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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 · 10,936 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. 


Invisible TD Sand

Posted by Randy Wilson in Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock, in Skeletal Golf 26 March 2015 · 1,262 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.




Rating Superintendent Job Opportunities

Posted by Jim McLoughlin in Jim McLoughlin: Career Advancement is JOB ONE!, 26 March 2015 · 1,392 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.


Finding Staff: H2B Visa Program (Part 1)

Posted by Matt Leverich in Matt Leverich: Career & Technology Interchange, 24 March 2015 · 4,181 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.



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 · 1,356 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.



You can't unring the bell...

Posted by Dave Wilber in Dave Wilber: Turfgrass Zealot, in Staff, Communication 17 March 2015 · 3,237 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.


Preparing for the Landscape of the Future

Posted by Joseph Fearn in Joe Fearn: Third Way Green, 11 March 2015 · 6,461 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.


Joe Fearn’s Management Maxims

Posted by Peter McCormick in Joe Fearn: Third Way Green, 17 January 2017 · 119 views

Being a successful operation is about making pieces work effectively together. One of those pieces are the relationships in a team. The relationships are created by the principles that guide our work. These relationships might be task related, timing related, hierarchically related, and are usually contextual. Context is fluid, and requires a framework that can give it meaning and logical structure. Because while some work may be accomplished in chaos, achieving specific objectives is challenging in chaos. Pursuit of a goal denotes unity of purpose. It is for this reason that over the years I have come up with several maxims that help to articulate context and shared belief to my crew. I would like to share a few and let you try them on for fit.


When at work, be at work

This may seem obvious. Honestly speaking though, I occasionally will find myself performing tasks or passing the time in ways that are not really getting me farther down my grounds management road. Catching up on a coworker's news, getting a second (or third) cup of coffee, or looking for that long lost mulch kit baffle will eat up time but is not work. I think back to a comic strip that was posted in our grounds shop at George Mason University. The punch line was "It seems it has taken me a particularly long time to get nothing done today". Committing to stay productive doing something accomplishes much even if it is not the biggest priority.


...while some work may be accomplished in chaos, achieving specific objectives is challenging in chaos."


You achieve what it is you want to achieve

I believe that I have a good grasp of what my crew can reasonably accomplish. We (the crew and I) will also sit down to develop priorities and review the rationale of those priorities. Therefore it is frustrating to me when things do not get accomplished. What I'll tell my crew is something was accomplished, just not the something we were pursuing. Instead of doing what we agreed, or what they were told to do, a competing objective took place. This competing objective was also done with the active participation of the crew. So my belief is that if they wanted to do the work that needed done, they were perfectly empowered to do so. It also occasionally demonstrates a purposeful willingness of the crew to put their priorities first. What you (I) really want to accomplish will likely get done. Make sure it is what was planned.


There are many different ways to achieve a happy, productive crew.


You cannot define/dictate what I believe

Work in a grounds crew cannot be judged from only one vantage point or perspective. Occasionally when calling a crew member to task, we will disagree on what is happening. If my crew member says he is doing his job, he might very well be doing it based on his judgement, but not according to mine. I am sometimes told I am not considering all information available. This is sometimes true. But the crew must extend me the same respect and consider that their point of view may be the erroneous one. Making a decision unilaterally can lead to conflict, but it cuts both ways.


I'll be as eager to pursue your objectives as you are to pursue mine

As the head groundskeeper my job is to set objectives and determine the best way to achieve them. I try very hard to consider both the spoken, and unspoken, needs/preferences of my crew when doing so. What I don't get to do is unilaterally dictate all that is undertaken during each minute of the day. To attempt to do so would certainly create more resentment than it is worth. So I try to give my crew enough leeway so they do not feel they work in a prison nor can't exercise any freewill. Problems will arise when they err too far pursuing what they want, without adequate consideration of what I want. Maintaining some modicum of fairness goes a long way to maintaining morale and productivity.


Problems will arise when they err too far pursuing what they want, without adequate consideration of what I want...


