Ken Mangum, Atlanta Athletic Club
Ken Mangum, Atlanta Athletic Club
Atlanta Athletic Club
Atlanta Athletic Club

Ken Mangum – Atlanta Athletic Club

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

“We are the only golf club in the world with the combination of grass that we use…..”

Ken Mangum has been at the Atlanta Athletic Club for 24 years. As Director of Golf Courses and Grounds, he and his staff of 75 manage two 18-hole courses, a nine-hole par 3 course, and roughly 500 acres of club real estate. He has been a member of the GCSA for over 37 years, and is one of only 116 professionals that have maintained Certified Status for 25-29 years. He served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia GCSA for 33 years, two as President. Ken is about as immersed in the world of golf as anyone could be – committed to the industry and the job of educating and advancing the careers of newcomers.

Originally from Alabama, Ken has been in Georgia for 35 of the last 38 years. In his time at AAC there have been some major re builds and Ken served as Project Manager on the Highlands Renovation in 2006, and the Riverside Renovation in 2003 as well as managing the transition and keeping everything going for the members.

“The winters can be very cold, the summers are hot – so it’s not the easiest of climates. It can get below zero, but in summer it is frequently between 90 and 100 degrees. Last year the whole of June was above 90 with a high humidity in the day. It is difficult to keep bent grass greens alive. We manage our water carefully, although we are rarely short of water. Thankfully, our golfers are immune to the weather.

I bought the first lot of Bernhard grinders in the mid to late 90’s, and I got great service from them. I just purchased my second set, and the new machines are doing a great job – and are even more user friendly. They are in use every day during the growing season – which on the greens is all year round – and the other parts of course for 7 months of the year. 

We have 45 golf holes – so we have a fleet of 6 fairway mowers, and each has 5 reels, 5 triplex, each with 3 reels, then 6 tee mowers and probably 16 greens mowers and another 6 walking mowers for club house grounds – so you can see why we need so many landscape and turf technicians, mechanics and golf superintendents. We never have any trouble keeping people busy.

One thing we don’t have to worry about is getting a good clean cut.

You cannot have a spectacular course without the mowers cutting properly. Our team of technicians have no trouble at all keeping things cutting perfectly. Grinders and bed knife grinders are a strategic part of the operation, if you are going to provide great golfing. It’s like air conditioning – you use it to stay cool.

We are the only golf course in the world with the combination of grass we use. We try new mixes all the time, in fact, I planted a new test green two weeks ago, just to see if we can find something that works even better. You have to keep moving on.

The course had to be perfect in August for the PGA championship, and it did look fabulous because of the different grass colours and interesting contrasts. It plays differently too, and the golfers enjoy that. They were very impressed with the fairways.”

Ken is in great demand as a speaker and gives presentations all over the world on topics ranging from golf course management and tournament preparation, to his test work on new grasses. Following the PGA Championships, he says, every one wants to hear about what went on behind the scenes.

“It is good to help people improve their knowledge and I think everyone learns from each other and that’s why you share easily. People are slow to change. I present different way of doing things, that’s all. I like to try new things.

“If you do what everyone else does, you get what they’ve got.”