A total of nine students, faculty and alumni from the Horry Georgetown Technical College Golf and Sports Turf Management Program worked on the grounds crew at this past week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.
The HGTC team assisted Quail Hollow’s grounds crew in the daily maintenance of the course before, during and after tournament play and documented some of their experiences through the college’s Snapchat account, gohgtc.
The college attempts to provide its students with real-world educational experiences and consistently takes crews to large events including the Ryder Cup, Masters and Notre Dame vs. Navy football game.
“Being able to get the students some experience and be able to network, that’s what it’s all about,” said professor Charles Granger, who was among the nine working the PGA. “It’s about student engagement and it keeps us relevant. We’re able to give the latest and greatest from the best golf clubs in the country.”
HGTC offers the only two-year associate degree in Golf & Sports Turf Management in South Carolina and has more than 50 students enrolled in the program.
Granger and fellow professor Ashley Wilkinson, who are both HGTC alumni and former golf course superintendents, worked on the firmness and speeds of Quail Hollow’s new Champion ultradwarf Bermudagrass greens.
“It was an exciting week. What a great championship,” Granger said. “[PGA Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh and his team did a great job setting up the golf course.”
The HGTC crew worked seven days and often went to sleep after midnight and awoke at 3 a.m. “But that’s major championship golf,” Granger said.
The crew included students Michael Sisk and Colin Shannon, incoming freshman Easton Davis and recent graduate Russell Ambrose, who is Quail Hollow’s fellow and will gain insight into agronomy and the golf course management business through a fellowship program supported by the course and John Deere.
HGTC teams have worked the Wells Fargo Championship in the couple years Keith Wood has been Quail Hollow’s superintendent.
Three HGTC students will be working the upcoming PGA Tour playoff event the Dell Technologies Championship – formerly the Deutsche Bank – at TPC Boston and four will work the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Between Granger and Wilkinson, this year they have worked the PGA, four PGA Tour events and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club. In most instances they bring students with them.