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My Final Day at The Hills

Posted by Peter Braun in Peter Braun: Interning in Ireland & New Zealand, in Internship, The Hills 27 March 2015 · 17,379 views

My final day of work at The Hills for Brendan Allen is finished. I cleaned out my locker, said good bye to the guys, and am ready for my trip to Auckland through the west coast. Working at The Hills was a pleasure. There is a great bunch of guys on the crew and that only improved the experience for me. The closeness of everyone is really unique to find in such a large crew. That only makes work easier. I wish everyone the best to their future endeavors. 

 

I cannot thank Brendan enough for taking me on for the season. I got to see a different operation and work with Browntop Bentgrass (Colonial Bentgrass) that I had not previously. One of the main reasons I chose to come to The Hills was the tournament that was being held here. To see course preparation for a tournament was something I had wanted to see for a long time.

 

I was impressed at how well the course was prepared prior to the tournament. Maybe there are just more guys who have been through multiple tournaments or Brendan was really on top of jobs that needed to be done, but there never felt like a change from summer work to tournament prep. Expectations are kept high during the season so when the NZ Open came around we knew what was expected and just did it. 

 

Working at The Hills was a great experience. This is a world class operation. If anyone gets the opportunity to come here or wishes to get away from the cold winters on the Northern Hemisphere I highly suggest coming over. To work at such a beautiful course with highly knowledgable personal and get to experience a unique golfing setting is a humbling experience. 

 

When I set down with Mike O'Keeffe in December 2013 I could not have expected to have such a fantastic time working and traveling in Ireland and New Zealand. A fun filled year could not have been possible without the help of many people.

 

A huge thanks to Mike O'Keeffe for setting up me up to interview with TurfNet and placing me at The Hills. Thanks to Jon Kiger and the staff at TurfNet for answering any questions I had about the blog and helping me get me set up for Ireland. To Brendan Allen and Aidan O'Hara, thank you for taking me on and teaching me more about managing a golf course to the highest standard than I knew possible. You are two of the best in the business. A shoutout to all of the Superintendents that took the time to show around their courses in Ireland and NZ. Without the support of all of you this year would not have been possible. Thank you. 

 

My journey has not ended yet though. As I said above I still have some time here till I fly out so I have a trip planned out to see the rest of New Zealand. Starting Monday I will be going around the country as I make my way up to Auckland. When I get back to the USA I will be volunteering at TPC Sawgrass for The Players, maybe I will see some of you there. I have accepted the position of Turf Grad at Hazeltine National Golf Club for hopefully through the Ryder Cup in 2016. 



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Invisible TD Sand

Posted by Randy Wilson in Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock, in Skeletal Golf 26 March 2015 · 1,471 views

Yesterday, Rockbottum's top covert film unit returned from Rivermont CC with footage of Mark Hoban, MGS, (Mad Golf Scientist) using his Invisible Soil-Feeding TD sand.

 

The film you are about to see is one of several updates of ongoing research testing taking place under Mark's control.  Next week we intend to reveal where he's getting this stuff . . . unless he comes up with some serious compensation.

 

 



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Rating Superintendent Job Opportunities

Posted by Jim McLoughlin in Jim McLoughlin: Career Advancement is JOB ONE!, 26 March 2015 · 1,570 views

Based on 25+ years of interacting with and counseling golf course superintendents through their careers, the following is an upside vs downside rating listing of the full spectrum of jobs that golf course superintendents might consider applying for at one time or another during their careers -- presented in the priority order of the better jobs first:

 

A+ CHOICE:  With Established Multi-Course Contract Company 

Upside: Maximum job security with unique job advantages.  (See Mar 12th blog)

 

Downside: There are too few jobs available -- only about 15% of superintendents work for contract companies today -- a figure that should double in the coming years. 

 

A- CHOICE:  Within Private Sector "Good Guy" GM Operations

Upside: All the benefits of working for the best GMs in golf.  (See Mar 5th blog)

 

Downside: GMs change jobs and no one knows who will replace the outgoing GM.

 

B+ CHOICE:  Within Private Sector Board/Committee Format

Upside: Highest salary potential; plus best chance to work at prestigious golf clubs.

 

Downside: High salary superintendents are terminated in tight economies; never-ending political atmosphere combined with the constant turning-over of Board and committee rosters translates into survey-tested 80% job insecurity.

 

B- CHOICE:  Within Daily Fee Course Operations

Upside: Great jobs when right owners and right superintendents match up.

 

Downside: While "high fee" operations generate max revenues, owners are too often inclined to maximize profits by squeezing operations and staff budgeting. Pressurized working environment because bankruptcy is at times never more than one bad weather season away. Job security often tenuous!

 

"Low fee" operations attract the worst kind of owners that operate within the thinnest of financial margins; there is no plus side here; take job if necessary and move on sooner rather than later.

 

D+ CHOICE:  w/i Private Sector "Power Broker/Bad Guy" GM Operations

Upside: A job is a job.

 

Downside: Weak GMs think of their welfare first and employees after that -- all of which translates into pervasive job insecurity. Job candidates must do their due diligence to identify this category of GMs before accepting jobs.

 

B+  WHEN A Municipal Golf Course Job Is An EARLY Career Choice  

C+  WHEN A Municipal Golf Course Job Is A LATER Career Choice

Upside: When municipalities directly hire staff to manage their golf courses (versus a contract company): an opportune early career job for superintendents and assistants because it presents the opportunity to prove to future employers that they can deliver top-level course maintenance with minimal budget resources.

 

Early in careers municipal employment can be excellent springboard to future quality jobs in the private, daily fee and public sectors of golf provided superintendents deliver the rarely seen combination of high quality course maintenance with tight fiscal efficiency. The opportunity is always there.

 

Downside: Few in the municipal chain of command understand course maintenance and job descriptions reflect this. Compensation tied to low-paying muni-wide salary schedules.

 

Second Option: Many municipalities hire outside contract companies to maintain their golf courses because of the municipalities' lack of familiarity with this task.

 

The inherent value of the above job listing is that it will help candidates to effectively pursue the better jobs while at the same time avoiding career mis-steps that many superintendents are not generally aware of.



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Finding Staff: H2B Visa Program (Part 1)

Posted by Matt Leverich in Matt Leverich: Career & Technology Interchange, 24 March 2015 · 13,909 views

Guest Post by Frank Duda, Golf Course Superintendent at Miacomet Golf Club, Nantucket, MA


While not perfectly related to career materials or technology, I thought it was interesting enough to include on this blog due to the potential importance of it in some of your operations, especially with it being in the news recently. The second post on how to streamline and manage the process will be coming in the next blog. I hope this offers insight to you and thanks to Frank Duda for writing this series.

-- Matt


On Nantucket Island, 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, finding an effective source of seasonal employment is a constant challenge. As is the case with other resort destinations, people come to Nantucket to vacation, not to work. Finding the required amount of employees willing to begin work every day at 5AM is nearly impossible.  Five years ago we started utilizing the H2B visa program to ensure we had sufficient employees for the summer season. This program authorizes your company to employ foreign nationals legally for a given time period. In our case, our authorized employment of H2B workers runs from April 15 ? October 15.  

While there are several additional requirements that the government places on your company when utilizing the H2B program, this program is integral in being able to ensure that our staffing needs are met. As the process and paperwork are rather cumbersome and takes a certain degree of skill to complete, we outsource this to a company that specializes in completing this paperwork. While outsourcing does add to the end cost of obtaining these employees, I highly recommend it to ensure that the paperwork is done correctly. This will avoid any frustration on your part and delays in your workers' arrival.

