Murrieta resident John Martinez has a short commute as the SCGA Members' Club Superintendent
When The SCGA Members' Club at Rancho California went looking for a golf course superintendent, it found one right in its own back yard.
Murrieta resident John Martinez, Jr., has assumed the duties of overseeing the maintenance and conditioning of the Robert Trent Jones-designed course located only 500 yards from his home of more than 20 years.
"We feel John's the perfect guy for the job and he's already part of our community," said General Manager Tom Pinch.
Martinez's familiarity with area conditions is strengthened by the fact that he spent 10 years at Bear Creek Golf & Country Club, starting with the construction of that course as irrigation system supervisor. In that position he supervised the construction crew during the fashioning of the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout and its grow-in period. After that, he became assistant superintendent, then head superintendent in 1988.
He had been head superintendent at Arrowhead CC in San Bernardino since 1991.
"Greens are everything," Martinez said in explaining his preparation for the California Golf Association Amateur qualifying tourney at the Members' Club, his first major event since taking over.
"We've been verticutting them and doing a little top dressing. They've been improving since the club was purchased," he explained "and they're only going to get better."
It didn't take long after his hiring for Martinez to identify the challenges presented him in Murrieta. "The soil condition can be poor, what with the sodium content in the water," he went on "so we have to watch our irrigation plan closely."
"A long-term project will be gradual establishment of monostrands (single varieties) of turf on the fairways and greens to replace the mixed varieties we have in place now -- which include rye and poa annua."
Martinez, who's about a 16 handicapper ("I've been playing a long time and I love the game. I feel as though I should be a better golfer than I am," he said with a chuckle), is involved in many professional activities, including serving on the advisory board of the Pace Turfgrass Research Institute and advisor to the Department of Agriculture's pesticide record keeping systems and employee training programs.
Martinez is a native of Barstow, who graduated from high school in Kodiak, AK, during his dad's civil service employment there. He attended Rutgers U. for two years, studying turfgrass management. He also gained a two-year degree in theology, with an emphasis on marriage and family counseling, which he still enjoys.
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