Lukus Harvey is a well-celebrated and experienced director of agronomy.
And now he gets to showcase the talents of he and his team at Atlanta
Athletic Club when the best golfers in the world descend on the world-class
facility for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Harvey replaced Ken Magnum at Atlanta Athletic Club six years ago after the latter spent nearly 30 years at the club. With a degree from Ohio State in turfgrass management, Harvey has an impressive resume that includes stints at
Augusta National Golf Club, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, and the Ritz-
Carlton Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla.

But since he’s been at AAC, he’s loved the opportunity to help usher in a
new era at the club, which was founded in 1898.

“The club was changing a lot in my six years and the demographics, and
the culture of the club, has changed so drastically that it’s been fun to be
part of out here,” said Harvey. “The one consistent through time here has
been the history of hosting championships but other than that it’s a much
different club than six years ago.”

The AAC has hosted five majors in the past including the 1981, 2001, and
2011 PGA Championships. This is the first time the Women’s PGA
Championship has been contested at the club, although it did play host to
the U.S. Women’s Open in 1990.

This will mark the 13th televised event Harvey has worked including PGA
Tour tournaments and the PGA Tour’s Q-School. He’s excited to get “back
on that wagon again,” he said, but given the membership’s skill-level at
AAC he admitted the club will likely not get many tweaks leading into
tournament week.

There were close to 10 members who played the Georgia State Mid-Am
Championship recently, while the same number played the Georgia State
Amateur in 2020 – hosted at AAC.

“You read these articles that country clubs across the country are focused
on different amenities and golf’s not always No. 1, but golf is king here,”
said Harvey. “The expectations that our members have… they deserve the
conditions, and we push the golf course to tournament condition, weather-
pending, pretty much year-round.

“It makes hosting an event like this kind of nice because you’re already
pretty close.”

Harvey said his staff has been able to lean into their key partnership with
John Deere Golf in order to embrace technology more and utilize what the
iconic brand can do to help with keeping AAC looking top-notch all the time.
He points to how they’re now utilizing GPS-guided sprayers as an example.

While not 100 percent autonomous, they’re steering themselves and
turning the nozzles on and off because they have maps and knows where
to spray – whether that be just tees, just greens, or just fairways – and
those are “fantastic,” Harvey said. The club is also strict on water
management.

The utilization of new tech is going to help the maintenance staff at AAC
with one of its key objectives for KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
week.

“We probably ratchet up the aesthetics a little more since the TV cameras
are on,” said Harvey with a smile. “We’re focused on balancing how the
course plays and how it looks for an event like this.”

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