19th Hole

Andy Huber
Course Superintendent
Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club
Wickenburg, AZ

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The Science to an Award Winner Golf Course 

We are deep into one of the most misunderstood times of the year. I am, of course, speaking of springtime transition when our lush green golf courses turn a blend of lighter green – and even light brown – as the temperatures heat up. We superintendents are put to the test in agronomy, business management and, perhaps most importantly, meteorology! A successful spring/summer transition for an overseeded golf course is critical to the playing experience. What happens in May & June affects not just those months, but the summer and even through the fall and winter. 

Spring transition is the period when the course transitions from winter grass (Ryegrass) to summer grass (Bermuda grass). At my course, Wickenburg Ranch, we choose to fully overseed nearly all turf areas to enjoy beautiful rewards during the cooler months while Ryegrass can thrive in the Arizona desert. With this decision comes other practices which must take place during the warmer months, some of which can result in firm and fast conditions (and some less than ideal color). But what may be lost in perfect color is generally gained in long-term turf health and overall course conditions.

While this process happens each year, my brethren and I are often asked very understandable questions like, “What is wrong with your golf course?” or “Why aren’t you watering?” The answer is that we are always working to create ideal conditions, but sometimes the means to those ends can be counterintuitive. Understanding this balance is just a part of being a successful superintendent.

As a group, superintendents are a curious bunch, and we’re always looking for ways to do things differently and better. The Cactus & Pine Golf Course Superintendents Association has proved an essential network promoting the exchange of ideas. We enjoy a closeknit community, and I’m proud to be affiliated with such a hard-working and dedicated group.

So next time you see your superintendent, please give him/her a high five! They work hard every day to create a great experience for every golfer.

Andy Huber is a proud member and past-president of the GCSAA. He recently was named the Superintendent of the Year in Arizona, and is the course superintendent of the award-winning Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club.