To celebrate RGC’s Agronomy Week in the lead-up to the Masters, we’re revisiting a special episode of The Erik Anders Lang Show with guest Mark Hoban, the Superintendent of Rivermont Golf Club just north of Atlanta, GA. He’s revolutionized the game of agronomy by letting nature do the work of maintaining a beautiful golf course so that he and the club can minimize environmental footprint and maximize enjoyable golf for all. Check out the video and pod below!
EAL Takes On The Most Sustainable Golf Course
EAL Sits Down With Superintendent Mark Hoban
1:30 – Mark introduces us to his management style, which can be summed up with “less is more.” Less inputs, more natural shape, beauty and maintenance.
9:51 – The water Mark and Rivermont use is actually cleaner when it goes out than when it comes in, which means no dangerous fertilizers or chemicals. Erik and Mark talk about the benefits of Mark’s water and maintenance strategy which makes for better perceptions from neighbors and the surrounding city.
12:00 – How does Mark’s natural strategy impact the bottom line? Turns out not using fertilizer…is a little easier on the belt.
16:56 – Why do all this? What got Mark started on this path that looks like the future of golf course management, even though it’s harder than it needs to be?
19:11 – Mark talks about getting his start in golf course agriculture at the ripe age of 15, and how he was already a superintendent by the time he could legally have a beer.
24:36 – How fast are the greens at Augusta? How fast is too fast for a green? Mark dives into what the heck a stimpmeter is.
33:11 – Bird houses: if you build ’em, they will come. And they’ll help the course, too.
42:21 – How do homebuilders and neighbors impact what most courses typically look like?
44:16 – Who’s Mark’s inspiration within the game of golf? Mark tells us about the need to steal ideas — yes, he uses the word steal — when you really honor someone else’s work. If it works, it works.
45:45 – Mark makes sure to note that blemishes aren’t mistakes — they’re what the course feel real. Only a certain few courses can pull off the image of perfection, and Mark believes more should lean into a natural beauty.
51:38 – Erik dives into how inspired he is by Mark’s work and what it means for the future of the game.