Internal locus of control... external standard for success

This is one of my bottom lines. I decide whether I am successful or not. I can't put the responsibility for any failures on anyone else. My boss doesn't make me fail, or succeed. I can persevere no matter the situation and attempt to turn circumstances to my favor. I also can't unilaterally declare that I am successfully performing my job. My boss (organization) gets some say in what success looks like. If the people around me aren't getting their needs met, or have legitimate expectations that aren't met, it is up to me to strive to understand that. Another way to say this maxim is "I decide to meet your needs".


Good management helps us instill pride in our operation.


Success requires shared understanding

The grounds crew at Drury is not a dictatorship. Sometimes I think it might be easier for me if it were, but I know I couldn't work in one. I am extended significant leeway to do what I think is best, and I want to extend that same level of freedom to my team. That is not the same in any way as compromising principles or expectations. The compromises I make are on allowing the team (organization) to have input into creating successes, not simply in doing the work. This shared understanding (responsibility), resulting from my management maxims, makes us a more effective, and happier, crew.


Sunday at BTME: Early-bird Education

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet on Tour 2017: St. Andrews and BTME, 17 January 2017 · 106 views

After our tour of Scotland and Ireland and the trip to Harrogate, it was time to get down to the business of learning.


It's only been a few years that BIGGA has offered education on Sunday. The thinking was that by extending the education into the prior weekend that attendees could get some education on a day that doesn't take them away from their home course.


Approximately 200 attendees (including the TurfNet delegation) started classes that day.


The six of us split up and took a variety of courses. I took a half-day session on Time Management from Shona Garner.


Shona Garner leads her class on time management.


Peter Braun took a bunker course from our St. Andrews host Andy Campbell.


Ryder Cup/Hazeltine reunion: Peter Braun, Ryan Moy, Brian Horgan, Chris Tritabaugh and multi-Ryder Cup volunteer Lee Strutt.


Tony Girardi took a full day session on Delivering Your Message with Impact with Lorna Sheldon. The class was very small just four participants including Natasha Repinskaja whom we met at St. Andrews Links and fellow first time BTME attendee Michael Mead (more on our activities with him in a future post.)


Lorna Sheldon helps Tony Girardi "deliver his message with impact" in Sunday's session.


At the end of the first all-day session, Tony Girardi dubbed it, "The best educational session I've been to in my career."


I was set to attend the Speakers Dinner at The Crown Hotel so the group was left to find a suitable place for dinner with the hopes of finding some coverage of the NFL Playoffs.


The Den seemed to fit the bill and even allowed us to catch up with two Carnoustie team members that we hadn't met during our visit to the course the previous Friday.


As the Green Bay/Dallas game went on past "last order" a few more "bob" in the tip jar kept the game on the TV and the bar open. 


Dynamics in Golf Course Maintenance

Posted by Randy Wilson in Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock, 15 January 2017 · 480 views

The most consistent complaint I receive concerning our films would be the perception of inconsistency.  The caller (it's always the phone, presumably to avoid leaving written evidence) lectures me on the need to stick with one kind of format, style, etc.


80% want golf related humor, mostly for stress relief after a difficult day.  Another 10% would prefer serious topics on industry trends, while about 9% just want to see features on fellow golf course superintendents.  That last 1% want me dead.


The process we follow here at The Bottum is based on Dynamics.  To understand Dynamics, we should first look at how it is employed in music.


The use of Dynamics in music is critical; the most powerful symphony will move from loud and powerful to soft and gentle, lulling one into a sense of calm, just before exploding in volume and tempo.  When Dynamics are ignored, such as when a hard-rock band from the 70s turns it up to 11 and stays there for hours, things quickly get boring.


The best film directors knew this key principle and used it to create movie masterpieces, in films like "Sullivan's Travels" or "Jeremiah Johnson".  A quiet scene intensified the sudden transition to action, unlike the modern action film that takes off after the title and never lets up until the credits roll.


