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19th Hole: Patrick Affolder

By |  June 6, 2020 0 Comments
Patrick Affolder (Photo: Photo: Jeff Lowder)

Photo: Jeff Lowder

Patrick Affolder

Superintendent, McAllen (Texas) CC

Patrick, if I was there with you right now, what could I get you for a drink? Any local IPA. I like to assimilate myself into the local culture.

So, where are you from, and how’d you get to McAllen? I’m originally from Cranberry, Pa. I’m sort of the journeyman of superintendents. I’ve been all around. Before here, I was in Austin … I’ve also been to Florida, South Carolina and western Pennsylvania.

How did you end up becoming a superintendent? I was a cart boy in high school cleaning golf carts. I slowly realized I wanted to (work in golf) as a career. I was terrible at golf, and I didn’t like teaching people, so I couldn’t be a golf pro. I enjoyed being outside, so I went this way and have been doing it ever since, for more than 20 years.

What’s going on there in McAllen, in regard to the pandemic? Everything is opening back up this week, the restaurants, the gyms. The country club will be completely reopened starting tomorrow. Before that, it was just golf and takeout food. So tomorrow will be a big day for the country club.

How hot does it get there in the summers? One word: hot. It’s unbelievable. We’re talking heat indexes sometimes over 120 (degrees F), for days on end. The golfers tee off at 12:30 for some reason. I don’t understand how they can do it.

What are your sports teams? Steelers. That’s the only team there is.

We’re celebrating Caddyshack this issue. Hate it or love it? I love it. Working at country clubs, I can see that movie really happening, with the employees going to pool day. The superintendent could have been better played, but he’s funny.

Tell me an underappreciated part of your job. The time commitment that it takes to make a course look pristine. People don’t realize how much time that takes.

When was the last time you said to yourself, ‘Huh, you don’t see that every day?’ That was probably last week, when one of the guys raking bunkers came up to me said, ‘hey … a guy came on to the golf course, climbed a tree and is taking a nap.’ So, we had to chase him off. Right next to the green, too … up in a tree sleeping away.

When you get a day off, what’s on the agenda? I’m at the pool with my wife and 5-year-old twin daughters, Ava and Gabriella, attempting to cook some barbecue.

What do you mean attempting? I’m a terrible cook, but I try hard. I can mess up a hot dog.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, May 18, 2020.

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