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In my last post I talked about my preparation for a speaking gig to The Mile High Club Managers Chapter. And it created some good discussion and allowed me to enhance my talk, based on the input of my peers and fellow Turfheads. And if you haven't read that post, you probably should to get proper perspective.
I don't always like linear history blogging, but in this case, I think it's worth an update.
I really didn't know what to expect the morning I walked into Cherry Hills CC with my laptop containing a Keynote presentation. It seemed like I was prepared, but I am an over-prepper, so my perspective is a little skewed. As per usual, I'd been up half the night before practicing my brand of pre-game mental yoga, also known as torture. But again, that's my creative process and it's an old friend.
The CMAA group was well prepared. About 60 in attendance. Mark Condon, GM at The Ranch CC is the education chair and he had a great group of speakers lined up. I really liked how he broke up the morning with a well done panel discussion with PGA Pros from Denver CC, Frost Creek CC and Cherry Hills. I don't always like panel discussions, but this one was really great and that had to do do with Mark doing his homework as the MC and asking good questions. It also had to do with great questions coming from the floor.
I was last. Batting clean up after the Golf Pros and Ed Mate from the Colorado Golf Association. I had heard about Ed. But it was great to see him in person. His passion for the game is incredible and him being a former Evans Scholarship winner doesn't hurt. So in the last spot before lunch, the grass guy comes up. And as I hook up my laptop, the familiar feeling of peace after a week of torturing myself preparing for this is a welcome feeling. Again, this feeling is also an old friend and it tells me that there is nothing to do but be Dave Wilber and deliver the goods. A couple of small jokes and other stupid speaker tricks and I feel like I own the room and its time to rock and roll. My Powerpoint and Keynote skills are on point. My visuals are good. The room, like most country club settings is too bright, but I expected that and have visuals that will work. Throttles to the firewall.
As per usual, I'd been up half the night before practicing my brand of pre-game mental yoga, also known as torture.
Forty-five min later, I was at the end of the presentation. And during the talk and then again at the end, this group had some good questions. I don't remember them all. When I'm in the flow, I don't often have recall. I own cameras and recorders and you would think I would set one or two up and capture the moment, but I just don't think that way. I need to travel with my Tech Monkey.
But I do remember the discussions and questions that were most powerful.
- College Graduation Numbers: I fielded several questions based on my comments about not being able to fill the multitude of assistant and second assistant jobs out there. As well as the changing job of equipment technician. It was clear to me that there was much concern in the room that we may not be graduating and training qualified candidates to fill all the positions out there. And one of the Head Pro's in the room was very quick to talk about the fact he has the same issue. Lots of open slots in the Assistant Pro ranks. For me, I always want to be clear that when we are in a shrinking environment of golf courses closing, we cant expect the same number of Superintendent jobs to exist. There's nothing wrong with being an assistant Super. There's nothing wrong with doing that for a long time, perhaps as a career. But for sure, the way we pay our long time support crew is wrong. And everyone in that room understands that.
- Is All This New Tech Too Expensive?: I didn't spend long on this. Because to me, calculating ROI is easy. And if we can't do that or cant show returns on investing anything, then we are just getting stuff and doing stuff just because. Which doesn't pay.
- Bunkers: There was a lot of head nodding about cost of bunker maintenance and construction and that maybe we have lost the plot as it came to a bunker being a hazard. Ed Mate, a rules expert, was quick on the draw from the floor to refute that calling a bunker a "penalty area" is wrong. It's a bunker.
- The Environment: The CMAA Chapter is really excited about working with the Colorado Golf Association in regards to Economic and Environmental Impact of golf. That's good. I think we all want that. And I will be sure that those who need to know hear that Turfgrass side of the golf world has a lot of data and a lot to say in this area.
Is The Golf dying? No, don't be silly. Is it going to be what it was? No, don't be silly.
So, did I deliver an Anthony Bourdain style ass whipping to them? Not really. Thats not me. Well, it can be. But this wasn't the time or the place. However, I'm sure there was some eye opening things that this group heard. I was super happy to hear the PGA Pros being really strong about the fact that while they know they want to get golfers to the game, the idea of keeping them there was much more on their mind. I think one of their stories about the club's most popular event being a Night Golf event was telling in the fact that there is nothing traditional in that, but it was all about the fun. Fun. What a thing. Golf really can be fun.
