. “We are a South Floridabased regional institution, and this is our home. It is important to invest in our students which helps foster growth and development throughout Broward County.”

Sponsors of the Broward College Golf Classic included Cigna, Fastrack MCI, State Contracting & Engineering Corp., UDT, AVI-SPL, American National Bank, Gehring Group, and Kibler Construction

Lloyd Rhodes, Broward College Foundation’s honorary golf committee chair, who has participated in the annual golf classic since its inception, commented, “It’s especially important to me to support the golf tournament, not just for the money it raises, but it’s also a terrific way for the business community to interface with Broward College. We have so many prominent employers and their employees who come out year after year to support our mission.”

34 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Dustin Jacobs, Broward College Golf Committee Chair and Vice President, BrightStar Credit Union; and Megan R. Cottle, Vice President for Advancement and Chief Development Office, Broward College Foundation Marc Tanner, Bob Jones, Andy Chabassol, and Craig Tanner

Golfers also enjoyed a buffet lunch prior to teeing off, as well as beverages and snacks along the course, a buffet dinner, silent and live auctions, and a raffle. Live auction items included an unforgettable ride on the Goodyear Blimp and a roundtrip flight on Tropic Ocean Airways with a stay at Resorts World Bimini in the Bahamas.

“The Broward College Foundation has done a wonderful job of connecting with the community and securing resources to help our students attain everything they want to achieve whether it’s a college degree or concentrated professional or technical training,” said Willis “Will” Holcombe, President Emeritus of Broward College, who was instrumental in establishing the golf tournament. “Everything we do helps support our faculty and students so they can become productive citizens and contribute to Broward County’s success.”

Broward College alumna Terri Justice ’70, and former Dean of Academic Research and Institutional Technology, is a longtime volunteer of the Broward College Golf Classic for more than 30 years. “The golf tournament has gotten better and better over the years thanks to the College’s involvement,” Justice shared. “For example, our IT department stepped up and offered its professional services supplying all the AV equipment, and they even created the PowerPoint presentations. I was once a scholarship recipient so I appreciate that any expenses we can offset when it comes to fundraising translates into our ability to fund more scholarships for our deserving students.”.

To learn more about the Empowerment Fund or to make a gift please visit browardcollegefoundation. org/empowerment-fund/

35 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Michael Shaw, Elliot Borkson, Don Krentsa, and Hilliad Muldorf Lloyd Rhodes, Honorary Broward College Golf Committee Chair and sponsor; Willis “Will” Holcombe, President Emeritus of Broward College; Geoff Thomas; and Ray Casey Stu Rosenthal, Dan Imme, Chris Price, and Raul Loys

Arnold Palmer: American Hero

Arnold Palmer: American Hero, the sixth book in the award-winning series lauding golf’s greatest players is now available.

Published by The American Golfer, the Arnold Palmer book joins five other large coffee table format tributes to legendary golfers including Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus along with a highly acclaimed history of the Ryder Cup.

Arnold Palmer: American Hero is a sizable book, befitting The King himself. It measures 11” X 14” and contains 372 pages including four spectacular gatefolds and has over 300 photos, many never-before published. The suggested retail selling price (SRSP) is $100.00 and is available worldwide at fine bookstores and online at Amazon and Barnes&

There is certainly no question that Arnold Palmer was a true hero – not just an American one, but to sports fans around the world. As such, the book features wonderfully crafted essays by an all-star cast comprising 21 well-known golf writers, professional golfers and close friends of Arnie’s. Perhaps the two most poignant and personal are a forward by Arnold’s close friend, Gary Player, and one by his long-time right-hand man, “Doc” Giffin.

Martin Davis, the book’s author and publisher, in the Introduction wrote “In developing the book, we kept discovering so many fascinating -- and wholly unknown – facets to Arnie’s life that just begged examination. Every time we would investigate one aspect of his life, we’d find two more to delve into. The further we looked, we’d add another essay or two as the book just kept getting bigger and bigger –and we do believe – better and better.”

Burke Golf

Burke Golf offers an array of golf equipment catering to the diverse needs of golfers at all levels. The mission at Burke Golf is centered on enhancing the golfing experience by delivering superior feedback to players. By feeling where on the clubface the player strikes the ball as well as how that player hits each shot, they are able to improve their game over time. The 3D Gecko D72 Putter and the Burke SG03 Wedges showcase Burke’s commitment to providing exceptional feedback for every golfer who plays their equipment.

The 3D Gecko D72 Putter offers exceptional tactile feedback with every putt. Constructed as a full-mallet design, The 3D Gecko D72 prioritizes stability throughout the entire putting stroke. Burke Golf provides three neck types: single bend, plumber’s neck, and single bend. The eye-catching TFF Gecko Face is Burke’s patented multi-material putting face. By mimicking the hands of a Gecko with an aluminum & rubber construction the Gecko putters create more friction during impact which results in a more controlled and consistent forward roll with each putt.

For versatility around the course, Burke has engineered the SG03 Wedges featuring innovative Shark Gill Technology. This wedge slides through turf, sand, tall grass, and more while also providing the player with exceptional feel with every shot. Crafted out of a 1020 carbon steel block and Fire Forged Technology™ every wedge head undergoes an extensive 10hour heat treatment process. This manufacturing approach is how Burke Golf delivers upon its promise of consistent feedback with every club.

Burke Golf equipment is designed “For The Purist • By The Purest” using Heat-Tec Face & Spring-Face Technologies™. These signature processes are key to the Burke standard. The Burke Golf produces quality irons, woods, wedges, and putters. To find the Burke Golf products and follow in their journey you can follow @theburkegolf on social media.

36 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
product showcase

Alphard Club Booster V2

Convert your manual pushcart into a remote-controlled motorized electric golf caddy!

Simply remove the back wheels from your standard pushcart and replace them with the Club Booster V2 using the brackets provided. The Club Booster V2 only takes about 15 minutes to install and just seconds to setup at the golf course. Instead of wasting your energy pushing or carrying your golf clubs, finish your round strong with fresh legs and a happy back. Focus on your next shot as you stroll the fairways with ease thanks to the powerful motor, 6-axis gyroscope, and the easy-to-use hand held remote control.