The best golf course architects understood the concept of Dynamics, by creating an adventure to be experienced by the golfer.  A wild and difficult hole was more interesting if preceded by a gentle, or "breather" hole.  Simply stringing together 18 difficult holes would destroy player interest.


Golf course maintenance is similarly affected by Dynamics.  Narrow fairways bordered by deep rough and greens running at hardwood floor speeds are incredibly boring.  The player is forced to play one shot to remain alive and strategy fades out, replaced by a death march mentality.


It is impractical for golf to maintain the pace of a Jason Bourne film when setting up a golf course, but because of TV saturating weak minds, that's just what some superintendents are forced to do by committee demands.


Experts on the golf forums, especially the architecture forums, bemoan the "weak" hole they encountered on an otherwise acceptable golf course, often discussing ways to "toughen up" the hole.  Sort of cranking the course up to "11".  


 . . . remember that growth regulator that was causing melons to explode in Asia?

The Dynamics in use here at Rockbottum Films are similar to those I have attempted to explain in the previous paragraphs.  We like to alternate theme music, moving from Blues to Big Band to orchestras.  We try not to hit the same targets too often, we change film styles, avoid sneaking in the same hidden messages and vary the run time.  Over the years, we have learned that short comedy films do better in the summer--and longer films, full of deep intellectual premises, would be more successful in the winter, if only we had some intellect.


Anyway, take a close look at your course and see if Dynamics could improve how the player enjoys the round.  Oh, and for that 10% demanding serious films . . . remember that growth regulator that was causing melons to explode in Asia?  Here's a serious film on that topic.



Audiocast: Joe Alonzi, CGCS... Career superintendent, mentor to many

Posted by Peter McCormick in Living Legends, 13 January 2017 · 263 views

In this episode of Living Legends, Where Are They Now?, host John Reitman chats with Joe Alonzi, CGCS, who retired in 2014 after 22 years at the storied Westchester Country Club. A superintendent for over 40 years, Alonzi is well known for having mentored many assistants who went on to successful head superintendent jobs in their own right.


Straddling the villages of Harrison and Rye, just north of New York City, Westchester Country Club is on the top shelf of golf course superintendent jobs. It boasts 36 holes designed by Walter Travis, a nine-hole executive course, and a history that rivals just about any other club in the country. It was a PGA Tour site for more than 30 years, and past members include names like Johnny Carson and Jackie Gleason.


With a hotel, an Olympic-sized saltwater pool, squash and tennis facilities, more than 6 miles of roads and a beach club located 5 miles away from the main clubhouse, Westchester is more like a small city than a mere country club.



Living Legends is presented by Nufarm. Check out the Nufarm Insider for the latest news from Nufarm.


Critical checklist for your online presence...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Matt Leverich: Career & Technology Interchange, 09 January 2017 · 295 views

The very first article I wrote for TurfNet back in 2013 covered the many potential dangers of an online presence. I'm sure most of you have forgotten it and it's only gotten more important in the years since as social media continues its rise in our daily lives. As 2017 starts, now is the time make sure your online presence is working for you in a completely positive way. Here are some key things to consider:

  1. Ensure your security settings in Facebook are heavily restricted. Great info on this at https://www.wired.co...ivacy-settings/
  2. Lock your Twitter account down so only those who you approve can follow you and the tweets aren't public. I can't stress this enough for job opportunities, it really is a major factor I have dealt with in the industry.
  3. Be very careful what you post. The world of golf has a certain view of how one should behave and, like it or not, compliance leads to better future opportunities. And while it may be fun to commiserate with peers about member antics or turf-care difficulties, it is probably not a good idea for success long term.
  4. Have your maintenance blog hosted on the private members' website. This ensures only members can view it and you can freely communicate about issues on the course without worrying about other clubs seeing it. This gets very critical if and when you decide to apply at another club. The committee will scour your information for any sign of distress, trust me. Even if your blog shows you communicated an issue very well, it still has them thinking that you are not Mr. Perfect candidate who never has issues. If you don't have an option for a private blog, make sure the public one is clean of any bad course conditions or issues and send those out through email blasts instead, which will reach more members anyways.
  5. Do promote your career website or online portfolio with your membership. This is one area where you can work to push your online presence because it has been carefully crafted to make you look your best. A large percentage of your membership really doesn't know much about you and your career at the vast majority of clubs. Why not get ahead of any future issues by creating a more professional image of yourself and educating members on your extensive background and education? Once you have your career materials complete, leave a small notecard with a link to them at the front desk, send an email with a link to all members, include in a blog post and many other ways as well to show members your career background.