As far as anything I said that drew the biggest reaction, someone in the audience decided to pontificate a non-question question about the number of courses, golfers and handicaps. He wasn't making any sense when he got to the slope rating part and before Ed Mate could jump in, I simply said that I don't have a handicap. Don't care about having one. Refuse to play stroke play when I play and that match play with my friends is my favorite thing. And I even went on to say that I prefer that to be with Hickory clubs and demand to be walking. Yeah. You can imagine the chuckles that got. But it did get the Pope in the back of the room to be quiet.
I was super happy to hear the PGA Pros being really strong about the fact that while they know they want to get golfers to the game, the idea of keeping them there was much more on their mind.
Is The Golf dying? No, don't be silly. Is it going to be what it was? No, don't be silly. It's always evolved. Should every 18-hole course that has had any economic trouble turn itself into Top Golf. No. That's absurd. Should we be worried? Hell yes! Falling asleep at the wheel didn't and never will do anyone any good. Should we, as Turfheads be carrying a better message of Econ and Enviro? If you aren't you will definitely be a statistic. Definitely.
But carrying is one thing, living it is even more important.
I believe wholeheartedly in sustainable landscaping. Despite the definition of sustainable landscaping being subject to many interpretations, for me it simply rests on several key premises. Does the management of the landscape seek to decrease resource consumption? Will the landscape continue to grow as we (the organization) need if we decrease intervention? Lastly, does the particular iteration of grounds management meet the long-term goals/needs of the parent entity? If these questions are answered positively, I am at a loss as to why a person or organization would not want to pursue sustainable landscaping. In an effort to see this issue from another perspective, I would like to put forth some reasons I believe cause sustainability reluctance.
Sustainable Landscapes are Messy
This may be the biggest misconception about sustainable landscapes. Most people will equate sustainable with wild and this is not always so. Sustainable landscapes need not be rambling plantings run amok. I suggest this misconception arises due to a confusion of objectives. Often when seeking to restore or support an ecosystem, gardeners will utilize native plants which co-exist well within a given ecosystem. In these habitat and organism-focused applications, “wild” plants provide shelter, food, and ecosystem services when left to grow “naturally”. Many restorative plantings are sustainable when left alone, but not all sustainable landscapes need be maintained in this manner. Landscapes exhibiting traditional design/maintenance attributes can be sustainable as long as they seek to meet the aforementioned criteria.
Sustainable Landscapes are for Eco-Crazies
Evaluation of anything new or different frequently results in assumptions and stereotyping. A conclusion is reached about an idea before it is even given a hearing of objective evaluation. This can be the case with sustainable landscaping. People may conjure up images of long hair, Birkenstock wearing grounds people sabotaging mowers and growing corn in the front yard. This isn’t the case. Nor is it accurate to think that all the landscape will look like tallgrass prairie, or if a tree falls, it will be left lay to decompose to enrich the spirit of the earth. Sustainable landscaping is a management philosophy that draws on the same organizational and operational imperatives as any other landscaping. Funny I rarely (never?) hear people question the underlying assumptions about the dominant unsustainable landscaping methods.
Sustainable Landscape Changes Everything
If an organization chooses to pursue sustainable landscaping, it should be the overarching principle determining grounds management, but not necessarily in a prescriptive manner. Sustainability is about seeking to diminish resources consumption (time, money, materials, etc.) but this aspiration will not result in identical results for every organization. Consider chemical use in the landscape. One organization may seek to diminish chemical use as a way to contain costs, and market an environmentally conscious landscape approach. Another may choose to continue utilizing chemical interventions but explore ways to decrease frequency. A third may need to hold the line on current chemical use, knowing there is not organizational support for a changed approach, but seek to slowly introduce alternative groundcovers/designs that will not need chemical intervention. Being appropriate in how and where you pursue or initiate a more sustainable approach sustains progress. Everything need not change to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
Sustainability is about seeking to diminish resources consumption (time, money, materials, etc.) but this aspiration will not result in identical results for every organization.
