ELYRIA COUNTRY CLUB by Eric J. von Hofen
The club and course first opened in 1905 with only a few holes. In 1925, famous golf course designer William Flynn rebuilt the course and added 9 more holes. Flynn went on to design a hand full of courses in Ohio and also designed Cherry Hills (Englewood, CO), The Country Club (Brookline, MA) and Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, NY). In 1975, golf course architects Jack Kidwell and Michael Hurdzan updated the course and added some new tees. Today the course is a mature beautiful 18-hole course that plays to 6,750 yards from the championship tees. Massive Oak trees line many of the fairways and the clubhouse area. Water is in play on 10 holes with the Black River providing a interesting views on 6 of these holes. The Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways are some of the best around.

Elyria has had only 5 golf course superintendents since the doors opened. It many areas of the country, this is unheard of. I was the superintendent of a course in Naples, Florida that had 12 supers in 5 years. This tells you how special Elyria CC really is and how crazy I was to take the job in Naples. In 1988 and 1989 I worked at Elyria, under CGCS Frank Feck, as a foreman and learned how to maintain bentgrass from a master. It was great to return 22 years later and see that the course is still on track and better then ever. Current superintendent, Pat Rodgers is the one calling the shots these days and he differently has his finger on the pulse of the operation. Congratulations to the member’s and staff for keeping a piece of Ohio history alive and well.

This HD video takes you on a tour of one of the oldest golf courses in Northern Ohio.

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At The 2011 Golf Industry Show Size Didn’t Matter

Toro booth at the GIS 2011 show in Orlando, Eric von hofen

Just like another golf season, we have another Golf Industry Show in the books and they seem to come and go quicker every year.  It’s hard to believe that golf turf industry professionals have been meeting, on and off, like this since 1927.  The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association teamed up to host this year’s event and they did a good job with what they had to work with.  The show was much smaller but the quality was there.  It seemed like the education offered was taken and enjoyed.  Lacking was any education for the guys that were taking the Club Managers path to better themselves or to become a Club Manager.  I also missed seeing the touch of class the Club Managers added to the show over the last few years.  For many attendees of the GIS, this was the only chance to rub elbows with the guys that hire superintendents or golf course architects. Many of the other decisions at the clubs are made by the men on the ground, the Superintendent. The show provided a good match for Superintendents looking for purchasing equipment or learning about the latest and greatest turf drug.

The floor of the GIS 2011 in Orlando, Eric von Hofen

I did feel like there were still a lot of guys missing from management companies and from the west coast.  There were a fair amount of guys from Europe that made the trip, which was good to see.  The buzz was that many could not make it because they were saving up for Las Vegas next year.   The college students and professors I spoke with all said that enrollment was down, but that it was not a bad thing.  The students that are enrolled now in the turf programs are there for the right reasons.  There were a few big name golf course architects noticeably absent from the show and the ones present asked many of us on floor for any job leads, big or small.  One guy even asked me the same question two times.

Over all this years show was worth the trip.  Going forward, I understand that there are talks about making more changes to the show and conference.  This is smart to ensure the financial stability of the GCSAA and NGCOA.  Good luck to our new CEO of the GCSAA, Mr. Rhett Evans, working through all of that. See you next year.

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