Using these five tips will ensure that when it's time for your next career opportunity, you'll be ready and protected from potential online harm.


Those critical 15 minutes...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Peter McCormick: View from the Cheap Seats, 08 January 2017 · 326 views

No, not the 15 Minutes of Fame. I'm talking about the 15 minutes that create discipline in a young employee, camaraderie in a crew, a few moments of bonding with the staff for a superintendent or other supervisor.


It's the 15 minutes before work starts at the beginning of the day.


The time around the coffeepot when the games last night get reviewed, balls get busted, shit gets shot. A few moments of relaxation and anticipation before the horn sounds and the mower parade heads out.


Full disclosure here: Back in my 20s and 30s, I was the absolute worst employee regarding punctuality. ALWAYS late to work. A few minutes, ten minutes, sometimes 20 minutes. Snuck out early when I could, too. No doubt the resulting black mark in my bosses' minds contributed in some measure to me getting fired, twice. Perhaps not cause for said terminations, but sure didn't help when the scales tipped away from my favor.


I realize that now, given the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and 40 years of sometimes hard-knocks-acquired wisdom. It's one of the (many) things I would change about those years. BUT... it's also telling.


There are 96 15-minute segments in a 24-hour day. Surely one -- just one -- can be dedicated to...


If you're late to work it's usually because you can't get out of bed, don't want to get out of bed, dread getting out of bed... roll over, pillow over your head for just another 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes that coulda/woulda be better spent getting to work early, being part of the early-morning shenanigans and ready to lead the mower parade.  


The telling part is that IF you can't get out of bed, don't want to get out of bed, dread getting out of bed... it usually means you don't like your job, you're not where you want to be. That's unfair to you and your employer. Make a change before somebody makes one for you.


There are 96 15-minute segments in a 24-hour day. Surely one -- just one -- can be dedicated to punctuality and being a better team member and employee. For you younger guys out there climbing the ladder, that might be something to put into practice for not only this year but the rest of your life.


Paul Carter, CGCS, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

Posted by John Reitman in The Pin Sheet, 06 January 2017 · 242 views

Thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated individuals at Harrison Bay State Park near Chattanooga, Tennessee, it has been possible since 2011 to witness bald eagles more up close and personal than anyone could have previously imagined.

Through the years, there have been a lot of heart-warming scenes on display through the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam. Viewers have been able to watch eggs being laid, new eaglets hatch and grow as the adults brought back blackbirds, turtles and fish to feed them. and ultimately leave the nest. There have been some sad stories as well, including a couple of years where the eaglets did not survive.
Truly, it has been Mother Nature at her finest.
This nesting season, however, it was Mother Nature that knocked out the camera perched in a tree above the nest during a storm in early December. Federal regulations, namely The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, make it illegal to harm, kill or otherwise harass the birds.
Talk about irony.
Paul Carter, CGCS, who has been a key driver in the project since its inception (his daughter, Hannah, named the adults Elliott and Eloise), said they won't be able to retrieve the camera until the eagles have left Harrison Bay for the season in the spring.
The timing was unfortunate as a new female (dubbed Eliza, courtesy of Hannah) joined Elliott in the nest, replacing Eloise.
For now anyway, the second camera that captures the nest and the surrounding area from ground level will have to do - that is unless anyone wants to cover the $500,000 fine and do the jail time that comes with harassing the birds. If next year is anything like the past five, the wait will be worth it.