Sustainable Landscaping Doesn’t Matter to Our Organization
If you have, or are an organization, sustainable landscaping should matter to you. Sustainable landscapes contribute many benefits more than just a pretty, environmentally focused campus. Consider these questions when evaluating sustainability. Do I want my organization to sustain? Do I want my assets/resources to sustain? Do I want my position/livelihood to sustain? Do I want my company’s reputation to sustain? Likely, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes. Sustainable landscaping has a positive effect on all facets of an organization. In addition, taking a cue from natural ecosystems, a sustainable Grounds Manager balances the individual needs against the collective, always understating that the success of the whole is paramount.
Sustainability Is the Way of the Future
Rarely does sustainability reluctance debate on the science and vocational merits of sustainable landscaping. Prejudices and stereotypes come to the fore when naysayer’s pushback against a sustainable landscape. This does our organization’s a great disservice. Evaluation of the value of landscaping should weigh the positives it brings to its parent, and at what ROI. This is a harsh truth, but a good grounds operation does not flinch from close inspection. Delivering expectations while staying within resource limits is the bottom line premise of sustainability. Drawing a straight line between these two aspects requires accurately defining, and agreement of, what constitutes a sustainable landscape. Sustainable landscaping can be adapted to any application and is greatly beneficial when it is.
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By Randy Wilson,
Last week, we loaded our gear and then fought through the horrible Atlanta traffic to shoot a short film with Mark Hoban of Rivermont CC. It was the usual debacle, with us wandering around lost in Doolooth and Akworth. At one point, we entered “The Buford Triangle”, a place where road names change instantly and people vanish. Relying on business signs as landmarks is impossible, because they are written in other languages than whatever it is we speak. Never trust those fantasy maps on The Google.
Anyway, we managed to arrive on time—because we always allow an extra four hours to navigate the nether world of North Atlanta—and Hoban was nowhere in sight. After some quick detective work, we determined that Mark was being filmed, interviewed and podcasted by Erik Anders Lang, a famous Hollywood producer of golf films on The Youtube.
Mark ignored Momma’s texts, so she grabbed her frying pan and went up to the clubhouse to teach somebody something. But Mark was prepared, having posted Berkeley, his vicious German Shepherd guard dog, at the entrance. (Momma won’t whack a golf course dog.) After an hour of waiting in the hot sun, knowing every minute we delayed meant the possibility of being trapped in the most dreaded rush hour on the planet . . . we left. We weren’t angry, just terrified of the giant four-hour parking lot.
It all turned out positive, even if we got cheated out of a shoot. Erik Anders Lang cranks out highly entertaining golf travel films, from the viewpoint of the next wave. (A refreshing change from us cranky old coffin dodgers of golf.) Erik is that golfer we have been trying to recruit for years. He took up the game late, is highly enthusiastic and has a contagiously positive attitude toward golf. Erik is one of the reasons I recently dragged out my clubs again. Another key point is when EAL visited Rivermont, he spent time with the Golf Course Superintendent. This is a great thing. I’m stoked. (That is the right word, isn’t it?)
Go to The Youtube and check out “Adventures in Golf” on the Skratch channel. Erik and a sidekick visit a golf course, play it on camera and have the kind of fun we all used to have . . . before we got our hineys so twisted up in building, fixing, growing-in and maintaining golf courses. Erik will gleefully play a scruffy muni as well as an old classic, all while making a short film that delivers a strong subliminal argument for what the game needs, not what the Alphabets need.
And that brings to mind a recent Dave Wilber column, “Golf Isn’t Dying, It’s Evolving”, a very timely analysis of the future. He touches on several vital areas, like “Lowering Golfer Expectations” and “The Return of The Big Mower”, along with “Just 3 Cuts”. *
*Note: Every time I bring up these subjects, I am assaulted by those accusing me of “Nostalgia”, so I am grateful Dave hit it with such force. I would also remind those flinging digital road-apples at me of this: “Negative nostalgia is the rewriting of our past to be miserable and broken, because it creates continuity with our present.”
