Duke University Golf Club General Manager and PGA Director of Golf Ed Ibarguen announced on Friday the addition of Billy Weeks as Course Superintendent, while Duke men’s and women’s golf coaches Jamie Green and Dan Brooks announced the addition of Darin Garrett as Varsity Golf Specialist.
“We conducted a nationwide search that yielded 129 golf course superintendent resumes, commented Ibarguen. “This thorough process yielded a perfect fit for the Duke University Golf Club in Billy Weeks. We are extremely pleased that Billy, wife Melissa, and daughter Madison have joined the Duke University athletic department family.”
Weeks arrives at Duke after spending the last seven years as the superintendent at The Club at Carlton Woods (Creekside Course) and the Steelwood Country Club. He joined the Steelwood Country Club, which is located in Loxley, Ala., in January of 2010 before accepting the Duke position this spring. Prior to his arrival at Steelwood, he was the superintendent at The Club at Carlton Woods from April 2004 through February 2010.
“I am extremely thrilled to be at Duke,” commented Weeks. “I want to be just like every other Duke employee here, make a difference and not only with the golf course, but with the people that are under me. We have a maintenance crew that has been here for quite some time and I have found them to be a great group dedicated to making the course the best that it can be. The average crew employee has worked here for 15 years. I’ve got a lot of very strong individuals that know a lot and can definitely help me out to get acclimated to everything. It’s been great so far. I’m looking forward to big things here at Duke.”
Following graduation from Mississippi State University in May of 2002 with a bachelor of science degree in agronomy with an emphasis in golf and sports turf management, Weeks was the apprentice superintendent at the Jack Nicklaus Estate in North Palm Beach, Fla., from June 2002 through April 2004. He has also performed internships at the Augusta National Golf Club, United States Golf Association Green Section, Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club and Cottonwoods Golf Club.
“In making this hire, we wanted someone that would be capable of handling the latest technologies in golf course irrigation as well as the hands-on experience growing the new mini-dwarf bermuda that the USGA is recommending for the future renovation of our greens,” said Ibarguen. “Billy fits that requirement perfectly.”
During his time at Carlton Woods, the course received recognition as the No. 3 best new private course in the United States by Golf Digest, No. 1 best new private course in Texas by Golf Digest and No. 73 best residential course in U.S. by Golfweek.
“Although he has only been on the job for the last two months, it has been truly amazing the number of improvements that we have seen both in the turfgrass and work management,” commented Ibarguen. “Our guests have noticed as well. We have received dozens of written comments raving about the improved condition of the Duke University Golf Club.”
The Blue Devil men’s and women’s golf programs are very excited about the addition of Garrett as the Varsity Golf Specialist. Prior to arriving at Duke, Garrett was the assistant superintendent at Pinebrook Country Club in Winston-Salem, N.C., from 2007 through 2011. He is a member of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Piedmont Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Carolinas Golf Association.
“I am thrilled to be given this opportunity at Duke,” said Garrett. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this field in the first place and to have the opportunity to work at Duke University in the athletic department and with the golf teams is great. I have been a Duke fan all my life and to actually get offered this position is one of my best accomplishments. I give 150 percent day-to-day. I am proud to wear this logo and proud be a part of this university as a whole and not just the golf department.”
Garrett will be in charge of Duke’s Varsity Practice Facility, which is the private practice area for both the Blue Devil men’s and women’s golf programs. The facility includes a short-game area designed exclusively for the Duke golf teams where players can practice shots inside 40 yards from bermuda and zoysia grasses and from three different depths of green-side bunkers consisting of three separate types of sand. Those shots are played to an A-1/A-4 bent grass putting green that can roll as fast as any green both teams would compete upon. An additional 9,000 square-foot putting green is also available, which is comprised of L-93 — another strand of bent grass. The expansive “horseshoe-shaped” teeing area presents shots to be played in nearly 180 degrees in order to practice with different wind conditions, with different views to the eight unique zoysia grass target greens and dual-directional fairways out into the 350-yard deep range. Players can also walk out into the private practice range and play shots to the targets from uneven lies of different heights of bermuda and zoysia grasses and also from a fairway bunker.
“I’m excited about Darin’s work ethic and his absolute dedication to perfection,” commented Brooks. “He wants our practice area to be the very best, he has a good feel for detail and he wants to learn. I am excited to have Darin on staff because I know things are going to be right in the varsity area.”
The entire practice area features many different surfaces to play off of and to play into — utilizing the most common styles of grass so that team members can prepare for the playing surface of each approaching tournament. In addition, the Rod Myers Training Center houses two state of the art V-1 Video Analysis systems, featuring three heated indoor hitting bays and is equipped with the latest in technological training aides, and a TrackMan ball flight monitor.