Elvis Catherine, now the Head Greenkeeper at Constance, had just turned 18 when the Legend golf course was emerging in 1994. “That was 27 years ago!”, Elvis exclaims, recalling his first years with the hotel group.
We asked him why he chose golf, to which he responded, “Well, I like Tiger Woods and I love nature, so why not!”. When Elvis started his career, his role would switch between that of a caddie and a greenkeeper, depending on the day. But after a year of donning two hats, he made a decision to become a greenkeeper. “It was a better bet for me. The caddie only has a job when there is a game or a tournament.” The greenkeeper, however, would be busy all year long.
Elvis was chosen to attend turf management training in Pretoria for a month. “I recall thinking to myself. If I’m being sent for training, surely, I must have a future here!” And shortly after in 2002, he was promoted to be the Head Greenkeeper at the course. Elvis is now at the helm of a team of 34 people and 27 hectares of the beautiful estate at the Constance Golf Legend.
In anticipation of the tournament, Elvis gets battle-ready. “Six months before the MCB Tour Championship, we begin to get the golf course compliant with the tournament official’s checklist based on recommendations from the Professional Golfers’ Association. On top of that, some of the pro players will also make their own requests and demands known to the officials…”
Elvis then patiently watches his turf take form. But rather than lower his guard and take it easy, he will schedule up to two daily mowings, if necessary. Under his watchful eye, no stalk of grass will be over 2.2 mm on the green and no player would find the turf slippery from irrigation.
On the big day, Elvis carries out a final inspection along with the tournament referees before the first ball is teed off. Only the most perfect green would receive Elvis’ green light.