Wilber’s message is the kind of thinking that will help the game in the future, considerably more than complex programs designed to “Grow” golf, as if it were some kind of stock market index dependent upon perpetual growth. We all know how to dial back expensive conditioning, but the question is: How do we get golfers on board? Lowering golfer expectations would have environmental, legal and economic benefits, but we should expect powerful resistance.
Maybe the next wave of golfers will listen, if the current coffin dodgers won't.
Returning the average course to the dialed back conditioning of the 1970s—when the money people first targeted golf for a big boom—runs contrary to what the Great Poobahs of Ever-Increasing Grooming Standards are preaching. They won’t give up power without a knock ‘em down and drag ‘em out saloon fight.
One way to get golfers on board would be through the new wave of golf filmmakers, like Erik Anders Lang and Adventures in Golf. Maybe the next wave of golfers will listen, unlike so many of the current coffin dodgers spoiled rotten by too many 5-Star hotels, gourmet meals and luxury golf carts. Golf was once, and perhaps will be again, an adventure.
Oh, and since I don’t have a new film this week, due to . . . logistics and technical difficulties, here’s an old film that syncs up with Dave Wilber’s message.
The practice of yoga has always fascinated me. The breath work, the mind/body connection, and the way it can absolutely destroy you without you leaving your mat. Yoga has had a profound effect on my body and my well being.
A key yoga lesson which has stayed with me over the years is that of support. A wise teacher once explained that when doing a pose, the primary source of strength doesn’t always come from the main body part you would assume it would. Instead, much of the strength and stability comes from the surrounding cast of limbs and muscles. They are the support staff and when you activate these seemingly unrelated parts, the pose becomes achievable.
This key lesson has been on my mind lately when contemplating our lives as Greenkeepers. When you think of your course, or, even more specifically, a green that might be struggling, it can be easy to assume you automatically know the source of the problem. But often the solution to a nagging issue can be a combination of seemingly unrelated factors. Things like air movement, shade, nutrition, compaction relief, or any other of a host of cultural practices can act as supports working together to improve the situation and provide relief.
...often the solution to a nagging issue can be a combination of seemingly unrelated factors.
What if you apply this same idea to your personal lives? If you are suffering, what are the support systems that you can look to that for help? What types of cultural practices can you rely on to help with your personal well being? Do you reach for the quick fix (insert snake oil jug of magical elixir)? Or do you have a dependable network of resources you can call on when we need to?
What does your network look like? Here are a few that have helped me over the years…
- Physical Well Being – How are things for you physically? Do you take care of your temple? Exercise of any kind will do, along with getting any nagging issues taken care of. It’s really easy for us to let our physical health slide when we are in the throes of the season, but if our bodies are working properly it can go a long way to helping you deal with the rigors of the gig.
Mental Well Being – Do you make regular visits with yourself? If so, are you good friends with that person? A lot of us do better caring for the physical part, but completely neglect our mental wellness. If we are tending our inner faculties on a constant basis, then we stand a much better chance of living a healthier life overall. If we instead choose to pretend that we are “always fine” then it’s just a matter of time before the house of cards topples.
Taking care of our inner well being can take many forms. We can have hobbies, we can practice some form of meditation or “personal quiet time”, attend to ourselves spiritually, or anything at all that takes us inside and fosters a positive relationship with whom and what we discover.
When you are vulnerable enough to realize that you are not an island, you can develop the courage necessary to ask for help.
- Family – We can’t always choose the personalities which comprise our families, but we can choose how we interact with them. Taking care to focus on family well being and the quality of our relationships can be a key part of our support structure. Often times our families are unintentionally sacrificed for our courses. No superintendent job is more important than your family. Make it so, and you will be lucky to have them there when you arrive home. This job is a challenging one but having a supportive family unit can make a world of difference.
Friends – Like family, having a network of friends that you can rely on is paramount. Nowhere is this more evident than when you have a solid group of superintendents you can call on when things are tough. As a group, Greenkeepers have an amazing amount of empathy and knowledge to share with each other so make sure you tap that resource. No one understands what you are facing better than a good friend who has been through the same thing. Sometimes a good venting session is all that’s required to set your perspective right again. It’s also very helpful to have a stable of non-turf related friends. Supers have a funny habit of getting completely absorbed in the world of growing grass, so it can be mighty helpful to have friends who bring you back to the outside world from time to time. (See The Zealot's latest post for more wisdom on this topic… "Wisdom in the Craft Brew".)
