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John Reitman

By John Reitman

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Superintendent of the Year finalist: Bob Becker

When it comes to using his staff to complete construction projects at Scioto Country Club, superintendent Bob Becker, CGCS, says he is motivated by two factors: "I like building things," and "I hate seeing money walk out the door."

97994aaf3c3214175f12f3d83c44e2f6-.jpgBecker, 40, has been at this Donald Ross design in Columbus, Ohio for 17 years, including the past four as head superintendent. The course is ranked No. 52 on the Golfweek list of Top 100 Private Courses and is ranked among the top three private layouts in Ohio on just about every golf course rating service.
Becker's list of recent in-house projects includes removing a moat - at the urging of Columbus native Jack Nicklaus, who grew up playing at Scioto - that surrounded the No. 8 green, dredging an irrigation pond, a golf course restoration that was recognized by Golf Inc., and overseeing construction of a new maintenance facility. He and his crew also completed site work for a $21 million clubhouse renovation project that included all site work, building the parking lot, installing brick walkways and cart paths (about 1 million bricks in all) and working with utility companies on making all connections to the new clubhouse as Scioto applies the finishing touches in advance of this year's U.S. Senior Open.
Though he's never put pen to paper to figure out exactly how much this all has saved the club, the savings have been dramatic, and not overlooked by the club.
Workers at Scioto Country Club battled harsh winter conditions when removing a moat from the golf course."Bob is extremely budget conscious and works with the funds that are given him on a daily and yearly basis," said Scioto general manager Gregory Wolf. "He has been invaluable driving and monitoring the many construction projects that have occurred in his tenure."
Taking out the moat around No. 8 green was a tall task since much of the work occurred during one of the coldest winters in recent memory in central Ohio. Frozen ground, broken water mains that flooded the area with first water then ice made an already difficult project even more challenging on a course that drains water from the surrounding area.
"During big rains, everything flows through the golf course. We've built up greens over the years so it's not a problem," Becker said. "A ditch runs through the property, so during big rains we'll have rapids running through the course. We've become very efficient at moving water around this area.
"When the water main broke, there would be 10 feet of water on top of what we were working on.
Construction of the new maintenance facility was, the club admits, long overdue. The project included a wash bay, chemical-storage facility, separate area for Scioto's equipment manager, offices, break room, laundry facility for the entire club, intern housing, additional cart storage and even a members-only restroom facility for the nearby paddle tennis facility.
Construction of the facility included a wash bay for equipment, chemical-storage facility, room the equipment manager, offices and a break room. The building also houses laundry facilities for the club, intern housing, cart storage and member restrooms for the nearby paddle tennis facility.
"It is nothing for us to redo a tee complex, change a bunker or fairway line, we do that all in house with our staff under Bob's capable leadership,"Wolf said.
"All this was done in the worst winter in history in the Midwest, on-time and in-budget."
Bob Becker, CGCS, (far right) with members of his staff at Scioto Country Club.


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