Chuck Green knows what it takes to build a successful golf course – he’s done it multiple times. As director of operations at Quixote Club (formerly Sunset Country Club) in Sumter, South Carolina, he oversaw the club’s $13 million total renovation in 2020. We talked with Chuck about the renovation and what he loves most about working at Quixote Club.
What sparked your interest in the golf course industry?
My family built a golf course on my dad’s property in Lake City, S.C., when I was two years old. I’ve been around golf all my life. I played in high school and college. When I graduated, I didn’t want to play professionally but I wanted to stay in the industry, so I went to Horry-Georgetown Technical College and got a turf management degree. After that, I interned at Florence Country Club, and about a year after I started, my boss left, and they promoted me. I was there for 13 years and totally rebuilt the course. After that I worked at Columbia Country Club and then I oversaw the building of Sage Valley Golf Club in 2000. I was there 19 years. Then I heard what two of my members were doing at Sunset (now Quixote), and I started with them in 2019.
What are your biggest accomplishments at Quixote Club so far?
The two members – Quixote Club owners Greg and Lewis Thompson – purchased the club when it was failing and kept it from going back to the bank. The idea was to give it back to the community by involving more children and families. They renamed it (based on the Spanish novel Don Quixote), and we began a complete renovation of all greens, tees, fairways, the clubhouse, and a total rerouting of the back side. We also gave the course a much more open landscape by clearing out large sections of trees. The redesign was a collaboration with Jack Nicklaus II [son of the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus] and Kris Spence Golf Design.
What distinguishes the redesigned course at Quixote?
This is a totally different kind of course. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. We don’t have any rough here; it’s all shortcut [turf]. It’s bouncy, rollie, firm, and fast. You get to play the ball on the ground more than the air. You don’t see a whole lot of this in the Southeast.
What is your favorite type of equipment to work with?
During the renovation, I loved working with the bulldozers and excavators. These days, my body limits me on what I can do physically, but I still love to get out and mow the greens when I can. I’m a very hands-on guy.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I’ve always been around a golf course. This is the profession I chose – getting up every morning and enjoying nature. There’s a great appreciation for what we’ve done at Quixote – the members are so happy that we resurrected the place and have brought in new members. They’re very impressed by the new golf course and the hospitality we’ve established. It’s a cool place and I really enjoy it. Even though I’m on the downside of the mountain of my career, I still look forward to getting up each day and coming to work.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I enjoy going to the beach; I have friends who live at the beach, and I visit them often. I’m a big fan of traveling to Scotland and Ireland – I’m fascinated with the origins of golf. I recently visited Ireland. I’m going back again this year and then I’m doing a longer trip to Scotland next year. I also serve on the board of Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association (I’m a past president) and it’s wonderful how much of a tight-knit organization we are. I’ve met many people who have made my life a real treat; I’m very blessed.
Kyra Molinaro is an award-winning writer and editor based in Richmond, Virginia. She manages donor communications in the Advancement Office at the University of Richmond.