Friday, October 9, 2015

Kevin Breen, CGCS, visits the Lone Star State

Talk about a Texas-sized welcome! The members of the Lone Star GCSA rolled out the red carpet for GCSAA Board Director, Kevin Breen, CGCS, at their recent highlight event of the year – The Texas Trophy. For close to 30 years, the chapter has rounded up superintendents, assistants and industry partners for three days of great golf, social events, networking opportunities and education.

This year’s event was held smack-dab in the middle of Texas at Horseshoe Bay Resort near Marble Falls. This beautiful venue hosts five of the most beautiful courses in Texas and participants were treated to play two of the best – Apple Rock and Summit Rock. Ken Gorzycki and his amazing staff had the courses in outstanding condition and the resort delivered first class treatment throughout the entire event.

Kevin’s attendance was part of the GCSAA board of directors' Outreach Program that allows board members to travel to regions outside of their home base to meet members and gain feedback. It is a terrific program and many of the board members have had great visits across the country. Kevin came to Texas via New Jersey directly after the board’s fall meeting but was no worse for the wear. He arrived Sunday night just in time for the really cool Long Drive contest held high on the hill of the Apple Rock course. Chapters send up their longest shooters in hopes of capturing the coveted title and the $500 prize! The South Texas GCSA chapter took home the coveted title with three out of four of their competitors blasting their shots more than 300 yards. Tanner Chrastecky of Crystal Falls Golf Club was the individual champion with a 336-yard bomb. Tanner had a great week – you’ll hear that name again…

No trip to the Lone Star State would be complete without a little good-natured ribbing from Johnny Walker. Kevin was treated to his fair share at the Long Drive contest. Let’s just say that the PG-13 version of the story Johnny told got the festivities rolling. Everyone in Texas knows that all bets are off when Johnny Walker has the microphone and he didn’t disappoint giving everyone their fair share.

Bright and early the next morning, the Central Texas GCSA hosted the Education Session for the event headed by yours truly with a huge assist from John Daniels of the USGA. Our topic was Government Regulation in Golf and we had great feedback and discussion from the early bird attendees. Kevin gave a very good presentation on the proposed Membership Standards and the information was very well received. Kevin was also provided input from the board of directors' perspective regarding government regulations, which was very helpful. 

Following the education session, the group headed to Apple Rock for round one of the championship. As noted, the course was in terrific condition and the good scores reflected that fact. Kevin had the opportunity to play golf with Lone Star GCSA Past President and tournament host, Ken Gorzycki, CGCS. They had a great time on the course and Kevin was a gracious guest by not showing off his golf game too much.

Later that evening, Kevin and I attended the really great dinner on site at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. Kevin said what he lost in golf balls that day he gained back in pounds as he enjoyed some real Texas BBQ and all the fixings. LSGCSA President Terry Gill recognized Kevin during announcements at the dinner and he took the opportunity to thank all of the participants for making him feel so welcome. After dinner, Lone Star members were treated to a round of “miniature golf” on the very unique putting course at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. This is a spectacular botanical, tropical setting and worth the trip if you are ever near Horseshoe Bay. Kevin and I served as unofficial starters on the first tee and greeted players as they teed off.

A real cool thing happened when I introduced Kevin to local compost tea guru, Jamie Kizer. Jamie is a third generation superintendent and has committed to managing his course in a very natural manner. He has made an incredible reduction in chemical inputs and lowered costs through his work with compost tea and other natural inputs. Jamie and Kevin hit if off like long-lost brothers and compared notes on tea, carbon, microbes, you name it. They traded contact information and I’m sure they will stay in touch to share successes.

The next day was the final round of the tournament and the close of the Texas Trophy. Following the round, Kevin made a quick exit to catch his flight for a much deserved and anticipated trip home. I know Kevin had a great trip but was excited about getting home to his family after a really long stretch on the road.

For the second consecutive year, Tanner Chrastecky of Crystal Falls Golf Course was crowned individual champion of the Texas Trophy. He also led the Central Texas GCSA chapter to the team championship for a clean sweep of all of the awards. I told you he had a great week!

A few days after settling back to home and work, Kevin sent me this quick message “The Texas Trophy event was the best multi-day chapter event I have ever attended. Everyone was very welcoming and I enjoyed making new friendships and learning a thing or two, which is what a good association is all about. It is the type of interaction that GCSAA is encouraging board members to do outside their own regions, and I feel like I got the best event of anyone on the board. Thanks so much to everyone with the Lone Star GCSA and the Central Texas GCSA for everything.”

Thank you, Kevin, for taking the time to join us in the South Central region. We really enjoyed having you in the Lone Star State and appreciate your participation. Please plan to come back soon.