Fred Klauk prepares Sawgrass for The Players Championship

Fred Klauk will wrap up a 23-year stint as the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Class A superintendent at TPC Sawgrass by prepping for The PLAYERS Championship one last time, May 8-11 on the Players Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The 32-year GCSAA member announced his retirement last fall and will take on responsibilities as a project manager for the PGA Tour, consulting with his successor, Tom Vlach on the 2009 and 2010 PLAYERS Championships, and assisting with the renovations planned for TPC Sawgrass' Valley Course.

"We congratulate Fred on an outstanding career," said GCSAA President David S. Downing II, CGCS. "He has been integral to the success of TPC Sawgrass and The PLAYERS Championship. The respect he has from his peers, the administration and Tour professionals is a testament to his character and skills."

"Fred's numerous contributions to the Tour during his 25 years of dedicated service (at TPC properties) will be dearly missed," said David Pillsbury, president of PGA Tour Golf Course Properties. "Fred leaves an extraordinary legacy of superb golf course maintenance and tournament agronomy excellence. We wish him the very best as he begins this next chapter in his life, and we are pleased that he will remain a valued and integral part of the PGA Tour family."

In a Florida Times-Union column last week by Garry Smits, Klauk said that the setup for the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course will have more teeth in it for the 2008 tournament. Although the rough will be nowhere near the 4-to-6 inches it was when the course was overseeded for a March playing date prior to 2007, it will be a bit deeper than the two-inch bermudagrass that was grown for the first May Players.

"We didn't want the course, with all the changes, to go over the edge," Klauk said. "But we feel confident that we can challenge them a little more this year."

"I am personally indebted to Fred for his outstanding leadership, willingness to help and consistently positive attitude," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Fred's contributions to the elevation of The PLAYERS Championship have had and will continue to have a dramatic and lasting effect."

During his nearly quarter century career with the PGA TOUR, Klauk prepared golf courses for 27 PGA TOUR touraments, including 22 PLAYERS Championships and the 1994 U.S. Amateur Championship. His crowning achievement was to spearhead last year's renovation of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and the elevation of THE PLAYERS Championship through numerous competitive and fan enhancements.

An accomplished golfer and former club champion, Klauk is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. Among the numerous awards he has received over the years, Klauk earned Golfweek's 2000 Golf Father-of-the-Year award, having passed his love for golf down to his three sons, all of whom are excellent players. His son, Jeff is a player on the Nationwide Tour and is currently ninth on the money list; son John, a former NCAA All-American golfer at Texas, works for Merrill-Lynch in Los Angeles; and son Jason works as an investment banker for FBR in Washington, D.C.

Klauk looks forward to trading in his signature straw hat for a fishing cap and to traveling with Peggy, his wife of 34 years.

"I’d like to caddy for my son, Jeff, on the Nationwide Tour a little this summer and maybe do some other things I haven’t had the opportunity to do all these years," said Klauk.

For more on Klauk passing the torch to Vlach, read "Players dances to swan song" published in the May 2008 edition of GCSAA’s monthly magazine, GCM.

Built in 1982 on a marshland, TPC Sawgrass is a unique golf course in both design and philosophy. Klauk played an integral role in the $60 million renovation following the 2006 Players Championship. It is a fully-certified golf course in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Klauk is a 2007 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards chapter resort winner.

 

 

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