The Renovation Report with Thomas Bastis, CGCS... 8 years after.

Posted by Dave Wilber in The Renovation Report, 15 December 2016 · 1,321 views

Eight Years. It's a blink of an eye. Thomas Bastis checks in with Dave Wilber 8 years after his world class renovation of The California Golf Club of San Francisco.


Thomas shares his experience in looking back as his old/new golf course matures. It hasn't all been easy. But he's candid about what worked and what didn't work and what he might do again.


He also gets firm and fast with some good stories and insights. And being the early adopting tech leader that he is, Thomas speaks about what he's working on. Always keeping it new.


It's an hour of deep conversation and insight with one of the industry greats. 


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




The Weight

Posted by Peter McCormick in Paul MacCormack: The Mindful Superintendent, 05 December 2016 · 572 views

Last week marked the 40th Anniversary of "The Last Waltz", the legendary final concert by the equally legendary musical ensemble, The Band.  While reflecting on the band and the film, I couldn't help but circle back to their most famous tune, The Weight... a song that speaks to the journey that is life, and the extra baggage we may carry along the way.



Our ability to endure pressing weight in our lives is a fascinating part of the human experience. Whether it's a physical, emotional, or even a mental load we bear, the effects on us are usually similar. We shape our lives around this baggage and learn to adapt to its presence. We will often go far beyond what would be deemed reasonable to accommodate the burden, rather than being the least bit curious about the underlying issues.


Fixing the problem may not be quite as easy as it sounds. Especially with burdens of a physical nature (i.e. cancer), one can't just move past it. What we are speaking of here are those afflictions that we may not even be aware of... things like anger issues, deep rifts within a family, addiction problems, or even simple physical conditioning.


We can go to tremendous lengths to convince both ourselves and others that there is simply nothing we can do to change. We tell ourselves that the problem is simply too large to overcome, and the changes that would be necessary in our lives to tackle the problem are just too big to contemplate. This mindset becomes the truth we believe and it in turn prevents us from moving in any sort of positive direction.


This mindset becomes the truth we believe and it in turn prevents us from moving in any sort of positive direction...


Often times we dont move towards necessary change until our hand is forced. We may know deep down that a different direction may be the answer, but the story we repeatedly tell ourselves keeps us bound by the shackles of impossibility.  Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective. A small crack in the veneer that allows a new idea to penetrate, and opens us to a completely new viewpoint.


Its always fascinating when you move past an infirmity. Whether its something simple like tennis elbow or an issue has a deeper impact on your life, the freedom that comes from moving forward is liberating. Once the weight has been lifted, we often look back and marvel at the impact the problem had on our lives. We literally cant seem to remember our lives without the burden, so when we finally take control and create anew, life takes on a whole new meaning. 


If you have had an issue that you know deep down needs fixing, take a few moments to step back and get even a little bit curious. You don't have to change anything, just merely be inquisitive. It might be the first step towards "taking a load off" and your journey through this life might get a whole lot sweeter.


"You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be."

-- Marianne Williamson


Frankly Speaking: Dr. Joe Roberts on etiolation and the microbiome project

Posted by Peter McCormick in Dr. Frank Rossi: Frankly Speaking, 01 December 2016 · 1,022 views

In this episode of Frankly Speaking, my guest is Dr. Joe Roberts, plant pathologist at the University of Maryland. Hot topics include bacterial etiolation and decline and their relation to environmental and agronomic stresses, and the new Turfgrass Microbiome project that Dr. Roberts is participating in.  The Turf Microbiome project will identify and study communities of microorganisms that live within and on the plant that may be related to functions in turfgrass health. 


As always, smart talk from leading thinkers... and only on TurfNetRADIO.



