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Jennifer Torres: Not your typical career path to turf

Jennifer Torres: Not your typical career path to turf

Not only is Jennifer Torres unusual in being a female golf course superintendent in an overly male industry, but chances are she stands alone as having pursued her current career after a post-high school stint in the US Army and GI Bill-funded enrollment in the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management certificate program... while also a 30-something mother of three at the time. It was hardly a passion for golf or turf management that led Torres to her position as superintendent at Makefiel

Jon Kiger

Jon Kiger

Rockbottum Radio: How to Get the Big Money

Rockbottum Radio: How to Get the Big Money

Rockbottum Radio is back from summer hiatus with a primer on how to get the big money as a big-time superintendent (and all the stress and pressure that goes with it). Be careful what you wish for! Randy waxes nostalgic about the days when golf course maintenance was relaxed, laid back and without the negative energy prevalent today. And in Storytime, Dad made the big time and what they learned during the short time they were there.

Randy Wilson

Randy Wilson

Taking a Side is Agronomic Quicksand...

Taking a Side is Agronomic Quicksand...

I've always been baffled by the human condition that causes people to take one side or position, non-negotiable, unbudging. I am especially baffled by a stubbornness of opinion so great that it causes someone to crash, all the while thinking they are "on the right side", their only side. I'm reminded of a story I heard once where an airplane pilot who was "not a GPS guy" flew a plane equipped with GPS mapping into the side of a mountain. He spent three days crawling with two broken legs before h

Dave Wilber

Dave Wilber

Parker Stancil: Learning the mechanic side of things

Parker Stancil: Learning the mechanic side of things

This past week I’ve been assigned by Gary Johnstone, Portmarnock Links manager, to work in the greenkeeping shop in the afternoons with our course mechanic, Iacob Spermezan. Yep, that's an I, not a J, as he's from Romania. His name is pronounced like Yock'-obe, and is the Romanian form of Jacob or James. Iacob removing the bedknife from a cutting unit. Most of the mowers here are Jacobsen. Gary must’ve gotten tired of me bugging him about working in the s
Frutchey has been defying stereotypes for more than 30 years

Frutchey has been defying stereotypes for more than 30 years

Not all teachers are found in classrooms, and not all classrooms have four walls. When Laurie Frutchey attended Florida State University in the 1980s, the Tallahassee institution was known primarily for producing teachers - more specifically, female teachers. At the same time, the golf industry, specifically the turf maintenance side of the business, was dominated by men. It didn't take Frutchey long to knock down stereotypes in both fields. A native of Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, Fr

John Reitman

John Reitman

Scenes From A Field Day At Rivermont

Scenes From A Field Day At Rivermont

Mark Hoban, aided by Dr. Derek Settle, organized another Rivermont Field Day to update the golf world on his Low Input, Future of Golf Research.  Lots of important forward thinkers showed up, along with a couple of backward thinkers from Rockbottum Films. The rain, dark skies and humidity running at 113% prevented us from capturing the entire event, but we managed to grab a few scenes.    

Randy Wilson

Randy Wilson

Parker Stancil: Special Visitors and Malahide Castle

Parker Stancil: Special Visitors and Malahide Castle

My mother and stepfather, Tracy and Ashley Wilkinson, paid me a visit in Ireland as part of celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. Their original plans included playing golf in California and staying at Pebble Beach for a week, but the flight, hotel, and other travel costs were cheaper to come here! I guess you could say I’m a mama’s boy, and mama was having a hard time with not seeing me all summer, so with short notice, they were eastbound and down to Dublin. Cheese!
Wow, You’ve Done A Lot Here...

Wow, You’ve Done A Lot Here...

Groundskeeping is a challenging profession. We are impacted and affected by horticultural limitations, weather and environment, organizational imperatives, laws and regulations, budgetary constraints, seasonal influences, etc. We are in a constant battle of managing inputs, stressors and outcomes. In all of this grind, we must occasionally factor in a crisis of the now, where we focus on where our operation currently is and what lay immediately before us. Recently I had an opportunity to st

Joseph Fearn

Joseph Fearn

Through the Grass Ceiling... yet?

Through the Grass Ceiling... yet?

Even with the recent uptick in awareness of women working in turf, the number of female superintendents and assistants remains staggeringly low: a few tenths either side of 1 percent. Flipping that around simply underscores the obvious: golf course maintenance has historically been and remains 99 percent (or so) male. Current statistics (as of July 30) from GCSAA indicate that of 18, 116 total members, only 285 are female (1.57 percent). Of the 8,778 superintendent members, 69 are female (0
So, How Are You Doing?

So, How Are You Doing?

July. If you have ever held a hose in your hand in just about any climate, you know that July can be tough. It comes with all kinds of abnormal life habits. It surely signifies the end of Spring and the warm swampass revelation that Summer is actually here. You are now going to bed when it is light. Getting up when it is dark. Dressing quietly and slipping out of the house, apartment, tent or teepee trying not to wake anyone else up. A 3 or a 4 still on the clock. The neighbors hate you as
Parker Stancil: The Parker Grand Slam!

Parker Stancil: The Parker Grand Slam!

