It’s no secret that Cherry Blossom Golf Club has been ranked as one of the top public courses in Kentucky. But for new superintendent Kaleb Kattine, this summer’s Barbasol Championship Pre-Qualifier brings a new level of excitement, as players will tee it up on July 9 on a golf course that’s once again ready for the spotlight.
Designed by Clyde Johnston, Cherry Blossom Golf Club opened in 2001 and was ranked the #1 Public Golf Course in Kentucky by Golf Week from 2004 to 2010. It has hosted numerous United States Golf Association (USGA) Qualifiers, the NGA Tour and the Kentucky Men’s and Women’s State Amateur. The Barbasol Pre-Qualifier can now be added to the list.
"The crews worked really hard this season to whip the course into shape, even when Mother Nature hasn't been the kindest,” said Kattine. “It takes a lot of money, a lot of man power and a lot of time to get things right when you’re taking care of a golf course. I’m excited to be back, and when Luther (Conley) and I sat down this spring we both had the same goals for the course and we are definitely on the right path. The golf course is in really good shape right now and we're excited to have some big events coming up this summer.”
With lush fairways and bent grass greens, the course is sure to be a spectacular setting as top pros and amateurs hope to advance to the next stage of qualifying on their way to the PGA Tour Event that will be played July 18 to 21 on the Champions at Keene Trace layout in Nicholasville.
Kattine said one of his priorities for the Barbasol is to make sure the greens are in perfect shape. The greens typically run at a nine on the stimpmeter and will gradually get faster as we get closer to the event that will advance the low 40 scores plus ties to the next stage of qualifying.
“Right now, we’re cutting them at .120 (one-twentieth of an inch) and our plan is to drop it down to .110 (one-tenth of an inch),” said Kattine. “We’ll also be rolling more to smooth things out so you can get a true roll on the greens. We had it up to an 11 (on the stimpmeter) for the Kentucky Amateur in 2014, so it’s really going to be up to the weather.”
Now in his second stint at Cherry Blossom, Kattine’s primary goal is to get the course on a regular turf management schedule. He previously served as superintendent for two-and-a-half years from 2011 through 2014.
“(The ultimate goal is) just getting the greens in a little bit better shape,” said Kattine. “I'm trying to get on a regular spray regimen and then also trying to get all the weeds sprayed out, which is an ongoing process. I'm just trying to get things on a regular schedule.”
In addition to daily course maintenance and supervising a five-man work crew, Kattine is also responsible for new projects that have included the installation of new sand throughout 46 bunkers and renovating the driving range with Bermuda grass for better coverage and playability. The back tier of the driving range will remain Bent Grass and will be used exclusively for major tournaments.
Kattine, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University in agriculture science with an emphasis in golf course management, says he’s excited to be back at Cherry Blossom in a job that he truly loves.
“I went to school at NKY (Northern Kentucky University) originally and wanted to be a weatherman,” said Kattine. “I loved the weather aspect of it. I didn’t really want to be on the news as much as I wanted to chase storms. But my aha moment came when I started working one summer at a golf course back home in Maysville. I knew this is what I wanted to do and just fell in love with it.”
Kattine lives in Maysville with his wife Alexandra and eight-month old daughter Paxtyn.