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Gainey Ranch undergoes major facelift

“Murph” is speaking plenty these days after Gainey Ranch underwent a $3 million-plus renovation. “The new white sand in our bunkers


just makes the golf course pop,” said Murphy of the Brad Benz-Mike Pollett design that was built way back in 1984 on what once was the historic Gainey Arabian Horse Ranch in Scottsdale. “And the clubhouse, oh, my. We just

opened it up with those Nano doors to create that indoor-outdoor feel. I guess you could say, we took the clubhouse all the way from the ’80s to NOW!” You walk in the front door of the new

Gainey Ranch and you can see all the way to the McDowell Mountains, it’s that good. That view wasn’t there before, by the way, until they took out a bunch of trees, foliage and an ice machine. And with the course looking a little Augusta National-like, well, these are, to steal Murphy’s words, “exciting times for Gainey Ranch.” “Our members love it, our new

members love it, and we love it,” said Murphy, who started out at the club 27 years ago picking range balls and climbed all the way to his current position via hard work and a solid sense of humor. Think about it: Lasting at the same private club for almost three decades? It’s unheard of, except for the fact that Murph has done it. The longtime GM also is pumped

about his new executive chef, Michael O’Dowd, the former pioneer of such incredible eateries as Kai at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort and Spa. O’Dowd likes to toss foodie words around like “fig mud,” “cheese smear,” and “charred sweet fluff.” Yes, O’Dowd is cutting edge. “He’s helped us introduce elevated

dining,” said Murph, introducing yet another word to the English lexicon. So what is “elevated dining?” “That’s where you don’t have to

necessarily wear a coat or a tie, but the lights are dim and Sinatra’s playing in the background,” said Murphy with a chuckle. Yes, Murph and the members did

it “Their Way,” and the results are awesome.

MOVERS The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America honored PebbleCreek’s Paul McGinnis with its Colonel John Morley Distinguished Service Award. The honor was bestowed on McGinnis, a member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, at the group’s national convention in February at San Diego. McGinnis received the award for his

“outstanding, substantive and enduring contributions to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession.”

McGinnis has been a member of the GCSAA for 38 years. He served on the group’s executive board for nine years, including as president in 1997.

SHAKEUPS It takes a lot of, well, guts to leave Troon Golf after 10 years as a highly respected head pro at places like Ocotillo and Southern Dunes and move back to Iowa. But that’s just what Stephen Kahler did, when he purchased the Amana Colonies Golf Club, one of the best public tracts in the Midwest. “The big dream was always to own

Stephen Kahler

my own golf course, but I never thought it would happen this soon,” said the 32-year-old Kahler, a native of Des Moines and a rabid Hawkeye football fan. “But the opportunity came up — it’s a long story — and we went for it, and truthfully, we could not be happier.” n

SPRING 2016 | AZ GOLF Insider | 33

hen Gainey Ranch’s affable general manager Jim Murphy speaks, people tend to listen. And


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