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Craig Loving, Lost Creek CC, Austin, TX

Posted in People 18 April 2017 · 1,589 views

With a wingspan of about 3 feet and dagger-like talons, the great horned owl is a critter to be respected.
Craig Loving helping free a great horned owl caught in fishing line.That didn't stop superintendent Craig Loving of Lost Creek Country Club from stepping forward when a great horned owl needed a helping hand after becoming ensnared in some fishing line last month at the course in Austin, Texas.
Fishing line had become wrapped around the owl, preventing it from flying. The problem, besides the fishing line, the beak and the talons, was that the owl was perched in a small tree in a pond. Loving slipped on some waders, grabbed a pair of pliers and went into the water to help the bird.
The owl, unable to escape, sat still for the most part. And although the bird protested a little, Loving said in a video that captured the event that talking to the animal seemed to help keep it somewhat calm.
"I cut the fishing line. It was still wrapped around it. I unwrapped it a couple times," Loving said.
"He kept slamming his beak down . . . to say 'hey i don't like this,' but i kind of talked to it a little bit."
Once the bird was freed from its nylon captor, Loving coaxed it onto the handle of a shovel and walked it to shore. After resting on the ground under a large tree for a few minutes, the owl flew off, seemingly none the worse for wear.
"It was a little intimidating, especially when the beak started snapping at me, but it was cool, definitely was very cool.
"It was definitely the first time I've ever done that it was a new experience."

John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania

Posted in People 15 February 2017 · 1,451 views

Dave Delsandro, left, delivered the induction speech as John Zimmers, right, of Oakmont Country Club recently was enshrined in his high school's Monogram Club.According to legend, John Zimmers was a pretty good baseball player back in the day at Tyrone High School in west-central Pennsylvania. But it has been his work in the golf business that grabbed the attention of folks back in his hometown of Tyrone.
On Jan. 28, Zimmers was one of eight people inducted into Tyrone High School's Golden Eagle Monogram Club.
The 2007 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award winner, Zimmers, 45, has been superintendent at Oakmont since 1999 after spending three years as superintendent at Sand Ridge Golf Club in Chardon, Ohio.
Zimmers got his start in the business by happenstance when he answered a help-wanted ad in the Altoona Mirror. That ad had been placed by Paul R. Latshaw at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, more than 200 miles away. His career includes overseeing two U.S. Open championships (2007, 2016), a U.S. Women's Open in 2010 and the 2003 U.S. Amateur.
Dave Delsandro, Oakmont's director of U.S. Open operations and projects, was on hand to announce Zimmers' induction.
"John is the absolute best," Delsandro said in the Altoona Mirror. "He is such a great manager, honest, hard-working, and a good communicator."
The Monogram Club is a group open to all letter-winners from Tyrone Area High School. It began Honor Group inductions in 1988 and has added a new class to the group every other year since 2001.

Anthony Williams, CGCS, Stone Mountain (Georgia) GC

Posted in People 05 June 2015 · 1,382 views

Anthony Williams, CGCS, is one of the most inspiring people we know - in any profession.

A two-time published author, Williams is a regular presenter at national and regional conferences who talks more about personal and professional development than he does managing Stone Mountain Golf Club?s bentgrass greens in Georgia?s summer heat.
We weren?t surprised when Williams developed a bucket list of 50 experiences he wanted to accomplish to commemorate his 50th birthday in 2014. Nor were we shocked when after he was briefly sidelined by open-heart surgery, that he picked himself up off the deck and busily tried to complete the list.
Never one to quit, Williams finished the 365-day period between his 50th and 51st birthdays having crossed 47 of the 50 items off his bucket list.
"No excuses, it is what it is," he said. "It was a journey in the realm of choice, possibility and opportunity and I have mapped quite a trail in the last 365 days. It has changed my life."
Some of the items on the list were easily accomplished, such as visiting the Alamo . . . during GIS in San Antonio. Others were bit more challenging, such as hitting a hole-in-one (one of the three he failed to accomplish). 
While his golf skills (or lack of them) had more to do with him missing out on what would be his first-ever ace on the golf course, the biggest threat to working through the list started when his wife, Phyllis, suffered a heart attack while the couple was in Hilton Head for a regional turf conference where Williams was a scheduled speaker. Three weeks later, Williams fell ill at the golf course and was transported to a nearby hospital. By that evening, he?d been flown to another hospital in downtown Atlanta and soon was spread open on the operating table.
Another simple bucket list item, sharing the experiences of New Orleans with son Luke took a turn when the pair was approached by a couple of local hoodlums who thought they?d spotted a couple of easy targets. They learned the hard way that both Williams is a sixth degree black belt and Luke a fourth degree.
Always thinking of ways to share his knowledge with others, Williams has plans to blog about his 50 for 50 exploits and his latest book, Noble Habits.
"The 50@50 has changed my life in so many ways. It made me more focused and it made me see the power of choice," he said. "I have become much deeper in my thought processes and much simpler in my actions. The truth is that I am now living yet another chapter of bonus years and I look forward to making the most of them."