The Ladder, with Justin Sims of The Alotian Club

Posted by Peter McCormick in The Ladder, 29 November 2016 · 769 views

In this episode of The Ladder, John Reitman chats with Justin Sims, golf course superintendent at The Alotian Club in Roland, AR, about Justin's career path (from college to East Coast Sod in NJ, The Club at Cordillera in CO, The Olympic Club in CA, Victoria National Golf Club in IN, Augusta National Golf Club and finally to Alotian) -- and his quest for varying experiences along the way.


Recorded at the recent Northern California Golf Association Assistant Superintendent Boot Camp.


Presented by Penn State World Campus.



The Turfgrass Zealot Project, Ep. 27 with guest Kevin Ross of CC of the Rockies

Posted by Dave Wilber in Dave Wilber: Turfgrass Zealot, 27 November 2016 · 1,153 views

Join me as I interview Kevin Ross, CGCS, about the state of the "superintendent job" and his upcoming retirement from the golf course.


We talk about everything. Especially his upcoming job change. And his time at The Ryder Cup. And much much more.


I love Kevin. He's one of my favorite people and favorite Turfheads. Anywhere.


So I am humbled and honored to have him join us!




Takeaways from Hazeltine, and reflecting with our Mindful Superintendent

Posted by Peter McCormick in Kevin Ross at the Ryder Cup, 06 October 2016 · 2,264 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...


Back to Nebraska...

Posted by Peter McCormick in Jeff Lenihan at Arsenal FC, 31 August 2016 · 1,903 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!



Trip reflections...

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet on Tour 2016: Jorge Croda, 30 August 2016 · 560 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. 


Saturday Brings Three New Olympic Golf Medalists into History

Posted by Peter McCormick in Rio2016, 21 August 2016 · 1,597 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.


"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 · 978 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. 


Jon Kiger: Final thoughts on the Irish Open

Posted by Peter McCormick in TurfNet on Tour: Irish Open 2016, 16 June 2016 · 1,150 views

"You know it's been an amazing week when you start getting regular texts from Mossy in the Netherlands, Paddy in Mullingar, and Josh in the UK..."

It has taken me a nearly three weeks (and getting over a nasty cold picked up over there) to compile my thoughts on just what our week of work at the Irish Open meant to me. It greatly exceeded my expectations on so many levels.


First -- I have the utmost respect and admiration for Course Manager Gerry Byrne. He and his team had to do so much in advance of our arrival that I can't imagine how the months leading up to the Irish Open stressed and demoralized the regular staff.  Even after we volunteers arrived and the staff swelled to 25 or so there was still so much work to get done in advance of the Wednesday Pro-Am. Gerry brought out the best in us. I personally worked harder that week knowing how hard the in-house staff worked before we got there.


Gerry, Jamie and Philip provided steady leadership for many of us who had to learn our way around the golf course (or in the case of the contract labor learn ABOUT a golf course.) There were few tense moments but then I realized that these crew leaders didn't have that much recent experience organizing a large staff.


Second -- I had always heard about the monotony of certain tasks around the golf course, but that week I gained a real appreciation for how the monotony challenges your motivation. Keeping a staff motivated and having them take ownership of their work must be a constant challenge.



Third -- I learned that this profession really is meant for people who can accept that their performance will be judged by many factors that are out of their control. Weather is the primary factor, but sponsoring organizations, owners and other factors are all part of the challenge.


"These friendships were forged in the bunkers and the canteen but will be nurtured over many years to come..."


Fourth -- Responding to these outside forces and challenges helps people rise to a level of performance that they didn't know was possible. Working under these conditions also brings people together. Teamwork, bonding, friendship, and appreciation are all byproducts of being focused as a group on the tasks at hand.


Fifth -- It was confirmed to me that the golf maintenance industry is made up of some of the nicest and friendliest people one is ever going to meet. I was certainly looking forward to getting to know Team TurfNet/Irish Open a little better during our time together, but came away with so many more new friends from a variety of locales. It's great waking up to a text or instant message from Mossy in The Netherlands or Paddy from Mullingar. These friendships were forged in the bunkers and the canteen but will be nurtured over many years to come. Seeing Josh from The Belfry post photos of his son being born was especially meaningful after having gotten to know him over the course of the week.