While attending The Amateur Championship at Portmarnock Golf Club back in June, Jon Kiger of TurfNet informed me that he would be returning to Ireland in a few weeks for The Open at Portrush. It was a sweet surprise when he said he had an extra ticket for the Tuesday practice round and offered it to me. Offer accepted!  The boss (Gary Johnstone, Links Manager at Portmarnock Golf Club) gave me the day off of work to ride up to Northern Ireland to fulfill an item on my bucket list. (Yes
Lahinch: Beyond golf, and surfing...

Lahinch: Beyond golf, and surfing...

During my week of volunteering at the 2019 Irish Open at Lahinch, I had the pleasure of experiencing the beautiful scenery, fun social environment, and everything else you’d want in a little getaway vacation in the town of Lahinch, Co.Clare. A view of the town of Lahinch from the top of the viewing stands at 18 green. The town of Lahinch is widely known across Ireland for its attraction of professional and recreational surfers. The word “surf” covers the town from top to b
West of Ireland 2019 Preview: Mount Falcon Estate

West of Ireland 2019 Preview: Mount Falcon Estate

As much as you think you can gather information about a place online there is no substitute for actually being there. That was my experience during a brief visit (“Familiarity Trip” in travel industry terms…) to our second hotel on the Ireland trip – the Mount Falcon Estate. We will be at the estate Monday and Tuesday nights during our week in Ireland this coming October.  The estate is just outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo on the West coast of Ireland. I was met by Operatio

Jon Kiger

Jon Kiger

Parker Stancil: The Irish Open at Lahinch

Parker Stancil: The Irish Open at Lahinch

Organized by the European Tour, the 2019 Irish Open is being hosted by Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare. The breathtaking links club provides unbelievable views along the west coast of Ireland. Extremely steep cliffs and beautiful long beaches border the town of Lahinch, which is quite easy to see from the peaks of the enormous dunes clustered throughout the golf course. Me standing on the highest point of the Lahinch GC property. The view down #1 and #18.
West of Ireland Preview: Carne Golf Links, County Mayo

West of Ireland Preview: Carne Golf Links, County Mayo

Last month I had the pleasure of going to County Mayo to preview one of the courses and one of our hotels for the upcoming Ireland trip... Carne Golf Links. There are still a few places in Ireland that I haven’t been to… 🙂 Last year we were on one of our last nights in Ireland and Carne Managing Director Gerry McGuire approached me and encouraged us to consider Carne Golf Links for a future trip. When it was clear we were headed North from County Clare it made perfect sense to add Carne Gol

Jon Kiger

Jon Kiger

Stealth Golf Practice For The GCS

Stealth Golf Practice For The GCS

As we have previously discussed, it is important for the Golf Course Superintendent to play golf or maybe just be seen playing golf.  (But not bad golf.)  Members want to be assured that their GCS belongs to the same cult and knows the course in the same way they do—not just the way a Turf Scientist interacts with the course.   But there are problems with playing your course.  Like when the Green Chairman four-jacks #18 green and starts ranting:  “Every time I see our superintendent, he’s p
Scott Powers: Live Sports - the English do it right. 

Scott Powers: Live Sports - the English do it right. 

No matter what you’re in the mood for, London has it. As I mentioned prior, I am from the boondocks of Southern Ontario and am used to having to put in some real effort not to be bored back home. Here in England, it is a totally different game.  Because I work just over 40 hours per week (something most North Americans in the turf industry are not used to), I have plenty of time to do whatever I wish. So naturally over my first month here I prioritized going to as many sporting events as I
Tightly Wound Much?

Tightly Wound Much?

I am writing this on July 2nd. Looking back at my calendar, I have pretty much been on the go since March, and at full throttle since May. Today, after a driver brake-checked me and I got out of the car at a stoplight to have a little face time with the driver, I realized I am overwound like a rubber band on a balsa wood airplane. You want it to fly so badly that you just keep winding and winding that prop. I’ve also been fighting with Yahoo Small business because their email servers have b
Back of the House

Back of the House

There has been a theory forming in my mind for a while now. It’s one of those connections that I have been subtly observing for a while now, but it wasn’t until this spring that it has emerged fully formed. The idea explores the overlay and the similarities between turf departments and restaurant kitchens. It may seem like an odd theme for a blog post but bear with me. Over the last couple of months our kitchen staff has suffered tremendously. We have been dealing with devastating personal
Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now...

Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now...

On June 27 this year I turned 55. Now this isn’t a defining age as much as say 21 or 65, but is significant. I am not a person who puts all my stock in chronological age. I definitely think there can be an old 30 or a young 70, but again I say 55 is significant. I am now seriously contemplating retirement although I can’t see how I won’t have to work until 70 (or longer) if anyone will have me. I have been in commercial grounds management since I was 23. I know there are many people who have mor
How I Nearly Killed My Girlfriend On The Golf Course One Summer Night

How I Nearly Killed My Girlfriend On The Golf Course One Summer Night

Back to the inbox we go. This one, a special request. Ok so, first off, there are two stories that I just cannot tell. Can't. It could involve jail time for my crime and the crimes of others... and we just wont go there. That leaves us with this one, my favorite. It was the summer of 1984, the summer before I was to start college. I I was working on the crew at Pole Creek Golf Club, and also three nights a week on air at the local radio station. And I was deeply involved in 4-H Horse
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