Page 12

His mandate: Make golf more fun Bob Randquist was superintendent at Southern Hills Country Club back in 1987 when this reporter began covering golf for the now defunct Tulsa Tribune. Randquist was helpful, cooperative, informative and friendly then and he remains so today, 13 years after leaving Tulsa to become the superintendent at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Fla. His peers think highly of him as well – Randquist was elected to a one-year term as president of the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America on Bob Randquist Feb. 11. As a teenager growing up in Anadarko, Randquist would play his ball as it came to rest, and those lies were often not pretty. The nine-hole course he played was firm, fast and not always pristine green. But it was fun. Now that he’s president of the GCSAA. Randquist would like to see the game take heed of those simple days. He would like the GCSAA, along with the USGA and PGA of America, to continue to emphasize the ethic to play the ball as it lies. To provide golf courses that play firm and fast and, to aid in both conservation and cost savings, mix in a little brown with the green. And to encourage golfers not to worry so much about their scores but choose appropriate tees, play more match play and have more fun. “On that nine-hole course in Anadarko, we didn’t have irrigated fairways and rough. You learned to hit shots from a variety of lies,” said Randquist. “I used to love playing match play against people who are used to moving the ball all the time. I’m a firm believer that one of the reasons the European team started to do so well in the Ryder Cup is our players were used to pristine, perfect conditions all the time. When the Europeans got a bad lie, they viewed it as an opportunity to be creative and make something happen.” Ironically, Randquist has been paid the past 32 years to provide just those pristine conditions, first at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa for 19 years and the past 13 at Boca Rio Country Club, where he services a small, wealthy membership of businessmen, many based in the northeast and only on hand in the winter. The USGA and the GCSAA have been making a joint effort to alter golfer’s expec12 ••••••

tations of golf course conditions as water becomes a more precious commodity across the country. It’s a gradual process. Randquist said golfers will accept turf grass that is dry and rolls better as it helps their distance. He also believes the pressure on superintendents to provide green speeds of 11 or higher is misguided, as it stresses the greens and puts them at risk for disease and potential failure. “With the way the economy has been, this is the optimum time for the USGA, GCSAA and the PGA of America to promote the message that there is a beauty in playing firm, fast courses and experiencing the challenge of different lies,” Randquist said. “The USGA has the biggest platform and the resources to do this. We can encourage our members to help in the effort.” “We didn’t develop the expectations of those perfect conditions overnight and it’s probably going to take 10 years to change those expectations. One thing that will drive this movement is the economy, If you want to pay $100 green fees to have those conditions, fine. But there is nothing wrong with going back to the intent of the game and have roughs be rough.” Randquist is also glad to see that many course designers are finally relaxing the mandate that every course has to be built to challenge the PGA Tour-caliber player. In his own course setup, he follows the philosophy that golf should be fun. “At the top of my list is to see golf become fun again for people,” he said. “A large number of the courses built in the last 20 years were done so with the philosophy that this has to be a really hard championship course. The USGA and PGA of America have just launched an initiative, “Play Golf Forward”, that encourages golfers to move up to the appropriate tees and enjoy their game more. We’re seeing shorter rough, longer fairways and greens just a bit slower. Green speeds of nine to 10.5 on the stimpmeter provide the most enjoyable golfing experience for most golfers. That helps save labor, chemicals and water.” As the major governing bodies in golf continue to search for ways to turn around the heavy losses in participation over the past 10 years, it’s good to know that Randquist is at the table presenting solid values and common sense. –By Ken MacLeod

Golf Oklahoma Volume 1, Number 2 Golf Oklahoma Golf Oklahoma Offices Southern Hills Plaza 6218 S. Lewis Ave., Ste. 200 Tulsa, OK 74136 918-280-0787 Oklahoma City Office 405-640-9996 Publisher Ken MacLeod COO/Marketing Director A.G. Meyers Art & Technology Director Derek Hillman Subscriptions to Golf Oklahoma are $15 for one year (five issues) or $25 for two years (10 issues). Call 918-280-0787 or go to Contributing photographers Rip Stell, Mike Klemme, PGA of America, Golf Oklahoma PGA Instructional Staff Jim Woodward Teaching Professional, Oak Tree National, 405-348-2004 E.J. Pfister Teaching Professional, Oak Tree National Pat McTigue Owner, GolfTec Tulsa and Oklahoma City Steve Ball Owner, Ball Golf Center, Oklahoma City, 405-842-2626 Pat Bates Director of Instruction, Gaillardia Country Club, 405-509-3611 Tracy Phillips Director of Instruction, Buddy Phillips Learning Center at Cedar Ridge, 918-352-1089 Jerry Cozby PGA Professional, 918-914-1784 Oklahoma Golf Association 2800 Coltrane Place, Suite 2 Edmond, OK 73034 405-848-0042 Executive Director Mark Felder Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jay Doudican Director of Junior Golf Morri Rose Copyright 2011 by Golf Oklahoma Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from Golf Oklahoma. Golf Oklahoma is published by South Central Golf, Inc.

Golf Oklahoma June - July (Vol. 1, Issue 2)  

In the second issue of Golf Oklahoma we get in depth with Gil Morgan, visit Wolf Dancer golf course near Austin, and review some great golf...