Ken Mangum, CGCS, will have to find room in his considerable trophy case for yet another prestigious industry honor.
The director of golf courses and grounds at the Atlanta Athletic Club and a 2013 recipient of GCSAA's Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award has been selected as one of four inductees into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. When officially inducted in January, Mangum will become only the third superintendent member of the hall, joining Palmer Maples, CGCS Retired, and Mark Esoda, CGCS at Atlanta Country Club.
"Ken is one of the most respected golf course superintendents in the industry, not just in our state but across the country and, I would have to say, internationally," says Georgia GCSA president, Mike Brown, from The Standard Club in Johns Creek. "This honor is a testament to all that he has brought to his profession and also the great contribution he has made to the industry."
This summer, Mangum will serve as host superintendent for the U.S. Amateur Championship. He hosted successful PGA Championships in 2011 and 2001 and the U.S. Women's Open Championship in 1990. He also prepared the golf course for the U.S. Junior Championship in 2002.
Brown says those showpiece events only tell a small part of the story of Mangum's contribution to the game. "Ken has been a tremendous mentor to so many people in the industry who have gone on to be very successful in their own right," he says. "I know he has traveled extensively in the U.S. and overseas sharing his knowledge. The conditioning level he achieves with his golf courses has helped raise the standard across the board. And the research plot he maintains there at the Athletic Club has helped provide many a superintendent with answers."
Brown speaks from personal as well as professional experience. "When I first came to The Standard Club in 2004 it was only a week or two before I got a phone call from Ken introducing himself, welcoming me to the neighborhood and inviting me to lunch," he says. "He came and visited me at the golf course. For someone of his stature and as busy as he is to reach out to me in that way meant an awful lot to me and I know he has done the same for many others. He is an extremely personable guy."
Mangum was born in Anniston, AL and attended Alexandria High School and later Lake City Community College in Lake City, FL graduating in 1975 from the School of Golf Course Operations. He moved to Georgia and served as assistant superintendent at Mystery Valley Golf Course in Atlanta from 1976 to 1978. He returned to Alabama in 1978, as golf course superintendent at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
From 1981 to 1988, Mangum was golf course superintendent at Idle Hour Club in Macon, GA where he installed the first computerized irrigation system east of the Mississippi River. There he managed a greens conversion to bentgrass and hosted seven Peach Blossom Invitational tournaments. He also managed construction of a golf course operations center, which he designed, and implemented a master landscape program for the course.
At Atlanta Athletic Club, a facility he joined in 1988, Mangum has served as project manager for six major golf course renovations and designed and built the Par 3 course in 1993. He also developed a management program that has produced many successful superintendents around the country.
An active member of GCSAA, Mangum served on its board of directors from 1996 to 2001 and received the association's Colonel John Morley Distinguished Service Award in 2013. He also received USGA's Ike Grainger Award that same year for 25 years of volunteer service to the USGA Green Section committee which he continues to serve today.
He was Georgia GCSA president in 1987-88 and was inducted into the Georgia GCSA Hall of Fame in 2013. He was named Georgia Superintendent of the Year in 2002 and Georgia Turf Professional of the Year in 1996. In 2004, Mangum was appointed by Georgia Governor Perdue to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame board of directors where he served until 2009.
He is a current member of the Rain Bird Irrigation Select Superintendent Advisory Board and has served as an instructor at the John Deere/Bayer Green Start Academy since its inception in 2006. Mangum and his wife, Pam, are parents of two daughters, one son and three grandchildren and live in Cumming, GA.
Mangum joins 15 other greats from Atlanta Athletic Club in the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame with Bobby Jones the best known among them. Fittingly, the 2015 induction banquet and ceremony will be at the club on January 17.