These and other support systems can go a long way to ensuring that Greenkeepers are not only successful in their workplaces, but also healthy human beings. When you are vulnerable enough to realize that you are not an island, you can develop the courage necessary to ask for help. And before long you will realize that you are holding a yoga pose that you might have once thought impossible thanks to your supports.
Thanks so much for reading.
I called a friend/summer neighbor yesterday to reconnect as the long Vermont winter has turned the corner and is inching toward spring. Brian and I email occasionally but hearing the voice (and in his case, the laughter) is good tonic and well worth the effort. The words of my late friend Gordon Witteveen loom large with me: "If you don't work at relationships they soon go away." So I try to pick up the phone when the odds are good that the recipient will be relatively available. Sunday afternoons are a good bet. What turned into an hour-long conversation went by quickly.
We chatted about my progress with the guitar (he's my inspiration), his expanded musical horizons with his new dobro, family, mutual friends, all the usual. He also mentioned that he and his wife are one month into a plant-based diet regimen, a huge change for both. He has educational and professional credentials as long as his arm (PhD psychologist, retired Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral in the US Public Health Service), so he's no intellectual pushover. He attended a seminar on the topic with about 50 medical doctors and came away impressed by the science of nutrient absorption straight from the plant versus pre-processing by a cow.
...impressed by the science of nutrient absorption straight from the plant versus pre-processing by a cow.
Knowing Brian has an appetite for a good steak and BBQ, I had to ask how it's going so far. "Well, we both like seafood too much to give that up, and I don't go nuts if a Caesar salad has a bit of cheese on it, but eliminating meat and dairy hasn't really been a problem so far. Donna is a good cook and uses a lot of Forks Over Knives recipes, so it has been OK. My Achilles heel with other dietary programs," he continued, "has been feeling deprived. If I feel deprived or hungry all the time, it doesn't work for me. That hasn't been the case here."
We discussed the challenge of all good intentions lying in the implementation. Take the New Year's resolution thing, for example, of which on average 80% fail by this time of the year. Or the intent to learn the guitar from scratch, starting at age 60 (me, four years ago). Or an accomplished guitar player learning to play the dobro in his 70s (him, now). Trying to lose the 25 pounds most of us could stand to lose. Saving for retirement or a rainy day. Or coming home from a conference or seminar with a concept or idea we'd like to try to implement in our life or turf management program (all of us).
In my mind, successful implementation of good intention is all about realistic goals, reasonable time frames, and baby steps to get there... preferably with mini-milestones to celebrate along the way. Breaking a broad concept or goal into its component parts and starting with those will yield a much higher success rate. After all, eating an entire steak without first cutting it into bite-size pieces would be a little difficult.
In my mind, successful implementation of good intention is all about realistic goals, reasonable time frames, and baby steps to get there...
Had I gone into learning the guitar with the expectation that I'd be playing like Eric Clapton or James Taylor within a year, my guitars (now six) would be gathering dust and I wouldn't have a new skill (however limited, still) that has literally changed my life. I went into it knowing that I would be learning it for the rest of my life, and took pleasure in the small victories. Learn the basic open chords, and simple songs to put them together. Traffic/Joe Cocker's Feelin' Alright has two chords; Bob Marley's Three Little Birds has three, with a reggae rhythm. I played the hell out of them in the early months, savoring the accomplishment. A low trajectory takeoff is always smoother than a steep one.
Having played the guitar now for over 50 years, Brian is struggling with the dobro, which also has six strings but a different tuning. That means completely different chord fingerings and picking patterns, not to mention that it sits in his lap rather than held normally. "I work at it for half an hour and then have to walk away, or pick up my regular guitar and play that for awhile," he said. "But I'll get there." I have no doubt.
I have another neighbor here in Vermont who proselytizes the benefits of a plant-based diet, and has been working on me. Having identified by process of elimination that dairy seems to be the root of my joint pain of late, my wife and I have toyed with the idea. We decided that the way to implement that change (if we do ultimately go "whole hog") is with... baby steps. One or two "meatless meal" days a week to start. A low trajectory learning curve for the cook(s) and for the body/mind to adjust.
