More than just golf: East Lake Golf Club and John Deere


Ralph: The reputation was that it’s a great golf course that’s been basically neglected for many years. The bones of the golf course were good as far as just the layout of the, of the golf course, but conditions were really rough. In my interview basically laid out a plan to try and improve conditions of the golf course, starting with the Greens, which was always the key. And really that was the selling point was what can we do to make this golf course start getting better again. Ralph: In the end Mr cousins decided he wanted to buy it. He grew up here and he wanted to Redo it. And I think in the process of that he kind of had this idea of changing the neighborhood and it all started with East Lake Meadows, which was next door, which was at that time known as the worst housing development in the U.S. highest crime and highest pregnancy rates, lowest employment rates. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but was there, was there immediate surge to this is the vision, this is what we’re going to do. Ralph: Yeah, that was a little strange because nobody ever would have thought before we even open the U.S. amateur was headed here and we hadn’t even opened yet. And little did I know eventually the tour would come here. Our first tour championship was in 1998. The US Amateur was 2001 and it’s been, she would’ve had 19 two or championships now it seems like they fly by. Yeah. And, uh, it’s, it’s just been a great experience, has been a lot of fun. Charlie: When we build out our agronomic program year over year, uh, we basically start from the tour championship and we work backwards and warm. That’s part of my job is make sure that we’re hitting our marks as we lead into the tour championship. Um, we have a 10 day maintenance closure every year, which used to be in July this year. It’s at the end of June. Things have moved with the change and tournament dates. So nowadays what we’re doing is at the end of June, we’ll have our closure. This is our 19th through her championship this year. So I like to think we’re getting it dialed in as the years go by. But every single year we make adjustments to the program just to tweak it a little bit more to get it to be a little bit better. Um, but that’s really when things start to to ramp up is I would say about 50 days out before tournament. Ralph: I mean, between our distributor and John Deere, we’ve always had great service for the tournaments we get the equipment we need. So the relationship has been strong and, Deere always been willing to do whatever they can to help us even, you know, tournaments, support support and equipment. Charlie: Where units seem to be a hair above the best I would say when it comes to quality of cut. Um, and after appearance. Um, yeah, I mean overall their equipment’s been very good, very helpful, reliable, um, been pretty happy with it. Ralph: It’s the home course of Bobby Jones. I mean, it’s hard to have a whole lot more weight than that to me. I, I love the fact that this was the golf course he learned to play golf on. It’s the golf course. He played his very last round. you can look around this place and just kind of picture him out here. Charlie: But at the end of the day, when we’re standing out on the 18th green with the winner of the tour championship on Sunday at all, kind of comes full circle and there was a lot of emotion in that moment. And you know, that’s when most of the pride comes up from me.

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