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NZGCSA Life Member Gordon Coombe retires after a magnificent career
While May 1st was the start of a new month, it also saw the end of a very long career for one of the stalwarts of the NZ Turf Industry –with Gordon Combe finally hanging up his boots on a 59 year career as a Green keeper.
In 1956 a young 15 year old Gordon started his traineeship at the Shirley Golf Course in Christchurch. Gordon stayed at Shirley for 4 years before moving across town to the Windsor Golf Course for about 1 year.
Gordon was approached one morning by the neighbouring Waitakiri Golf Club to become their Head Green keeper following the departure of the incumbent just a few weeks prior to a large tournament. He was at Waitakiri for the next 10 years.
He spent some time also working as a contractor undertaking maintenance and coring of greens, building of new greens including some bowling greens between Timaru and Kaikoura.
Around 1975 Gordon shifted up to Palmerston North with his young family. He was Course Superintendent at the well regarded Manawatu Golf Club for the next 12 years. During his time there, he prepared the course for many tournaments and saw through many improvements to the course.
1986 saw a move back south to Nelson. Gordon was Course Superintendent at the Nelson Golf Club for the next 18 years. He put a lot of effort into reconstruction projects and removal of large pine trees to begin the process of converting the course back to a true links style. This process has continued on over recent years.
After Gordon left in 2005, he spent time working for himself doing some lawn maintenance work. During that time he also worked on the construction and grow-in of a private 9-hole golf course near Nelson.
From late 2006 he worked as a Casual for Nelmac in Nelson, initially assisting with seasonal mowing and renovations on sports grounds, and since 2012 as Green keeper looking after the 9-hole Waahi Taakaro Golf Course which is part of the NCC Sports Grounds Contract.
Gordon has served on regional Green keeping Associations right through to a stint as President of the NZ Golf Course Superintendents Association.
He has always been one to promote training and education and sharing of knowledge and has attended many conferences in both New Zealand and Australia. His dedication is exemplified by the way he thought nothing of leaving Nelson in the early hours of the morning to travel down to Christchurch for a field day, to then drive home again at the end of the day.
Gordon recalls training 9 Apprentices who are still in the industry –spread across New Zealand and overseas. It must be with enormous pride that his son, Andrew is one of those.
I have known Gordon since beginning my apprenticeship in 1983 as one of the young fellas of that era. He has provided a huge amount of knowledge, support and inspiration to many of us over the intervening years.
Thank you Gordon for all the support and friendship you have given to me personally over the years, and for being one of the memorable characters of our Turf Industry. It has been a real privilege to have you come and work for me towards the end of your career.
Enjoy your very much deserved retirement!
Contract Manager, Nelson.
NZ FINE TURF SEMINAR
14TH - 17TH JUNE 2015
The Wellington Golf Course Superintendents Association is hosting the 2015 Seminar at Rydges Hotel downtown Wellington.
The event kicks off with the Parkland Products sponsored Golf Tournament at Miramar GC on Sunday.
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Jack Fry, Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources Kansas State University. There, he teaches courses in turfgrass culture, and golf course and sports turf operations, and conducts research on turfgrass environmental stresses, establishment, and pest control. In 2004, Dr. Fry co-authored the textbook Applied Turfgrass Science and Physiology.
Dr. Fry will talk on a range of interesting subjects:
Improving communication for career advancement; Turfgrass's niche in a green society; Managing Irrigation for Plant Health; Roots First-turf health depends on root health; and Overseeding.
Bruce Williams serves as a Director for the California Alliance for Golf, is on the USGA Green Section Committee and is the Executive Director of The California Turfgrass and Landscape Foundation.
Bruce will speak on Golf Course Operational Efficiencies, Time Management, and Networking.
Other Speakers Include:
Will Bowden - Benchmarkling Sustainable Golf Course Operations
Brendan Allen/James O'Malley - NZ Open
Sam Keats/Kelly Rose - Ohio Program
Dane Hawker-North Shore GC - Photography on the Course
John Freer - NZ Golf Course Managers Assoc
Dave Mangan/Dean Murphy - NZ Golf
Grant Watkins - Director RLH-Project Management