The first green at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y., in January 2021 (left) and in late June. Photos courtesy of Anthony Chapman
After a practice round at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y., on Tuesday, in preparation for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open July 2-4, PGA Tour Champions golfer Paul Goydos had some kudos to dole out. Goydos, who once shot a 59 in a PGA Tour event and recorded two wins on that tour, described in a phone call with GCM just how impressed he was with En-Joie, a municipal course that not all that long ago was coping with a dire set of circumstances delivered by Mother Nature.
“There’s a story here not being told,” said Goydos. “I’ve never seen a public or municipal course in this type of condition. It’s in as good of condition as any I’ve ever played.”
When Goydos’ sentiments were relayed to GCSAA Class A superintendent Anthony Chapman, the nine-year association member took a pause. “That’s pretty good,” said Chapman. And, following another pause, “That’s awesome.”
Back at the start of 2021, En-Joie was far from awesome. Parts of the golf course were covered with 3 to 4 inches of ice, with six of the facility’s greens (Nos. 1, 4, 7, 10, 14 and 15) encased in silt topped by a layer of ice. The conditions were the result of 40 inches of snow followed by 2 inches of rain and severe flooding, all capped by a deep freeze. Chapman estimated in mid-January that up to 30 acres of course turf, including at least 12 fairways, were buried in ice.
January vs. June on En-Joie’s 15th green.
A pile of silt removed from En-Joie’s fourth green during a single verticut earlier in 2021 (left), and the green pictured in late June.
Editor’s note: Read more about En-Joie’s winter-weather trials and tribulations and see more photos in Iced in at En-Joie Golf Club.
En-Joie’s recovery entailed aerifying greens with half-inch solid tines 4 inches deep. Greens were verticut a couple of days after aerification. Greens were then aerified again with 5/8-inch hollow tines at 1.5-inch spacing, after which most of the silt had been removed. Next, the addition of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet of Verde-Cal enhanced gypsum helped loosen the soil and aid water percolation. Chapman then implemented a fertility program focused on helping the turf recover from all the mechanical stress. He also used wetting agents to push water through the soil and keep it moving.
“The greens bounced right back,” Chapman says, noting March brought sunny skies and brisk winds that helped dry the course. “I was more relieved that everything we did worked out. People here (who play regularly) said, ‘You worked miracles.’ It was more shock and awe for them. For us, it was back to normal.”
Goydos (right), who has been playing in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open for several years and won the tournament in 2016, touted the entirety of En-Joie’s playing surfaces. “Greens are firm. They (PGA Tour Champions officials) can get any speed they want. In the fairways, you can’t even tell a divot was taken. It (turf) is so healthy, the divot stays in one piece, and when you put it back, it fits perfectly. I’ve never seen that before,” he said. “Bunkers are perfect. Rough cuts are uniform. I’m astounded how great of condition the course is in.”
More compliments rolled in on Wednesday during an on-site news conference, this time from Alex Cejka, who had just finished a pro-am. “I was expecting actually a really soft course (from rain Tuesday), but the greens are phenomenal, the fairways still are great,” said Cejka, whose career has included three top-11 major finishes. According to Chapman, the course received .45 inch of rain on Tuesday.
For Goydos, what makes him marvel most is what En-Joie represents. “The biggest thing is, it’s not a private course that has the funds. They do what they can to make money,” he said. “It’s got to be quite a treat for those who get to play it every day.”
The kind words from Goydos are no doubt uplifting for Chapman, who arrived at En-Joie 11 years ago as an assistant and took the superintendent reins in 2014. “Any time you get a compliment like that, it means everything,” Chapman says.
The 2021 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open: Golf course facts
The 2021 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open will be held July 2-4 at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y.
The team readying En-Joie Golf Club to host the 2021 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Greens: Bentgrass/Poa annua maintained at .100 inch
Tees: Bentgrass maintained at .380 inch
Fairways: Bentgrass/Poa annua/ryegrass maintained at .400 inch
Rough: Bluegrass/ryegrass/fescue maintained at 3 inches
Year built: 1927
Architect: Ernest Smith
Renovation: Michael Hurdzan in 1998
Average green size: 8,000 square feet
Acres of fairway: 25
Acres of rough: 75
Number of sand bunkers: 50
Number of water hazards: 9
Soil conditions: Clay loam
Water sources: City water
- From the early 1970s to 2006, En-Joie Golf Club hosted an annual PGA Tour event known as the B.C. Open. The name referred to the “B.C.” comic strip created by Johnny Hart, who was born and raised in Endicott. Hart’s “B.C.” characters were used by the tournament in advertising and merchandise as well as on the tournament trophy. Read more from the PGA Tour in 50 years at En-Joie and the connection to a famous comic.
Anthony Chapman, superintendent
Kyle Corcoran, assistant superintendent
John Mazar, equipment manager
Number of employees: 27
Number of tournament volunteers: 10
Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.