 

As the process and paperwork are rather cumbersome and takes a certain degree of skill to complete, we outsource this...

 

Some of the additional requirements include paying every employee a prevailing wage, as determined by the United States Department of Labor, advertising the position on both state job banks and local newspapers to ensure that any United States citizens are not being adversely effected by you bringing in foreign nationals, and incurring the travel costs of the foreign nationals to arrive at your location. While these requirements involve additional costs, the cost is more than offset by having dependable, dedicated employees throughout the summer season.

When we first started using the H2B program five years ago we only had a petition for  people, all Filipino nationals, to supplement our additional 8-10 seasonal employees. Over the years we have increased our crew size and this year we are set to have 13 Filipino nationals serve as the backbone of our crew, with an additional 8-10 Americans supplementing them.

 

We have had so much success with this program that our H2B employees are asking us to sponsor their family members or friends in the program. I currently have a waiting list for our H2B employees to bring a guest of theirs to join our company in future years? petitions. Knowing that we will be able to meet our staffing needs for many years to come through the H2B visa program is essential to our operation in a resort location.   

 

We have had so much success with this program that our H2B employees are asking us to sponsor their family members or friends in the program...


In a subsequent blog post I will go into further detail about the paperwork process and what is involved with meeting the government?s requirements as well as completing the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

 



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TurfNet RADIO: Revisit with Dr. Micah Woods on MSLN

Posted by Frank Rossi in Dr. Frank Rossi: Frankly Speaking, in By the Numbers 23 March 2015 · 1,637 views

In this episode of Frankly Speaking on TurfNet RADIO, we are following up with Dr. Micah Woods of the Asian Turfgrass Center on the MLSN concept and new discussion about using growth potential as a means of scheduling nutrient management additions. An excellent review of a progressive approach to golf turf nutrient management!

 

Check it out below or download it here for offline listening on your favorite device.

 



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You can't unring the bell...

Posted by Dave Wilber in Dave Wilber: Turfgrass Zealot, in Staff, Communication 17 March 2015 · 3,846 views

You can't unring the bell...

I am profoundly aware of the need for all Turfheads to be critical. It really is our job. One mentor told me that if he didn't "point and bitch" enough, he wasn't doing his job. And I adopted this. I was a ruthless stickler for the details.

 

Hated by many. Loved by no one. Followed infrequently.

 

I remember someone sending me a book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (*and it's all small stuff). I returned the book with a scathing letter indicating that it was my job to "sweat" in parts per million. It was brilliant writing. And I was a dead wrong ass.

 

In our culture, if we do our jobs right, then often we don't hear anything. Perhaps a "greens were good today" or a "thanks for getting the order to me early" happen... rarely. But when things are wrong, well, you need a personal force field when you get near the driving range tee or the super's office. It trickles downhill to our staff. It shouldn't. But it does.

 

In our culture, if we do our jobs right, then often we don't hear anything...

 

In my last position, I rarely heard much about good stuff. But when I missed something or didn't get it quite right a criticism bomb went off nearby. The shrapnel of words cut me deeply. Perhaps this is why I'm no longer there. Which is neither here nor there.

 

Here comes early season for many of you. And for others in warm climes the long winter golf season coming to an end brings a summer of projects and preparing for another long winter golf season. And so, it's a good idea to sit and think about your management strategy.

 

This isn't one of those "catch someone doing it right" speeches or words in support of everyone getting a trophy no matter how much they suck. But I will tell you, the Turfheads I see who stop the flow of criticism, act as a dam and release positive reenforcement are dead solid perfect winners.

 

This isn't one of those "catch someone doing it right" speeches or words in support of everyone getting a trophy no matter how much they suck. But I will tell you...

 

I recently read a beautiful blog entry about this. Better written that I could ever do. So here it is. Do yourself a favor and take it in. Deeply. And use it. Effectively. https://www.katehedd...ective-feedback

 

Because when the pressure is on and you let those you lead know constantly that they suck, guess what, they will suck. For sure. The banging gong that destroys. Don't be that. No one will follow you.

 

Read Kate Heddleston's words. And determine a strategy that coaches, uplifts and supports. I'm not saying settle for bad work. But, when an employee gets it wrong, well, the correction won't sound like gong beating and then you will be a leader.



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Preparing for the Landscape of the Future

Posted by Joseph Fearn in Joe Fearn: Third Way Green, 11 March 2015 · 9,560 views

Recently I watched a video on TurfNet TV from Randy Wilson, called Ten Years from Now. It, of course, takes place ten years in the future and talks about the scarcity of fungicide, fertilizer and diesel fuel. Even effluent water is being bought by a bottled water company rather than being used for irrigation on their course. Buddy laments they should have gone half organic when they had the chance, but they were worried about being ridiculed by the "Dark Green Fairway Movement". It is truly a great parody video, but like all parody has a ring of truth to it. Now I don?t know where golf specifically is headed, but I have some thoughts on several possible environmentally-focused changes for the industry as a whole.

 

Chemical restrictions will continue, and increase

There are a number of hort/ag chemicals that have been banned in the past decade or so. I haven't kept a list of them, but I know it happened. This trend will continue and even accelerate. Even the neonicotinoids, which were heralded as a safer chemical, are coming under intense fire for possibly damaging bee colonies. Industry mainstays like glyphosate are in the sights of many environmental groups, and the sheer quantity of glyphosate used by the industry makes this product a ripe target. I only use chemicals under the most urgent situations, but for high quality sports fields and golf, some chemical use is a necessity. If our industry helps guide restriction legislation, rather than fight it out of hand, we will get to use the safest, most effective chemicals in the future.

 

If our industry helps guide restriction legislation, rather than fight it out of hand, we will get to use the safest, most effective chemicals in the future...

 

Inorganic fertilizer restrictions will continue, and increase

In parts of the U.S., most noticeably around the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer can only be applied after a soil sample indicates the need, and then only using certain products. This is a wise step, especially for homeowners, but I imagine there is very little oversight or monitoring. Certification is already needed in most situations for pesticide applications, and certification of fertilizer applicators is ramping up too. The fertilizer industry is seeing that organic fertilizers have more impact across the spectrum of turf nutrition needs because they benefit not only the plant, but also all the organisms and soil around it, creating a much healthier grass ecosystem. As more companies produce more organic and hybrid fertilizers, costs will come down. Given the efficacy and broad spectrum benefit of organics and hybrids, they may already be a better value per dollar.

 

You will need a permit to run a chainsaw

Power equipment in the green industry is loud and relatively polluting when compared to other combustion based engines. Even with CARB standards, mowers and blowers are resource intensive. They use a lot of gas, generate more emissions than a car, and are uniformly loud. While all industry equipment, i.e. weed eaters, chain saws, hedge trimmers, etc. are much improved and more efficient today than in the past, they still will face scrutiny in the future, especially at the local level. In many places there are already noise restrictions, and a number of locales have restricted blower use. As cities enlarge, and green space shrinks, air quality concerns will allow legislators to focus on power equipment and the restrictions will increase. Couple power equipment with urban forest oversight and chainsaw permitting is a distinct possibility.

