19th Hole: Steve Leach

By |  August 10, 2023 0 Comments
Photo: Elizabeth Leach

Photo: Elizabeth Leach

Steve Leach

Director of Agronomy // Gateway National Golf Links and Stonewolf GC, Madison, Ill.

Steve, drinks are on me. What are you having? I’ll have a City Wide APA. It’s from 4 Hands Brewing Co. in downtown St. Louis.

How far are you from downtown? From Gateway, you can see the Arch and the downtown city skyline. We’re about two-and-a-half miles.

Tell me about your two courses. I’ve been at Gateway for 13 years now. It’s a links-style course designed by Keith Foster. Right now, we get 40,000 rounds every year. It’s the only public bentgrass course in the St. Louis area. It’s my third season at Stonewolf. That’s a Nicklaus Design located in a housing community. It’s a beautiful course and layout. We get between 36 to 38,000 rounds annually.

And you have a family, right? Yes, sir. My wife, Elizabeth, is a kindergarten teacher. Our two boys are Samuel, 17, and Maxwell, 14. Sam just finished high school and is going to community college this fall. He’s interested in studying film. Meanwhile, Maxwell is a freshman in high school.

What does the family do for fun? We love to go camping. Southern Missouri has some of the cleanest and freshest creeks in the country. We set up a tent and either float or just sit next to it and have some drinks.

Which do you think is more important — plant health or playability? Playability is No. 1. We want golfers to have the best experience possible. But health goes along with that because you must have a healthy enough plant to support the playability. In the long run, if the greens are rolling at an eight every day, the golfers are not going to be happy.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop? My Pogo moisture meter. That is my go-to tool. It helps to keep everybody honest about checking the greens. I have access to the readings on both courses. Sometimes the guys get annoyed when I say, ‘Don’t forget to upload your readings!’ At the end of the day, it’s all on me. I like to keep track of it.

You’re a big sports fan — what is your all-time favorite sports moment? When the Blues won the Stanley Cup. We just happened to have an outing scheduled that next day for the Blues alumni. Because of that, the Stanley Cup showed up at our golf course. Brett Hull and Kelly Chase … there were about 45 of them taking photos with it around the practice green. When they were done, our staff got to go in, one by one, for a photo. I’ve got a great photo of my wife and me kissing the Cup.

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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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