By Todd Mathews
The Lake Tansi golf course staff has been providing top notch playing conditions despite having to deal with significant reductions in its operating budget over the last four years. Many aspects of course maintenance have been affected. Labor costs have decreased through a reduction in hours, wage freezes and schedule adjustments. Material usage such as fertilize, pesticides, lime, mulch and sand have been reduced. Equipment parts such as mowing blades, bedknives and aerifying tines have been cut back. The budget cuts have been painful, but the maintenance staff has shone through these tough financial times.
The maintenance staff at Lake Tansi golf course is comprised of some very dedicated, hard working and conscientious employees. Their goal has always been to provide the best possible playing conditions for the members and guests. The budget cuts will not dampen this goal. The staff will continue provide a well groomed golf course, even though the budget cuts have raised the difficulty level. Members and guests have appreciated the quality of the golf course for many years, and it is the intention of the maintenance staff to continue that tradition.
The crew recently lost one of its long term members. Bill Irvin left us on Dec. 2, only a few weeks after beginning his winter break from maintenance. He started working at the golf course shortly after he retired to Tansi in 1990. His main job was taking care of the tees and he did a superb job at it right up to the end. He will be deeply missed.
Other crew members include:
• J.L. Kirby- J.L. came to work at Lake Tansi in 1967, before the new course was constructed. He was born and resides in Van Buren county. He is primarily in charge of mowing the fairways. He has seen many changes at Lake Tansi in his 46 years.
• Dave Walker- Dave was born in upstate New York and joined the Army in 1957. He worked in the aerospace industry in Florida for 34 years. Dave retired to Tansi in 1997 and began working on the golf course. He is my assistant and right hand man. Dave keeps our roughs mowed among numerous other duties. He continues to be a valuable asset to this golf course.
• Larry Heslep- Larry was born in Royal Oak, Mich. and worked in the auto industry before moving to Tansi in 1990. He came to work at the golf course in 1996. Larry is in charge of setting the course up for play on a daily basis. He also takes care of trimming, edging and sod work.
• Lloyd Miller- Lloyd was born in Nebraska and joined the Army in 1951. He moved to Illinois in 1965 and worked for a John Deere distributer. Lloyd moved to Tansi in 1995 and immediately went to work mowing greens on the golf course. He also handles some mechanical work and is a great asset during aerification.
• Marvin Lowe- Marvin was born in Rinnie, Tenn. and joined the Army in 1956. He moved to Ohio in 1952 to work in the roofing business. He retired in 1996 and moved back to Cumberland County. Marvin came to work at Tansi in that same year. He excels at bunker work, trimming, weed spraying and leaf blowing.
• John Withers- John was born in Michigan and went to work for GM in 1968. He retired to Lake Tansi in 2001 and went to work on the golf course in 2003. John has several duties on the course – there’s nothing he can’t do.
• Charles Pepper- Chuck was born in Michigan and joined the Marines in 1965. He then went to work for the USPS. He retired to Tansi in 2001 and went to work at the golf course in 2002. Chuck is responsible for many day-to-day tasks and is a very hard worker.
• Darrell Sweet- Darrell was born in Michigan and joined the Navy in 1956. He retired from Magic Chef and moved to Tansi in 2001. Darrell worked at Heatherhurst golf course before coming to work at Tansi. He handles our rough mowing around the greens and tees among many other tasks.
• Jim Smallwood- Jim was born in Ohio and joined the Marines in 1955. He was a member of the Marine golf team. Jim retired from Sky Valley Resort in Georgia and moved to Tansi in 2004. He is in charge of cleaning the course up and getting it ready for play each day.
• Colin Kerns- Colin was born in Rockwood, Tenn. and joined the Navy in 1960. He retired to Tansi in 2011 and began working at the golf course. He has worked at courses in Minnesota and California in the past.
• Junior Isham- Junior was born in Illinois and worked for Caterpillar for 42 years. He retired to Rinnie in 2009 and came to work at Tansi in 2013. Junior is a top class mechanic and also takes care of numerous tasks on the course.
These guys are enjoying their winter break at this time and are looking forward to coming back to work this spring. This is an outstanding crew and it shows in their work and the condition of the course. Tansi is lucky to have such a great group of employees!