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Green Start Academy brings top assistants to Pinehurst for third consecutive year

By |  December 11, 2023 0 Comments
Assistant Superintendents from across the country convened at Pinehurst Resort for the 18th annual Green Start Academy (Photo: John Deere)

Assistant Superintendents from across the country convened at Pinehurst Resort for the 18th annual Green Start Academy (Photo: John Deere)

For the third time in its 18-year history, Green Start Academy — presented by John Deere, Rain Bird and Envu — brought the nation’s top assistant superintendents to Pinehurst Resort for a week of networking, learning and golf.

According to Deere, Green Start 2023 received a record 220 applicants. The final pool of 60 attendees included assistants from Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., the Country Club of Detroit and Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. — host of the 2024 PGA Championship — among others.

Assistant superintendents spent most of their time in groups with superintendent mentors. Mentors included Todd Bohn, director of agronomy at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., a GSA alumni from the event’s first class in 2006.

Pinehurst No. 10 is set to open in April 2024, nearly a year after construction began. (Photo: Golfdom staff)

Pinehurst No. 10 is set to open in April 2024, nearly a year after construction began. (Photo: Golfdom staff)

Brant Mackey, an agronomist at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, told Golfdom the event lived up to his expectations and then some.

“I had a couple of ideas that I took away from this experience that I’m going to take back to my club right away,” Mackey said. “I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to move forward (with their career), it’s professional and personal development. It’s a great place to learn the things that are going to propel you into thinking about the bigger picture of running a golf course, and not just worrying about the grass being watered or the bunkers being raked.”

In addition to presentations on diversity and inclusion in the industry, the basics of building a budget and how to build a successful culture, attendees toured the site of Pinehurst No. 10.

Built on the former site of The Pit Golf Course, No. 10 is Pinehurst’s first new course since No. 8 opened in 1996. Superintendent Daniel Whisenant and Kevin Robinson, CGCS, manager of golf course maintenance, led tours of the Tom Doak-designed course. According to Whisenant, No. 10, which is set to open on April 3, 2024, required 55 acres of sod with Tiftuf and Tifeagle making up the majority of the turf types on the course. The course will also feature large natural areas with centipedegrass

Attendees also had the opportunity to play The Cradle, a nine-hole, par-3 course located near the site of the 2024 U.S. Open, No. 2. The Cradle will serve as a driving range for the week of the U.S. Open, according to the resort.

About the Author: Rob DiFranco

Rob DiFranco is Golfdom's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Golfdom, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio


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