Kansas City Superintendent enjoying second turn at Lake Quivira Country Club
Lake Quivira Country Club At-A-Glance
|Year Opened: 1930
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Superintendent: Jeff White
Number of Holes: 18
Turf: Penn A4 bentgrass on greens; zoysia on fairways and tees; fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and zoysia in the roughs
Turf Equipment: Jacobsen ECLIPSE 122F floating head walking greens mowers (7), Jacobsen ECLIPSE 322 riding greens mower (1), Jacobsen AR-522 rough mower (1)
For Jeff White CGCS, being a superintendent is better the second time around.
Jeff first took the head superintendent job at Lake Quivira Country Club in Kansas City when he was just 26 years old.
“At that age, I really didn’t have the skill set to handle all the different directions you’re pulled as a superintendent,” said Jeff. “I left and worked in the corporate world for four years, which was not a great experience. The grass wasn’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence.”
Jeff returned to Lake Quivira in 2005 with a new appreciation for the club and the job. “Lake Quivira members have worked really hard for what they’ve achieved and have a real appreciation for the club and what we do. I only have one boss and he is an awesome guy. He simply trusts us and lets us do our jobs.”
And for Jeff White and his full time crew of ten (and up to 20 in season), there’s plenty to do. Five hundred plus golfing members play 26,000 rounds a year – a higher number compared to other clubs in the Kansas City area. As typical for a course in the transition zone, each species of White’s grass is only at its peak for about 12 weeks. Adding to the challenge is a completely unpredictable, ever-changing climate.
“If I had my choice, I’d rather grow bent to the North or South of the transition zone. At least you know what you’re getting every year,” said White. “Here, it can be dry as the desert with humidity in the teens one year and completely flooded the next. You just never know. If we have a plan for the day that starts at 6 am, it’s completely changed by 6:30 am.”
Designers moved very little earth to create the 18-hole course, which follows the steep and hilly terrain surrounding Lake Quivira, a 200-acre spring-fed lake that provides White with water for irrigation.
“It’s a very scenic course with a misleading scorecard. People think they’re going to tear it up and end up shooting 90. It’s a lot tougher than it looks,” said Jeff. “People also don’t realize how much goes on here because there’s an additional 100 acres of parks and grounds, 6 acres of flower beds, and a forestry management program outside the general course maintenance.”
Jeff’s crew uses a fleet of Jacobsen ECLIPSE walking greens mowers to maintain the Penn A4 bentgrass.
“I grew up on Jake in Iowa. If you had a truck, it was a Cushman. If you had a greensmower, it was a Greens King,” Jeff said. “What’s amazing to me is that in the twenty-some years I’ve been in the industry, Jacobsen has not changed that cutting head. It’s always been good and always had the best cut, bar none. And it helps that the guys at Kansas Golf & Turf are always there to help keep our stuff in top shape.”
“We’ve now got the FOC (Frequency-of-Clip) dialed in on these mowers for certain times of the year. The FOC adjustments allowed us to go from mowing 6-7 days a week with our old Toros to mowing just 3-4 days a week with the Jake mowers – and that’s maintaining green speed at a higher height-of-cut. Just amazing,” said Jeff.
“You can really tell the difference when you use a prism. That’s the beauty of the Jake mowers; you can get a smooth, clean cut – even on higher heights-of-cut. We’ve been at .135″ for months now and consistently roll 10′. You just can’t beat it.”
Jeff also has an ECLIPSE 322 riding mower that he uses in the fall and winter when labor is scarce. “I take the heads off the walkers and throw them on the 322 and mow,” Jeff said. “You get the same quality-of-cut with added productivity.”
Reflecting more on his time away from being a superintendent, he also missed the brotherhood of being in the GCSAA. “There’s no other industry where you can call up a competitor to help you solve a problem,” says White.
“You can really tell the difference when you use a prism. That’s the beauty of the Jake mowers; you can get a smooth, clean cut – even on higher heights-of-cut. We’ve been at .135″ for months now and consistently roll 10′. You just can’t beat it.” – Jeff White, CGCS at Lake Quivira Country Club, Kansas City, Kansas