Award-Winning Club Booster V2 Features:

■ Remote Controlled (and use our phone app as a backup!)

■ 6-Axis Gyroscope (keeps cart tracking straight on side slopes)

■ Downhill Speed Control (cart will never run away from you)

■ Two-Year Warranty (even long after the warranty, we’re here to help!)

■ Automatic Parking Brake (no need to push any buttons, cart stays in place on any hill)

■ Free Anti-Tip Wheels (durable and strategically designed to prevent tipping regardless of the slope or steepness)

■ Free-Wheel Mode (simply push a button and you can operate freely without any power).

■ $799.00

Bettinardi Golf

Since being founded in 1998 Bettinardi Golf has been revolutionizing putters and putter technology. Milling the first putters out of solid blocks of metal was the start to a beautiful adventure for the Bettinardi team. From introducing putters in 1998 to wedges in 2002, and now irons in 2024, Bettinardi Golf has consistently remained at the forefront of golf technology. Two outstanding examples of Bettinardi products are the 2024 INOVAI Series Putters and the HLX 5.0 Forged Wedges.

The INOVAI Series includes four putter heads with models available in both left and right-handed configurations, as well as an armlock version. The customization that the Bettinardi Golf team offers allows for the player to construct the perfect putter for their individual game. When crafting a putter from the online store, you have a variety of custom options available, starting with length, loft, lie, and grip. The next option is the neck style, with four options: Spud, Slant, Mini Plumbers, and Center. If you are unsure of the best specifications for your game, Bettinardi offers an indepth putter fitting at their Oakbrook, Illinois location.

While Bettinardi Golf is best known for its incredible putter selection, the HLX 5.0 Forged Wedges are also noteworthy. With an incredible feel and competitive spin rates, Bettinardi wedges are a great choice for anyone looking to elevate their short game. Custom options extend beyond putters; the HLX 5.0 Forged Wedges come in eleven loft, grind, and bounce configurations.

To join the Bettinardi family, visit To stay updated on the latest technology, you can find the Bettinardi Golf team on social media @ bettinardigolf.

Mighty Spark

What started as a booth at the Minneapolis Farmers Market has exploded into a fan-favorite brand, available coast to coast. Founder Nick Beste had a vision to provide healthy protein that tastes delicious, and as importantly, use the small yet Mighty business to Spark change. Today, Mighty Spark empowers consumers to eat healthy with delicious chicken snacks, without sacrificing flavor, and sparks change through its meal donations.

When Mighty Spark set out to craft delicious and healthy snacking for onthe-go, the team saw an opportunity to stand out with a protein that wasn’t represented in the snack category: chicken. Beef had always dominated meat snacks in the jerky aisle since the category was born. But many products only targeted convenienceseeking consumers. As the mainstream, health-first consumer looked more and more for low carb, high protein snacks, an opportunity was born. And while other brands entered the healthy meat snacking space, no one could make chicken taste great, and many continued focusing on beef. Mighty Spark set out to take on that challenge. The brand raised the bar on flavor, elevating chicken to be a preferred, better-for-you meat snack. What if on-the-go protein snacks could be delicious, using clean, simple ingredients? Now we know.

37 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2

Pursuit Distilling Co. and TRUE linkswear Debut Dead Golfer Bourbon

TRUE linkswear (TRUE), creator of ultra-comfortable, modern golf footwear designed for walking on and off the course, proudly announces the debut of a bottledin-bond 100-proof bourbon release created by Washington’s Pursuit Distilling Co. and handselected by the TRUE team, called Dead Golfer Bourbon.

A limited, two-barrel release that will make just 438 bottles available in 2024, Barrel Select Dead Golfer Bourbon represents a partnership between two Pacific Northwest companies dedicated to authenticity, quality craftsmanship, enhancing the lifestyles of their customers.

Broadcaster and former PGA TOUR player Andres Gonzales, a Pursuit co-founder and longtime friend and former college roommate of TRUE co-founder and PGA TOUR winner Ryan Moore, helped spark this collaboration that has yielded a 100-proof barrel select

bourbon that has been aged carefully for more than six years in American White Oak barrels.

The Dead Golfer Bourbon refers to the popular golfing skeleton character TRUE began using in 2022 as a secondary logo on select pieces of its footwear, apparel and

accessories and comes to market with the finest-quality ingredients and a Mash Bill of 72 percent yellow corn, 24 percent rye and 4 percent specialty malt barley.

“Collaboration and camaraderie are fundamental to our brand –and this project was no different. We reached out to our friends at Pursuit and tasted dozens of iterations of whiskey, bourbon and IPA spirits they’ve had aging here in Washington – and we hand selected two barrels that felt just right for our palette. The result is 438 bottles of six-year bourbon, aged in American white oak, wrapped in custom TRUE packaging, featuring our Dead Golfer icon and additional TRUE swag in every package,” said Jason Moore, TRUE co-founder and CEO.

“We are thrilled for customers to enjoy this barrel select offering because so much care has gone into making this a distinctive and enjoyable bourbon,” said Pursuit General Manager Cory Johnson. “Because of the climate here in Washington, whiskeys age differently and more slowly than

38 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 competitive spirits

they do in Tennessee or Kentucky, so when you’re enjoying Dead Golfer Bourbon, you’re able to appreciate the ingredients sourced from a fourth-generation farm in Walla Walla and the dedication required to properly age these one-of-a-kind craft spirits.”

Pursuit partners with Louisville, Kentucky-based distilled spirits consulting firm The Sprits Group –helmed by valued veteran industry experts Monica Wolf and Ashley Barnes – that focuses on whiskey related business strategy and operations, quality control and distillery engineering. As a result, Pursuit’s products meet exacting standards and can achieve unique tasting profiles from barrels that have been singled out through Barnes’ unique expertise.

“It’s wild how organically our relationship with TRUE has evolved based on our shared values and how we both take great pride in bringing products that are a bit more elevated to the market,” said Pursuit Co-Founder Sam Agnew. “This Dead Golfer Bourbon release with TRUE is so reflective of our company’s

values of teamwork, integrity and finding ways to innovate new products for our customers.”

