The 19th Hole: Rick Hathaway

By |  December 6, 2018 0 Comments
Rick Hathaway on Golf Course (Photo: Abby Hart)

Photo: Abby Hart

Rick Hathaway

Superintendent // Rock Creek Cattle Co., Deer Lodge, Mont.

Rick, what can I get you? I’ll have a light pilsner to start, but I like craft beers… I’ll switch to something higher octane once I cool off.

What’s your favorite craft beer? There’s a brewery in Deer Lodge called Elk Ridge Brewery. They have a Cow in Heat Jalapeno Cream Ale that’s my favorite.

Hunting season just opened, what’s your goal? We hunt elk here in southwest Montana. My son got a bull on opening day. That’s the first time we’ve ever got one on day one. He’s a sophomore at Montana State University, so to him that means more meat and less Top Ramen.

If you could borrow the keys to Marty McFly’s DeLorean, what event in history would you visit? I would go be a fly on the wall at the Constitutional Convention. That’s always intrigued me, how that unfolded.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, any Hathaway family traditions? Our tradition is that I don’t think we’ve ever had a turkey prepared the same way from one year to the next. I like to dabble in cooking. I’ll read something or see something, and that’s what we’re going to try. We’ve had deep fried turkey, smoked turkey, an upside-down turkey… I sound like Forrest Gump. But my wife and kids never know what they’re going to get.

What teams do you root for? Lately it’s been the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Bill Foley, who owns the Knights, also owns Rock Creek Cattle Co. That team has demonstrated how a new franchise can immediately be successful.

Tell me about Rock Creek Cattle Co. It is what the name implies. It’s a 30,000-acre cattle ranch with 2,500 head of cattle. The golf course is a Tom Doak design, and it shares characteristics of other Doak layouts with vast grassy native areas, except our distinguishing feature is boulders in the rough.

What’s your favorite tool in the shop? I’m old school. I like my aerifiers, my verticutters, my topdressers. Basic agronomy 101. It’s tough to screw up a golf course if you take good care of those tools.

What are your biggest challenges there? We’re in God’s country for growing grass in the summers. Our biggest challenge is elk damage. They trample the course, they urinate on it.

What is something you’re always saying to the crew? I’m always telling them to work hard and be safe, but also have fun. It’s why a lot of us got into this business. Use your head, but it’s OK to have fun while you’re at work.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Oct. 23, 2018.

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