We spoke with Ken Mangum of the Atlanta Athletic Club shortly before his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame last weekend. The golf course superintendent recently announced his retirement as director of golf courses and grounds from the Johns Creek, Georgia-based club in May.
Mangum’s career spans 40 years and he has been with the club for 26 years, through five major championships, six major renovation projects, the designing and building of a par-3 course.
In 2011, the grounds of the Atlanta Athletic Club gained the world’s attention when the PGA Championship was hosted for the first time showcasing its new grasses (Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass on the greens along with Diamond and Zeon zoysiagrass on the fairways and roughs). For Magnum, it was a high point of his career.
As far as his post-retirement plans go, Mangum plans to travel, spend time with his family, fish and probably spend more time golfing than he has in the last 10 years.
“I don’t think I’ll be bored,” he says.
But Mangum will miss a lot about the golf course maintenance industry. In fact, we asked him to tell us the top 10 things he’ll miss most:
- His staff. Mangum has worked with some staff for as long as he’s been at the AAC. “I’ve got some guys who have worked here for more than 20 years. We’ve got some great guys.”
- Lunch with his staff. Mangum has working lunches with the AAC’s chief operating officer and director of golf two to three times a week.
- The club staff. At his working lunches, there are servers and other employees who have been around the club longer than he has.
- Sunrise. “Riding around in the morning at sunrise is still one of my favorite things,” Mangum says. “I generally get to the course around 6:30 or 7:30 in the morning. I go look at things early in the morning before there are people there.”
- Sunset. “The evening sunset, especially before a Major tournament,” Mangum says.
- Email. “I say this tongue in cheek,” he says. “I get so much email now. It will be odd not to get as much.”
- Industry peers. Over the years, Mangum has developed relationships with peers at similar facilities that also have major championships, who he hopes to keep in contact with. “I’ll always enjoy chatting and talking over problems with them.”
- Attending major events. Mangum’s gone to many major championships over the years and knows that his retirement means he may not be able to attend as many.
- Sales and Suppliers. Mangum has worked with the same John Deere salesperson since 1983, and he has known his irrigation designer and installer since the 1970s.
- Being involved. Mangum has always been an innovator when it comes to trying new things on the golf course, and while he’ll still be involved to some extent, he knows he’ll miss some of the opportunities to do those things.