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Superintendent Has Westchester CC Ready for Senior Players Championship


A rainy spring followed by a very hot and humid July were not exactly what GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent Joe Alonzi was hoping for when he re-grassed the mostly Poa annua greens with A1/A4 bentgrass at Westchester Country Club in October.

"It's been challenging," said Alonzi, a 36-year GCSAA member who has been at Westchester the last 20 years. "This spring was excessively wet. It seemed like it rained every day. Then it got hot and humid beginning in July, and it stayed hot and humid all month. It started raining again in August. We've been nursing (the greens) along and if it will stop raining we should be able to get speeds up."

Alonzi is preparing Westchester for the Champions Tour's fifth and final major of the year, the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, August 18-21, in Rye, N.Y.

"I could not think of a better golf course superintendent than Joe Alonzi to manage through a difficult summer and still produce quality tournament playing conditions," said GCSAA member Jay Sporl, PGA Tour competitions agronomist. "The Champions Tour players are well aware of Joe's vast tournament skills and look forward to this very special reunion."

Alonzi has added five new tees stretching the course past 7,000 yards and completed a substantial tree removal program to aid the recent bentgrass project with improved air flow and additional direct sunlight. The 3-inch rough, a blend of Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue, has responded well to the recent rain and is thick. The greens are mowed at .110 inch, rolling smooth, and should firm up as the course dries out.

Alonzi holds an associate's degree in electrical engineering from the RCA Institute in New York and a turf management certificate from Rutgers University. He hosted the last 16 Barclays that the PGA Tour held at Westchester from 1964-2007. His staff of 53 will be assisted by 20 volunteers tournament week, a group made up of nearby superintendents, assistant superintendents, interns, turfgrass students, and industry vendors.

Alonzi has Westchester certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by implementing and documenting environmental management practices in the areas of environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and outreach and education.

He was honored along with his brother and their two sons in June 2006 by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association with its annual Family of the Year Award. His brother Robert Alonzi, CGCS, is a retired superintendent, and Bob's son Robert Jr. is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. Joe's son Chris Alonzi is the superintendent at Elmwood Country Club in White Plains, N.Y. They are the only course maintenance professionals to receive the award in the association's 48-year history.

The above report is courtesy of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. For more information, visit www.gcsaa.org.