19th Hole: Doug Vogel

By |  February 1, 2023 0 Comments
(Photo: Golfdom Staff)

(Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Doug Vogel

Superintendent // Preakness Valley GC, Wayne, N.J.

Doug, what are you having? Black and tan; Guinness and Bass.

Tell me about Preakness Valley. It’s a county-owned facility built in 1930. It’s two 18-hole courses, and we surround an old mansion that George Washington set up as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War (Dey Mansion). That’s our responsibility, too. He ran the war here on-site in the fall of 1780.

Screencap: Golfdom Staff

(Photo courtesy of: Doug Vogel)

You published the book Babe Ruth & the Scottish Game recently. How did that come about? I was at a GCSA of New Jersey chapter meeting, and Kenny Krause, the editor of our newsletter, was looking for volunteers to write articles. I told him I wanted to write about Babe Ruth — here in Northern New Jersey and the whole metro area; he played at all these courses — he was America’s guest. I started collecting some of these stories. After 20 years of research, I started putting it in writing. My family helped me push it over the finish line.

How big is your family? My wife Susan and I have three grown children. My son Noah is an aerospace engineer. My daughter Emily is a K-8th-grade art teacher. And my youngest Faith is a soon-to-be-graduate. She’s getting a degree in the fashion industry.

Ziggy Zaleski, your first boss, was one of your biggest influences. What do you remember about him? He was an old and crusty World War II veteran. He treated the crew like an Army unit. He was a very stern guy. But at the end of the day, he was a great guy — he was always looking out for the crew. He treated the women like royalty. When it was ladies’ day at the club, we had to put flowers on each tee. He put out special pink flagsticks. None of the men could complain about him because the women would come to his defense so quickly, ‘Quit picking on Ziggy!’

What’s your most memorable day at work? I’ve been through some big floods. One time I was sitting at my desk during a hurricane when the club president called to see how the course was doing. I said, ‘Joe, there’s 2 inches of water in my office; I’m about to abandon ship!’ By the end of that flood, there was 6 feet of water in my office. During another flood, the township sewer line broke. It ran right through the course. It was a slurry of sludge. Two weeks later, when the water went down, the course was white. All the toilet paper emulsified and dried. We had 80 percent kill.

That sounds terrible. Luckily two weeks later, we had a tropical storm — we got about 9 inches of rain, and it washed everything away. Now that was the best tropical storm we ever had.

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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