By Bruce Meadows







A man who makes a difference …

   National “Thank Your Superintendent Day” was celebrated recently, and while some golf courses may have more reasons than others to celebrate the men and women who make their courses look good, Bennett Valley GC in Santa Rosa was definitely on board. Here’s what they said:

  “It’s National Thank Your Superintendent Day! We have been lucky enough to call Don Ballard our Superintendent for the last 44 years! If you play with him in Summer League, Scramble League, Bennett Valley Golf Club events or Sunday Skins Games, then you probably know him as Donny B! Cheers to Donny and his great staff! You’re the best in the Biz!”

Don Ballard is one reason Bennett Valley is a great place to play

   Longtime Bennett Valley Director of Golf Bob Borowicz, usually a man of few words, has a long history with Don and was gracious about sharing  some of his thoughts.

   “Pretty much everything said (in Facebook post) is right on the button.  He can be a little bit stubborn at times — usually around ‘aeration season.’

   “Donny and I worked together on the weekend maintenance crew at BV in high school (’74-’75).  We also worked together during the summer vacations in addition to the weekends.

  “He was a couple of years behind me in school at Montgomery.  I was very lucky to ‘inherit’ Donny from John Flachman when he retired in ’04.  Don’t want to think what it would’ve been like without him.

  “Can’t thank him enough for hanging with me through some ‘not so great times.’

    “One of the factors into him being such a good superintendent is that he is a very good player and knows what golfers like . . .the guy can golf!

   “I don’t know where he finds the time to keep his game so sharp.   And he somehow maintains a great rapport with our customers – not real common in the industry.  Good guy.”

   Bob, who will be retiring at BV next summer, has been able to hang on to a lot of his staff over the years, which is a testimony to those people and to Bob for managing a place golfers like to play and employees like to stay.

  If you have any thoughts on your superintendent, please email me and I will share them with our readers. Email


Honors for Foxtail GC . . .

    Rohnert Park’s Foxtail GC has been a leader in environmental awareness since Tom Isaak’s CourseCo group took over management of the facility.

    Most recently, the 36-hole facility receiver yet another acknowledgement from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

   Here are the details about the award:


  Foxtail Golf Club has achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

   Jeff Sutherland, Golf Course Superintendent, completed the effort to obtain sanctuary designation on the property.

   Foxtail Golf Club is one of over 900 courses in the world to hold the title of Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. “Foxtail Golf Club has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Christine Kane, CEO at Audubon International. “To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas,” explained Kane.

  These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.

    Foxtail Golf Club’s accomplishments include: • Extensive native acreage on the property • Reducing irrigated areas to conserve water • Establishing buffers around water bodies • Providing Excellent Wildlife Habitat • Conducting water quality testing 

   “Since the first day in business, CourseCo and Foxtail Golf Club has taken the responsibility to the environment very seriously. We owe it to our community, the next generation and ourselves to ensure the golf course is managed the best way possible for the environment. This commitment is why today we are the most decorated management company in terms of environmental awards. I am excited that Foxtail Golf Club will continue this excellence in Environmental Stewardship”, states Christopher Gay, General Manager. 

   The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat and protect natural resources. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia have achieved certification in the program.

Click here to find out more about our great courses!

Local juniors find success . . .

  “What a season in 2021! Both Redwood Empire League all-star teams (13U & 17U) advanced out of the sectional round in San Jose and participated in the NorCal Championship hosted by Haggin Oaks in Sacramento.

   From there the 17U team moved on to the Western Regional Championship at the Indian Wells Resort near Palm Springs……and won!!!!”

  They defeated the Las Vegas champion from Dragon Ridge CC in the finals match 5-4 after qualifying in the #1 position with a team score of -12.

Read more about the victory on the PGA website; Western Regional Results and for more information please visit or contact a team coach 13U – Neal Hellman –, or 17U – Demian Reddy –

    Team members included: Ryan Bello, Santa Rosa G&CC; JJ Scott, Windsor GC; Nick Savano, Windsor GC; Will Hoff, Windsor GC; Kellen Collins, Windsor; William Carlson, Santa Rosa G&CC, and Sadie Jones, Fountaingrove G&CC. Coach Demian Reddy, PGA, Windsor.

Oct. 9 Team championship . . .



B’nai Israel Jewish Center Tournament . . .

  It doesn’t seem like it’s been 13 years since Tom Isaak asked for some publicity for his golf tournament, but so be it.

   Tom and his friends will indeed host their 13th annual golf tournament and dinner Sunday, Oct. 10, at Foxtail GC in Rohnert Park.

  “I acknowledge that this cause – helping fund the education and service programs of the B’nai Israel Jewish Community Center in Petaluma – may not top your list of charitable giving priorities, and as such your contribution may be primarily a favor to me,” notes Tom. “If that’s the case, I am more than humbled and grateful.”

  The event is open to men and women of all ages and skill levels, offering “golf, contests, prizes, awards, food and fun.” Contests include putting, longest drive and closest-to-the-hole.

   Entry fee for the scramble format event is $135 per person, or $500 for a foursome. The fee includes golf (with cart), driving range coupon, gift bag and dinner.

  You can register and pay by credit card online at or you can call one of the co-chairmen, Irv Piotrkowski (707-778-1551) or Jeff Kraus (707-326-3070) for details. You can also call Cathy at 707-981-4994.

   Registration Oct. 10 is 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon . . . a “gathering, beverages and dinner” is set for 5 p.m. Walk-up golfers are welcome Oct. 10.


 Let’s hear from you . . .

  Thanks for your comments, questions, suggestions. I appreciate them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics, activities, tournaments or sales, let me know. And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in our area, let me know.  

   If you have a golfer – pro or amateur — you know who you think would make an interesting story, tell me about it and I will take it from there. Having trouble with your game? Let me know what it is and I’ll try to get an answer for you from a local pro.

   We would be proud to include you as one of our sponsors – thanks to Bill Carson at Wine Country Golf for his continued support – so if you care to get some details about being a sponsor of GOLF 707, email me at