Date: October 19, 2016
Author: Bernie Pramberg

Course super Hayes has wealth of experience


Brisbane Golf Club superintendent Mitch Hayes has been a man in a hurry for most of his career.

Hayes and his staff of 16 have produced the Yeerongpilly layout in prime condition for the Isuzu Queensland Open which starts Thursday.

Long-time members at Brisbane say they have not seen the course in such excellent condition for many years.

Hayes, who started his career as an apprentice at Grafton Golf Club 14 years ago, has been in the top job at Brisbane for the past three years.

Brisbane hosted the Australian Interstate Amateur Series in March this year, an event which provided Hayes with a perfect preliminary for the Queensland Open.

“There has been a bit more detail required this time,’’ he said. “The preparation has entailed similar work, just more of it.’’

A feature at Brisbane is the greens, unique in Australia with a surface of tif champion grass.

“We finished replacing all the greens last year. There has been a transition from tif dwarf grass to tif eagle and now tif champion,’’ he said.

“The grass is constantly getting tighter and denser which allows us to mow more closely.’’

Prior to joining Brisbane Golf Club almost four years ago, Hayes spent time gaining experience in the United States at the well-known Quail Hollow and Kiawah Island courses in North and South Carolina respectively.

“There are some great golf courses in Carolina and I was fortunate to be working a Kiawah Island in 2012 when they hosted the US PGA Championship,’’ he said.

“I started as an intern over there … I needed to take a few steps back before I could move forward.

“It was a great experience for a couple of years. The attention to detail in America is exceptional.

“I guess a lot of it comes down to money. They have a big population and tournaments have massive purses.

“There is so much competition within the industry they know they have to perform.’’

On the way to his position at Brisbane, Hayes has also worked at South-West Rocks (NSW) and Townsville Golf Club where he gained his initial superintendent’s appointment at 23 years of age.

“When I first went to Townsville the then superintendent told me there were only two seasons up there … hot and bloody hot.

“I reckon he was right.’’