“Sometimes I walk around and realize there are millions and millions of grass blades and it’s amazing,” says Blake Halderman, 39, when asked about the rewards he reaps as the guy charged with keeping all those millions of grass blades in perfect shape for the club members and their guests. “The course is 152 acres—with three acres of greens. You may play and say it’s really good. But when I’m out there, all I see are the spots that need to be fixed.”
Halderman has been tending to the greens, fairways, bunkers, rough, trees, cart paths, irrigation system, practice areas, and the other hundred details of Brae Burn since 2004. He started his career working summers at a course in New Hampshire, then went on to earn a degree in horticulture from the University of Rhode Island. He’as serving this year as president of the Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association.
He’s part scientist, part farmer, and part prognosticator. “Every day, I have to know what the temperature’s going to be, evapotranspiration rates [an important part of the water cycle], what the wind’s going to be, what’s the humidity.” He also spends a lot of time with his crew of 22, which includes two assistants, doing whatever needs to be done. “Every day is a little different. When we had our two-day member-guest tournament and I wanted to make the course conditions extra, extra good, we started at 4:30 in the morning. We raked the bunkers using the headlights on our carts for light.” Halderman is usually in his office by 6 a.m. and seldom leaves before 5 p.m.
Halderman says he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I always had an interest in natural science, and I like the outdoors and sports, so this combines all of that.”