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The 19th Hole: Mike McCormick

By |  January 24, 2019 0 Comments
Mike McCormick (Photo: Abby Hart)

Photo: Abby Hart

Mike McCormick

Superintendent // The Apawamis Club, Rye, N.Y.

Mike, what can I get you? I’m a simple guy … I’ll have a Bud Light.

Congratulations on getting married! How did you and Jamie meet? When I was the first assistant at Oakmont, she was the event coordinator. It was six months before the U.S. Open in 2016 and Jamie was working on a rather large event that would be hosted outside. I ended up helping her organize a few things that were related to the golf course. Shortly after the party, she asked me out.

Photo: Happy Out Photography

Photo: Happy Out Photography

I heard you sang and played piano at your wedding? Music is my big thing. I’ve been playing piano since age 6, guitar since college. I played in a blues band in college. At the wedding, I played “Tiny Dancer” for her, then we sang “Landslide” as a duet.

OK, let’s talk turf. What’s your favorite tool in the shop? The Toro 648 aerifier. I’ve done a lot of research on the different spacing of tines, and I even had JRM custom-make me a 5/8-inch hollow tine. That machine is my bread and butter — the flexibility of that machine is unparalleled for removing organic matter.

What’s your favorite book? “The Spirit of St. Andrews” by Alister MacKenzie. He wrote it a hundred years ago, and everything he wrote about architecture and maintenance still holds true today. I read it on the flight over to visit St. Andrews … it was life changing.

Who or what is your archenemy? I’m deathly afraid of snakes. I don’t think I could ever work at a golf course that has rattlesnakes or copperheads. If I’m flipping through channels and I see a snake on Discovery Channel … it ruins my day.

What’s the most memorable bet you’ve made? It’s the last bet I made. When I was an intern working for Jeff Corcoran at Oak Hill, I bet everyone $20 that Tiger Woods would win the PGA Championship. I had Tiger, everyone else had the field. Tiger had a huge lead on the weekend … and that was the year Y.E. Yang took Tiger down. I lost a couple hundred dollars.

Fill in the blank: When I’m having a bad day, I remind myself ______. I remind myself that it could always be worse. It’s always hotter, wetter or more humid somewhere else!

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Dec. 17, 2018.

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