According to the message included in Dead Golfer Bourbon’s packaging, golf and great bourbon have several things in common: They both take time. They are best enjoyed outdoors and, most importantly, they bring people together. “This bourbon is deep, flavorful and incredibly smooth for a bottled-in-bond pour. We’ve been enjoying it neat or poured over the rocks, but it’s strong enough to hold its flavor in a nice craft cocktail form,” Moore said. “The customer is going to love the entire experience, from the unboxing all the way to the last drop. We wanted to make this an elevated, and limited experience - making it an amazing bottle to add to your collection or take to that next special event.”

To purchase this limited release of Dead Golfer Bourbon, https:// product/true-x-pursuit-barrelselect-bourbon/221, or follow the link on https://truelinkswear. com/pages/pursuit-bourbon.

Pursuit’s tasting notes for Dead Golfer Bourbon are:


Fresh floral, orange blossom, fresh stonefruit, orange peel

Palate: Silky smooth

Finish: Candied citrus, fruit gummies, buttermint finish

39 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2

Golf Tees Off for 2024 Season in Poconos

New bridge, rescued course among highlights for golfers this year

Golf is back in the Pocono Mountains thanks to warm temperatures and round-the-clock work by greenskeepers at courses across the region. The 2024 season is highlighted by new arrivals including a permanent bridge over the river at the historic Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort. The permanent bridge eliminates the need to install a temporary bridge for the season and allows the resort to allocate more resources to enhancing course conditions and developing new projects that will elevate the overall guest experience.

In fact, Shawnee did not close in the traditional off season so that golfers could keep playing when the course was able to accommodate due to mild winter weather. Others opened by the first weekend in April, weather-permitting.

Each Poconos golf course provides terrific views, challenges for advanced golfers or enjoyment for those just picking up the sport. Some were designed by golf legends like Donald Ross and PGA champs like 1959 Masters champion and Honesdale native Art Wall, Jr.

The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau provides a Guide to the Best Golf Courses in the Poconos to help drive golfers to experience all the best the region has to offer.

Watch Jim Hamill’s series on Signature Holes in the Poconos from previous episodes of Pocono Mountains Magazine on the @PoconoTourism YouTube channel.

Also highlighting the 2024 Pocono golf season, the rescue of Terra Greens Golf Course from potential closure.

Terra Greens opened for the season Friday, April 5th and celebrates its 60th anniversary. The golf course is maintained and operated by the new nonprofit “Friends of Terra Greens Golf Course.”

The nine-hole golf course is in the heart of the Poconos on Route 447 near East Stroudsburg. Also new this year, Golf’nGamble is at your service with a specially prepared quote for groups looking for Stay & Play packages, Bachelor Parties and Group Day and Overnight Bus Trips.

Golf courses in Wayne, Pike, Monroe, or Carbon counties that are interested in becoming members of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) are invited to email for more information.

Buck Hill Golf Club

Open (private, members only Memorial Day - Labor Day)

The Country Club at Woodloch Springs Open (Tuesday – Sunday, off-season spring rates through May 7 th)

Country Club of the Poconos Municipal Golf Course  Open ($29 weekday, $39 weekend in April. $25 Tuesdays.)

Hideaway Hills Golf Club

Open (offering stay and play packages, tournaments, and events)

Jack Frost National Golf Club

Open (new outdoor bar and pavilion for groups or post-round fun)

Mount Airy Golf Club

Open (special opening rates $50 before 2 p.m., $35 after 2 p.m. until 4/18)

Pocono Farms Country Club Association

Open (memberships available, course designed by Art Wall Jr.)

Pocono Hills Golf Course

Open (planned opening, April 6th weather permitting)

Pocono Manor Golf Course

Open (Until May 3rd Mon-Thurs: $35, Friday: $50, Saturday: $60, Sunday: $50)

The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort

Open (New bridge in operation, dedication set for May 5th)

Skytop Lodge Golf Course

Open (Off-season rates for both resort guests and non-guests)

Split Rock Golf Club

Open (Includes golf simulator at the hub)

Terra Greens Golf Course

Open (memberships available, leagues and scrambles scheduled)

40 header Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 stay & pay

Rad Golf Announces Golf & Television Personality

Blair O’Neal As Its Latest Brand Ambassador  O’Neal Is the Company’s First Female Ambassador

Golf technology company Rad Golf announces its partnership with Professional Golf Icon Blair O’Neal. The partnership is a key addition to a massive year for Rad Golf, which signed Joel Dahmen and Geno Bonnalie as brand ambassadors this past January.  The partnership fell into place naturally, as the Rad Golf team has been acquainted with O’Neal for years. Based out of Phoenix, which houses Rad Golf’s headquarters, O’Neal was chosen by the team as - independent of being a triple threat - she’s a dynamic figure in the sport. Outside of her impressive resumé on the course, O’Neal is a model and a host on The Golf Channel. In addition to her undeniable skill, her entrepreneurial spirit and hustler mindset made her a perfect fit for Rad.

“I love Rad’s commitment to innovation. And couple that with a Rad team that I’ve known and trusted for years, the partnership was a natural fit for me,” O’Neal said.

“Our team has known Blair for a long time, and we’re honored that she chose us to be her golf tech partner. She’s a well-respected player and a true professional. She embodies Rad Golf. To put it simply, she’s Rad,” said Rad Golf CEO Peter Johnson.

The Rad Golf team is composed of industry professionals equipped with the kind of innovative thinking that drives the sport forward. This partnership with O’Neal marks a new chapter for the company, and is the latest of big moves for Rad - which is launching its newest flagship product this year.

Audubon International Welcomes New Director of Signature Sanctuary Certification

Audubon International – the environmentally focused non-profit organization offering members numerous certifications and conservation initiatives to protect the areas where we all live, work, and play – announces that Mark O’Mell, CGCS, has joined the leadership team as Director of Signature Sanctuary Certification.

“We are thrilled to add Mark at the helm of our important Signature Sanctuary Certification,” said Audubon International CEO Christine Kane. “He knows the golf course operations and maintenance business inside and out, and literally from the ground up. His expertise and leadership will help ensure the program’s continued growth as we add new members, especially at the elite Platinum level.”

