For instance, our team is growing by leaps and bounds. We’ve hired Ben McNair as our Golf Course Superintendent. Ben has already started working on the property and he had no trouble finding us. He moved from next door at Secession Club to take on this role at Cat Island. Ben earned his bachelor’s degree in Turfgrass Management from Clemson University and has worked the majority of his career in Illinois. Ben also interned and trained in the Carolinas at Sage Valley, Pinehurst, The Cliffs and Mountain Park. So, when he left Illinois, the Carolinas were in the middle of his radar screen. He came back to work at The Cliffs in the Upstate of South Carolina before joining the team at Secession. Steve Cohoon, our Corporate Agronomist led the search for our Superintendent and found Ben right under our collective noses. We’re so pleased and proud to have Ben lead our agronomic team as we restore our classic course. Ben and his wife Kasey are expecting their first child in August. You’ll see Ben and his “most trusted advisors”, Sage, Zorra and Tilly on the golf course as he leads the restoration process along with Steve Cohoon and John LaFoy.
We’ve also hired Laura Vasquez as our Operations Manager. Laura will be wearing multiple hats for us. She will be responsible for setting up our administrative duties and back offices as well as overseeing our food and beverage operations at the pool. Laura and I worked together at Oldfield, so the decision to bring her onboard at Cat Island was an easy one for me. I’m proud to have her back on my team!
For anyone who has driven by the club lately, you’ll also notice that the first wave of equipment has arrived! Ben and Steve have been prepping the fairways for spraying by cutting the high weeds that were so prevalent on the golf course. Our irrigation specialists and construction teams are riding in like the calvary, so we’re expecting to see even more significant progress next week. As the irrigation crew works on that system, the construction team will be working on bunkers and green surrounds. There is a significant amount of Bermuda in the fairways and by spraying the weeds, aerifying and verti-cutting, the Bermuda fairways will spread rapidly. The spray that is used on the weeds is not harmful to pets, deer, alligators or birds; but I do suggest that you refrain from walking on the course now that the construction process has begun.
We’ve also circled July 1st as a big day for all of us. It will have been roughly one month since you received my first communication that outlined our plans and vision for the future of this wonderful community and golf course. Looking back, that first note feels as if it was written a year ago in some respects and yesterday in others. Now that the pieces are coming together, July 1st is our planned opening of the pool for members only with our food and beverage team in place. Starting July 1st, our pool will be available to members and their accompanied guests only. All you’ll need to do is check in with the bartender at the pool who will have a member roster. I’m expecting them to recognize you after your first few visits and call you by name. That’s your membership card at the new Cat Island Club!
The pool will be fully staffed Wednesdays through Sundays from 11:00am until 8:00pm and 9:00pm on Friday and Saturday nights. We’ll be serving lunch and dinner at the pool under the cabana each of these evenings. We’re currently finalizing the menu for lunch and dinner service and expect to have that published next week. In order to keep everyone safe at the pool, we have established a set of rules for our pool, see attached. As we approach August 1st, operational hours and plans may be adjusted based on what we learn from you. I’m hoping that you will all enjoy a cold beverage at the pool and stay for dinner. We’ve hired a very talented group of bartenders and kitchen staff to prepare your refreshments and meals at an exemplary level of service. We’re somewhat limited in what we can accomplish at the pool purely based on the logistics, but our staff is committed to creating exceptional experiences and we have a variety of menu selections planned that will keep you coming back more often.
We do have a plan for the July 4th weekend, but until we have our final licenses and such from the state, we’ll hold off on announcing those plans for now. As soon as we know when we can host a proper event, we will announce the date and details for our first Member Mixer at the pool. And for the record, we intend on hosting multiple Members Mixers at the pool this summer.
As I mentioned last week, our intention is to have our computer systems loaded with all membership information for our July 1st opening. We expect to send monthly statements during the first week of July that will include June and July dues. Again, I’ll be communicating with members only on the details of that process.
Now that we’ve been in our ownership position for nearly a month, we feel great about where we are as a Club. I’m grateful to so many of you on this list who have stopped by the clubhouse with an application in hand and allowed me to share our vision for this wonderful property. I love listening to you and getting to know your families. Please never hesitate to come by and say hello. Now that our team is growing, so are the responsibilities, but while we build the golf course, it’s critical to build relationships as well. That will be the strength of our club going forward!
Ben and Kasey McNair Laura and Jesse Vasquez
Sage, Zorra and Tilly