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Behind the scenes of Tiger Woods’ fifth Masters win this year, another man also achieved a remarkable high. Brad Owen, golf course superintendent at Augusta National Golf Club, produced playing conditions at least one good judge described as the “best I’ve ever seen.” That observer was no less than Marsh Benson, who prepared the golf course for 26 Masters Tournaments during his own tenure as superintendent at Augusta National.

“Starting with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, culminating in Tiger Woods’ historic fifth Masters title,” Benson said, “This year’s Masters preparations and conditioning were the best I have ever seen.” Not surprisingly then, the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association recently named Owen their Superintendent of the Year.

Owen received his award to a standing ovation from nearly 200 people during the association’s annual awards banquet at Jekyll Island Resort early November. The award is presented in partnership with Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply.

Owen started in golf course maintenance in the mountains of western North Carolina and moved to Augusta National 39 years ago, working under Paul Latshaw, CGCS and then Billy Fuller. When Benson arrived in 1989, he said he “inherited” Owen “pretrained” as a third assistant.

“I had the pleasure of working and sharing experiences with Brad through those many years,” he said. “Maybe one of my biggest challenges was just making sure I didn’t screw him up! Brad’s agronomic knowledge and experience, as well as his professionalism and leadership, have always been of the highest standards.”

Earlier on the night, the Georgia GCSA presented the Distinguished Service Award to immediate past-president, Greg Burleson, CGCS. Burleson was the longtime superintendent, on the other side of a chain link fence from Owen, at Augusta Country Club. He is now at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, North Carolina.

Frank Siple, CGCS, was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame. Siple retired in 2018 after a nearly 50-year career as a golf course superintendent and later as a sales representative for Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply. Georgia GCSA Hall of Fame inductions are made in partnership with the Jerry Pate Company.

Rhett Baker from Ohoopee Match Club in Cobbtown won his second Georgia GCSA golf championship, presented in partnership with Greenville Turf and Tractor. Baker’s win was one half of a double for Ohoopee Match Club. The club’s assistant superintendent Jonathan Suma won the championship’s open division.

Tim Busek from The Manor Golf and Country Club in Milton was elected president at the association’s annual meeting. New vice-president is Chris Steigelman, CGCS, from The Landings Club in Savannah and secretary-treasurer is Nelson Caron from The Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill.

Three new directors were elected to the board – Brandon Bowen from Blueberry Plantation Golf and Country Club in Alma; Hoyt Ellsperman from Reynolds Lake Oconee, The Creek Club in Greensboro; and Brandon Hayes from Reynolds Lake Oconee, Great Waters.

ArborMaster co-founder will use Greenworks Commercial’s lithium-ion saws as his exclusive battery-powered equipment next year.

The leading provider of battery operated-outdoor power equipment, Greenworks Commercial announced that it has entered into a sponsorship agreement with ArborMaster and its internationally-known arborist and co-founder Ken Palmer for 2020.

Per the agreement, Palmer will use Greenworks Commercial’s award-winning line of lithium-ion saws as his exclusive battery-powered equipment in 2020, which also marks ArborMaster’s 25th anniversary. In addition, Palmer will conduct private training programs, make celebrity appearances and consult on new product research and development with Greenworks engineers.

The agreement coincides with the release of Greenworks Commercial’s two newest members of its award-winning professional duty line with the new 48TH12 48V 12” Brushless Top Handle Saw and the GS181 18” Rear Handle Chainsaw. Thirty percent lighter than its gas competition, the 48TH12 is much easier to maneuver in arbor applications. It will be the first product in the Greenworks Commercial line to include the 21700 lithium-ion battery cells, offering more power and lighter weight to its users, along with longer life and improved run-time.

The GS181 is Greenworks’ most powerful saw, delivering power that approximates a 50cc gas saw. The GS 181 provides its users with easier operation and a safer work environment yielding 50 percent less noise and five times less vibration than gas equivalent products to protect crews from long-term hearing damage and reduce fatigue.

Palmer described the 48TH12 as “a game-changer,” and the GS181 as “far and away the most powerful battery-powered saw” he’d ever run. “I’d put it up against any saw running an 18” bar, gas or battery, in terms of its performance,” he said.

Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club’s award-winning golf course in St. George, Utah will undergo a $7 million dollar renovation project led by golf course designer David McLay Kidd. On-course work is expected to begin November 2020 and be completed by September 2021. During the 10-month project, the golf course is expected to be fully closed to member and guest play for approximately five months.

McLay Kidd, whose course designs include Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon, Gamble Sands in Brewster, Washington, Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, and the Castle Course at St. Andrews in Scotland will be assisted on the Entranda project by Troon’s Design, Development and Agronomy team.

Renovation enhancements will include replacement of the course’s irrigation and drainage systems and renovation of the irrigation lakes and the club’s practice facility. In addition, all greens will be redesigned and resurfaced with state-of-the-art bentgrass, fairways will be re-contoured, tees will be relocated and/or renovated, and every bunker on the golf course will be replaced. The entire golf course, including tees, fairways and roughs, will be re-grassed with improved cultivars of Perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.

“In the 25 years since the opening of the golf course, our membership has enjoyed playing the pristine-conditioned course set against the dramatic red sandstone and black lava rock surroundings that define Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club,” general manager David Hall said. “Entrada is now excited to set our path into the future by investing millions into the golf course. We are thrilled to have landed one of the most sought-after golf course architects in the world in David McLay Kidd, to renovate and modernize our golf course.” 

Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club was founded in 1996 and covers 710 acres of southern Utah desert. The course winds through large arroyos, lava beds and rolling dunes at the foot of the jagged Navajo and Kayenta sandstone cliffs marking the ancient history of the Navajo landscape. The Club’s Johnny Miller- and Fred Bliss-designed golf course has been consistently rated as one of the best in Utah. It currently plays to a par of 71 and measures 7,062 yards from the tips.

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“When a golf hole offers options on how to play it, the game becomes so much more interesting,” McLay Kidd said of the Entrada renovation. “We want to increase those options at Entrada, allowing players to use their imagination, creativity and skills to play holes and attempt to score. Options might manifest themselves with a strong player trying to hit a high approach with backspin, while another player might use guile to read a slope and play a running shot into the same green. Neither approach is better or worse if the result is the same, but it sure is more fun to have the option.”

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