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Saying Goodbye...

Years ago, I faced my team in the morning meeting and told them I was leaving to pursue another opportunity. I’d been preparing for this moment for days, but when it was finally time to tell them, the emotion of the moment took over.  Yes, my voice cracked. Yes, my chin quivered. Yes, a tear fell. I think what hit me the most were their faces. The shock and the sadness were reflected back at me in all directions.  Then came the sense that I was letting them down. It was this nagging, g

Adam Garr

Adam Garr in CourseCares

Patrick H. Sisk, CGCS: Open, honest and humble

Our latest All Star of Turf is Patrick H. Sisk, CGCS, career superintendent, athlete, marathoner, inventor, entrepreneur and family man. Pat guides us through his path from a college transition to early adventures in Colorado and Arizona, then a career that took him from his native coastal Connecticut to 18 years in Milwaukee and recently back to western Massachusetts. It hasn't always been a cakewalk. Early on he fell into substance abuse but clawed his way to sobriety... and has been sober for

Trailing Thoughts: Building a Winner

What makes a team a winning team? As demonstrated by the 2023–24 Detroit Lions, building a winner begins with the complete buy-in from the team’s high performers. The team’s core shares the same work ethic, attitude and goals of the organization. While this Lions team came up a little short of their goal, they remain poised to be successful for years to come as long as they remember the core strengths that got them there. The best teams in golf course maintenance are built like a succe

Your Team is Speaking to You. Are You Listening?

What’s the pulse of your team when they walk into the break room in the morning? Are they bright-eyed and still buzzing about last night’s big game? Or do they shuffle in like zombies and sit mostly in silence, staring down at their phones? If your morning meetings are preceded by awkward silence, or if your staff stiffens up the moment you appear, then it might be a warning sign that you’re coming up short on building a winning team culture. People who want to be there engage in conv

Adam Garr

Adam Garr in CourseCares

My Hope for 2024 ...

Planning is the linchpin to success. You may be successful with planning, but the odds are longer. In grounds management having a good plan will help the manager communicate direction to the team, help build excitement toward an outcome, alleviate problems before they arise, and build the organizational support essential to fulfilling the plan. Last blog I looked backwards in order to understand where our operation is and how we got here. This blog I look forward to 2024 and share some of the bi

Trailing Thoughts: Life is Like a River

Our lives, much like a river carving through a canyon, are never on a set path. If you aren’t happy with the direction your life is going, you can always change the flow of your river. A year ago, I found myself mired in a job that I found to be morally at odds with my personal values and unfulfilling on a professional level. I traveled to Big Bend National Park in Texas, hoping to unplug from turf for a while and reflect on my career and my life path. In Santa Elena Canyon I watched t

The Season...

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. — Lao Tzu There is a natural flow to seasons. No matter where one is situated, the shifts and changes in the natural environment follow their own patterns. Sometimes these patterns will alter and slowly evolve into something slightly different, but overall the seasonality of the natural world doesn’t change. When viewed through our human lenses, a season can appear to exist in singularity. We say things like “the start of another s

Looking Backward at 2023...

Ah, the New Year. The annually recurring time when we reflect on our previous 365 days and take stock. It is a time for looking back and grading out what we accomplished, but also what we struggled with. I get caught up in this time as much as anyone. In this blog I’ll stay in my professional realm and give, at least from my perspective, a clear-eyed assessment of where I took my work, and where my work took me. This assessment may not meet with agreement by all in my organization. It is my view

Joseph Fearn

Joseph Fearn in Review

Our Roots are Showing...

It has been difficult lately not to become a bit disenchanted with the modern game of golf and, in particular, those tasked with determining its future direction. From behind the ropes we watch as millionaires and billionaires squabble over who actually has dominion over the game, arguing about everything except the things that matter. Those in charge of tending the future of the game have become infected with greed and the notion that they know what is best for everyone else. The descent of the

Paul MacCormack

Paul MacCormack in Introspection

Our Most Important Film Ever

A few days ago, I slipped into a Mom and Pop coffee shop for a latte' and a blueberry scone.  (Ordinarily I'm not allowed to eat flour, but my handler was distracted by scented candles and Christmas lights.) The place was packed, full of people jammed next to each other, mesmerized by smartphones, tablets, and laptops; not a single soul looked up and took notice of me.   I could have been Genghis Khan on a zebra and only the barista would have noticed. Taking my coffee out onto the sid

The Blind Shot...

Within the game of golf there are few things more thrilling than the blind shot.  A close approach shot or a tee ball into a short par three can leave us clambering up and over a hillock or dune to see where we ended up. There is usually a good deal of luck or chance involved, along with a good dose of both joy and despair, but the anticipation that shots like these provide make for a lot of fun during a round. But like anything in this life, too much of a good thing can be problematic. In

Paul MacCormack

Paul MacCormack in Introspection

Here It Comes

It almost feels like we are just sitting quietly while AI takes over our turf careers.  AI promises to help us work, but what if it intends to render us obsolete?  Shouldn't we at least offer some resistance? Contrary to popular narratives, Rockbottum Science states "AI does not think for itself, it's merely an improved algorithm."  If AI could actually think, we'd already be dead.  My Dad dealt with first generation AI, (Adolescent Imbeciles) and AI golf course personnel management was jus

Fred Taylor, CGCS, Mankato Golf Club, Mankato, MN

Fred Taylor, CGCS, retired in early October, 2023, after a 43-year stint working exclusively at Mankato Golf Club in his hometown of Mankato, Minnesota. Fred followed in the "bootsteps" of Boots Fuller in 1992, becoming who would wind up as only the third superintendent at MGC in almost 100 years. Fred takes credit for all that goes wrong and give his staff credit for all that is right on the golf course. He has over the years served as a buffer between the staff and club membership,"runnin

In The Back Of The Night

It's that time of year when strange things happen, so it was no surprise when Freddy and Toad--effectively half of the Rockbottum CC crew--went missing while leaf-looking up on Dead Owl Ridge. Taking a great risk, Bodell saddled up to go find Freddy and Toad in the dark forests of North Georgia . . . and now Bodell and Willie are missing, too.  

Randy Wilson

Randy Wilson in Storytime

Sam Moynihan, Detroit Golf Club

Sam Moynihan took over the reins at Detroit Golf Club this spring just 90 days prior to hosting the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Soon thereafter somebody painted two greens with Roundup as a "welcome" present. The challenge was on. A graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in agriculture, Sam kicked off his turf career with a stint at Muirfield Village Golf Club, first under Paul B Latshaw and then Chad Mark. He then moved over to Caves Valley Golf Club for the next five years as fir

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