Finally, thanks to everyone who played a role in this "Week of a Lifetime". I am indebted to our hosts, my fellow crew members, family and co-workers who carried on my absence, and of course our blog sponsors who supported the project. The only remaining question is, "Where do we go from here?"


Rory McIlroy poses with the greenkeeping staff after winning the Irish Open for the first time. 


Dubai Duty Free Irish Open flag signed by the 2016 greenkeeping crew at the K Club. Note: Liam Neeson was NOT on the crew (Irish humor)







GCSAA Priorities: Upgrade The Nominating Process And Return To Transparent Governance

Posted by Jim McLoughlin in Jim McLoughlin: Career Advancement is JOB ONE!, 26 May 2016 · 1,550 views

Coming out of the winter of 1980, several chapters asked GCSAA to survey all the chapters to inquire whether they wanted to be mailed (no e-mail then) the minutes of GCSAA Board meetings for distribution to their chapters board members and to any of their chapter members requesting a copy.


The chapters voted 95-0 to implement this policy that served the Association well as evidenced by the fact that every existing activity/program given attention at the time realized sizable growth because the members felt for the first time that they were part of the team. This was a transformative time for GCSAA that everyone thought would last indefinitely.


Unfortunately, however, within a few years a disruptive headquarters relocation battle within GCSAA unsettled everything, politically divided the membership, and consequently, the still relatively new policy of distributing Board meeting minutes was abandoned and has not been revived to this day.


The Consequences Of Failed Leadership

The most critical consequence of this relocation skirmish was that all the headway that had been made up to that time to advance the job security and access to outreach counseling on behalf of the members stalled and quickly dissipated - not to return to this day.


For a detailed listing of the devastation wrought upon superintendents and their families when politics over-rides job performance and costs them their jobs - see April 28, 2016 blog message.


Why Board Efforts To Address Job Security Matters Fails

Through the years GCSAA watchers including myself have asked well-respected leaders within the membership why they consistently decline invitations to serve on the GCSAA Board? The persistent answer always has been:


"Because the nominating committee has been delivering more 'nice guys' with the best intentions' to the GCSAA Board than natural leaders who are needed to make the tough decisions. Important policy proposals consistently fail by 2-7 and 3-6 votes and I don't want to spend that much time traveling the country, attending meetings when so little gets done - especially when I know my one vote will not make a difference."


Clearly, the nominating process requires adjustments to ensure that it will become more effective delivering dominant leadership on a year-to-year basis to the GCSAA Board - because without enhanced leadership at the top the two embattled issues of our time: namely, making better job security and access to outreach counseling available to the membership will never get on the radar.


Recommended Plan Of Action

Following are four recommended steps that would upgrade the nominating process and return GCSAA to a much-heralded era of operational transparency.


Step Number One:     

Only chapter past presidents would be eligible to be nominated to the GCSAA Board. This would produce several hundreds of potentially qualified nominees at any one time from all the chapters.


Rationale: Logic suggests that chapter presidents would have demonstrated the necessary leadership qualities to a greater degree than any other official, or member within a chapter.


GCSAA nominating policy should always ensure advancing the very best qualified leaders to its Board.


Step Number Two:    

Only chapter boards can nominate past presidents to the GCSAA Board with the following understandings: only one past president can be nominated each election cycle; and the nominee must be a member of the same chapter as the endorsing board.


Rationale:  Chapter boards are the best "quality control" element available to ensure that only the best candidates get nominated to the GCSAA Board.


Step Number Three:

Sponsoring chapters would be required to submit a personal career web site profiling the career, professional vision and lifestyle of their nominees when notifying the GCSAA Nominating Committee of their selections.


The nominee would be responsible for designing/developing his own website - using outside counseling support, or not - which the endorsing chapter board must approve of before submitting its nomination to the GCSAA Nominating Committee.