As Director, O’Mell will work with each Signature Sanctuary member’s development team prior to, during, and after construction to ensure the property meets and maintains all sustainability requirements. He will also serve as primary point of contact for any inquiries from current, former, and prospective members of the Signature Sanctuary Certification, and coordinate with appropriate staff members on the development of program materials as well as marketing, growth, recruitment, and communications strategies.

“Working with Audubon International is the culmination of a career as a superintendent who worked with nature rather than against it,” O’Mell said. “I look forward to working with current and future Signature Sanctuary members to become the best possible environmental stewards they can be.”

To learn more about how your local golf course, community or resort can gain recognition for your environmental efforts or to learn how to expand your initiatives through Audubon International’s numerous environmental certifications, visit

42 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 golf central station

Russell Makes Waves

Team Florida member, Miles Russell made history over the weekend at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic. At fifteen years old, Russell became the youngest player to ever make a cut in a Korn Ferry Tour event. The Jacksonville native posted rounds of 68-66 to finish well within the cutline and advance to the weekend rounds. In a post round interview Russell stated, “I’m kind of speechless. The goal was to make the cut and we made it and we will see how the weekend goes. The big goal would be top-25 and to get into next week. That would be cool and would be my top goal.”

Russell achieved his goal, finishing tied-for-twentieth after posting scores of 70-66 on the weekend for a tournament total of fourteen-under par. His first professional event was most certainly a successful and memorable one. In addition, in March the USGA announced the first ever U.S. National Junior Team, and Russell earned a spot on the team which consists of eighteen juniors across the country. Prior to the national stage that Russell is making currently making waves on, he won fourteen Florida Junior Tour events. However, even at such a young

age, there is more to Russell than a remarkable talent for golf. The youngster who has made quite the impact on the golf course, has also used the great game of golf to make an impact off the golf course.

In 2019, Russell along with Graden Lomax, and Alexander Kaufman joined together to form the Sunshine Cup, as part of the State Cup Series sponsored by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). The inaugural Sunshine Cup was contested between 32 players at Streamsong Resort, all raising money to support the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and the Liberty National Ace Grant.

The three players recruited a total of 28 players to commit to raising $10,000 each toward a goal of $30,000 for the inaugural event. Now almost four years later, the Sunshine Cup have raised close to $300,000.

“I don’t think we ever expected it to be as big as it is now or raise as much money as we have.” Russell said.

For the junior golfers that tee it up in the Sunshine Cup, it is not about who makes the most birdies, it is about bringing together young golfers all supporting a great cause. Every October, 32 juniors are split into two teams to compete in a Ryder Cup style event for the Sunshine Cup. They compete in four ball, scramble, alternate shot, and singles matches.

Lomax’s father is the group’s

“statistician” and is responsible for splitting the juniors into the two 16-player teams, named Team Bears and Team Aces in reference to the two charities they are supporting.

“It’s a little step back from competitive golf,” says Russell. “You’re able to see and spend time with people you usually only see at tournaments.”

With competitive junior golf becoming more and more busy with events all across the country, the Sunshine Cup offers competitors the chance to enjoy the game while giving back. Many hours go into fundraising for the Sunshine Cup, and even at their young age, the competitors take those matters into their own hands.

“Last year I did all my fundraising on my own,” Russell said. “Calling, texting, emailing people was how I was able to meet my goal of $10,000.”

This year, as a result of his fundraising efforts, Russell was given the opportunity to meet Jack Nicklaus during the Honda Classic.

“It’s really cool to be able to meet one of the greatest players to ever play the game.” Russell said.

The 2027 grad is certainly grateful of the support he receives for the Sunshine Cup. Each year, he writes a hand-written note to the people who donate to his fundraising efforts. For Russell, the note is a way to show appreciation for all the donators.

“Hopefully, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger by year,” Russell explained.

Indeed, there is much more to Russell than what you see on the golf course. His attributes go beyond that, which is why he has earned a spot on Team Florida for the past three consecutive years. Team Florida selects players that not only demonstrate exceptional playing abilities, but also display sportsmanship, and etiquette in this great sport. Miles Russell certainly understands and embodies these principles, and the FSGA is proud to watch him compete and succeed on and off the golf course.

44 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 florida state golf association florida state golf association florida state golf associ

Inaugural Play Yellow Birdie Bash Was A Huge Success For PGA REACH Georgia & CHOA

On Monday, April 22nd, 30 Georgia PGA of America Professionals gathered at The Country Club of the South in Johns Creek to play 72 holes in a two-person scramble, where over 530 birdies were made raising money for PGA REACH Georgia and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). Through the fifteen teams solicited pledges and donations the event eclipsed over $166,000. Team Atlanta Country Club led the way with over $79,000 raised. Atlanta Country Club PGA of America Head Professional and 2023 Georgia PGA Professional of the Year Scott Schroeder shared, “We all did a wonderful thing today...Days like today make you proud to be a PGA Professional.”

The average birdies per team were just over 35 per team. A duo of PGA of America Associates, Kayla Jones of Bobby Jones

Golf Course and Hunter Suggs of Cherokee Town & Country Club, came in on top with a total of 48 birdies made.

“The inaugural Georgia PGA Play Yellow Birdie Bash benefiting PGA REACH Georgia and CHOA was a tremendous success.”said Scott Geary, the CEO of Georgia PGA. “I cannot thank our PGA of America Professionals, The Country Club of the South, Children’s Miracle Network, CHOA, our supporting partners and donors, and all of the Georgia PGA staff enough

for helping us drastically exceed our fundraising goals. These proceeds will go to do so much good and I am beyond proud of everyone involved. We are excited to build on this success moving forward.” - Michael Rakowski.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PGA Georgia PG 46

Team Member Professionals Reclaim the Kaiser Cup

The Kentucky PGA opened the 2024 tournament season with the 28th Kaiser Cup at Belterra Golf Club in Florence, Indiana. This yearly event sees ten of the previous season’s top Member Professionals and ten of the Section’s best Assistants and Associates compete in a Ryder Cup-style contest. The event opens with five four-ball matches on day one and concludes with singles matches on day two.

