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19th Hole: Kevin Banks

By |  August 3, 2020 0 Comments
Kevin Banks (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)

Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography

Kevin Banks

Superintendent // Vineyard GC, Edgartown, Mass.

After 18 holes, what can I get you? Pretty simple. Any IPA. I’m not picky.

Tell me about your family. I met my wife back in high school, but it wasn’t until two years after college that we hit it off. We’ve been to two islands and through various jobs, and now here we are with three kids, ages 4, 3 and 8 months. It’s been a really fun ride.

It’s probably an ideal time to live on an island … Yeah, it’s not bad. Most people aren’t traveling much. We feel safe on our island; (coronavirus) cases are low here. Since March, we’ve had 44 cases, and most of those were earlier. The community has done a great job trying to prevent the virus from coming here. We feel lucky being here.

Tell me about Vineyard … We’re a very unique property. The course opened in 2002. We’re known to be the organic golf course. We have to go before a review board for any products we want to use here. For example, Zio, a new product produced by SePro, has the OMRI stamp, but we still have to go through the committee and establish what the product is and why we want to use it.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop? At Vineyard Golf Club, we can’t use herbicides. Every year, we see thresholds of crabgrass or goosegrass where we have to resod. We always ask the interns, the new faces, to go find the sod stretcher. We get the mechanic on board. They eventually find out it doesn’t exist.

What about at the house, any new favorite tools there? I’ve turned into a huge germaphobe. Sanitizer, wipes, everything. My hands have never been cleaner, but they’re extremely dry now too. Seems like I buy sanitizer at eight different stores.

What golf experience stands out to you? I’ve played some great golf courses … the best experience was when my wife and I went to Ireland five years ago. I made a point, I wanted to see Old Head Links. We went there, they were closed. I called the number on the gate, I said hi, I’m from America, I’m in the golf business, I would love to see the course. Before I even stopped talking, the gate was opening. I got to drive around the entire property, got to see the clubhouse, the suites … I left with four golf hats and a sleeve of balls.

Do you ever wish you could just put on a Tyvek suit and a respirator, and sling some chemical out there? I’d be lying if I said no … I spent a lot of time as an assistant trying to learn all these chemistries, then you come to a place like Vineyard … you have to mentally prepare yourself to see some weeds and disease. Each year, we’ve gotten so much better. The team is committed. We might have a bad day, but we don’t give up. At the end of the day, we’re excited and proud about what we can do with limited resources — it’s a rewarding job to be in.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, June 20, 2020.

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