Wellington resident Jason Bagwell has a green thumb, and it’s on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 12 months a year. Bagwell’s ability to nurture blossoming trees, shrubs, flowers and grass is his professional pride and joy.
Bagwell works as the director of golf course maintenance at the Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach.
At Gleneagles, Bagwell is not only responsible for maintaining one 18-hole golf course. He and his crew maintain two 18-hole, championship layouts — the Victory course and the Legends course.
Bagwell’s professional abilities are not taken for granted.
“He is extremely well-regarded for his expertise in the area of golf course maintenance and keeping the playing conditions pristine,” Gleneagles Director of Golf Joe DeMino said. “He is, most of all, a professional all the way around and understands the art of keeping the golf courses in perfect condition, which he certainly does masterfully at Gleneagles.”
Bagwell doesn’t do it alone. Besides a talented and capable group of assistants who fertilize the two courses, cut the grass, trim the bushes, prune the trees and rake the sand bunkers, he is often joined by a two-year-old pug named Daisy.
For Bagwell, his four-legged, furry companion is one of his best friends.
“I bring her to work when time allows,” Bagwell said. “She has learned course etiquette and loves to visit with members and staff. Daisy is a very loyal dog, therefore, she is a very good listener. She started learning using a training collar. Now, she understands a few simple commands that work well on and off the golf course.”
For the last 12 years, Gleneagles has been Bagwell’s professional home. He has had a successful stint at Gleneagles because it takes a team effort to keep two championship golf courses in top-notch condition 12 months a year.
“It takes a great staff and a membership that supports all the agronomic programs during the off season,” Bagwell said.
Some people believe that the work of maintaining a golf course 12 months a year in South Florida, where there’s usually plenty of rain and more than enough sunshine, wouldn’t be that challenging of a job, but Mother Nature presents Bagwell with a daily challenge.
“Delray Beach is considered to be in a sub-tropical region, making extreme heat, humidity and lots of rain the norm,” Bagwell said. “We have Bermuda grass on the golf courses, and it thrives in these extreme conditions. The challenge is keeping up with its rapid growth during the summer months.”
And from time to time, a hurricane comes rolling through the area,
“Hurricanes are very unpredictable. Each year, we trim all the trees on property prior to hurricane season,” Bagwell said. “When we have a hurricane on the radar, we closely monitor the predicted path. The size and path of an approaching hurricane will determine how we prepare. For anything less than a Category 1, we will simply bring in all accessories, remove all wind screens from the tennis court, and secure all loss items. For hurricanes Category 1 or higher, we will put up or close shutters on all windows, open flood gates and hope for the best.”
According to Bagwell, the key to navigating a hurricane is to be ready for its arrival.
“We are always prepared for hurricanes, especially as the hurricane season progresses,” Bagwell said. “We are currently trimming all trees on property, which is a big undertaking. This process will take two high-lift booms, one chipper and truck, and approximately 10 workers four weeks to complete.”
While surviving a hurricane presents its own challenge, getting not one but two golf courses open for play again after a storm blows through the area is another daunting task.
“Immediately after a hurricane passes, everyone wants to play golf,” Bagwell said. “We can clean up after a hurricane faster than expected. Depending on how long there is a power loss, we can have the courses open within a few days.”
Prior to his arrival at Gleneagles, Bagwell learned his trade at another golf course in South Florida.
“I worked at the Westview Country Club in Miami for 10 years,” Bagwell said. “It was an old course, which was established in 1922, and was an old Al Capone hangout.”
In addition to being able to take care of two golf courses, he is an accomplished golfer who sports a 4.9 handicap while swinging his TaylorMade clubs and Ecco golf shoes.