He’s never played golf: Grounds keeper spends countless hours on the course
Published 12:08 am Friday, February 27, 2015
Taking care of a 200-acre piece of property would be no walk in the park, but when tacking on keeping the grounds in pristine condition for golfers, one has just described the monumental task of the Vicksburg Country Club’s grounds keeper.
Charles Brooks has been working at the club for 20 years and describes his job as continuous.
“It is consistent work to keep the golf course nice for the golfers. It’s a lot that goes into maintaining a golf course that people just don’t realize,” said Brooks, but added that he likes doing a good job for the players.
“I see these guys and see how they enjoy it,” he said.
Brooks said his day begins with a ride around the greens.
“Stuff can pop up quick since we have to keep them cut so low, many things can affect them,” he said.
During the winter months, Brooks and his crew are not cutting grass, but they do have to keep an eye on the temperature, and if it gets too cold they have to cover the greens.
“That is one of the things I hate to do. It’s cold, and the wind is blowing the tarps everywhere,” said Brooks.
The fall brings its own challenges when the leaves start falling, he said, but obviously the spring and summer months are the busiest times of the year for Brooks and his crew.
“I am very fortunate to have a good group of guys that know what they are doing,” said Brooks.
Some days Brooks said he and his crew could be out on the course between 4 and 5 a.m. working 12-hour-days.
“A lot of times we are cutting grass with headlights. We like to have all the greens cut before the golfers start arriving at 7 a.m.,” he said.
Daily vertical cutting is done to help keep thatch at bay, said Brooks, and he also has to keep the one and half-acres in greens, an acre of tee boxes, and 20 acres of fairways fertilized, sprayed with herbicides and watered during dry days.
“There is also a lot of spraying for ants after a rain,” said Brooks.
Critters at the club can also mean work for Brooks and his men.
“I hate when gophers get in the greens and fairways. We try to eradicate them by using the typical poisons,” he said.
Maintaining the three tractors and three mowers with sprayers is another part of Brooks’ responsibility at the VCC.
He claims it is his least favorite thing about his job and hates when he finally finishes fixing one piece of equipment only for another to break down.
Brooks grew up in Vicksburg and before taking the job at the VCC said he worked at a factory for about 12 years.
“I got tired of standing in the same place all day long and just left. There was an ad in the paper for a mechanic at the club, and I was hired.”
Since taking the job two decades ago and then becoming the number one in command in maintaining the golf course, he said he has learned a lot by trial and error and from his friend, Kent Smith, the golf pro at the Clear Creek golf course, in Bovina.
Ironically, Brooks spends more time on the VCC golf course than any member of the club, but has never played the game.
“I have hit a few balls,” he said.
Fortunately for Brooks, he doesn’t have to be a golfer to enjoy being on the course.
“What I like about the job is there is always something different. There is never the same thing, and I always learn new things every year. During the right time of year, it’s just beautiful out here when everything is growing and green, and hole number 17 is one of the prettiest spots because you are standing up on a big hill and looking out over the course.”