On this edition of Tee It UP Grand Strand, host Shan Coughlin joins Jason Monahan and David Pridgen at Meadowlands Golf Club in Calabash, N.C. to discuss winter golf, course conditions and something that makes the course unique. With temperatures in the 70s in November, superintendent Pridgen tells Coughlin that 70 degrees anytime is good for playing golf. Despite the heavy rainfall the Grand Strand recently experienced, Coughlin asked him how golfers are able to play and ride the fairways at Meadowlands. “Well, we’ve drained fairly well, not too bad,” Pridgen explained. “Of course, during the rain, we were having to close for a few days, but were able to get out here fairly quick and clean everything up. We had help from the homeowners, and our members all pitched in. And we got everything done in a pretty timely manner with no adverse effects,” he told Coughlin. PGA general manager Monahan agreed. He said with just over two feet of rain in a small window of time, the course was forced to shut down for a few days, but the tight-knit community surrounding Meadowlands Golf Club allowed for a short turnaround time. “We have an outstanding superintendent and his crew,” Monahan explained. “…It was a group effort. It took us about two days to really do a thorough clean up and get the course prepared. But without the motivation of David and his crew, and the support of our community, we never would have been able to do it.”
Coughlin discussed the job of a superintendent and how laid back most individuals in that position seem, despite having to take care of the grass and the whole course. Additionally, Coughlin compared the position to being a chemist. “How do you do it?” she asked Pridgen. “Well, I guess we are just laid back on the surface,” Pridgen laughed. He explained there is a lot of pressure with keeping the course open for everyday play and trying to provide the best conditions for golfers. However, it’s a team effort, he said. In addition to the great pro shop staff, Pridgen said “I have a good staff, so I’m fortunate there. And the owners support us very well, too.”
Coughlin pointed out that it is unique to see Meadowlands allowing people to ride on the fairways during the overseeding process. Most courses ask drivers to stay on the cart path during the overseed process going into winter golf, she said. Pridgen responded, “Well, we clean the roughs up with preemergent [herbicide] before we put the seed out, or even after, and then come in and spray the roughs when it’s dormant with Roundup [weed killer], which helps control any tracking and stuff we have. We feel like it really doesn’t hurt the golf course any when we let them ride during overseeding. We try to limit the water to just what we need. And this year was an exception. We didn’t really have to water any because of all the rain. But I think people in general, it’s a little overrated to keeping them off the ryegrass while it’s trying to come up.” “That’s it,” Monahan added. “You’ve heard it from us. We’ve just stirred up all the controversy now. But it’s good because, you know, both David Pridgen and Matt Smith, the superintendent at Farmstead – they’re always thinking outside the box. They are always on how they can do their job and inconvenience the customer the least amount. And you have to remember, these guys are working on the course while people are playing. So they are constantly having to revise their pattern and what they’re doing and their timing to accommodate the customer. And for them to come to somebody like myself as a GM and say, ‘we’re going to let the customer ride the fairway when we drop seed,’ I’m thinking, ‘brilliant!’ This is absolutely great for them to take the initiative to do that; putting the customer first beyond their own wishes, ‘cause I can guarantee you these guys would really appreciate having more time to themselves on the course, but they work with the golf shop staff and make sure the customer comes first.”
Golfers can enjoy more than great weather at Meadowlands by taking advantage of great specials going on now. For more information about Meadowlands Golf Club, visit online at MeadowlandsGolf.com. There, golfers can book tee times. Golfers can also call the golf shop staff at 910-287-7529. Don’t forget to check out the sister course, Farmstead Golf Link by logging onto FarmsteadGolfLinks.com or by calling 910-575-7999.