 

I will not be allowed to irrigate... at all

Irrigation restrictions are everywhere. In Nashville in the early 2000's we went on curtailment and could only water from 1am to 5am (4 million sq. ft. of total turf at 40 different sites, it couldn't be done). This effectively was a ban on commercial irrigation. During the 2012 Midwest drought, here in Springfield we could only water on odd/even days. Again, given the size of my campus, this was essentially a ban. I could water everything, but improperly and ineffectively. As water utilities need more water for drinking supplies and industry, horticulture irrigation will be the odd man out. Smart irrigation and increasingly efficient systems plus components will delay but not prevent the day when there is no water for irrigation.

 

Smart irrigation and increasingly efficient systems plus components will delay but not prevent the day when there is no water for irrigation...

 

The future is bright

I know that these predictions are not particularly far out or insightful. If anyone in our profession is surprised by them, they haven't been paying attention. There are certainly other changes to come also. Thinking as a green industry professional, I support these measures whole-heartedly. Increasing restrictions and environmental pressure will be good for our industry. No more will just anyone get to call themselves a turf expert or groundskeeper. For professionals, the ability to provide a high quality product, aligned with and heavily relying on natural processes, will be a necessity. This expertise will allow those able professionals to command better pay and control.

 

As future development expands, golf courses and college campuses will become some of the most important green spaces, both sought after and supported by government and the private sector. The challenge for our industry is to understand where we are headed, whether we like it or not, and to help define what that future will be. If our industry resists, we will not be able to affect the result, even though we will have to work within it.



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At the Solheim Cup! Come along for the ride!

Posted by Peter McCormick in Kevin Ross at the Solheim Cup, 16 August 2017 · 72 views

A few years back, I can remember discussing the 2017 Solheim Cup with Rick Tegtmeier, director of grounds at Des Moines Golf & Country Club who would be hosting the event. We discussed the possibility of me coming to Iowa to volunteer and help out. Well, how time flies. Somehow the 2017 Solheim Cup is here and I find myself in the great state of Iowa, helping my good friend and fellow longtime TurfNet member.

 

With Rick working in Iowa and me in Colorado, chances are that he and I would never have met were it not for what I call the TurfNet Effect. Whats that, you may be asking yourself? That is where superintendents first meet online through the TurfNet Forum. Eventually you meet in person, usually at one of the TurfNet gatherings known as Beer and Pretzels or on the show floor at GIS. This happened with Rick and myself some 20 years ago and our friendship has become stronger every year. So I feel humbled and excited that Rick has asked me to come along for the ride.

 

...chances are that he and I would never have met were it not for what I call the TurfNet Effect. 

 

Along with helping on course, I will also be producing this video series to give you a firsthand look at Rick Tegtmeier and his staff, the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and the 2017 Solheim Cup.

 

Come along for the ride this week as I help my good friend and have a bunch of fun along the way. Welcome!

 

 



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Website Series: Writing Your Bio

Posted by Peter McCormick in Matt Leverich: Career & Technology Interchange, 11 August 2017 · 234 views

One of the things you should always try to include in a career website or portfolio is a biography. It can help the hiring person get to know you quickly and hit on some points of interest for them to add your application to the yes pile at the initial stages of the process. 
 
The problem is that a biography can get out of hand in a hurry and actually work as a disservice to your application if done wrong. To this end, here are a few tips to the beginnings of a well-crafted bio. 
 
1. Shorter is better than longer. Its a good rule of thumb to keep a bio to no more than 5 or 6 paragraphs. Any more and its a wall of text most people wont spend time to read. I dont mean 6 huge paragraphs either, 2-4 sentences in each paragraph is the goal. 
 
2. Limit your work history. Going into detail about every single place you have worked is not a good idea, it just becomes regurgitation of your resume. Instead, briefly mention your overall work history and focus on 1 or 2 major accomplishments at work. These should be things that a hiring person would want to hear, not a turfhead. Things like: saved money, increased rounds, improved conditions. The results, not the actual process. 
 
3. Include your passion for golf. While your passion might truly be for turf, the hiring person and members are focused on golf. Let them know you understand the game, its architecture and work to provide an experience first and foremost. Also, very few hiring people know the names of other superintendents (sad but true in most cases), so dont bother mentioning you had this mentor or that mentor superintendent. However, most in the club world know architects and golf pros. If you have a good relationship or history with one, definitely mention it. This will help facilitate your commitment to golf in addition to turf. 
 

...the main idea for the bio is to be an expanded me section from your cover letter, dumping the bits about a specific club you are applying to and focusing on what in your career makes you the ideal candidate. 

 
4. Keep personal details to a minimum. Sometimes a club is looking for a very specific candidate at the onset of a search (whether its legal or not). This can evolve if they see an interesting option come to light. Because of this, you want to be careful not to overexpose yourself personally at the beginning where this bio will be in the process. Generally mentioning that you are happily married, have kids, etc. is a positive if mentioned briefly, however including hobbies, other passions, etc. can work against you in my experience. 
 
5. Focus more on recent work. Its natural to want to talk about college, interning at a big-time course and your first big Assistants position and what you did at them. However, as I mentioned earlier, content should be limited in length so you are better focusing on things youve done recently. A brief mention of where you went to college is certainly important, but just mention it and why you got into the business and move on to other things. 
 
In general, the main idea for the bio is to be an expanded me section from your cover letter, dumping the bits about a specific club you are applying to and focusing on what in your career makes you the ideal candidate. Following these tips will start you on the path to a well-written bio that works to augment your application instead of limit it. 
 
This ties in with a previous article about how you should be creating professional career materials. Check it out here.



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Dane Wilson, son of a superintendent, hones his craft at Medinah #2

Posted by Peter McCormick in The Ladder, 07 August 2017 · 814 views

Host John Reitman chats with Dane Wilson, superintendent at Medinah #2 near Chicago, about his internships, career goals, development of his own personal golf course management strategies, and wisdom instilled by his father, Mark Wilson, former superintendent at Valhalla Golf Club and host superintendent of many professional tournaments and events.

 

"My father always told me, 'you can only do better than what your father did'" - Dane Wilson

 



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Highlands Falls Royal Yacht Club

Posted by Randy Wilson in Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock, 04 August 2017 · 2,259 views

Fred Gehrisch, CGCS at Highlands Falls Country Club, reveals another trade secret.  

 



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Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp on the current state of the golf industry

Posted by Peter McCormick in Dr. Frank Rossi: Frankly Speaking, 03 August 2017 · 372 views

In yet another fascinating discussion with Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp, we chat about the current state of the golf industry, including:

  • reduction and absorption in golf facilities and businesses that serve them
  • comparisons with retail and restaurant industries that are also cyclical industries
  • warning signs for superintendents that a facility might be in financial trouble
  • the change in golf's consumer base and requirements, including digital technology
  • non-green grass business opportunities do they lead to green-grass opportunities for golf facilities?
  • TopGolf and virtual golf: good for the green-grass sector of golf?
  • Should guidelines replace rules to increase the fun factor of golf
  • getting new golfers to the point of involvement that will make them stick as players and customers
  • growing the game by drilling deeper into the pool of "older white guys with money" who arent golfers.

Spend 45 minutes for a better understanding of where golf is and where it can go... both good and bad.

 



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Turf colorants: History, uses and best practices

Posted by Peter McCormick in The Pin Sheet, 03 August 2017 · 333 views

In this episode of the Pin Sheet, recorded August 2, 2017, host Jon Kiger chats with Jeff Vannoy of BASF on the history, uses and best practices for utilizing turf colorants on actively growing, semi-dormant and dormant turf.

