The Presidents Cup provides ‘different’ pressure says LNGC’s assistant Dowdy

By |  October 2, 2017 0 Comments

The Americans made it look easy in their win over the International side. The maintenance team at Liberty National also made it look easy — course conditions were impeccable all week for the 2017 Presidents Cup.

LNGC has hosted the Barclays twice (2009, 2013) so this was by no means uncharted territory for the crew. Yet it was a different kind of pressure hosting the Presidents Cup, says Liberty National Golf Course Assistant Superintendent Jesse Dowdy.

“This tournament is different, it’s a different type of pressure,” says Dowdy, who started working at the course before it opened in 2006. “It is laid back in some ways… the start times are different… and the volunteer support is amazing. But the biggest challenge is the amount of infrastructure that went up, and making sure everything is set up properly and safely, without causing too much damage to the course, but at the same time creating a fan friendly experience.”

Case in point: the theater seating installed on No. 1 tee (which would typically be No. 5 tee during regular play.) The grandstands erected around the tee box would make a rock festival proud, let alone the first tee of a golf tournament.

Dowdy has seen this level of excitement before. He was on the crew for both the 2004 U.S. Amateur and 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. In-between, he went and did an overseed at Augusta National.

Not bad for a kid who stumbled upon the industry as a 16-year-old looking for a summer job. The young Dowdy was hired by Greg James, then the superintendent at Plainfield CC in Edison, N.J. After five years and working his way up the ladder, Dowdy went to Rutgers for his two-year degree, then started acquiring all the experience he could get.

“I actually saw the (eventual Liberty National) site early on, before Greg was even hired, because a friend of mine got the job to be the builder,” Dowdy recalls. “Then Greg got the job as superintendent and he called me and said, ‘I need you to come out here with me.’ I also wanted some construction experience, so it was a perfect fit.”

Dowdy says he’s learned a lot from James over the years, but he especially appreciates the trust the two have in each other. If either has a family function they need to attend, they can step away from the course and cover for the other with no concerns. That’s especially important for Dowdy, who has a young family. He and his wife, Ashley, have two daughters: 4-year-old Mackenzie and 1-year-old Aubrey.

“He trusts me, I trust him,” Dowdy says. “(James) has really helped me in my career. What was just a summer job has turned into a career. He’s helped mold me into who I am today.”

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