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Aeration Week

Aeration week is here, with the course closed from Tuesday until Saturday. The crew from Siems Turfgrass/DryJect UK arrived at Adare on Tuesday afternoon and we got to work by running two DryJect machines that day and three on Wednesday and Thursday. Each machine required 4-5 greenkeepers loading the sand into it.  DryJect was chosen for the greens for the near-instant playability and to not interfere with the busy season. We also did not need to pull cores at the moment because organ

Mindful Resilience: Letting Go...

If you live in the northeastern part of the US or in eastern Canada as I do, you are very likely smack dab in the midst of what can be termed the burn out season. You spent the spring preparing your facility for the onslaught of golfers and now with the excitement of opening day a distant memory, both you and your team are most likely suffering from the cumulative effects of the grind.  The feeling of fatigue which supers and their employees experience at this stage of the season can be ove

Nathan Jordan, NTJ Turf, LLC

Nate Jordan first came on our radar as an active user of the TurfNet Forum during his first gig as head superintendent, then at Saratoga Lake Golf Club in upstate New York. He created a stir when pondering whether his resume and career trajectory would be enhanced by stepping back into an assistant role at a Top 100 club, which he did for a year before finding that not completely suited to his personality and demeanor. He then went on to five years as superintendent at Mount Hawley CC in Peoria,

Exploring Ireland Via Walking Tours

A great way to explore Ireland and learn about its incredible history is to take walking tours, and I did exactly that. I was recently in Kinsale and Waterford with Jon Kiger, who set me up with two unique tours. Dermot Ryan was our tour guide in Kinsale, down on the southern coast of Ireland and home of the famed Old Head Golf Links. Our Waterford tour was led by Jack Burtchaell. What was nice about both tours was that all you had to do was call in advance, and they would give a location to mee

A Day at Croke Park

Eighty-two thousand fans packed Croke Park in Dublin for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final between Limerick and Kilkenny on Sunday the 17th of July. The atmosphere alone was insane, but made more intense from a heatwave of temperatures as high as 84 F that day. The sport of hurling has been played in some form in Ireland for hundreds of years. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) was established to formalize the game in 1884. To this day it remains an amateur sport. The players an

Raising Mowing Height Makes Sustainability Sense

Grounds management in any organization is a complex undertaking requiring the performance of myriad tasks necessary to fulfill the desired strategic objectives. For many, if not most of our grounds crews, sustainability is one of those strategic objectives. While sustainability is a moving target based on one’s definition, sustainability for me means decreasing resource consumption while increasing resource service. Too often pursuing sustainability is a complex undertaking resulting in difficul

JP McManus Pro-Am: What People Can Do When They Act Together...

“This event brings the community together to see what people can do when they act together.” — J.P. McManus, owner of the Adare Manor resort, after the Pro-Am held July 4/5. The gallery starting to gather for the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor. The JP McManus Pro-Am charity event, held every five years, has helped raise over $140 million for McManus's home city of Limerick and helped bring the community together. Ten of the top eleven players in the world played in this

Mental Toughness in the Heat

Every few years, it gets hot.  This thrills the mass media because it allows them to pound the fear drums and increase their ratings.  So, whenever it gets warm outside, we release a training film full of helpful tips designed to strengthen mental toughness in the heat.  As a bonus, here is a column from ten years ago, explaining our most valuable strategy for dealing with the heat: The 100 Days of Hell Actually, it's more like 120 days for those of us trapped on a bentgrass plantation

St. Andrews during Open Week: Off my bucket list

“EVERYTHING HAS LED TO THIS”  is printed in bold letters on the signs strategically placed around the grounds of St. Andrews Old Course to welcome the start of The 150th Open. For years, I have been wanting to visit St. Andrews and even put it on my bucket list after learning more about the course’s history in Dr. Danneberger’s class back at Ohio State. This week, I had the incredible opportunity to check it off my list. I visited St. Andrews with Jon Kiger of TurfNet on Monday and Tuesday

A Pound of Cure...