One or two "meatless meal" days a week to start. A low trajectory learning curve for the cook(s) and for the body/mind to adjust.
Trying to put some money away for the future (emergencies, job loss, retirement)? Start with $20 a week, auto-deducted from your pay and deposited in an investment account. You will never miss it. Start that at age 22 and you'll have over $300,000 by the time you're 67. And that's nowhere near enough, but better than the estimated 55 million Americans who have nothing saved. Witness the panic of the recent government shutdown. If you can do $50 or more, do it.
Want to lose 25 pounds in six months? Setting that as your goal is tough. You're better off with a goal of five pounds in a month, then celebrating achieving it in two weeks. And on to the next five, keeping the first five off. Low trajectory.
Same goes with those ideas gleaned from seminars. I have always felt that one good, new idea obtained from a seminar, conference, webinar (or TurfNet Forum thread) and successfully implemented makes the entire effort worthwhile. Doesn't have to be five or ten ideas, just one. Doesn't have to be earth-shattering, either. Take one baby-step now and another down the road. Sooner or later you'll look back with amazement at the progress you've made.
By Peter McCormick,
TurfTrainer is a patent-pending turf brushing system designed to improve turf playability, performance and health in a simple, easy to install and operate, low-maintenance package.
Designed by Rodney Hine, noted Boston-area superintendent and TurfNet member, the TurfTrainer attaches to the bucket of a greensmower and is pulled beneath the bucket rather than pushed as conventional brushes are. Once installed, the TurfTrainer can be used on-demand without further removal or installation. A stow and go mechanism allows out-of-sight storage.
- No Moving Parts - TurfTrainer attaches to the mowing bucket with no moving parts, minimizing maintenance. Flips up when not in use.
- Unobtrusive - Whether stored or in use, operator view is not obstructed and TurfTrainer does not impede routine mower maintenance or adjustments.
- Adapts to Surface Contours - The flexible mat follows the turf surface contour efficiently, providing a stand of turf ready for cutting.
TurfTrainer is manufactured using non-corrosive materials specifically designed to withstand the challenging elements found in turf brushing environments.
I haven’t delved into technology posts lately on this blog, instead focusing on career topics. It’s been due to not having enough time to offer quality advice in a field that constantly changes. Why, you might ask? Well, I have been working for the last 18 months on a new project for the industry that occupied any free time I had. And it’s finally done, at least version 1.
I don’t usually speak directly on this blog about our products, but I think this service is beneficial to both your operation and career, plus it has a lesson in doing things the right way and hiring professionally. Which of course I always encourage on this blog. The message here is to keep trying new and innovative things, they will eventually reward you.
We had an idea two years ago for a communications app for superintendents to communicate daily course conditions to golfers. The problem with all current forms of communication is that they require the golfer to visit them on their own or filtered through a social feed with all kinds of distractions competing for their attention. In particular, maintenance blogs and Twitter have become more of a sharing environment between turf professionals, and golfers get left behind or not engaged.
How could we solve this? Through a custom-built app just for supers to send info to golfers, and with push notifications to ensure golfers actually got the message. And Conditions app was born.
You would think with tech abilities from our other products that myself and our programming staff would jump on this with ease. Not so fast -- native app development is a completely different computer language than anything we use for web applications. We wanted to get out there quickly to verify it in the marketplace, and decided to use a third-party plugin that was built around a templated app. We would be submitting a slight variant of the app for each course to the App Store. It was the fast solution, and not the right one.
Dealing with Problems
In less than 7 months after we began building our test apps, Apple released the now infamous (in tech anyway) 4.2.6 guideline that essentially banned templated apps. This meant all our work building out examples and testing with our first alpha clubs was a waste of time and money.
We were left with one choice: bring it all in-house, hire, learn a new language, and build a completely custom solution through a singular app.
This was what we should have done originally and now benefits the users greatly. I always write that you should hire professionals to assist with your career materials, and it’s no different here. It’s something I should have known better from my advice to you.
In the end, the product is now better, built exactly for supers (by me), bug free, and we know a new computer language.