The nominees personal career website would include, in part: a series of appropriate links depicting the nominees educational, career and lifestyle accomplishments; a full text presentation of all writings published by the nominee; a +/- 500 word essay stating what the nominee's short and long term visions are for GCSAA; and for those seeking re-election to the Board a statement of the nominee's issue by issue voting record while serving previously on the GCSAA Board.


The endorsing chapter would pay for the development of its nominee's personal career web site - the cost of which must stay within the limits established by GCSAA.


Rationale: Because the nominees' web site addresses could be included within each candidate's information package that GCSAA sends out to all its members before an election, the concept of a personal career web site guarantees that there will be a well-informed voting membership attending every GCSAA annual meeting.


Step Number Four:  

It is imperative that GCSAA returns to be the totally transparent organization it once was, which would require reinstating the policy of e-mailing Board meeting minutes to the board members of all of the 100-plus chapters.


Rationale: The primary fallout of GCSAA failing to restore the policy authorizing the distribution of Board meeting minutes would be that the members would continue to have absolutely no idea what the voting records were of the members they are electing as officers, or Board members.


Accordingly, without access to nominees' voting records, there would no available way for members to judge whether any candidate for election was an effective leader, or not.


Can anyone imagine a U.S. Senator, or a U.S. Congressman running for re-election without the American people knowing of their voting records? The entire election process would be declared unconstitutional and shut down.


Where Does GCSAA Go From Here?

Of course, this brings everything back to the original source of the problem; namely being dependent on the GCSAA Board to vote passage of important policy legislation.  


The consensus opinion, again, of GCSAA watchers is that the Board would more than likely be willing to upgrade the nominating process. But, becoming a totally transparent organization could be another matter.


But then, GCSAA might want to create a second transformative era similar to that referenced earlier above because this would launch GCSAA, its members and the profession to new national levels of recognition and respect.


Because the long-range welfare of every golf course superintendent across the land will totally depend in the years ahead on realizing the two goals of upgrading the GCSAA nominating process and returning the Association to transparent governance everyone should be well-motivated to get the job done.


It is time for leaders within GCSAA and at the chapter level to take charge, organize a campaign and lead!


Saturday: Ballymac Golf, then onto Dublin for a Guinness tour

Posted by Peter McCormick in Ireland 2015: TurfNet Members' Trip, 18 October 2015 · 2,143 views

The last day of the TurfNet Members' Trip 2015 (for those not extending) kicked off with a 9-hole scramble match at the Ballymascanlon Hotel and Golf Course, the only parkland course on the trip this year.



John Gall and John Gosselin are all smiles as the trip winds down on Saturday.


Before the round, trip organizer and Mr. Irish, Jon Kiger, snuck away to 100-year old Lawless Barbers in Dundalk for a hot towel shave. Nice.


Among the swag for trip attendees were some very stylin' shades from sponsor Aquatrols. Maureen Gall sported them on the trip to the Guinness Storehouse, with hubby John Gall.


No visit to Dublin is complete without a trip to the Guinness brewery at St. James Gate.  The Storehouse covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. The ground floor introduces the beer's four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), and the brewery's founder, Arthur Guinness. Other floors feature the history of Guinness advertising and include an interactive exhibit on responsible drinking. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar with views of Dublin, and where a pint of Guinness can be enjoyed.


The TurfNet group at the start of the Guinness factory tour.


The tour starts with instruction in the classic Irish toast, Slainte'.


The tour includes hands-on instruction in the art of crafting "The Perfect Pint of Guinness" (it's not as easy as it looks, as Guinness is nitrogen-infused and must be allowed time to settle before topping up). Here Kas Kachmarek, father of Joel and Mark, proudly displays his certificate of achievement in crafting the Perfect Pour.  Slainte', Kas!


Enjoying a pint in the Gravity Bar.


Traditional Irish music is never far away.


It could be argued that Jorge Croda, as a Mexican national working in Texas, was as far out of his element as anybody on the trip... but he was always with a smile, a kind word and a pint nearby.  It was great having him on the trip.

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