Pause a moment and think about a time when your playing surfaces suffered. Disease, traffic issues, weather events… any or all can force you to take measures to mitigate the damage. Perhaps you add medicine, raise the HOC, or divert activity away from the area all together in order to alleviate the pressures and allow space for recovery. Basically you were forced to confront vulnerability and then impart measures of care and nurturing in order to fix the problem. How many times in your care

Prepping for the JP McManus Pro-Am

We are now less than one week from the JP McManus Pro-Am to be held here at Adare Manor on July 4 and 5. The course remained open to the hotel residents until June 27th, at which point the course was closed to all but greenkeepers so we could get it dialed in. Last week the weather started to improve with night-time temps around 53 degrees Fahrenheit and 63 during the day but we are slightly below optimal growth. We have this unique weather station on the resort called Meteoblue that gives

The Birth of Skeletal Golf Theory

In the early summer of 1969, Dad took the reins of Polvadero Country Club, an emaciated crispy nine-holer located in the dry and dusty Kettleman Hills near Coalinga, California.  Destined to be the Head Pro, GM, GCS, and Bartender--that last one was kind of tough for a non-drinker--he took immediate action. First, Dad evaluated the staff, which consisted of Fernando, age 35, who also worked close by at a cotton farm; in addition, there was 14 year-old me, a fairly useless, easily distracted

A visit from home, and a break in the rain...

This week Dr. Ed Nangle, my professor from Ohio State ATI, stopped by for a visit at Adare Manor. I was happy to show him around the course and introduce him to my co-workers. What I found very interesting was that Dr. Nangle attended school with David Bailey, assistant superintendent here.  Me with Dr. Ed Nangle, my professor at Ohio State ATI. It rains quite a bit in Ireland but that is not enough to hold back the crew at Adare. The course drains very well thanks to wall

On Efficiency and Having Fun...

I just finished my second week at Adare Manor and I am starting to feel more confident on the course. The assistants have been awesome and have given me many different tasks. This week alone, I mowed the rough and fairways, rolled and sprayed greens, raked bunkers and plugged divots. I was also given the opportunity to cut the greens. Do you know how nerve-wracking it is to mow a 27,491-square-feet green? If not, I can be the first to tell you that it is quite an experience. The

Rutgers Winter School 2022: Observations, Anecdotes and Life Lessons Learned

I had the pleasure of speaking to the 2022 graduating class of the Rutgers Golf Turf Professional Management School back in March. I somewhat invited myself, I guess, since Robert Moinichen, class president, had contacted me over the winter in search of a speaker and asked who the most recent Superintendent of the Year was. Well, we don't do Superintendent of the Year anymore, I had to tell him, but if you're really stuck I'd be happy to do it myself. As a Rutgers alumnus with deep roots in

Ryan Moy, Mitch Ronning and Peter Braun at Minnesota United Football Club and Allianz Field

The big question on the turf industry's mind after the epic 2016 Ryder Cup Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, MN) was, "Where's (senior assistant superintendent) Ryan Moy gonna go?" Turns out the answer was one just about nobody expected: Head Groundskeeper for the Minnesota United Football Club at the still under-construction Allianz Field in St. Paul and their training grounds in Blaine, MN.  Once Ryan settled in there he was followed by former Hazeltine interns Mitch Ronnin

The Hills of Kansas...

I have lived in the Midwest for a number of years. Although some may group all the Midwest into one image, this does injustice to the amazing variety of landscapes (not to mention people) that are here. One common Midwest misconception I had heard was that Kansas is flat. When I drove across Kansas, from Missouri to Colorado, I walked away (drove away as it were) believing this. I remember the hours of straight and flat driving until finally catching a glimpse of the mountains looming far ahead.

Getting to Adare Manor, and orientation

I flew into Ireland about 9 a.m. on May 14. Getting through Dublin airport and customs was very easy, and I was lucky not to lose any bags during the trip. I ended up taking a three-hour bus trip from Dublin airport to Limerick and a taxi from Limerick to Adare Manor. The taxi driver was very helpful and told me about his time in the United States while also relaying facts about each town we passed through. I arrived at Adare Manor and was blown away by the beautiful property. I will add more pi

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

California's ill-considered attempt to convert municipal courses to affordable housing is expertly explained by John Reitman in a recent news article featuring Craig Kessler of the Southern California Golf Association.  Craig played a key role in helping to defeat the bill, defending municipal golf and citing the critical role the muni plays in recruiting future players.  In Reitman's article, Craig said, " . . . municipal golf is the meat and potatoes we all grew up on . . ." That's a smoo

Ralph Kepple, CGCS, East Lake Golf Club

For parts of four decades, Ralph Kepple has been the caretaker for the historic home course of the late Bobby Jones. A graduate of Ohio State, Kepple was named superintendent at East Lake Golf Club in 1992 and since 2018 has been the club’s director of agronomy. During that time, East Lake has been synonymous with the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship for 21 years. In this episode of All Stars of Turf, Kepple talks about the keys to career longevity and some of the changes that hav

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