 



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Forrest Richardson: Reinventing Mountain Shadows for today's golfer and economy

Posted by Peter McCormick in The Renovation Report, 31 July 2017 · 310 views

In this episode of the TurfNet Renovation Report, host Jon Kiger chats with golf course architect Forrest Richardson about the 2017 renovation and re-invention of the Short Course at Mountain Shadows (and resort) located near Scottsdale in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

 

The original golf course at Mountain Shadows was designed and built in 1961 by Arthur Jack Snyder. Course architect Forrest Richardson, one of Snyders students, completely redesigned the course to be a true par-3 with an eye toward retaining the fun for golfers, maintaining the diversity of golf holes, controlling pace of play, and containing maintenance costs while increasing the revenue potential of the facility.

 

With 18 holes ranging from 200 yards to 75 yards, the footprint of the Short Course at Mountain Shadows was reduced from the original 40 acres to 33 acres, with only 13.5 acres of managed turf. The reclaimed seven acres were converted to residential purposes which made the entire project attractive and successful financially.

 

The 17.5 hole, the Forrest Wager -- named after Richardson -- is a par 2 golf hole where the object is to play against your opponents in similar fashion to the golf game Bingo Bango Bongo. One point is awarded for the closest to the hole on the first shot played, another for the first player to hole out and a third point for the lowest score.

 

The TurfNet Renovation Report is sponsored by Golf Preservations and Jacobsen.

 

 

 

 

 



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Open Week...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Paul MacCormack: The Mindful Superintendent, 28 July 2017 · 321 views

"Embrace the vulnerability of being human as a source of strength." -- Pema Chodron

 

No, it wasn't this past week. It was actually the week before. One of our members took a serious health turn on the third hole and his playing partners brought him back to the clubhouse. It was one of those emergency events that you prepare for, hope never happens, and one that both my staff and I wont soon forget. We promptly called 911 and went into action responding to the situation, all the while keeping the area clear of patrons.

 

It turned out that the gentleman was suffering from cardiac arrest. We witnessed the paramedics work on him for a half an hour before taking him to the hospital in what was still a very unstable condition. During traumatic incidents such as this, your perception of time bends a bit. It seemed at once to take both forever and be over in an instant.

 

It wasn't until I got home that the weight of the event began to settle in. When you are caught up in a crisis, you don't have much time to process the full extent of what you are witnessing. It was in speaking with my wise teacher (wife Jill) that I realized that I was going into automatic "stiff upper lip" mode. She took one look at me upon my arrival home from work and knew that something had happened. She gently asked me about what had occurred and how I was doing. I brushed it off and replied, "It's all good". She looked at me with knowing eyes and told me that it evidently wasn't that good at all, and that I didn't have to pretend that it was.

 

It was in speaking with my wise teacher (wife Jill) that I realized that I was going into automatic "stiff upper lip" mode...

 

Wham... she got me. My default masculine, cultured response was to push the pain of the event away. Pretend that it didn't really affect me that much and simply carry on. Maybe have a couple of beers and check out for the evening. But you know what? That wasn't going to work this time. I had to acknowledge that I was deeply affected by witnessing firsthand the poor gentleman's very serious health emergency.

 

So thanks to my wife's gentle reminder, I chose a more mindful approach to deal with my own aftermath. Instead of running away from the reality of suffering, I leaned into it. By opening myself to the trauma of the event, I allowed myself to fully feel the pain and fear of all involved. By bringing an openness and curiosity to my own experience, I noticed that my feelings were both raw and tender; and my own awareness of this left me feeling quite vulnerable. Sitting with the truth of your own experience can be a powerfully alive feeling -- yet it can also be extremely uncomfortable for those who are not used to sitting mindfully very often. This is where having your own mindfulness meditation practice can be very helpful.

 

Instead of running away from the reality of suffering, I leaned into it... 

 

By allowing myself to be closer to my own feelings of vulnerability, I was better able to compassionately navigate the aftershocks of the event with my staff. We spent the next few days meeting in person, sharing our experiences, and hoping for the best. The intimacy of those meetings was only possible through being honest about how shook up we actually felt.

 

At the end of the day, my staff and I recognized that while you can never be fully prepared for such an incident, being as present and responsive as you can manage to be is very helpful. And while you don't ever want such events to happen, it did give us a chance to come together not just as a team, but as a collective group of caring human beings hoping for the best possible outcome for another person.

 

(PS: The best part is the gentleman appears to be on his way to a full recovery despite a very precarious couple of days at the outset.)



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The Irish Open at Portstewart: An experience to remember...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Marty Richardson: Interning at The Island Golf Club, 27 July 2017 · 408 views

My recent experience at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2017 was one to remember! This tournament was the start of three weeks of top-class links golf in Europe, followed by the Scottish Open in Dundonald and The Open at Royal Birkdale. Portstewart Golf Club was the host for this year's event.

 

Upon arriving I could clearly understand why Rory McIlroy said, "Portstewart is an excellent links course and one of Northern Ireland's hidden gems." Additionally, when tour officials visited the course, they too dubbed it has having one of the most spectacular front-nines in Great Britain and Ireland -- on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Imagine how thrilled I was to be a part of maintaining this amazing course.

 

One of the first tee box complexes at Portstewart.

 

Once settled in, John O'Brien, our group leader, showed us around the entire course. I could see that the Course Team of Portstewart had already completed so much hard work. Everything was ready for the pros to play. Many people don't understand the many months, sometimes years, of preparation it takes to get a course ready for tournament play, way before the first ball is even hit in practice rounds. The Course Team works diligently to maintain, protect and develop the course which can include plastic mats for protection, roping off certain areas of the course, use of forward tees and, on occasion, topdressing of greens.

 

Sunrise at Portstewart.

 

When you work a major tournament like this, workdays for the Course Team typically begin about 4:30am and ends around 8pm. There is preparation before play in the morning and then after play later in the day; and every day has pretty much the same schedule. My main duty for the week was mowing the tees on the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth holes. Unlike many courses that use riding mowers to manicure their course, at Portstewart we used Baroness walk-behind mowers. To give you an idea of how big the course is, I walked 43 miles in three days mowing these five tees!

 

This was my mower for the week, labeled PM (for Pedestrian Mower) #29.

 

Overall the days were long but my stamina came from so many sources of gratitude:

  1. that TurfNet provided me this opportunity of internship in Ireland;
  2. that Portstewart offered me a position for the week to work the DDF Irish Open and I worked side-by-side with an amazing leader John OBrien and Course Team;
  3. that I had the chance to help maintain one of the most beautiful courses in the country; and
  4. that my time at Hazeltine National Golf Club working the 2016 Ryder Cup through the guidance of Chris Tritabaugh provided me the experience and expectations to work a tournament of this magnitude.

By the end of my adventure at Portstewart Golf Club, I was able to say that I had valuable experiences that I will be able to apply to my future career in this field. I am thankful that they regarded me as one of their teammates. 

 

Early morning view of one of the tee boxes I mowed each day at Portstewart.

 

The 18th green complex at Portstewart.



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The Turfgrass Zealot Project Ep. #31: Only Wilber on The Open Championship

Posted by Dave Wilber in Dave Wilber: Turfgrass Zealot, 20 July 2017 · 731 views

Why is The Open Championship of Golf required watching, listening and study for Turfheads? 

