The Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association changed leadership at its annual convention this week in Myrtle Beach, with the two top positions assumed by a Midlands resident and a former S.C. Golf Association staffer.
Tim Kreger, part of the Irmo-based SCGA team for 6 1/2 years, became the organization's executive director, succeeding long-time director Chuck Borman. Jeff Connell, superintendent at Fort Jackson Golf Club and formerly of Columbia Country Club, became president following a term as vice president and taking over from Lexington native and Pinehurst No. 2 superintendent Paul Jett.
"We want to continue to work on our Rounds4Research (a fund-raising initiative to generate money for Clemson and N.C. State turf research programs, which began last year), continue working on water and taxes and all the issues that affect everyone in golf," Connell said. "The PGA, the owners, the turf(-research) folks, the superintendents - we're all in this together."
Kreger, 35 and a 1997 Clemson graduate, joined the CGCSA last year with, he said, a goal to "position the golf course superintendents as the leading professionals in the (golf) industry. We have some of the most-educated people in the business, what with all the certification processes we go through.
"(A golf course) is a living product. We face the same challenges as farmers; you can't just walk away at the end of the day."
Kreger said his hope is that in time, "every member of a golf course knows his superintendent by name, as much as they do the golf pro."
CGCSA headquarters are in Liberty, S.C.
TV time. For nearly a decade, family-built Penny Branch Club in the tiny Hampton County town of Furman has been a well-kept secret. Thanks to the Golf Channel, that's about to change.
A five-person video crew descended on Truett McKenzie's course recently for a day-long filming session, which will become part of a Golf Channel series called "Destination Golf: South Carolina," to air on Feb. 9.
The Penny Branch episode will tell how McKenzie and his son, Chris (now superintendent at Spring Valley Country Club), carved an 18-hole layout from a family farm from 1998-2000.
"They filmed the story of Chris and me building it, shot a few holes," Truett McKenzie said, and laughed. "I was glad for them to leave. My legs were tired."
The McKenzies hope to lure more players to their location as a result of the show. "They said they filmed four (courses) in the state: (Pawleys Island's) Caledonia, (Kiawah Island's) Ocean Course, (Hilton Head's) Harbour Town ... and Penny Branch," Truett McKenzie said. "We're in pretty good company."
For information, go to pennybranchclub.com.
Carolinas Pro-Pro. USC men's golf coach Bill McDonald and partner Curt Sanders, a former Midlands professional, will defend their title in the Carolinas PGA Pro-Pro Championship, Dec. 1-3 at Pinehurst Country Clubs Nos. 1, 4 and 8 courses. A total of 81 teams will compete in alternate-shot, four-ball and captain's choice play.
Amateurs extend streak. The S.C. Golf Association team ran its win streak over the S.C. PGA Section's best to six years in winning the Palmetto Cup at Forest Lake Club in Columbia. The state's top amateurs won 12 of 18 points in singles play to cruise to a 16.5-10.5 victory. The series now stands at 13-13-1, with one rainout.
Chip shots. Columbia native Dustin Johnson recorded two PGA Tour distance "records" in 2009. For the second consecutive year, the former Coastal Carolina All-American was the only player to win a tournament (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) while also leading the field in driving distance. Johnson also had the most 400-yard drives (five) for 2009. ... Columbia's Alan King and Batesburg-Leesville's Cody and Caleb Proveaux took top honors in the National Junior Golf Tour's College Prep Series at Mid Pines Club in Southern Pines, N.C. King shot 76-69 to take the boys 16-19 title, while Cody Proveaux claimed the overall (14-19) crown. Caleb Proveaux captured the boys 10-11. ... Sumter High MVP Brian Amick has signed to play for three-time Division II champion USC Aiken. Amick won back-to-back SCJGA Tommy Cuthbert South All-Star titles, and had top-five finishes at the Carolinas Junior PGA and The Blade. ... Hidden Valley CC in Gaston will host its annual "Backwards Tournament" Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. Twenty captain's choice teams will play the course roughly green-to-tee (from the 18th fairway to the 17th green, for instance). Cost is $40/player; entry deadline is Dec. 1. Call (803) 794-8087. ... Hank Haney will lead the Carolinas PGA Section's winter education seminars, to be held during the CPGA's Golf Week and Merchandise Show, Feb. 22-23 in Myrtle Beach.