The Members came out of the gate strong on day 1, with the pair of captain Tom Walters, PGA (Summit Hills Country Club), and John Mullendore, PGA (Indian Hills Country Club), defeating Assistants/ Associates captain Daniel Iceman, PGA (Weissinger Hills Golf Course), and partner Gabe Wheeler

(Country Club of Paducah) 2 UP. The Assistants/Associates immediately responded with the duo of Nathan Hincks, PGA (The Club at Olde Stone), and Tadd Switzer (Hopkinsville Golf & Country Club), beating Mitchell Moore, PGA (Mitchell Moore Golf Academy), and Chris Schuler, PGA (Louisville Country Club), 2&1. The following two matches continued the tied score between the two teams.

The deciding point of Day 1 went to Members Ryne Burnett,

PGA (Triple Crown Country Club), and Robert Costello, PGA (Nevel Meade Golf Course), over Aaron Eldridge (Traditions Golf Club) and Kyle Smith (Greenbrier Golf & Country Club) to see the Members pull ahead going into Day 2.

The 2024 Kaiser Cup was then shortened to one day due to heavy overnight rain and more severe weather throughout day 2. Congratulations to Team Members for reclaiming the Kaiser Cup!

The Kentucky PGA Section extends its thanks to Ty Robinett, Golf Operations Manager at Belterra Golf Club, and the facility’s entire staff for their assistance in conducting this tournament. The Section also passes along its appreciation to Under Armour for providing each team’s uniforms.

product showcase PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA Kentucky PGA K Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 48
The 2024 Kaiser Cup Champions, Team Member Professionals

North Florida Section

10 North Florida PGA Golf Professionals competed in the 2024 PGA Professional Championship; John Somers qualifies for the PGA Championship!

10 North Florida PGA Golf Professionals competed against the best of the best at this year’s PGA Professional Championship at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco, including: Dalton Bartlett, Matt Borchert, Sandra Changkija, Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, Hayes Farley, Greg Koch, Nick Joy, Emily Motta, John Somers, and Rod Perry. The event was contested at the home of the PGA from April 28th - May 1st.

In addition to the feat of having 10 North Florida PGA Golf Professionals represent the North Florida PGA at this event, we had John Somers finish T4 and qualify for the PGA Championship! We will see him at Valhalla! John started off round 1 by shooting 3-under

69 despite a lengthy weather delay to start the championship. He was able to make it through the 36-hole cut after shooting 4-over 76 and then the 54-hole cut with a round of even par. His name kept moving up the leaderboard in the final round and after carding a 1-over 73, he found himself at T4 and officially in the PGA Championship. It’s a special moment for the Section as it evokes a lot of emotions to see one of our PGA Members make it to one of the four majors.

Along with John, Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, Hayes Farley, Dalton Bartlett, Greg Koch and Matt Borchert made it through the two cuts and played in the final round. Here are their finishes: Koch T21, Connelly-Eiswerth T26, Borchert T33, Bartlett T65 and Farley T72.

Having 10 PGA Golf Professionals in this event shows that some of the best players in the country are right here in the North Florida PGA. For full results, visit

To learn more about the North Florida PGA, visit

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north florida PGA north
John Somers
John Somers

South Florida Section

“… I’m thankful for all my supporters at LaPLaya Golf Club for helping me achieve this goal.”
– Evan Bowser

Three South Florida PGA Members Qualify for 2024 PGA Championship

South Florida PGA of America

Professionals Evan Bowser, Tyler Collet and Jeremy Wells qualified for the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, finishing in the top-10 yesterday at the PGA Professional Championship at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch. Bowser, Assistant Professional at LaPlaya Golf Club (Naples), Collet, Assistant Professional at John’s Island Club (Vero Beach) and Wells, Director of Development at Cypress Lake Golf Club (Fort Myers) will join 17 other PGA of America Professionals as the Corebridge Financial PGA Team at Valhalla Golf Club.

The PGA Professional

“This just keeps the momentum going for me and gives me more and more confidence going forward.”
–Tyler Collet

Championship (PPC) is the annual “National Championship” for PGA of America Golf Professionals who qualify for the event through the 41 Section’s individual championships.

For the first time in Section history, the South Florida PGA will have three representatives at the PGA Championship.

“Having three Section Members make the PGA Championship for the first time in Section history validates how strong of players PGA Professionals are in the South Florida Section,” said Geoff Lofstead, Executive Director of the South Florida PGA.

This year’s PPC was held, for the first time, at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch. Due to weather, the start of the opening round was delayed substantially, ultimately causing delays for the rest of the week, adding another layer of difficulty.

“This week was full of just grind mode,” said Collet. “With weather delays, fog delays, wind and gnarly rough, I was very happy to walk with a top-20 finish.”

Collet obtained his Class-A PGA Membership in 2018 after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with a Professional

north florida PGA north florsouth florida PGA south florida PGA south florida PGA south florida PGA south fl PGA south flor
“To make it through in my first two tries to the PGA Championship, I am incredibly proud of that,”
–Jeremy Wells

Golf Management degree. After finishing in a tie for sixth yesterday, Collet will be making his third PGA Championship start, with prior starts being in the 2021 and 2022 PGA Championships.

The 28-year-old Collet has enjoyed an exciting 2024 playing season, already making starts at the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches and the Puerto Rico Open, where he made his first cut on the PGA TOUR.

“This just keeps the momentum going for me and gives me more and more confidence going forward,” explained Collet.

Bowser made his first trip to the PGA of America Frisco Headquarters last year as an associate for his level three PGA seminar, the very same week as the 2023 PPC.

“I thought to myself, I should be playing in this event next year,” said Bowser who became a full member

in 2023 and finished tied for eighth yesterday at his first PPC. “It is amazing how it all came together.”

The week was incredibly special for Bowser and his entire family as his sister was on the bag all week with his Dad and wife following along showing their support.

“Honestly they are happier than me,” said Bowser. “Plus I’m thankful for all my supporters at LaPLaya Golf Club for helping me achieve this goal.”

During the 2023 PPC, Wells entered the final round in a tie for 29th. He managed to match the final round low, moving up the leaderboard to seventh place, clinching his first Major Championship berth in his first attempt at the PPC, much like Bowser this year.

