January 10, 2014
The folks at Rehoboth Beach Country Club now have a connection with one of America’s most famous golf courses—and with any luck, it could be a pleasant ongoing relationship for several years.
Charlie Schuyler, RBCC’s Head Golf Professional, will be taking a part-year position with Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters Tournament, while retaining his role at the Cape Region golf course.
Schuyler’s official title at Augusta will be Senior Assistant Golf Professional. The RBCC Board of Governors recently announced the arrangement, and noted their “great excitement and pride” in letting their members know about the good news.
“I think this is a real feather in Charlie’s cap, as well as ours,” said Ed Perry, the RBCC Club President, in a recent chat. “Charlie’s a great guy, and he’ll do well there. And, we get him back.”
For 2014, Schuyler is expected to report to Augusta early next month, and remain in Georgia until he returns to RBCC in June.
Augusta National typically closes down not long after the conclusion of The Masters Tournament, and reopens in the fall. It takes advantage of the closed period to make various tweaks and twists in the course for the next season. Every such change then becomes the subject of intense interest and debate by would-be golf architects around the world.
The dual-position deal with both RBCC and Augusta is not uncommon, at Augusta or at golf courses in the Northeast and Florida.
For example, one of the current co-Head professionals at Augusta also serves as the Head Golf Professional at a club on Long Island, NY. Schuyler is expected to return to Augusta in October 2014 and return to RBCC in June 2015. If everything works out as planned, the arrangement will continue in future years.
In the meantime, RBCC’s Pat Mastrian, the current First Assistant Golf Professional, has been promoted to Senior Assistant Golf Pro, under Schuyler’s leadership. Mastrian will be responsible for running RBCC’s golf operation during the off-season.
The deal with Augusta National is a proud moment in the career of Schuyler, who gracefully declined to be interviewed. As Perry said, it is also a point of pride for RBCC, who saw Schuyler’s potential in the difficult process of replacing Ron Barrows, the beloved and longtime RBCC head golf pro.
The Root of the Problem
The photograph accompanying last week’s column about tree cutting and planting on Cape Region golf courses showed the damage that tree roots cause to nearby paved cart paths.
The easy answer to that problem is to not pave over the areas that are likely to be invaded by tree roots, thus calling to mind the adage that for every problem there’s a solution that is quick, easy, and wrong. Some root systems spread out to a surprising width from tree trunks, and most golf courses try to keep their paved cart paths far enough from the fairways to prevent unintentionally impressive bounces.
There’s a trade-off there somewhere, and it’s even more important when those roots stretch into the fairways. Tree roots are remarkably unforgiving when golfers try to hit a golf ball and hit root instead.
A recent USGA Ruling of the Day discussed this particular playing hazard, and recognized the authority of a Committee to issue a limited Local Rule about roots.
The USGA suggested that the Committee could permit relief without penalty, where exposed roots encroach onto a “closely-mown area”.
If the roots would interfere with the lie of the ball and the area of the player’s intended swing, the golfer may lift and place the ball under the Abnormal Ground Conditions Rule 25-1, without adding a penalty stroke.
If the ball is lying among exposed roots in the adjacent treed area, however, any such relief comes with a stroke attached.