Spotlighting the Behind-the-Scenes Work of CA’s Turf Experts
Golfers often wonder if the grass at Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club and Fairway Hills Golf Club is artificial, but it’s as real as it gets — and a testament to CA’s hard-working golf maintenance team.
Every day, the grass is mowed to less than sixteenth of an inch before tee time at 7am. Patrick Mather, CA’s director of golf course maintenance, and Tyler MacKenzie, Hobbit’s Glen superintendent, are both experts in turf health, with degrees in turf grass management and decades of collective experience between them.
“We take pride in the height of our grass, but it’s about so much more than just cutting grass,” says Tyler.
Spring may be the official start of golf season, but for CA’s golf team, it’s a 365-day a year job.
“The mid-Atlantic is the toughest area in the world to grow grass,” says Patrick. “We’ve got four distinct seasons with different, and often unpredictable, weather patterns, which makes it difficult for grass to survive. We consider it a fun challenge.”
For this reason, CA’s golf courses include a mix of grasses: Bermuda grass, bentgrass, ryegrass, bluegrass, fescue grass, zoysia grass and more. Every year, the team is required to complete recertification on the latest fertilizer laws.
When it comes to maintaining the turf, every day is different and largely dependent on the weather. CA’s team handles tasks like seeding, fertilizing, aerating, weeding and beyond. This past winter, rebuilding the Hobbit’s Glen chipping green to provide an extra hole was a big priority. This allows our golfers to still play 18 holes in case any other areas need to close down for renovations.
You can learn more in-depth about these projects (and general turf health) at CA’s free Walk & Talk events, which happen regularly throughout the year.
“One thing that’s special about CA is the fact that our members can experience two courses that are completely different,” says Patrick. “Hobbit’s Glen, built in 1967, is straight and long with big trees. Then we have Fairway Hills, which was built in 1995. It’s a shorter course, but very challenging with bridges and tunnels. It’s an honor to help contribute to the enjoyment of both courses.”
Meet CA’s goosedogs
If you’ve ever met three pups out on the course, you’ve likely been charmed by CA’s cutest team members. Rosie, Zuko and Katt were even featured in the Dog Days of Golf Calendar for Lebanon Turf.
This trio is more than just adorable: Together, they keep geese off the golf course in a humane way. Katt, a Border Collie, is a fully trained goosedog who helped train Zuko, an energetic Australian Cattle Dog. Rosie is a bit of a wildcard, but she’s learning from her friends. These three are a unique part of the CA golf experience, and Zuko in particular will greet you quickly — he can hit speeds of up to 35 mph!
More CA golf team awesomeness
There are countless team members who work behind the scenes to bring the magic to CA golf courses — like Heather Driver, a golf foreman and horticulturalist who has been with CA for 20+ years, and Christina Barlas, our golf administrative assistant.
“I never would have envisioned myself working at a golf course, but since joining CA, I have found that I absolutely love it,” says Christina. “Not only is it a blessing to love my job, but it is an even bigger blessing to work with such an amazing team for such an amazing organization. I also consider it an honor to represent women in a historically male-dominated industry.”
Thank you to our hard-working team, and thank YOU to our community for showing up at Hobbit’s Glen and Fairway Hills. Here’s to a wonderful golf season! ⛳