Blog 257, 4/26/13 - Have You Played Sudden Valley Lately?

What a picture; the always gorgeous 5th at Sudden Valley.
When Jacob Close arrived at Sudden Valley in March 2011 he came with an impressive resume but, at age 29, no experience as a head superintendent. He had not put together or led his own team before, nor had he managed a maintenance budget, or dealt face to face with a demanding board/owner and fussy members who knew not the first thing about how to grow/drain/fertilize golf course turf...but certainly liked to think they did.
In just two short years, Close has not only built his team and established a fine working relationship with the members, he has taken Sudden Valley's soggy fairways and less than stellar greens and turned them into surfaces with which most private club members would be well satisfied.
Close received his degree in Turf and Landscape Management from Oregon State University in 2003 having interned at Cypress Point GC on the Monterey Peninsula where he worked on the renovation of three holes. That he sought an internship at Cypress Point, one of the top ten courses in the world (some would say the top one) tells you two things about him - 1) He is extremely ambitious and sees his long-term future preparing the turf at courses established among the nation's best, and 2) He is extremely industrious and good at what he does - consider how many requests from students enrolled in the country's top university landscape/turfcare programs the superintendent at Cypress Point must get every summer.
After graduating, Close got his first job as an assistant superintendent at the Reserve Vineyards GC in Aloha, Ore. from where he moved to Seattle and spent a year at the Broadmoor GC as the irrigation technician. In February 2007, Close moved to the prestigious Seattle GC where he worked under Matt Schuldt as an assistant superintendent.
14 used to be dark and wet.
I've never met Jacob and don't yet know exactly how he has achieved such magnificent results at Sudden Valley, but I'd be willing to bet it took an awful lot of sand to improve the drainage on the holes down by the lake, a good bit of tree-felling to allow more sunlight on to the course on the back nine especially, and a whole lot of...hard work.
To be perfectly honest, I always enjoyed playing Sudden Valley and obviously thought it a beautiful place, but I was never terribly keen on sloshing my way through the opening holes and putting on dubious greens covered in shadows. Yesterday I found what the members have been enjoying for over a year now - tidy, well-kept tees, firm fairways, and greens that, though far from quick, had the look and feel of surfaces that will be rolling beautifully come summer.  
I played with good friend and Sudden Valley member Bill Bailey whose company I'd enjoy if we were playing a nine-hole, trash-covered, inner-city muni in the pouring rain. That we played on a gogeous spring day and on firm, well-maintained surfaces made it all the more enjoyable.
I look forward to speaking with Jacob Close soon and finding out how he has managed to get such good results in just two summers. 

Add comment

Security code