Entering the 2024 final round, Wells was in a tie for 44th, making his attempt for consecutive PGA Championship berths a tall task.

Once again, Wells was up for the challenge, firing the final round low (70) by two shots and moving 37 spots up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for eighth.

“I shot 80 (in round three) and I’m still kind of in it, “explained Wells. “That’s how hard that place was. If I just go out and shoot underpar, I have a really good chance.”

Tomorrow, Wells will officially be a Class-A PGA Member for two years, he is now on his way to making his second PGA Championship start.

“To make it through in my first two tries to the PGA Championship, I am incredibly proud of that,” said Wells. “There are 30,000 of us and to get down to the top-20 twice in a row, I wouldn’t of predicted that.”

Bowser, Collet and Wells will all travel to Valhalla Golf Club to represent the South Florida PGA and their respective facilities at the 2024 Championship, May 16-19.

53 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2

A Turf Pirate's Journal

$Seaside Golf and Turf $

Ahoy, Turf Pirates and welcome back to the safe harbor that is Golf Central magazine just in time for another thrilling episode of a Turf Pirates Journal. It was pointed out that I have been leaning towards the serious side of life lately, so I was inspired to go back to our salty roots and talk a little bit about how awesome seaside golf is. Now salinity and water quality issues aside as we grow the grass there are few things more amazing than golfing a few steps away from the sea. The sound of the waves, the

and I can tell you it made for some great memories and even a few great golf shots. There is something mystic about the ocean and there is a special chemistry when you throw golf in the mix with a rising tide. I have been over my 40 or so years in the golf turf business a bit of a Turf Gypsy. I have stamped my passport multiple times in pursuit of turf excellence and for various companies and enterprises. I am even at 60 years young still a Titanium level Bonvoy member beyond my status as a Marriott

the Palace Saloon, the oldest bar in Florida. Florida is always close by no matter where you live and both sides of Florida have great adventures just a short drive or flight away. Jimmy Buffet spent his whole life reminding us of what was best in life. Admit it you just heard Jimmy in your (Parrot) head. I met Jimmy during my time at TPC Four Season Dallas and he was as awesome as advertised.

So here we are Turf Pirates writing in the pages of our life’s book and don’t you think it’s time to take a pleasure cruise to a great seaside

sea spray, the test of accuracy, it is as good as it gets in my mind. I am BIGGA Master Greenkeeper #82 and I have a great appreciation for golf in general in England, Ireland, and Scotland. If you have never played golf in the British Isles, it is an absolute must and of course visiting the great seaside links courses is the apex. This month’s photo opportunity is from Ireland about 15 years ago with me and the world’s best caddie Joe, which is spelled J_O_E for those with no accent in their common speech. Note how close the Atlantic Ocean is

Quarter Century Club retiree, so I have seen a few hotel rooms with ocean views. Now that I have you thinking about crossing the ocean to see and play golf near the ocean let us not forget that both USA coasts have amazing golf and history. The true Turf Pirate faithful are aware of the fact that the Ancient and Honorable Tribe of Turf Pirates legend arose from the bottom of a Pirate’s Punch (five white liquors and a splash of citrus) glass in Fernandina Beach, Florida. What Bar was it you ask? What a great trivia question and it was none other than

golf resort for a few rounds of golf with friends? Did I mention the food? Shrimp and grits can be a spiritual experience and of course libations abound if that is your marker. I won’t go too far into the bay of philosophy today, but should you let another year go by without dropping a few ProV’s into salt water I extend this query, are you really living your best life? If you wavered in your answer, then you know what to do. Live boldly Turf Pirates and I hope our paths cross soon.

54 By Anthony L. Williams, CGCS, CGM, MG
Ireland 2010 Seaside

Sunn 28-0-0 N-SURE

ITEM #160031


Total Nitrogen ..........................28%

20.2% ..........Slow release Nitrogen

7.8% .........................Urea Nitrogen

Sunn KTS


Item# 160041


Soluble Potash (K2O) ..............25%


Minors Blend


Total Magnesium (Mg) ..........0.50%

Soluble Magnesium (Mg) ....0.050%

Soluble Iron (Fe) ...................3.40% Chelated Iron (Fe) .................1.60%

Total Manganese (Mn) ..........0.25%

Soluble Manganese (Mn) ......0.25%

Soluble Zinc (Zn) ..................0.10%

Sulfur (S) combined ..............3.50%

Derived from: Manganese Sulphate, Zinc Sulphate, Iron Glucoheptonate, Iron Sulphate, Magnesium Sulphate.

Sunn 6-0-0 Blend

Sunn 12-0-0



ITEM# 160021

Derived from:
Total Sulfur
.........................17% 17% combined sulfur 0% free sulfur
potassium thiosulfate
PRO LIQUID FERTILIZER Item# 160010 GUARANTEED ANALYSIS Total Magnesium (Mg) ..........0.50% Soluble Magnesium (Mg) ......0.50% Soluble Iron (Fe) ...................3.40% Chelated Iron (Fe) .................1.60% Total Manganese (Mn) ..........0.25% Soluble Manganese (Mn) ......0.25% Soluble Zinc (Zn) ..................0.10% Sulfur (S) combined ..............3.50% Derived from: Manganese Sulphate, Zinc Sulphate, Iron Glucoheptonate, Iron Sulphate, Magnesium Sulphate.
GUARANTEED ANALYSIS Total Nitrogen ..........................12% 12% Urea Nitrogen Chlorine not more than ..............2% SECONDARY PLANT FOODS Iron as Fe ...................................6% Manganese as Mn .....................2% Derived from: Urea, Iron Glucoheptonate, Manganese Glucoheptonate
Manufactured by SUNNILAND CORPORATION PO Box 8001 Sanford, Florida 32773-8001 Share your photos & videos
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SUPERSpotlight: William Beasley