 

Do you know that The Open was once an event set aside for greenkeepers, clubmakers and caddies? What are the key features of Royal Birkdale, host of the 146th year that this event has been played? How does the weather and the grasses play into who will win and who will lose?

 

This is my impassioned opinion about the Soul Surfing that is links golf. And why events played on The Links are so special. Because in order to understand the game's past and present, you have to have some Open Championship intelligence. 

 

No guests. Just me and the guy working on my front door banging away! You asked for it! 100% Wilber.

 

The Turfgrass Zealot Project is only on TurfNet Radio.. 

 



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Sunday: Final Round Preparations and Cheerios

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet On Tour 2017 - Irish Open Portstewart, 20 July 2017 · 316 views

With a single tee start at 7:50 AM our last reporting time was again 5 AM. Bernard captured the final day rollout of equipment and personnel. After seeing/filming these for many years I was finally included in one! Rain was forecast for later in the day and started briefly for about an hour during our Sunday duties.

 

 

 

The leaders after three rounds were Daniel Im from the USA and Jon Rahm from Spain. They were set to tee off with the final tee time at 1:10 PM. This meant the tournament would end sometime around 5 PM.

 

David, Dana and I had already decided that we would leave after the morning shift in the hopes of getting settled in Dublin in time to watch the last few holes on television there. Marty was headed back with volunteer Mike Brennan from Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links as our car was again at capacity.

 

Our morning rounds were completed efficiently and the equipment was stored for the final time that week. The combined group of Portstewart greenstaff and volunteers gathered for our final meal together -- the now familiar hot breakfast.

 

Tee mowing team leader John O'Brien of the Portstewart Golf Club staff after his last shift of the week. He walked over 140 miles while mowing since the previous Sunday. 

 

During the breakfast we were joined by Miguel Vidaor, tournament director for the European Tour. David captured the following video of his remarks. He declared the tournament and our work a success and thanked us for our efforts. Tour consultant Eugene Hennessy added that we "were a tribute to the profession and we always did our jobs with a smile."

 

All smiles on the final morning of tournament prep. (L-R) Portstewart Deputy Course Manager Brian McConway, European Tour Consultant Eugene Hennessy, and Damien McConway from nearby Castlerock Golf Club. (Portstewart's Jonny Hemphill with the photobomb in the background!)

 

We said our goodbyes (or "cheerios" as they say locally) and realized that like a last gathering at high school graduation we would likely never have this same group assembled again in the future. A quick stop at the house to pack up and we were on our way.

 

On the road out of town we stopped at Dunluce Castle. Originally built by the MacQuillan family in the 1500s, the castle has a rich history and is in outstanding shape for its age and exposure along the Antrim coast. An extensive visitors centre and good signage told the story of this piece of Irish history. Bringing our trip full circle was the fact that stones brought from nearby Giants Causeway were used in construction of the castle.

 

Dunluce Castle on the Antrim coast.

 

The drive to Dublin was mostly motorway and we arrived into the area in about three hours. Dana checked into his friend Sean's BnB in Portmarnock while David and I headed into the Castle Lodge BnB in Malahide. We also made a quick stop at Malahide Castle, ancestral home of the Talbot family since the 1100s until being turned over relatively recently to local authorities for preservation.

 

It was early in the afternoon and David and I were able to reserve a tee time for nine holes at Portmarnock Golf Club. We watched the last few holes of the Irish Open in the bar of the club.

 

David with Ireland's Eye over his right shoulder at during a nine hole round at Portmarnock Golf Club.

 

Spaniard Jon Rahm won the tournament by six shots finishing at 24 under par with a total score of 264. Those staff and volunteers who were around for the award presentation (we weren't the only ones to get on the road early) posed for a photo with Rahm and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy. It goes without saying that this practice should be adopted more broadly across professional golf circuits worldwide.

 

Irish Open Winner Jon Rahm of Spain poses with his trophy and the remaining greenkeeping staff.

 

Sunday night David rested up for his flight while Marty and I met up with Malahide resident and retired greenkeeper Eddie Donlon for dinner and a few pints. With a more normal wake up hour the next morning, there was finally time to reflect on our amazing week together at the Irish Open in Portstewart.



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I Wonder Why? ... Now I know.

Posted by Peter McCormick in Joe Fearn: Third Way Green, 17 July 2017 · 508 views

Creating the connection between these two phrases is the hallmark of a great employee. But how does a manager or organization get people that can link these on their own? Is having an inquisitive mind a strength that is in one's DNA, or does the desire to learn need to be instilled in an employee?

 

The mind is a muscle. Like a muscle, one must use it or lose it. In our industry, not a single day goes by that is not filled with many opportunities to exercise your mind and learn something new. Not everyone is equally disposed to being a learner. But the desire and ability to learn is essential to high performance.

 

Create a learning environment

As the boss, I set the tempo for my crew. Fortunately I am a lifelong learner. I don't rely on my boss or my organization to continue learning. It is part of my being. Unfortunately not everyone on a crew may want to expand their talents or skills. It is important that the organization create the atmosphere where it is clear that learning is supported.

 

It is important that the organization create the atmosphere where it is clear that learning is supported. 

 

Attending seminars and classes (here at Drury University we understandably have many on-campus opportunities to learn), obtaining and maintaining certifications, and even tailgate meetings are just some of the ways learning takes place. By modeling learning, and accommodating learning with policy plus day to day operations, employees begin to see that the organization values their improvement.

 

Learning Demonstrates Desire to Improve

Years ago as a young groundsman at George Mason University, I was part of a 5 man team using 21 Lawn Boys to mow the President's House. As I mowed my section an image began to assert itself in my mind, but I didn't know what to make of it. At lunch I described my thoughts to my boss. I told him about thinking there were light and dark stripes in the grass of some English manor I recall seeing (where? I don't remember). He explained this was pattern mowing (striping if you will) and why/how it happens. I resumed mowing, trying to stripe, but without much luck (Lawn Boys don't stripe well). I did however strive to improve my mowing from that point onward and now consider myself pretty good at pattern mowing (greens and fairways will certainly help you take your mowing to new heights!).

 

Striping is a talent that is frequently self-taught.

 

Learning by Necessity

 

I remember learning about turf diseases in school. My Turgeon textbook covered most of the common diseases and I also had to study some in order to obtain my pesticide applicator's certification. But seeing pictures, and even worse, reading descriptions, doesn't always prepare one for diagnosing problems in the field for the first time.

 

Theoretical learning, applied in the field, can result in quality learning.

 

At one of my jobs I had a turf stand that was starting to look off color, splotchy and had some areas browning out. I imagine many of you are already at the correct diagnosis. But as a new supervisor, the coworker that told me it was due to an unusually lengthy period of overcast weather sounded reasonable. After correctly diagnosing Brown Patch, then having it confirmed with sample testing, I learned a lesson never to be forgotten, nor repeated. Lessons learned through mistakes stick with you.

 

Lessons learned through mistakes stick with you.

 

Let Individuals Have Their Head

Learning is best when done in your own way. The points that allow me to understand something are not the same for others. We all learn in our own (extremely?) particular styles. As discussed earlier I learned striping on my own. But many of us have tried to teach striping and it does not always guarantee success. Some people cannot learn the extra skills that make some people top notch mowers (and others like me, just okay).

 

Pruning is another talent that comes to mind. Some people just see the pruning in their mind before they start. Others cannot seem to match the picture of a well renovated shrub with the final outcome. I try to gauge where a workers talents are, and let them learn in their own way.

