FMC Corporation opened its Give Back to Local Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Chapters program at the virtual 2021 Golf Industry Show. With $25,000 in total donations for the top 30 local chapters spots on the leaderboard, the Masterpiece Hunt game saw friendly competition from more than 70 local GCSAA chapters.
“We were blown away by the sheer number of players and also the level of competition during the show,” said Evan Parenti, golf & lawn care marketing manager for FMC Professional Solutions. “I think it’s a reflection of the passion inherent in the industry and just how important local GCSAA chapters are to golf as a whole.”
By the end of show, more than 600 individual members battled to climb the leaderboard, with frequent lead changes throughout. Ultimately, the Connecticut GCSA chapter took the top spot and the $5,000 donation prize, but FMC would like to congratulate all chapters and thank all participants for their enthusiasm and participation.
“It’s programs like this that truly matter to the chapters — the programs that put resources back in the hands of the teams fulfilling the mission statements across the country for the chapters,” said Tim Kreger, executive director of Carolinas GCSA. “It is rare when actual money is transacted other than sponsorships and partnerships, so this program stands out each year at GIS to the Carolinas.”
The fundraiser was an initiative driven by the FMC True Champions program launched last year and is becoming an annual fixture at GIS. After the kickoff event at GIS, the program shifts into its season-long component, where FMC tracks purchases of qualified products and then submits the ‘give back’ donations directly to the designated GCSAA chapters.
“FMC is resolutely committed to supporting the golf industry and those who are helping it progress each day,” Parenti said. “With the ongoing impact of COVID we feel it is more important than ever to demonstrate sustained commitment to golf and especially with regard to local chapters.”
Troon recently expanded and opened a new corporate office in Chicago, citing regional growth interests and opportunities. The company also announced two key appointments that will help lead the Chicago office and regional operations: Phillip Martin will head operations and Matt McIntee will lead business development.
A 25-plus-year golf and hospitality industry veteran, Martin worked most recently as vice president of operations and will now be senior vice president. He relocated to the Chicago office from Troon’s Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters. Martin will have operational oversight of all Troon brands serviced out of the Chicago office, while also taking on new projects and client services created from the immediate growth occurring in the Midwest.
Prior to being named vice president of operations in 2011, the 17-year Troon veteran served as a general manager at various Troon-managed clubs throughout the country. A graduate of Texas Christian University’s MBA program, Martin is a member of both the PGA of America and Club Managers Association of America (CMAA).
McIntee, the original founder of Green Golf Partners, has been appointed to the role of senior vice president of business development. In his new role, McIntee will be charged with regional growth and client relations. As CEO of Green Golf Partners, he helped grow the firm from nine properties in three states to 35 properties in 13 states. Prior to forming Green Golf Partners, McIntee was with Crown Golf from 1992 to 2011.
Throughout his career, McIntee has worked on committees and spoken at conferences for the National Golf Course Owners Association and the National Golf Foundation. He has also served as a market and industry expert for golf trade journals, business publications, newspapers and radio programming. In addition to his work at Troon, McIntee is currently the finance chairman on the board of directors for Children’s Hope International, an international adoption and children’s aid agency, and is dedicated to improving the health and welfare of children in need all over the world.
Troon’s new Chicago office is located at 4611 North Ravenswood, on the city’s north side, and is home to a full team of associates in all golf-related hospitality departments. The office supports managed clubs throughout Troon’s full family of brands, including Troon Golf, Troon Privé, OB Sports, Indigo Golf Partners, CADDIEMASTER, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Tennis and RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design.
These recent moves follow the 2020 Chicago office appointment of Tim Presecky as director of business development. Prior to joining Troon, Presecky was the business development manager for KemperSports.
In addition to its headquarters in Scottsdale, Troon now has offices in Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Irvine, California; Jacksonville, Florida; New Braunfels, Texas; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Seattle; and, with the recent acquisition of Indigo Golf Partners, Reston, Virginia.
Sue Spahr arrived at the Swanhills Golf Course 26 years ago to handle the grow in. The daily-fee club has been her professional home ever since.
“When I first came to this course, I intended it to be a stepping stone, just to get started and then to move on to bigger and better things,” she says. “But then I realized that this was kind of my niche, this kind of course. It’s a public golf course, we’re a very low-budget course. And I think I found that I kind of enjoy that. I enjoy being at a course that tries to make (golf) affordable, that tries to give as many people exposure to the game as they can.”
Spahr was Rick Woelfel’s guest on the inaugural edition of the Wonderful Women of Golf podcast. During their conversation, she reflected on the experience of seeing the course mature over the past quarter-century. “It was farmland before we built the golf course, so there weren’t a lot of existing trees,” she says. “So, the majority of foliage we brought in ourselves and I planted 26 years ago.
“Unfortunately, the majority of those trees were ash trees and emerald ash borer is killing all those trees. So all of those trees, 290 ash trees, we’re cutting all those down and replanting from a nursery I started years ago.”
CLICK HERE to download the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
CLICK HERE to download the podcast on Spotify
Spahr lacks the personnel that superintendents at larger-budget facilities enjoy. She and her mechanic are the only year-round turf employees. In season, the staff includes two additional full-time employees, plus approximately 10 part-timers.
“During the week, we’re able to arrive at 6 and get ahead of the golfers,” she says. “We don’t have a great deal of early-morning play during the week. Weekends, they are out there (early) so we need to be there to get in front of them. On weekends, we just cut greens, cut holes and rake bunkers, so we’re able to get out and get that done before the golfers get there.”
When it comes to maintenance, Spahr says it’s important to set priorities.
“You have to get through every day with blinders on, because you can’t possibly do everything that you think needs to be done,” she adds. “You have to figure out what the golfer sees and wants. You really have to know the clientele you’re catering to and, in our case, being a public course, you have a wide variety of people, but talking to people and knowing what your clientele wants is really important.
“For me, like most golf courses, you should concentrate your efforts on the greens and the green surrounds. We have a lot of drainage issues. I spend a lot of time trying to firm up the approaches. Not just the green but the approaches, the greenside bunkers, the cart paths, all the edging and trimming. We really want to make all that look as good as possible. Fortunately, I don’t have as much pressure as some guys in the industry have as far as green speeds. I don’t have to keep them lightning fast.”
When asked what challenges she faces that one of her peers at a private club would not, Spahr immediately mentions equipment.
“Our equipment is very old,” she says. “It’s really used. It’s what other people are getting rid of because it no longer functions properly for them. That’s our new stuff. So the equipment itself makes jobs take even longer and when you don’t have much of a staff in the first place, making any jobs longer and taking more time is a big issue. Equipment and lack of staff are probably the two biggest things.”
Spahr believes that golfers have become more appreciative of the superintendent’s role.
“Certainly, since I started, golfers have become much more understanding of superintendents’ practices and what maintenance needs to be done on the golf course,” she says. “I think a lot of things have contributed to that. The PGA, for one, has contributed greatly to that.
“The (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America) is phenomenal. I got involved as soon as I became a superintendent and I can’t say enough about the GCSAA. They have helped a great deal in terms of improving the image (of the profession) and making golfers more aware.”