Alum Talks about U.S. Senior Open

July 24, 2014 in Alumni

When the practice rounds began at the U.S. Senior Open July 7, the ramblings were almost non-stop.

From the players who live at the course to professional golfers from across the ocean and diverse parts of the globe, the consensus was that Oak Tree National was in tremendous shape and the players were keyed up to compete on it.

“The golf course is fantastic,” Oak Tree resident Bob Tway said on the first day of competition July 10. “It’s hard, but it’s fantastic.

“I’m just so pleased it turned out to be in the shape that it’s in. You know, a lot of people have worked really, really hard. Everybody is proud of this place. That’s why we all have continued to live here. We love it.”

Oak Tree National’s golf course superintendent is Josh Cook, 34, who moved here in January of 2012 after beginning his golf course tending career in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the age of 18.


“They had an opening (at Oak Tree National) and I was working at a Pete Dye (designed) golf course in Newport, N.C.,” Cook said, who got a degree in turf grass science at Penn State University.

Members of the USGA were elated with the condition Cook and his crew got the the course in for the tournament.

“It’s been a great five years of preparation working with Josh and his crew,” said USGA Managing Director of Rules and Competitions Jeff Hall prior to the U.S. Senior Open kicking off. “A fantastic field and test of golf. Nobody will pretend their way to the U.S. Senior Open Championship.

“Josh Cook and his team have been fantastic in their approach and attention to detail. The golf course is magnificent.”


Cook will be the first to tell you that it is not just one person who got Oak Tree National to where it was for the Senior Open championship.

“Our management team (Devin O’Neil, equipment technician; Diego Chavaria, assistant superintendent; Steve Schmitz and Duane Carriger) works with a crew that solves problems, works together and is intelligent,” he lauded.

“We couldn’t have done it without (Oak Tree National owners) Ed Evans and Everett Dobson providing the resourses that we needed.”

The USGA had Cook and his team follow a plan for fast and firm greens, certain heights of grass and had him enlarge a few tee boxes for the championship.

Cook also noted how they worked to make for challenging shots to be entertaining and fun for the spectators.

“We talk about this team (his crew) as a family,” Cook said. “They are all intelligent, hardworking, motivated.

“We talk about pulling a mule out of a ditch. When we’re all pulling in unison, that’s what makes me the most proud.”

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