 

Everyone Wants Gardening Advice

Another factor that helps learning is the need to dispense advice. Whenever someone hears we are a groundskeeper or superintendent, a first inquiry will be about growing better turf, or about a plant pest. Just this morning a coworker texted me about Emerald Ash Borer. Being a Certified Arborist I had some familiarity with this pest and was able to provide an appropriate response. I wanted to verify my information so I visited MU Extension website for EAB. My info proved correct, I learned more about the current situation my state is in, and I reinforced my learning as well. All because I was asked a gardening question. Next time someone asks for help, use it as an opportunity to learn.

 

Visiting frequently with experts pays learning dividends. University of Missouri experts Bob Balek (2nd from L) and Dr. Brad Fresenburg ®, share wisdom with DU Groundsmen Jeremy and Andre (L-R).

 

Never Stop Learning

Learning keeps my job exciting. I learn when I write this blog, I learn when a reader responds, I learn when I make a mistake, and on and on. If every task of my job was always the same, how unbearable would that be. As groundskeepers we are surrounded by constant change. Conditions change, soil changes, methods change. By embracing the learning that comes with our jobs, we truly are better off.



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Tom Cook pioneered the turf program at Oregon State University

Posted by John Reitman in Living Legends, 11 July 2017 · 835 views

 

During a 30-plus-year career at Oregon State University, Tom Cook was doing more than running one of the country's top turfgrass programs. He also viewed his job as part-time matchmaker.
 
"Looking back now, it's pretty funny. I thought what I did was run a dating service, matching personalities with golf courses," said Cook. "You have to get to know the students and their style and match them with the right superintendents so they could progress in the industry."
 
Cook, 67, took over the Oregon State program in 1977 when he was just 27 years old. During the next 31 years, until he retired in 2008, more than 300 students went through the program that Cook ran mostly as a one-man show. 
 
"I couldn't seem to accumulate enough funds to hire anyone until about six years before I retired," he said. "But I had lots of energy."
 
It wasn't until 2001, when he hired Brian McDonald as a research assistant that he had paid help.
 
"It was like the Great Pyramids: Nobody knows how he built it. Before I got there it was just him. What Tom managed to do by himself is a mystery," said McDonald, a former student under Cook who graduated from Oregon State in 2000 after a career as an accountant.
 
"The university never game him a dime more than his salary. When he started the turf farm, he was bringing his own lawn mower out there. That's how far it has come."
 
Of those 300 or so students, about 200 went into the golf business and 150 or so eventually became superintendents, Cook said.
 
His influence on the turf industry in the Pacific Northwest still reverberates today, said Tod Blankenship, CGCS, a former research assistant at OSU under Cook's successor, Rob Golembiewski, Ph.D.
 
"Tom is a legend here in the Northwest," said Blankenship, now a parks director for the city of Wilsonville, Oregon.
 
"You go to any golf course in the Northwest, and there's a pretty good chance that there's a Beaver running the show, or an assistant or someone in the ranks. It all starts with Tom. There really wasn't a program here before Tom."
 
Cook was unique among his peers across the country in that he never earned a doctorate degree, and thus never had a research appointment. That did nothing to diminish his work, or the effects of his extension work across the state. He spent about 75 percent of his time on the job teaching. He was the turfgrass extension agent for the entire state and still managed to do tons of research.
 
"A lot of his stuff didn't get published, but he had so much research that he'd done over the years," Blankenship said. "I think that foundation alone, the amount of research that went on that no one knows about, it laid the way for what they're doing (at Oregon State) now."
 
"It all goes back to Tom. There really wasn't a program before Tom."

 

It was like the Great Pyramids: Nobody knows how he built it. . . . What Tom managed to do by himself is a mystery."

 

In the years since he left Oregon State, Cook has drifted away from golf somewhat and has developed a fondness for lawns and landscaping. He still lives in Corvallis with wife Marilyn in the house they've owned since 1984, where he has grown a yard that, as McDonald said, looks like it belongs on the cover of a magazine.
 
Shortly after he retired, Cook co-authored a book with Ann Marie VanDerZanden entitled Sustainable Landscape Management: Design, Construction and Maintenance (Wiley, 2010). Soon after, he went off the grid for a while, but has recently rekindled his interest in lawn and landscape management.
 
"I went into a fog for a while, but I'm kicking around an idea for another book," he said. 
 
"Lawns are fascinating. They are a cornucopia of plants, and grass is only one of them."
 
Throughout the duration of his career, Cook encountered changes in management practices, seed varieties, equipment and chemistries used to manage turfgrass pests.
 
"Things are different here in the Northwest than everywhere else. People had to make their own knowledge base," he said. "To keep up, I read everything I could get my hands on. And we had a lot of projects going on at the farm.
 
"For me, another pipeline was my former students. I spent a lot of time visiting golf courses and talking to superintendents. I learned from them. They're pretty innovative and creative and they would share with me and I would learn from their successes, or failures."
 
Cook loved turf and he loved his students.
 
"His favorite thing to do is mow," McDonald said. "Ii remember when I got to Oregon State as a student and would volunteer at the farm, and he would come out every Friday afternoon and mow. I thought we were failing because he was out there mowing, but it was just his way of keeping in touch with the turf and his down time where he could look at the turf and be by himself."

 



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Thursday at BTME: Trade show and Moortown Golf Club, an early Ryder Cup venue

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet on Tour 2017: St. Andrews and BTME, 24 February 2017 · 595 views

Most of the education at BTME ended Wednesday and that left a final day for us to visit the trade show in Harrogate's Exposition Centre. As mentioned before in this blog, the BTME show is on a smaller, more manageable scale that the GIS.

 

We decided to visit a few familiar companies as well a few companies that may have been new to the group. Visits to both Bayer and Syngenta were the real eye-openers as we learned how relatively few chemicals European greenkeepers have to work with. Bayer's UK Head of Sales for Turf and Amenity products in the UK, Neil Pettican, explained that there are virtually no insecticides available to superintendents there.

 

The group with Bayer's Neil Pettican.

 

The group visited STRI the primary research agency in Europe. Their main testing facility is nearby.

 

We stopped by the Aquatrols booth and learned from Paul Lowe about the products that are in use in the UK and other areas of Europe.

 

STRI's Scott Allen tells the group about the types of research done on turf in the area.

 

Paul Lowe shares details on the European market for Aquatrols.

 

Terry 'Red' Plemons showed the True-Surface line of rollers.  Also in the booth was Arjen Spek, European specialist for Foley United, who showed the group some features on the Foley line of products.

 

Terry "Red" Plemons at True-Surface

 

Foley United's Arjen Spek shows of some features of their latest grinder.

 

In the "new to us" category we learned about many of the features of the Baroness line of mowers from Adam Butler their UK Sales Manager. The manufacturer has greater penetration in Europe than in the US.

 

Adam Butler introduces the group to features on the Baroness line of mowers.

 

After visiting Baroness we caught up with Royal County Down's course manager, Eamonn Crawford. Royal County Down is a favorite during TurfNet trips to Ireland and Eamonn shared some background on what he does to maintain the No. 1 ranked course in the world.

 

Visiting with Eamonn Crawford of Royal County Down.

 

Before leaving the exhibit hall we stopped by the Better Billy Bunker stand to say goodbye to our St. Andrews host Andy Campbell. Andy is already working on the arrangements for TurfNet's Members Trip to Scotland in October.