Testing It Out
Once we had a working version ready, we went to existing customers that were interested in jumping on early in the process. A key with technology is to ensure its reliability, especially when it involves your members. This is important when testing new things in your operation as well.
So we spent all of 2018 in a Beta, testing with a very limited number of clubs, tweaking and building until we got it just right.
The results from the Beta program were extremely positive from every tester. Golfers love the platform and are more educated as a result. I have received emails like this frequently:
Billy Weeks, Houston Country Club: “Our membership loves it! Congrats on a job well done with this app. If you need me as a reference for the app please use us.”
Pat Ryan, Sands Point Golf Club: “Everything is working great. Members love the app and a majority have signed up. It has been a huge help with our communications.”
And here we are, nearly 2 years later. Finally launching Conditions app at the GIS, fully confident in the reliability and success of the platform. Good things take time as they say.
I think Conditions is something that is going to make your job a lot easier in the critical area of communication. Don’t be scared to jump on new tech when it’s done right.
My Lesson Learned
Never take the quick and easy route, do it right even if it will take considerably more time. Always opt for the professional-grade solution in your operation.
Not rushing and taking our time we were able to perfect the functionality so it is ready for launch with no issues or chances of a third-party altering our course of action. The same can be done in your operation by testing out new things on your nursery or research sites, use tech with only your committee first, etc. and only using professional-grade solutions (vs DIY I talk about often).
Always be ready to innovate to stay ahead of the curve, even if that innovation takes time and trial/error.
Thanks for reading about this process, I felt it was a good way to explain a little bit inside our operation (delayed release of this app) and was an interesting business experience. Next post will be back to career/tech advice.
Conditions App Information
If you would like to see how the finished product came out and if it might help in your operation, you can visit goplaybooks.com/conditions.
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Friday morning, we woke up at the Rosapenna Golf Resort in County Donegal and the golfers had a short walk to their golf pavilion. We were playing the Sandy Hills course which was designed by Pat Ruddy. The resort also boasts a course laid out by Old Tom Morris but it was booked for a Golfing Union of Ireland competition.
The weather was fairly brisk as seventeen golfers took to the tee for our 8:20 start time. Once the golfers were dispatched on the course, many of the non-golfers had a leisurely breakfast and made the short walk into the village of Rosapenna.
As the tide was out, we were able to walk along the beach. Once in the village, we walked up some steps along the rocks, found a local coffee shop and the McNutt Tweed Shop - a specialty woolen store. The items in the store were unique to this region and certainly could not be found in the myriad of stores back in Dublin. The operation is so small and intimate that one of the lead designers was working the till that day.
A light rain started as we were leaving the store, so we opted to walk through the village to return to Rosapenna Resort. After the golf, we enjoyed soup and sandwiches in the café above the golf pavilion. We had time for one final group shot around the iconic statue of Old Tom Morris.
Simon had been dispatched back to the Matthews home base as he was to be redeployed as a driver on Monday and needed a three-day break from behind the wheel. Our driver for the drive back to Dublin was none other than Paddy Matthews himself, founder of the company. We loaded the bus as usual and settled in for the 4+ hour ride to Portmarnock Links Hotel. Once in Portmarnock, the evening was spent packing up for the next morning's drive to the airport and reminiscing on our outstanding and remarkable week together.
A few couples (the Crowthers, Galls, and John Brauer and Lisa Donovan) opted to stay in Dublin another evening, but the rest of us took the bus to the airport to catch a series of flights home. We caught one last amazing Irish sunrise on our way to the airport, and it symbolized the beauty of this country that we had experienced for the entire week.
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By Parker Stancil,
In May of 2018, I promised myself that once I started my new, but temporary, life in Denmark, I’d be as good of a friend as I could be to anyone I would meet.
I had no enemies when I started, and I saw no reason to have any by the end of my summer.
I lived in the Great Northern greenkeeper employee housing with 14 other greenkeepers. The crew was diverse, from all over: Ireland, England, Scotland, Lithuania, Australia, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Jamaica, and Bulgaria.
I’m proud to say I have friends from all over the world now. In the turf business, connections are a big key to success, so it’s important to get your name out there and keep in touch with everyone you meet.
I’m proud to say I have friends from all over the world now...
