Mission Inn Resort is widely recognized for offering world-class golf on two picturesque championship courses in the rolling hills of central Florida. Nature provided the scenic setting, but a lot of hard work goes into ensuring the courses stay in tip-top shape.
What’s the key to keeping Las Colinas and the 102-year-old El Campeón lush and green and in excellent playing condition? “The employees; the staff that maintains the courses is one of the best I’ve had in my career,” says Daniel Parks, director of landscape and golf maintenance at Mission Inn.
Parks’ capable and hard-working team of 30 employees put in a lot of hours tending to the courses all year round, including weekends and holidays, and it shows. The meticulously maintained courses are picture-perfect and have been featured or used as backdrops in several television programs. And Golf Advisor ranks El Campeón No. 13 in Florida.
Regular maintenance involves fertilization, pest control, aeration, top dressing, and other treatments that are done weekly, monthly, or seasonally. Mowing alone is labor-intensive. There are separate mowers for greens, tee boxes, and fairways, and all get a lot of use. Greens are mowed daily, tee boxes and fairways are mowed three to four times a week, and the rough is mowed weekly. Not surprisingly, the maintenance team includes two mechanics who keep the array of mowers, sand trap machines, and other equipment running properly.
The team has even more to do in the summer. “Summer months are when we ramp up the work and we’re really busy,” Parks said.
Workers recently added par 3 options on Las Colinas and built drainage berms around the courses to control water flow and prevent erosion on holes. They also aerated both courses, Las Colinas in late May and El Campeón in early June. Parks says each course will be aerated two more times this summer to relieve compaction, aid gas and oxygen exchange into soil, and remove thatch to make greens firmer and faster.
“We put in a lot of care,” Parks says. “We want everyone to have the best (golf) experience they can at Mission Inn.”