They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But at Vidanta resorts, that’s literally true—the grass there is always greener.
And, for the most part, we have Shane Eble to thank for that fact. As the Director of Agronomy at Vidanta Golf, Shane is the one responsible for making sure every golf course at the Vidanta resorts is beautiful, lush, well-manicured, and green. It’s something many of us take for granted, but turns out there’s a lot of hard work, science, and planning that goes into making the courses so picturesque and perfectly playable.
We sat down with Shane, who has been working as an Agronomist for 14 years now, to get some insight about his job. Read along as we talk fairways in heaven, playing favorites, and knowing when and how to let fate intervene.
THE VIDANTA TRAVELER: How do you describe your job to those who aren’t familiar with the term “agronomist”?
SHANE EBLE: That is a tough question! The short answer is that we grow grass. But there is so much that goes into it, like working with purchasing, budgets, human resources, etc. There is also the actual agronomy side, which includes being a soil scientist, irrigation specialist, and having knowledge of diseases, insects, and the cultural practices that are necessary to maintain a course. Last but not least, I would say we are also stewards of the environment; golf courses are not generally seen as “green” areas, but they definitely are. We are always looking for better ways of doing things and how we can improve our surroundings.
TVT: How did you find your way toward agronomy?
SE: I kind of just fell into it! I was majoring in Construction Science and Management at Kansas State University, when I decided I wanted to do something different for a summer. I saw a posting for an internship at a golf course and was interested in seeing what it involved. After that summer, I was hooked. I changed majors when I returned to school that fall and never looked back.
We are stewards of the environment… We are always looking for better ways of doing things and how we can improve our surroundings.
TVT: Which Vidanta Golf Course is your favorite, and why?
SE: It is easy to say I like them all, as each course fits a specific niche and the designs vary greatly. It’s fun to see and be able to play all of the different courses, but if I had to pick a favorite I would say Puerto Peñasco. It is a great design and a beautiful course, and we’ve put quite a bit of work into it. We had a rater’s event there last April and the course went from unranked to being the #17 course in all of Mexico and the Caribbean, an obvious testament to the quality of its design.
TVT: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
SE: I would have to say that the most rewarding thing is being able to see the improvements that we are making throughout the properties. Some of these changes and updates may not be visible right away, but the programs we are implementing and work we are doing will pay off with really beautiful conditions as we go forward.
TVT: Do you have a favorite grass or plant?
SE: I really like the Platinum Paspalum that we are featuring in many projects now, including the Norman Signature Course and the Lakes Course (coming soon to Nuevo Vallarta)—it’s truly an amazing grass. Seeing how we are able to maintain the same grass on greens, tees, fairways and rough in different conditions is fairly unique. It is also very environmentally friendly as it requires less water, less nutrient inputs, and can handle reused water better than other turf grasses.
And then there are the tropical plants and trees in Nuevo Vallarta to consider. For me, probably one of the most beautiful trees out there are the Parota trees on the Norman Signature Golf Course—they are truly magnificent!
TVT: What projects are you currently eagerly anticipating for Vidanta Golf?
SE: There is so much to look forward to! I can’t wait to get the new Lakes Course open and running, as it will be a great addition to the golf offerings that we have here in Nuevo Vallarta—and I’m hoping it will help me improve my short game! Beyond that, there are a couple of projects—too top secret to mention here!—that are coming down the line and will be great for our guests while continuing to improve the Vidanta golf experience. Be on the lookout for more on those soon!
TVT: As someone whose profession is directly affected by the whims of nature, what advice do you have for dealing with challenges or setbacks that are outside your control?
SE: It may sound cliché, but I would have to say that it’s important to just do everything that is in your control, and know the rest will work itself out. I tend to be a pretty laid-back person, and I think that really helps when I come across tough situations that I can’t directly change or affect. Just have faith and patience.
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