 

We stopped by the Better Billy Bunker booth to say our goodbyes to our St. Andrews host Andy Campbell.

 

After a quick lunch at Harrogate's Five Guys (which is exactly like any Five Guys in the US) some of us took a short taxi ride to the Moortown Golf Club near Alwoodley. An Alister Mackenzie design, Moortown was the first European location to host the Ryder Cup which it did in 1929.

 

 

Ben Leeming, one of the deputy greenkeepers, showed us around the course and Secretary Peter Rishworth showed us the club's extensive collection of Ryder Cup memorabilia. There is also a little-known second Ryder Cup that was presented to the ladies of the club by Samuel Ryder for providing the catering for the event.

 

 

Peter Braun and Matt Gourlay chat with John Greenwood, Michael Joyce and Ben Leeming from Moortown Golf Club.

 

The Ryder Cup at Moortown Golf Club.

 

The evening was somewhat understated as many of the UK-based attendees had already headed home and we had to pack up for early flights out of nearby Leeds. We reflected on our time together over dinner at Montpelier, a traditional UK pub.

 

I would be remiss at this point if I didn't give a shout out to the St. George Hotel our home base for the week in Harrogate. Friendly, helpful staff, comfortable rooms, a nice lobby bar, and an overall "can do" attitude made for a great home away from home. The only question is how many more rooms we'll need for next year's conference. 

 

The St. George Hotel in Harrogate



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Mid-winter jolts of energy, and paths less taken...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Peter McCormick: View from the Cheap Seats, 17 February 2017 · 904 views

Back in the day when Daughter B was in the college application mode, envelopes in the mail were opened with a combination of anticipation, excitement and trepidation.  Unlike many of her peers who threw a dozen or more applications against the wall hoping that at least one of choice would stick, she had applied to a mere four or five.

 

When the letter arrived from Middlebury College here in Vermont, the opening yielded a somewhat confusing result: "We are pleased to offer you a place in the Middlebury College Class of 2008.5, commencing February 1, 2005."  Okay...

 

After a bit of research, we discovered that Middlebury accepts 20% of its freshman class as "Febs", reporting in February instead of September to fill the dorm spaces vacated by juniors leaving for their semester abroad. Makes sense. And it gives the Febs the fall semester off for adventure.

 

DB was excited to accept and enroll in February.

 

We assumed that the college deemed her qualifications not quite good enough to be accepted for September, but they would take her for February.  Quite a bit later we discovered our assumption was incorrect. Quite the opposite, in fact.

 

Turns out that the admissions people earmark certain applicants -- the movers and shakers, class presidents, newspaper editors and the like -- for admission in February to give the snow-laden campus a mid-winter jolt of energy. A week prior to most of campus returning from J-term, Febs arrive for orientation to a rowdy and raucous welcome from a group of prior year Febs.

 

Sophomore Febs welcoming the new freshman group at Middlebury College.

 

Matters on the home front prevailed this year and I didn't make it to GIS... but I worked the show via social media and couldn't help but feel a similar mid-winter energy emanating from Orlando. Most of the attendees had had a few months off to come down off of last season, kick back and regroup. The palpable jolt of energy from GIS obviously recharged many to do battle again in the spring.

 

I am usually too busy when attending the show to pay much attention to the education sessions, but the vantage point "from away" gave me new insight this year. Kudos and high fives to GCSAA (yep, I'm saying that) for injecting new energy with the Lightning Round Learning sessions on Tuesday morning. A smorgasbord of presenters  (11 total, moderated by the always entertaining Dr. Frank Wong) had five minutes each to present a maximum of 20 slides that automatically advanced every 15 seconds. Hey, I got charged up and I wasn't even there!

 

 

Really, how many multi-hour-long presentations of charts and research stuff can one tolerate without going brain dead? The Lightning Round thing is EXACTLY what GIS needs to reinvent and reenergize itself.

 

I was also tickled to see some "alternative" (in a good way, as opposed to "alternative facts") presenters on the docket. Witness Jason Haines, a progressive "think without a box" superintendent from a small, low budget club in coastal British Columbia.  I have watched Jason's Turf Hacker blog and occasionally selected a post for our Turf Blog Aggregator. I also follow him as @PenderSuper on Twitter, and simply get a kick out of his no-fear, old-school-be-damned, question-everything, who-cares-what-others-think approach to minimalist turf management. Hey, he rides his bike to work as well.

 

This was Jason's first GIS, traveling on GCSAA's nickel. I can picture his head just about exploding from trying to get his bearings and make sense of the scope and scale of the conference and show, sort of like a kid from the sticks walking onto the streets of Manhattan. But more kudos and high fives to him for making the trip, sharing his experiences and proselytizing his ideas on fertility, disease management and fiscal responsibility for others to evaluate.

 

Jason presented on a variety of topics, including a panel discussion with Chris Tritabaugh and Matt Crowther on low input turf management; a Lightning Round spot on why he loves his job at Pender Harbour Golf Club; a four-hour seminar with Larry Stowell of PACE Turf on his MLSN fertility regimen, and a presentation on digital job boards. From what I could see, all were well received and Jason made a lot of new friends at GIS.

 

 

"For a greenkeeper from a 9 hole course that most people have probably never heard of it was mind blowing to be presenting my thoughts and experience to those who I have looked up to my entire career." -- Jason Haines

 

 

Promulgating alternative thought is not the type of thing that GIS education has been known for in the past... but it is precisely what is needed to propel golf turf management forward in this "contracting" golf climate... and to give superintendents something to chew on as they return home to tackle whatever another golf season throws at them.



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Takeaways from Hazeltine, and reflecting with our Mindful Superintendent

Posted by Peter McCormick in Kevin Ross at the Ryder Cup, 06 October 2016 · 6,094 views

 

As my 2016 Ryder Cup duty comes to a close, it's nice to reflect back on my experiences. There are a few strong takeaways from the event for me. None of them have to do with any sort of agronomic stuff.

 

First, the welcome that superintendent Chris Tritabaugh gave to everyone at Monday's orientation was special. He introduced and acknowledged each member of his staff, every volunteer, and all of the industry affiliates (me).  As a TurfNet correspondent, this was the category I fit into for the first time in my career.  Not a volunteer, but still acknowledged. Thanks Chris! It made me feel good, instead of just "some guy" carrying camera equipment around all week.. It made everyone feel good. No question, this set a great tone for the week.

 

 

Another takeaway is how strangers can bond together so quickly for a common goal. After orientation on Monday, it took a mere day or two to create a very well-oiled machine. Many times I was out filming and thought it was like poetry-in-motion. Maybe it was because I was looking through a lens taking it all in, and not worrying about keeping my mow lines straight.

 

With my new friends from the Swedish Golf Federation...

 

In my case, I tried mostly not to get in the way. I tried to observe from a distance and not stick the camera in people's faces. It is hard to observe from a distance, when this industry is so welcoming and friendly. Granted, I probably knew half the volunteers in advance, but that still leaves the other half. I was floored by the number of the "other half" that introduced themselves and just started conversations about my ON COURSE videos, agronomics, Colorado... you name it. It all set in when it was time to leave and say our goodbyes. I remember shaking hands with so many people I didn't know before the start of the week. Special.