It’s natural to want to follow in a parent’s footsteps. My dad was a banker and the last thing he wanted was for his sons to become was bankers. The banking business was a volatile environment during these times with the savings and loan crisis. He didn’t push us in a direction, he let us discover what we wanted to do. My dad’s passions were volunteering and playing golf, despite not being very good at the latter. To satisfy both passions, he volunteered for the Citrus Open at the Rio Pinar Golf Club in Orlando. He started in parking and worked his way through the ranks to become a board member. They called themselves the Grey Coats because of the jackets they wore. The Grey Coats were instrumental in the tournament moving to Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club, and getting the ball rolling on building the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando. As my dad’s journey continued with the board and organizing the annual golf tournament to raise money for the hospital, he became the general chairman of the tournament. He ended his career with the 1990 Nestle

Invitational and handing the winning check to Robert Gamez. As a senior in high school who was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career, farming appealed to me, since I love working outside, growing plants and my mom’s family roots in South Georgia. This scared my mother to death. She grew up in South Georgia and witnessed the highs and lows of her friends that farmed. To appeal to my love of the outdoors and ease my other’s fears, my dad suggested being a golf course superintendent. He sold this idea as being high-tech farming. Interested, I enrolled at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Tifton, GA. From there I spent my school breaks and the next four years after graduation at Bay Hill working for my mentor Dwight Kummer. I loved every minute of it and still do. Through my 28 years in the business, I have worked on tour stops, grown-in new projects, the sales side, and am now on the resort golf side with Marriott at Hawks Landing. Fast forward 20 plus years from completing my degree in Environmental Science, my teenage son, Breck was looking for a summer job to

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 56
William with his son, Breck William's father at the 1990 Nestle Invitational

pay for gas and auto insurance.

Like his father and grandfather, he enjoyed the outdoors and could not imagine working at Publix or Chickfil-A. As a typical parent I wanted something better for my son. the only option I know of for the summer was a course renovation happening at Ventura Country Club here in Orlando. And it just so happened that I knew the architect and construction company on the job. I explained it was going to be hard work with long days outside, throwing sod and a lot of time on the end of a shovel. He said, “No problem. I will do it.” I made a call to Justin Carlton, of Carlton Marshall Golf Design, and Chris Morgan, project superintendent of Southeastern Golf, Inc. We set up a time for Breck to meet them. On the car ride to the course I told Breck that these guys are personal friends and that if he accepted the job he couldn’t quit. He had to stick it out for the summer no matter how hard it was. Chris took a chance on a high school kid and offered Breck a job. Breck loved it and stayed until they completed the project. After the project, he stayed and worked at Ventura as a cart guy.

As this past summer approached, 2023, when I asked Breck what he was going to do, he said he was moving to the Nashville area for the summer to work with Southeastern to re-build Brentwood Country Club. After verifying the details with Chris Morgan, I drove Breck to Nashville and he lived on his own for the summer working 60 hours a week. He loved every minute of it. This time he had the opportunity to operate equipment and learn more of the business. I thought the manual labor would help him realize he wanted to do something different after graduation. It didn’t. He graduates high school May of this year, and will be back in Nashville by midJune working for Southeastern Golf doing a renovation at Hillwood Country Club. He has caught the golf bug and wants to build courses for a living.

It is interesting how the circle of life transpired from a banker who volunteered at golf tournaments to his son becoming a golf course superintendent to his grandson building golf courses for a living.

57 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Breck Beasley

Golf course superintendents honored for advocacy efforts

Bryce Gibson, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park, Fla.; Dustin Plemons, golf course superintendent at Cleveland Heights Golf Course in Lakeland, Fla.; and Patrick Van Vleck, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Unicorn Golf Course in Stoneham, Mass., have been named Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winners from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award, presented in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, the winners receive a trip to participate in the annual National Golf Day event in Washington, D.C.

“The dedication of Bryce, Dustin and Patrick help secure the future of the golf course management industry,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “From their focus on the environmental aspects of golf to ensuring that their respective golf courses are community assets, they have all have shone positive light on the industry.

Congratulations to all three of these devoted GCSAA members for this well-deserved honor.”

The GAL Award is part of the Grassroots Ambassador program, which matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong working relationships and create a bridge between the golf industry and the political sphere in the U.S. More than 500 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.  Gibson, a 22-year member of GCSAA, has been a Grassroots Ambassador since the program’s inception in 2014. He has been paired with three congressional representatives over the years, most recently with Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL). Gibson welcomed

meeting Mills and three of his staff members to Interlachen Country Club for a visit that was equal parts professional and congenial. Gibson began with a tour of the golf course, highlighting the facility’s pollinator habits, Best Management Practices and use of recycled water.

“Bryce has proven to be a true diplomate when it comes to representing GCSAA and our priority issues,” said Ralph Dain, GCSAA Florida regional representative. “Whenever the call arises, Bryce has done all he can to promote the game and our association in a positive light.”

Plemons, a 25-year GCSAA member, joined the Grassroots Ambassador program in 2020, and he is paired with Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL). A major focus for Plemons has been emphasizing golf’s stewardship concerning water use and quality in Florida. He travels to Tallahassee every year to lobby the state legislature and has testified in front of the environmental committee to provide comment on fertilizer and environmental issues, ultimately helping get a law passed that exempts golf courses with certified BMPs from local fertilizer bans.

“Advocacy is important because if you don’t stand up for your industry, who will? We need to be as loud as we can and get the golf’s story out there,” Plemons said. “We can all get a lot done by listening to each other, and talking to representatives personally ensures

that your voice is heard. The bottom line is to keep fighting the good fight and have fun while doing it.”

Wanting to do more to help in the golf industry, Van Vleck, a 21-year GCSAA member, became a Grassroots Ambassador in 2019 and is paired with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA). Protecting the environment has been a priority for Van Vleck and an issue he’s long been engaged in, so joining the Grassroots Ambassador program has been a natural fit. He has shared how the facility is focused on lessening its carbon footprint, caring for pollinators, growing more native plants on-site and creating spaces for wildlife. He is also shining light on how golf courses contribute to their local communities, including programs dedicated toward kids in golf.

“Advocacy in the golf industry is especially important because of the negative public perception around the sport,” Van Vleck said. “There is a disconnect between what is perceived as bad for the environment and what is actually bad.  Advocacy is all about setting the record straight where golf is concerned. The program allows us to change the minds of legislators.”