Joe Wachter, Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis, MO

Posted in People 12 February 2015 · 1,649 views

There are a lot of things that bring superintendents to the golf industry show: education, new equipment, networking opportunities and a chance to catch up with industry vendors.
Joe Wachter is going to San Antonio for all of those reasons.
Tops on his list for this year are finding out more about drones, which can be used to provide valuable overhead views of areas on the golf course that superintendents might not otherwise be afforded. Drones also are valuable for recording top-down views of the golf course that can be valuable in future restoration projects.
Wachter also is starting to window shop for a new mower package. He plans to look at new offerings this year, including fairway and rough units as well as walk and riding greensmowers.
And while other superintendents in his age bracket (he's 57) hit the show looking for a second or new career, Wachter says that's not for him.
"Only eight years from 65. (I) will probably work past that," Wachter said. "My wife would murder me if I was home every morning when she got up."

Scott Witte, CGCS, Cantigny Golf, Wheaton, Illinois

Posted in People 12 February 2015 · 1,322 views

Networking, education, kicking tires, looking at new products. All are common and valid reasons for attending the Golf Industry Show. Scott Witte noted another reason to attend.
Scott Witte, CGCS"I'll be squeezing in some golf with great friends," he said. "This has more value than most think. ?Many great ideas come from seeing how the other guys do it. Also a great opportunity to experience a great variety of golf course architecture, and glean ideas from the best of them."
Witte, who initiated The Bee Barometer Project at Cantigny, also will be using his time at GIS to try to expand and improve his bee-raising operation.
"I will, however, be spending a lot of time on the show floor searching for future partners for The Bee Barometer Project," he said, "meeting with Bayer, Syngenta, Rain Bird and native prairie seed companies."
In the market for new mowing equipment, Witte is eager to learn more about hybrid fairway mowers, Toro's zero-turn bunker rake unveiled last year in Orlando and GPS-assisted spraying equipment.

Doug Ayres, Corral de Tierra CC, Corral de Tierra, California

Posted in People 12 February 2015 · 1,152 views

Doug AyresAfter taking a hiatus from GIS Orlando a year ago, Doug Ayres is returning this year as the show gets a little closer to home, which for him is near California's Monterey Peninsula.
Among the items on Ayres' schedule this year are, of course, classes the first two days of show week, followed by networking with colleagues from other parts of the state and around the country. Networking for Ayres involves much more than just catching up with other superintendents. He uses the time to learn what they are seeing on their golf courses, what they're doing about it and what is going on throughout the industry in general.
"It's difficult to travel around during the season, which is year-round on the Central Coast of California, and see what other courses are doing differently" he said. "The GIS provides an opportunity to hear about what is going on in the industry as a whole. It also provides the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with superintendents from all over the U.S. and hear what new and exciting things they are doing at their specific site."
Through the years, Ayres has developed a reputation throughout California's Central Coast as a superintendent always looking for new projects and looking for projects he can do in-house. Because of that, he's also always on the lookout for new equipment needed to complete something new that will make Corral de Tierra a better golf course without breaking the bank.
"I like equipment," he said. "It's a great place to see what is out there and to glean ideas on how to modify our existing fleet to better meet the needs of our course."

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