Kyle Marshall is a dreamer, and his dream resulted in repeats.
“I always dreamed of being able to see a golf course built. I thought it was necessary to understand every component of the business,” says Marshall, a 30-year GCSAA member. “I wanted to see every aspect of it. I thought it would make me a better superintendent — and it did.”
On five occasions, Marshall has been involved in golf course grow-ins. The first was The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, and the most recent — Capital City Club in Atlanta — has been home since 2000. Marshall, 48, was hired at the historic facility that already featured one golf course (Brookhaven, where entertainment legends Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had played in a golf exhibition) and was adding another called the Crabapple Course.
Crabapple opened in 2002, and 15 years later, it’s hosting its first USGA Championship: the 37th annual U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, Oct. 7-12. (Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton is serving as stroke play co-host.) Although numerous golf courses in the South have transitioned from bentgrass to bermudagrass greens, Crabapple has stayed the course with bentgrass greens and bermudagrass fairways, for now.
October is ideal for hosting a marquee event, says Marshall, director of golf courses and grounds. “For Atlanta, I think it’s the best time of the year. We will have challenging rough, and it’s the best time of the year for bentgrass. We should be at the pinnacle of conditions for our course,” he says.
Marshall has lived and breathed this industry since his youth. His father, Grover Marshall, was a superintendent, and spent more than four decades at Sunset Hills Country Club in Carrollton, Ga. “I remember me and my brother (Kevin) riding on the back of dad’s tractor. He’d be watering greens with a hose and a stand,” Marshall says. “I learned so much from him. A lot of it is his work ethic — doing what it takes to get the job done, doing the right thing.”
Marshall (his wife is Tracy and their daughter is Sydney) says his staff at Capital City Club — which includes Crabapple’s Michael Studier, CGCS, a 17-year association member; Brookhaven Class A superintendent John Santora, a 13-year member; and first-year member Don Lanning, equipment manager — have the right stuff. “The most important thing is membership, and we’re treated like family here,” Marshall says.
Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.