To learn more about the Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, visit grassroots-ambassador-leadership-award.

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 58


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Nashville Zoo’s Natural Grass Exhibits Delight Animals and Visitors Alike

Under the guidance of horticultural expert David Farrow, the Nashville Zoo has embarked on a transformative journey, reshaping its animal habitats to more closely mirror their natural environments. Leveraging over a decade of experience in zoo horticulture, Farrow has introduced innovative practices that blend aesthetics, animal comfort and environmental sustainability. Over the past two years, the zoo has installed approximately five full truckloads of HGT® Bluegrass from TriTurf Sod Farm, sourced by Sod Solutions Professionals. This specific choice of bluegrass, notable for its mesh-free property, is integral in preventing potential animal harm. These efforts enhance the well-being of the zoo’s diverse inhabitants and offer visitors more engaging and authentic experiences.

“It’s a really good bluegrass. It’s very hard to find meshless bluegrass on my own and not

having the connections or sources that Sod Solutions Professionals has,” Farrow explained. A few years ago, the closest local supplier he could find was in Gary, IN making the cost of the sod delivery excessive.

“Another key thing for us is having a source that can give us mesh-free bluegrass is because endophytes can harbor in some grasses like rye and fescue, but it doesn’t harbor on bluegrass. That fungus can actually cause bovine and equine animals to have miscarriages and being a zoo, babies are huge for us because we’re trying to save the species. When we can minimize that risk in their yard and to have a source that we can get bluegrass readily from is a significant advantage. Otherwise, we’d have to grow it from seed.”

Since 2022, the zoo has installed bluegrass sod in various exhibits, enhancing the habitats for a wide variety of animals including

kangaroos, guinea pigs and Komodo dragons. Farrow noted the sod not only improves the aesthetic appeal of the exhibits for visitors but also contributes to the animals’ well-being, offering them a softer surface than hard ground. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in managing erosion and preventing the exhibits from turning into mud pits, maintaining a cleaner and more natural environment.

One of Farrow’s passions for his

Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2 60

job is designing the horticultural elements for new exhibits alongside the zoo’s CEO, Rick Schwartz. “The kangaroo exhibit was actually my first project here in 2013. The way we did the sod back then was I was making multiple trips to a local nursery to get the sod and then seeding over top of it. It’s come a long way in 11 years.”

A unique thing about Nashville Zoo is that it has had grass in its giraffe yard since 2008. Farrow explained that due to their weight, large hooves and how much they move around, most zoos have standard crushed material in their yards. Because of their good agronomy plan, they’re able to keep sod alive in this area and are considering putting more in the entire exhibit area. They’ve also seeded the rhino exhibit and are considering laying sod and overseeding it for the second part of the renovation. “That’s another animal, aside from the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Park, you don’t get a lot of rhino exhibits that have grass due to their wear and tear from how heavy they are. But we’re going to try it,” Farrow said. Farrow said following a sod installation, you can almost immediately see a difference in the animal’s behavior, particularly when they get brand new sod installed in the spring. “When the weather’s beautiful and perfect for them, they kind of just lounge around all day. It’s definitely great for the kangaroos but also for the people because the public wants to see every animal as close as possible and those animals just lay out on the grass and don’t move, they love it.”

Currently, Farrow has been installing new sod for exhibits bi-annually for the kangaroos because they’re tougher on the grass especially if after warm summer months the grass dries up and they put more wear on it. Farrow installs new sod for the guinea pigs and other animals on a more regular basis when a few pallets are delivered on a monthly basis. Farrow said like most zoological horticulturists, he follows the famous words of Dr. Doug Tallamy that every living thing eats plants or eats something that eats plants when maintaining and designing exhibits. “We try to display the symbiosis or

connection between the plants and the animals. When we’re planting things, we try to find plants with dual purpose. An example would be when we plant a redbud tree we know that when we trim it we can use that material to feed giraffes or tapirs that love it and not just take it to a wood dump.”

They also work hard to select plants that mimic themed ecosystems for these animals. For example, in the Komodo Dragon exhibit, Farrow tries to find plants that resemble the Indonesian flora, where these reptiles are from. He explained that the exhibit looks amazing because they don’t mow the grass inside much, so it’s lush and long.

Farrow praised the Sod Solutions Professionals team for having the bluegrass delivered when they needed to upgrade an exhibit. He said they’ve always been reliable,

essential role of providing quality grass for zoo animal habitats.

“Attending the Association of Zoological Horticulture Annual Conference last fall, I was able to see firsthand the hard work that David and his team have put into all of the exhibits.”

“Their attention to detail and the manner in which they care and treat the animals is exceptional. Being able to be part of the process of working alongside David to troubleshoot historic sod problem areas within the enclosures has been fun and presented different types of questions that the team does not traditionally answer. Typically, we deal with golfers, soccer and football players, considering the needs of a 2-ton rhino and lounge areas for kangaroos and Komodo dragons presented fun hurdles.”

Buechele emphasized the value

from full truckloads to single pallet drops depending on their needs. He said they’ve also immediately resolved minimal hiccups related to drop-off locations or times. Having to maintain plants across 188 acres on the zoo grounds, Farrow said being able to count on them has been fantastic. “I can call them pretty much any time during the work day and they answer and get right back to me. I know they’re in South Carolina but it’s like they’re one of my local reps.”

Director of Sod Solutions Professionals, Christopher Buechele feels mutual about their experiences working with the Nashville Zoo, noting it’s been fulfilling and demonstrated the

of the partnership with the zoo, noting its positive impact on his team. “This collaboration has enriched us, offering invaluable insights that drive our mission forward. We’re eager to forge similar partnerships nationwide, aiming to elevate animal habitats and visitor experiences through the strategic use of sod.”

To learn how Sod Solutions Professionals can source turfgrass for your next project and help it run seamlessly, visit

61 Golf Central • Volume 25, Issue 2
Learn more at Without the golf course, there is no game or business of golf! DONATE TODAY! Every donation makes an impact. Your donations support critical research, advocacy, and best management practices, enabling your superintendent team to deliver great playing conditions and keep your facility as a good community neighbor.



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