August 26, 2015 – When the ownership at Legacy Golf Resort at the Pot Holes decided to upgrade and expand the hillside golf course, it also decided to hire the best available person to lead the charge.
He is on-the-job trained and Rutgers University-educated Charlie Jenkins. And it’s a serious effort he’s leading. The ownership group brought in 10 temps from a Moses Lake agency to be able to make all of the improvements this year.
So far, four of them are getting it and are working out to be good candidates for permanent jobs, said Jenkins, who took over as greens superintendent on July 8.
Jenkins said it will take a staff of five to maintain the golf course after the improvements.
This upgrade is important to the ownership group. It has already invested a lot of money expanding from nine to 18 holes.
The group’s plan is to recoup the investment and to profit through the sale of golf course homes. To do that, the group needs the course to be in a condition that will attract buyers.
There is no time to waste, Jenkins said. Hole No. 3, which had a lot of damage at the time of this interview, should now be in good shape.
Playing shape is something Jenkins understands well. He has been a golfer since he was a kid.
“My cousin and I would be dropped off at the golf club,” he said. It was our babysitter. We played until they came back for us.”
That golf course was Lake Woods Golf Club in Jenkins’ native Bridgeport. He is now about a 9-handicapper.
“I have a long game, but my short game kills me,” he said.
Besides understanding the term “playing shape,” Jenkins, 44, holds a turf management degree from Rutgers University. It is the top-rated school in the country for this specialty.
“It’s tough to get into that school,” he said.
In high school, golf was just a game for Jenkins. He had no designs on a golf career as a player or otherwise. Instead he concentrated on track and field, and was listed among Who’s Who Among American Athletes.
Jenkins high jumped 6-11.75 in high school, and he cleared 7-0.5 for Spokane Falls Community College. He competed in the national junior college decathlon.
Charlie started his golf career a year after graduating from high school. He met a girl in Spokane while attending Spokane Falls Community College and, as they became closer, he wanted to live closer. He got a job at a Spokane golf course not knowing he would like the work as much as he does today.
“It’s a passion,” he said. “It feels good when someone says ‘That green looks really nice’ or ‘The fairways are looking great.'”
Jenkins graduated from high school in 1990. He started at SFCC that fall.
Because of the girlfriend, Jenkins took a greens keeping job at Manito Country Club in Spokane before his second year at SFCC. It was a seasonal full-time job that overlapped with college at SFCC in fall and spring.
In his third year at Manito, the golf course set up a stipend fund to support Jenkins’ formal schooling, slated for his fourth year, at Rutgers. A requirement of the Rutgers course was to maintain employment at the golf course.
“I did everything I studied and then some at Manito,” Jenkins said.
The course consisted of four months of classroom, eight months on the golf course proving the study and four more months in the classroom again.
“We did almost four years of study in 12 months,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins moved from Manito to Avondale Golf Course in Hayden Lake, Idaho and stayed seven years. Then it was on to Moses Lake Country Club for three years.
Thinking he needed a break from golf, Jenkins took one for a year and a half. He moved to Seattle and did underground construction for his brother’s company.
Then the passion came back. Jenkins returned to where he learned golf, Lake Woods Golf Club in Bridgeport. He actually went back at the behest of the school district
He helped at Lake Woods while he coached volleyball, basketball and track and field and was a member of school grounds maintenance department.
The school district made him the full-time grounds maintenance supervisor the second year. He did that for two years and continued to help at the golf course.
When Jenkins learned earlier this year that Legacy was looking for a skilled, educated superintendent, he jumped at the opportunity. He went through the interview process and came out on top.
Really on top. He lives up the hill from and above the golf course. With potholes fishing close by, life is great.
“I love this place,” he said.
Knowing his business as he does, Jenkins is giving his Best Temp Agency employees who agree the full golf experience. Four are learning to play golf, and two, who are retired policemen, play golf.
“Those guys cut some straight lines,” he said. “They know what golfers need from a golf course.”