Post-Graduate Assistant in Training at East Lake Golf Club

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of two Post-Graduate positions here at East Lake Golf Club. Our club believes in growing the next generation of leading superintendents, with our Post-Graduate Program as the foundation. All information concerning the position and application process may be found below, and please forward the information to any future leaders you may know!
Charles Aubry and Jason Tharp
First Assistant Superintents
East Lake Golf Club

To view a PDF version of this application, click here.

Not Your Normal December

It seems as though most parts of the United States are feeling unseasonably warm weather this winter and East Lake is no exception to that. Currently we are going through a 3-day warm spell that is bringing low temperatures in the high 50's, and daytime high's in the low 70's. Our average high temperature for this time of year in Atlanta, Georgia is 55 degrees.

The unseasonable weather the past few months has presented our Agronomy department with added challenges, from disease management all the way to grain production in greens. Immediately after the TOUR Championship at the end of September we begin preparing our MiniVerde greens for dormancy. The cultural practices of grooming, ultra-grooming, verti-cutting, brushing, and topdressing are greatly reduced. Walking greens mowers are changed to smooth rollers and heights of cut are raised. In preparation for the first frost our goal is to raise canopy height to help protect the crown of the plant as well as increase leaf tissue, giving the plant the opportunity to build and store more carbohydrates for winter dormancy and spring green up. The higher H.O.C. also aides in avoiding excessive greens speeds throughout winter dormancy. With the increase in leaf tissue and reduction in cultural practices comes an increase in grain build up. Typically by this point in the year we have had one, if not multiple, hard frost occurrences on our greens. This weather event leads to a loss of turgidity in the plant leaves and stems, helping to decrease the grain effect on ball roll. Needless to say, we have not had this hard frost occur yet this year and grain build up has begun to significantly impact the surfaces of the greens.

To combat this, our team has taken an approach that is used weekly during our growing season to combat grain. Ultra-grooming. There's a first time for everything, and this year is no exception to that. Each Ultra-grooming blade is spaced 1/4" apart and offset from the previous blade. The process helps pull excessive material from the canopy, cut off runners on the surface "renegades", stand stems upright, and removes fatter leaf blades helping to produce a truer putting surface.

While 70's is warm for December, we know it's not nearly warm enough to sustain growth for substantial recovery of Ultradwarf Bermuda grass. That being said, the purpose and depth of the ultra-groomers was set to help alleviate grain issues without causing unrecoverable damage.

Material removed from one ultra-grooming unit on one green
The greens were backtrack ultra-groomed in the direction of the grain. The first pass was made going downhill with the grain and then again on the same pass going uphill. The day after, the greens were cross cut with a brush attachment on a J.D. SL 180. While green speeds did not greatly increase after performing the practice, the consistency in speeds from uphill to downhill putts and in-grain to with-grain putts greatly increased. We also saw a tremendous change in the balls ability to roll true and not "fall off" due to excessive grain on slopes.
Charles Aubry
Assistant Superintendent
East Lake Golf Club


Thankfulness: Perspective on Georgia GCSA and Beyond

A view from the 15th green at East Lake Golf Club, with Atlanta's skyscrapers in the background. 

A few things have happened in my professional life recently which have made me extremely grateful for how things are..... (read on to see what I mean).

This week one of our promising groundsmen is leaving East Lake to again take a position as a car salesmen. As he tells me how much he loves golf and working at East Lake, he also tells me, "They are what everyone says they are!", referring to car salesmen. He recounts stories of questionable workplace ethics as he hangs his head in disappointment. Envisioning myself working in an environment like that makes me nauseous. (I'm sure there are some great car salesmen out there, God bless you and I hope I buy from you.)

In hosting the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents' Annual Meeting earlier this week at East Lake, we experienced a very contrasting industry culture. The reality that we attend these meeting in order to connect, share advice, and offer a helping hand is significant in light of the way things could be. I have "grown up" in this industry attending seminars and meetings, rubbing elbows with Superintendents I look up to, and learning from the best speakers in the country. I have been taught by great men before me how to be a professional in every personification of the word, and for that I am thankful beyond words.

Monday night I was honored by the Georgia GCSA as the Assistant Superintendent of The Year. As I have reflected over the past few days, I am first humbled, but also overwhelmed by the fact that I am a product of the association and the industry that we work in.    

I am thankful that in our industry we support each other. Superintendents mentor young Assistants knowing that one day they will be the next "hot shot" Superintendents. Chemical and equipment companies pour LOTS of money back into educational events rather than flashy advertising. Leaders in our industry agree to devote time to develping a seminar that will teach others how to replicate some of their life's greatest accomplishments.  Across state lines and throughout this country this process is repeated as our industry strengthens itself from within, not waiting for someone from the outside to do it for us.

I am a product of our Industry, and for that I am thankful. 

Jason Tharp
Assistant Superintendent 
East Lake Golf Club

Photos from the 2015 GGCSA Annual Meeting at East Lake Golf Club

Tenia Workman Georgia GCSA Executive Director introducing the next speaker.

The East Lake Food and Beverage team did a phenominal job providing meals.

Catching up with industry friends.

Clear skies, how about that!

John Deere is always a tremendous sponsor of the Georgia GCSA, and this year was no acception.

