Course of Action: Liberty National Golf Club
Superintendent Greg James and his team roll up their sleeves to prepare for the President’s Cup.
Greg James, superintendent at Liberty National GC, which plays host this week to the 2017 President's Cup competition. Photo courtesy of Greg James
When Greg James learned that his ship had come in, it wasn't exactly what he was expecting.
James, a 32-year member of GCSAA and the superintendent at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., hasn't forgotten that monumental moment nearly five years ago. The "monumental" part of it stands for something really big — like a 200-passenger ferry that washed up near the 10th hole when Superstorm Sandy slammed the East Coast.
"It was amazing. It took two days to get it back our into the water," James says. "We suffered a lot of damage. (Holes) 9 and 11 were flooded. A dozen bunkers got washed out. The cart path got ripped up. There was garbage everywhere."
James and his crew proved they can clean up well. Ten months later, Liberty National was ready to roll to host The Barclays, which was the first step of the FedEx Cup playoffs. This month, James will welcome another must-see event when the Presidents Cup rolls into town Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
Liberty National opened 11 years ago, and James has been there since its inception, hired as the grow-in superintendent in May 2005. Talk about an office with a view — from Liberty National, James can see landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
As a youth, James, got his start in the business working at what was then called General Washington Golf Course (now The Club at Shannondell) in Audubon, Pa. "At 14, working outside and making $2.75 an hour was OK," he says. James eventually earned a degree from Penn State University, and he credits the late Joseph Duich, Ph.D., with giving him guidance. "He's the kind of guy who just told you how it is," James says. James also worked for legendary superintendent Paul R. Latshaw at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club. "He molded me a lot. It was very intense," he says of the experience.
Now 53, James and his wife, Hope, enjoy 4-year-old daughter Lily, who has made her presence felt at Liberty National. "She has a lot of fun with the crew," says James. "She calls them my boys."
Hosting a Presidents Cup and PGA Tour events certainly has been fun for James. "To be able to host what we have is a major accomplishment. I never thought when I got in this business I'd be in this position," he says.