 

 

 

As I got to the airport on Monday morning, things quickly came full circle for me.  I bumped into David Duval from the Golf Channel, and one of the heroes from the 1999 Ryder Cup. When our conversation started, I mentioned the '99 Cup.  His tired facial expression instantly changed to a smile, grinning from ear to ear. I told him I was there in-person, inside the ropes when he made that arm-pumping walk around 14 green as the USA made that improbable comeback. I actually think we both relived that moment for a few seconds, as our conversation became quiet.

 

Although I had a fabulous time at Hazeltine -- thank you Chris Tritabaugh -- I realized something I hadn't thought of in years.  Personally, the 1999 Ryder Cup will always be branded within me as my greatest moment in golf!

 

Until next time...



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Back to Nebraska...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Jeff Lenihan at Arsenal FC, 31 August 2016 · 3,393 views

Well, that's the end of my summer. I'm back at the University of Nebraska to finish up my last semester and graduate this December with a degree in Turfgrass Management and a minor in Business.

 

As I sit here in my apartment in Lincoln, I can't help but feel very grateful to everyone who has helped me over the past three years of great experiences.

 

First, I want to thank Weston Appelfeller at the Columbus Crew SC for answering my shot-in-the-dark email three years ago about a potential first internship in the industry. Out of many emails to many places, Weston was the only one to respond and I can't thank him enough because that led to the rest of the opportunities I have been lucky to have.

 

While at the Columbus Crew, I was put in touch with Mike O'Keeffe at Ohio State about potentially going overseas for work experience. Mike runs the world-famous Ohio Program, which helps place agriculture and horticulture students from America at internships all over the world and vice-versa.

 

Mike told me about a company in Macclesfield, England that was looking for their first ever intern. He gave my information to Richard Campey at Campey Turfcare Systems and I went on to have an incredible summer, as outlined in my last blog "Jeff Lenihan- Pitch Prep in the UK".

 

 

With Campeys in Finland.

 

While touring around Europe with Campey Turfcare, I met Steve Braddock at Arsenal, and that's where this story comes full circle. I had an awesome summer at London Colney and worked with some great people. Even though I am a Manchester United fan, I couldn't help but be impressed with the facility and operation that they have going there.

 

Mowing in lines on one of my last days with Campey Turfcare intern Alex Jensen from Australia

 

I also wanted to thank Aquatrols for sponsoring my blog this year! And, obviously, I want to give a big thanks to everyone at TurfNet, especially Peter McCormick and Jon Kiger, who have helped me along the way for the past two years. Thanks for following along!

 



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Trip reflections...

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet on Tour 2016: Jorge Croda, 30 August 2016 · 802 views

Italy is a beautiful country full of art and culture with monuments, churches, landscapes, and rich agriculture. All small towns have a castle and a story to tell especially in Tuscany and Veneto which were both gateways to my travels. It seems that in Italy art is in the blood of all architects, designers and artists both past and present generations.
 
Having the opportunity to experience this trip filled me with a great sense of thankfulness and appreciation for many things. 
 
I am thankful that I was able to blog about the trip and share my experiences with other people interested in golf.  I am thankful that I was able to spend so much quality time with my wife and experience so much history and culture along side her.  I am thankful that I had the opportunity to explore the country of my forefathers and find my roots. 
 
 
I am also extremely appreciative of my assistant, Roberto Cruz, and the maintenance crew at Southern Oaks for the exceptional job that they did maintaining the course while I was away. 
 



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Saturday Brings Three New Olympic Golf Medalists into History

Posted by Peter McCormick in Rio2016, 21 August 2016 · 1,851 views

JON KIGER AUG 21 | If one of the goals for course set up between the Men's and Women's Olympic competitions was parity the organizers succeeded. South Korea's Inbee Park claimed the Gold Medal to end the tournament at 16-under the same score that Great Britain's Justin Rose shot to win Gold on the Men's side. The seven time major champion became the first woman in 116 years to earn Olympic gold.

 

New Zealand's Lydia Ko finished at 11-under to earn the Silver Medal and China's Shanshan Feng finished at 10-under for the Bronze.

 

(L-R) New Zealands Lydia Ko - Silver, South Koreas Inbee Park - Gold, and Chinas Shanshan Feng - Bronze

 

While golf's usual refrain for those who don't win is "wait until next year" Olympic participants and those who stayed home will have a four year wait to have a chance at Olympic glory. And with such a long wait until the next competition it is only fitting that the top three competitors are honored compared to the "winner take all" attention paid to traditional tournament winners.

 

 

The 120 golfers who participated can forever add "Olympian" to their resume and the 41 countries represented have reason to take great pride in being a part of golf's return to the Olympic stage after 112 years.

 

If there is another Gold Medal to award it's to Olympic Golf Course superintendent Neil Cleverly, his local crew and the volunteers from around the world. To pull tournament conditions off (TWICE!) under these circumstances was nothing short of remarkable.

 

Working double shifts for three weeks and enduring travel, lodging, security and other logistical challenges was beginning to take its toll on the volunteer crew by Saturday morning. Several volunteers reported general fatigue. Being a part of history in a special setting and the camaraderie of the rest of the crew carried them through the final hours of preparation.

 

Neil Cleverly (front in blue jacket) with local crew and volunteers for the Olympic Golf competitions. 

 

One of golf's enduring qualities is its ability to bring people together whether you're joining a threesome at your local muni or meeting colleagues from around the world to do something never before accomplished in the modern era. In Rio in 2016 it definitely accomplished that in abundance.

 

Welcome Back, Golf. See you in Tokyo in 2020.



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"Not where you go, but who picks you up..."

Posted by Peter McCormick in Nate McKinniss: Interning at Co. Louth/Baltray, 2016, 16 August 2016 · 1,563 views

"It's not where you go, but who picks you up." I remember Dr. Danneberger saying this about his traveling stories. Personally experiencing this on my own excursions and adventures this summer, I couldn't agree more.

 

My side trips have been to several spots in Ireland and one to Holland. With each adventure I met many new people, each adding to the experience.

 

All roads led to County Louth Golf Club at Baltray, my home for the summer.

 

Arriving first at the village of Baltray. It was this small seaside village that became my summer home. County Louth Golf Club will always be special thanks to all the employees and members of this club. Many from County Louth have assisted my summer excursions in more ways than one.

 

All who I have met there showcased the Irish hospitality. Knowing I was so far away from home, they wanted to make me feel as close to home as possible. With everything brought about for me, they succeeded.

 

The clubhouse/restaurant at County Louth Golf Club. My accommodations were above.

 

Outside of Baltray, I've met other passionate people in the golf industry. Most of these connections came from volunteering at the Irish Open. Had I not gotten to know the volunteers at the K Club, my trips to Portmarnock Links and The Dutch would not have been the same. The visits were fantastic. Each golf course was class, more importantly though the people that picked me up made it all the better.

 

I did not drive a car in Ireland. Public transportation was the key to traveling. It took a while to get used to, however transport was made easy thanks to Damien Keenan and the Matthews Bus Services. Damien had supplied passes that covered trips to Dublin and Dundalk. The Matthew bus was always on time, comfortable and convenient. 

 

The big Matthews white bus, right on time.

 

Dr. D was right; I have learned the best trips come about by who picks you up. My excursions this summer were made enjoyable from the Matthews Coach getting me to and from plus the people guiding me along the way. I wouldn't say Baltray is the number one place for everyone to visit in Ireland; however, for me, this summer, the people I spent this experience with made it the greatest place to be. 





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