Tour Report: Turf Talk: Magnolia Course

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By David McPherson, PGATOUR.COM contributor

Talk about big shoes to fill.

turf-talk-200
turf-talk-200

When Mike Bruno took over the head superintendent gig at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course at the end of July, the man he replaced — Scott Welder — was the first, and only keeper of the greens the 41-year-old course had ever known.

Bruno, who arrived in the Sunshine State from Frisco Lakes Golf Club, just north of Dallas, Texas, was up to the task.

“There were definitely some challenges when I got here,” he said when reached by phone on the day before the opening round of the final event in the PGA TOUR’s Fall Series.  “So far we’ve overcome a lot of them, but there is still room for improvement going forward.”

The major challenge, said the superintendent, is keeping the course dry.

“Historically, the golf courses here are really wet since they were built in a swamp area. This year we’ve had some pretty good rainfall, so the frequency of mowing was lacking.”

Thankfully, more recently, Mother Nature has been a help rather than a hindrance, allowing the course to dry out and increase their mowing frequency “to give the property a cleaner image.”

The late fall tournament date also helps. “I can’t imagine having the event here in August,” Bruno said.

The other major challenge the superintendent faced upon his arrival in the land of Mickey Mouse was recruiting staff and having time to train them to manage the property. Currently, Bruno’s crew is 38 strong.

“The biggest challenge was getting staff to the point where we could maintain the golf courses,” he said. “When I arrived we were short-handed. The previous superintendent had challenges getting bodies in here that were ready to work. We’ve added 10 people to the staff since I arrived. We had to get everybody trained and understanding the importance of all the detail items on the golf course.”