The Mountain Harbour Property Owners Association proudly announces the appointment of Bob Cooke, PGA/CMAA, as General Manager of The Ridges Country Club, effective 1/22/2018. Bob and his wife, Debi, have taken up residence here in The Ridges Community.
Bob recently completed a very successful golf course project in the Cayman Islands, serving multiple years as Director of Golf & Club Operations at Safehaven Golf Club.
He was associated for 6 years with Bighorn Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour skins game, and the Tiger Woods Shootout, in Palm Desert, CA. Prior to Bighorn, Bob served 7 years as Director of Golf and Club Operations at Mullet Bay Resort & Casino, a 5-star resort, in St. Maarten, NA. He initiated the program of instruction at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, (The “Bob Cooke Killer Golf” School). PGA National hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship, 6 Senior PGA Championships, the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, and a multitude of national championships for various amateur and professional golf associations. He also served 16 years as director and instructor with the Golf Digest Bob Toski Instructional Schools, located throughout the U.S. His relationship with Mr. Toski goes back over 5 decades, and he is among Mr. Toski’s closest friends, as he became his protégé at a very early age.
Among his accolades are: PGA Professional of the Year; PGA Merchandiser of the Year; 2 times PGA Teacher of the Year; as well being the recipient of the prestigious Horton Smith Award. He has had the privilege of playing golf with 7 sitting presidents.
Bob started his career in golf as a young assistant professional, as many young men do. Bob worked at Oakmont CC, host to multiple major golf championships, and learned under the tutelage Hall of Fame golf professional, Lew Worsham, winner of the 1947 U.S. Open, and 3-time Ryder Cup team member. At the young age of 24, on the recommendation from Mr. Worsham, Bob was named the Head Golf Professional at Mayfair Country Club in Sanford, FL, the spring training site of the MLB Giants, and home of the Mayfair Open, where Arnold Palmer scored his first PGA Tour win. The Mayfair Open eventually morphed into what is known today as The Bay Hill Invitational.
Coming this May, Bob will be celebrating half a century in the golf management industry – 50 years of a commitment to excellence in performance.
Joining our golf staff as Director of Golf Operations and Marketing – as well as bringing his 40+ years of instruction to
The Ridges – is Keith Augustyniak. Keith was elected to full PGA membership in 1983, and has practiced his craft at well- known locations here and abroad, such as The Breakers Hotel & Golf Club in Palm Beach, FL, a 5-star and 5-diamond resort and golf destination, and as diverse as the Golf Club Saalbach, in Austria. He has also served on various boards designing and managing innovative golf projects at various locations throughout the world. In addition to his background in running golf courses profitably, and extensive teaching, Keith also has complete experience in turfgrass management for warm, cool, and transition zone grasses, and a full food and beverage education, managing facilities large and small, private, public, and municipally owned. He has worked with Bob in many projects, and they have maintained a professional and personal relationship for over 35 years. Combined, Bob and Keith bring over 100 years of professional golf management experience to The Ridges Country Club.
With a background specializing in making golf operations profitable, Keith will be working closely with Bob Cooke and the Board of Directors to establish programs designed to bring stability to the fiscal operations of the course and club, as well as providing world-class levels of service for members and guests. He will also be instituting various levels of instruction, designed to introduce the game to new players, no matter their age; junior programs to grow the game at the youth level; and conduct various clinics and discussion groups to address every level of player here at The Ridges.
The Golf Center is happy to have back Joey Hanan. You all know Joey, and the experience he brings to the operation. And we also have a new face, Georgie Connors. You will love her willingness to go the extra mile, plus her personality lights up the room.
We are extremely proud to have Betty Applegarth continue as Accounting Manager. As the club has grown, Betty has handled the difficult job of accurately sorting out the finances, and we are blessed to have her and the job she does. She has worked tirelessly to make the transition of the club operations as smooth as possible, and as you all know, she is complete in her efforts to handle the difficult job of accounting for every area of the club.
Jim Catron, and his outside staff of player assistants and course ambassadors are anxious to up their already great game of service to the members and guests. They recently completed a seminar provided by the regional sales and service manager of Club Car to better understand optimal operation of our cart fleet, and have spent hours this winter giving each cart a top to bottom cleaning and servicing. They have also been instrumental in replacing the GPS units in the carts that have developed problems, and will soon finish this upgrade to insure that each and every cart in our fleet has a perfectly functioning GPS for additional enjoyment of our members and guests.
Kirk Bass, GCSAA, our Golf Course Superintendent, Eric Clifton, Assistant Superintendent, and the grounds staff are finalizing plans for the upcoming season. Projects already completed include: #8 greenside bunker renovation; #16 fairway bunker replenishment; evaluation of drainage from the 13th green and running through the course. The latest stand of warmer, sunny weather has allowed the last areas of the course to thaw, and this is allowing all areas, especially the greens, to “perc” moisture more efficiently. Plans to fill in bunkers that are out of the main lines of play – for better aesthetics, easier playability, and reduced maintenance – are getting ready to commence, when the weather allows us to get started. The practice area received an extensive top-dressing to help the grass that will begin to “wake-up” shortly, to have a better chance to fill in evenly. Tee markers and rope defining areas from which to practice and better manage the turf have already been placed, and rotated, to give better turf in this important area. If Mother Nature can cooperate a little more, and give us a break from all the recent rains, you’ll find these improvements will give you a better area to work on your game. And all the items you would expect to find at the teeing grounds around the course are in the finishing stages of being spruced up and returned to their place on the course. Spend some time on the putting green, and you will find that the cups have been given a facelift for much better visibility. Any additional comments on how you might wish to see improvements implemented will be encouraged, as we want to hear what you want from your club.
Pride in belonging. Our mantra, our belief, and our daily goal.