Golfdom asks: What impresses you most about the maintenance department at Pebble Beach?

By |  June 18, 2019 0 Comments

The Pebble Beach crew getting geared up for morning maintenance during the 2019 U.S. Open. Photo: Golfdom Staff

There were so many familiar faces from the golf maintenance industry out at Pebble Beach. It seems that a lot of those people were there to observe the crew, just as much as they were there to see the U.S. Open.

Whenever I go to a music festival and I find myself chitchatting with strangers, I always ask the same question: What’s the best performance you’ve seen so far? I’m always curious as to what impresses people the most, and also if I saw the same thing.

I adapted that music festival question to the festival of golf maintenance that was the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Only I asked, “What impresses you the most about the Pebble Beach golf maintenance team?” And I didn’t ask the question to strangers, I asked it to people in the know …

Here’s a smattering of what I heard back. You’ll see a common theme.

“I think it’s that they make it so much fun,” Mike O’Keeffe, The Ohio State University, told me. “Their teamwork is great. They really try to get the stress out of it. They want to make it where you are going to have fun doing your job — that’s very unique. There are a lot of golf courses where you are very stressed, but these guys, you see the camaraderie. You see the fun they make out of the situation.”

“It’s a very tight-knit, close group of guys who are always on the same page,” Adam Wagner, Erin Hills GC, told me. “They show up ready to get it done every day.”

“The high level that they present the golf course, on a regular basis … they stay busy all the time, and they don’t get worked up, they get it done,” Darin Bevard, the USGA’s director of championship agronomy, said. “They have a plan and they execute the plan almost to perfection every time.”

Kelby Langston, from the IMG Academy Golf Club, Sarasota, Fla., summed it up perfectly.

“The crew (is the most impressive thing),” he said. “Just how nice they are to everybody and how much pride they take in their work. A lot of these guys have been here 20, 30 years. You can tell by their work and how they conduct themselves.”

Guess what? Just like at those music festivals … I saw the same thing.

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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

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