When it comes time to select the next class for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, one of the names that needs to be included on the short list is that of Ken Mangum.
Mangum, the longtime director of golf courses and grounds at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, has the resume that is deserving of inclusion among the state’s legendary contributors.The profession of golf course superintendents is woefully under-represented in the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. Only the legendary Palmer Maples and the Atlanta Country Club’s Mark Esoda have been inducted as superintendents. Mangum needs to be next.
In addition to serving overseeing The Highlands Course at the Athletic Club for two PGA Championships, Mangum has had the course ready for the U.S. Junior Amateur and numerous regional competitions. In 2014 the Athletic Club will host the U.S. Amateur Championship.
Mangum gained another honor recently when he was presented the Distinguished Service Award from the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America.
Mangum got started at Lake City Community College, where it was arranged for him to go an internship at The Standard Club. There he met Maples, who became his mentor and help reinforce the high standards and ideals that Mangum would hold dear.
Mangum came to the Athletic Club in 1988, about the same time as general manager Chris Borders and director of golf Rick Anderson. It would be difficult to find a similar grouping of three such talented men with such a diverse set of skills. The trio, along with facilities manager Jimmy Cole, have combined to make the Athletic Club one of the great organizations in the state.
Nominations for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame were due on March 15. The requirements are that the nominee be a Georgia native or longtime resident, that they have participated in a golf actvity as a competitor or contributor in Georgia, and that they have brought honor to themselves with golf accomplishments in Georgia and/or elsewhere.
The notably picky Ron Whitten of Golf Digest wrote this about Mangum after the 2011 PGA Championship:
“Kudos to Ken Mangum, AAC’s Director of Golf Courses and Grounds, who came up with the perfect prescription of grasses for a Southern venue championship set-up. Mangum is The Man. He’s the reason AAC will now be at the top of all future lists of Best Conditioned Courses, even non-alphabetical ones. He’s the guy who, history will record, tilted the axis of major championship golf distinctly to the south.”
Wait, there’s more from Whitten:
“As far as I’m concerned, Atlanta Athletic Club has set a new standard for major championship conditioning. It didn’t just raise the bar. It is the bar. From now on, I’m betting we’re going to see tour pros measuring turf quality at majors against what Mangum produced this year at the PGA. Sure, most of the courses won’t have the magic formula of Champion, Diamond Zoysia and Tifton 10. That won’t matter. Clubs will be expected to come up with the Northeastern or Midwestern or Pacific Coast equivalent.”
Mangum has been at the forefront of creating maintenance plans that cry for less water and less mowing. He’s one of the most respected men in the industry. He deserves to be in the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.