Greens #1, with #2 in the background.

A special thanks goes to Caroline McGill of East Lake Golf Club for the fantastic photos! Thank you!

A Miraculous Recovery

Well, let's chalk this one up to hard work, good weather, and the resiliency of Tifway 419 Bermudagrass. Many of you have seen the less than stellar conditions that resulted from 3.85" of slow steady rain over the course of the Tour Championship. Since then we have made what is, in my opinion a miraculous recovery. Many areas are still far from perfect, but the amount of recovery that we have made in thirty-three days has far exceeded our expectations.

Our first step was smoothing the surface with one of our Tru-Turf greens rollers. Next, we set out to re-expose the surface tissue by washing the mud off and standing the leaves / stems back up with debris rakes. Additionally we followed with some potassium + nitrogen (10-0-20@ .75lbsK/m). Then nature and the good Lord took over with some warm temperatures for October (highs in the upper 70's) and sunshine.

From left to right: Hector, Kevin, and Banks use debris rakes to stand the surface tissue upright, while Ryan finishes up smoothing the surface with the roller.

Bermudagrass in most situations is a very tough and resistant turfgrass (it's main weaknesses are shade and temperatures below 20 degrees generally speaking). Specifically at East Lake, we have Tifway 419 bermuda in our roughs, and most of our tees, collars, and chipping areas. In this specific situation, our recovery has been reliant on the strength of bermuda's network of stolons and rhizomes. After high traffic with saturated soil, intensive rolling, and aggressive raking, the majority of damage done to the plant was loss of leaf tissue. In our opinion, the very most important recovery factor was the ability to get the surface tissue clean and upright where fresh air and sunshine were once again available.

We are extremely proud of our team's effort to help these areas recover, and very thankful for the recovery we have experienced.

Now, on to the next one. The East Lake Cup pairs the top four NCAA men's and women's teams against each other in match play format. The event will be live on The Golf Channel November 2nd and 3rd from 2:00pm -5:00pm ET.

As always, thank you for reading! We love the conversation of turfgrass and golf course maintenance so please reach out to us on twitter @eastlakegcagro

-Jason Tharp
Assistant Superintendent
East Lake Golf Club


PGA TOUR Championship Volunteer Program

Good morning!

We are now one month after the the 2015 PGA TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola here at East Lake Golf Club and looking back, our volunteer program was the most successful we've ever had! Because of the support of all of our sponsors, we were able to provide a first class experience for our volunteers.

The Volunteer Oasis had a constant supply of TV coverage, food, and Coke beverages for the Agronomy team.

In all we had 92 volunteers come from all across the Eastern United States to make the Tournament a huge agronomic success. As you can see above, our new "Volunteer Oasis" was a great venue for everyone to gather before and between shifts for food, meetings, and good conversation. Every single meal of the week was catered by many of our sponsors. We had everything from eggs, grits, bacon, and biscuits, to BBQ, pizza, brats, and pork chops. Needless to say, everyone was well fed throughout the week.
Our tremendous sponsors provided meals, snacks, jackets, hats, shirts, hotel rooms, and too many other things to count. It is important to note that we only reached out to companies who provide products or services that we use on a daily basis here at East Lake. We are proud to be sponsored by every one of these great companies. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Additionally we wanted to Thank Dr. John Kaminski of Penn State University for brining twenty of his senior turfgrass students, and professors Charles Granger and Ashley Wilkinson for bringing seven of their turfgrass students to Volunteer at the PGA TOUR Championship. We as a management team here at East Lake believe very much in giving back to the next generation of upcoming industry professionals. We put emphasis on spending time with everyone we could, talking turf, industry, and fielding any questions that came about. Thank you so much again for coming, it was a pleasure having all of you, and we hope it was a tremendous experience for you! Hope to see you again next year!
A photo from Saturday night of East Lake staff with Penn State students, Horry Georgetown students, and other volunteers from across Georgia and the East Coast!


Outside of the shop, it was down to business. The course was in great shape coming into the week, and with the help of our volunteer staff, the course was maintained to perfection every morning and night.


PSU senior JP getting after it!

Assistant Charles Aubry with his eyes on the prize...

East Lake crew waiting on golf to clear while sporting hats, shirts, and jackets provided by John Deere and Bayer. Thank you!

Bunker care procedures changed slightly everyday according to environmental conditions. Here Charles gets everyone on the same page.

Crews waiting for fairway mowers and blowers to clear #5 fairway.

East Lake's Jon Garbe and PSU's Dylan getting ready to rock and roll with NBC in the background.
As you can see on the radar behind me, things were about to change....

The entire team showed tremendous effort and resiliency even when the rains came!
Radar, radar, radar.......

If you have not had a chance click over to Turf Republic to check out all of the coverage from throughout the week.

The East Lake Agronomy Team with PGA TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup champion Jordan Spieth. You could not ask for a better champion. Very gracious with and without the cameras, and very appreciative of our team's great effort throughout the championship.

Thanks for reading, and recapping the 2015 PGA TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola with us. We hope that many more qualified golf course maintenance employees and students are able to join us for the 2016 championship! If you are interested, send an email to or and we will get you on the email contact list for next spring.

-Jason Tharp
Assistant Superintendent
East Lake Golf Club