19th Hole: Mike Bellino

By |  October 11, 2022 0 Comments
(Photo: Mike Bellino)

(Photo: Mike Bellino)

Mike Bellino

Superintendent // Heathrow CC, Lake Mary, Fla.

Mike, what can I get you? Rum and Coke for me.

Tell me about Heathrow CC. It’s a Ron Garl design, built in 1985. Water comes into play on 16 of the 18 holes. It was the first course Concert Golf bought; they’re up to 26 clubs now. Their corporate office is just across the street. I’m finishing my eighth year here, and with any luck, this will be my last club.

Do you have a family? Yes, my wife, Debbie, is in the insurance business. I have two kids, a daughter, Sophia, and a son, Nicholas. My son works with my wife in insurance. The building they work in is off our second fairway. I get to see them all the time, drive my golf cart over and have lunch with them.

GCSAA Conference & Show comes to Orlando next year. Any recommendations for the area? My advice is shorts and flip-flops — that’s our uniform all year round. If I had one recommendation, it would be ICON Park and the Wheel; it’s super-close, almost in the shadow of the convention center. Top Golf is right there. There’s all sorts of stuff to do.

How do you judge a good golf season? Our season is from Thanksgiving to Easter. After Easter, everyone goes home; it’s too damn hot. If we get through the spring and summer and I don’t have to buy any sod, that’s a successful season, in my opinion.

How did you get into motorcycles? Probably my dad. When he passed, I got his bike. But my wife bought me my first motorcycle. Now I have four. I keep my dad’s old bike at work; it’s a ’74 CB 350. I just rode it to Home Depot this morning. Then I have a 1972 CB 750, an ’86 Rebel that my son rides and a ’99 Harley Road King. If I could find a way to fit another one, I’d get it, but the garage is getting full.

Do you have a day at work that stands out in your mind? Yes. I was an assistant at the time. We had just finished overseeding greens, and a helicopter landed on our sixth green, dead center. I walked over to the paramedic and said, ‘Geez, you could have landed anywhere! On the approach, on the fairway. I got all of these places you could have landed. Why did you have to land on the middle of the green?’ And he said, ‘Because a man’s life is at stake.’ A guy was roofing nearby and fell off the roof. All I’m thinking about is the brand new Poa trivialis coming up. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It all worked out.

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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