I did my best to make friends when I was in Scotland, too, working the Scottish Open. I really enjoyed getting to know the crew and the volunteers there, and I’m happy to still be in touch with those I met.
I’m happy to be back in the States to see my family and friends, but I’m always going to have my other family on the other side of the world.
I’d like to give a big thanks to Great Northern for having me for the summer, Gullane Golf Club for letting me volunteer for the Scottish Open, and everyone else who made my summer so enjoyable.
Below are pictures of friends I made during my travels and a list of my new friends I worked with at Great Northern.
- John Cunningham- Ireland
- Jack Smillie- England
- Jack Darling- Scotland
- Deivydas Gulbinas- Lithuania
- Justas Poskevicius- Lithuania
- Dave Dusch- Australia
- Tom Larsen- Denmark
- Jack Sredojevic- Ireland
- Grant Dilasser- Scotland
- Peter Sredojevic- Scotland
- Robert Barnat- Poland
- Sarunas Gr- Lithuania
- Scott Dunsmuir- Scotland
- Benny Christoffersen- Denmark
- Chrisitan Hainer- Denmark
- Edijs Ukstins- Latvia
- Michael Gordon- Jamaica
- Michail Trivonow- Bulgaria
- Anette Bolander- Denmark
- Christian Bensen- Denmark
- Dainius Rudys- Lithuania
- Evaldas Aleksandravicius- Lithuania
- Danielius Monkevičius- Lithuania
- Rune Carlsund- Denmark
- Vadims Arakčejevs- Latvia
- Line Trier- Denmark
- Jakob Nielsen- Denmark
- Kristian Jensen- Denmark
- Aidan O’Hara- Ireland
In this episode of Frankly Speaking, I chat with David Bataller, Director of Golf Operations at PGA Catalunya Resort near Barcelona, Spain.
An admittedly bad student who was "fired from high school", David went on to high school and riding BMX bikes in Kansas before embarking on his career at PGA Catalunya. After serving as golf course superintendent for 15 years, he was recently promoted to Director of Golf Operations. David quips that he has never been fired from a golf course.
PGA Catalunya is a GEO-certified (Golf Environment Organization) property. Listen in as David and I discuss that, along with his trials with industrial grade (50%) hydrogen peroxide to dissolve surface organic matter.
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In this episode of the TurfNet Renovation Report, host Anthony Pioppi chats with Scott Ramsay, CGCS, about the ongoing restoration of the Seth Raynor-designed classic at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Ramsay has been at Yale since 2003 and was the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year in 2006. Working for an academic institution, he occasionally claims the tongue-in-cheek title of "Director of the Department of Applied Botany" at Yale.
The "renovation of the renovation" at Yale -- a complete renovation was finished up in 2003 -- focuses on reclaiming lost green area and tree removal. The Yale course in the middle of a 450 urban forest owned by the university.
Ramsay quips that "we don't measure greens here in square feet... we measure them in acres". He relies on a 1934 aerial map along with poking a lot of holes to find the cinder choker layer that Raynor liked to use. Once the original green outline is determined, he uses the "scalp and pray" method to bring the turf to green height.
He also discusses his new 15,000 sq ft plug nursery in which he has cultivated the mix of German bents, velvets, Penncross and Poa that match the original turf on the golf course.
Spend a half hour or so with Tony and Scott! Good conversation!
Presented by Golf Preservations, the greens drainage specialists and full service restoration/renovation contractors.
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In this episode of Living Legends, presented by the Nufarm Insider, host John Reitman chats with Bob Farren, director of golf course maintenance at the Pinehurst Resort. With nine courses, seven superintendents and up to 250 full and part-time staff, management of the Pinehurst courses seems a daunting task, but one which Farren takes in stride.
Spend a half hour learning about how one of the most visible people in golf turf management became so, starting with his family involvement in golf growing up in West Virginia and moving along to mentoring and developing an army of former assistants.
Farren weighs in on how the industry and superintendent responsibilities have changed over the years, and if he were King for a Day, what he would do to "fix" golf. For one, he would start by eliminating out of bounds from the game...
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By Peter McCormick,
In this episode of The Ladder, host John Reitman chats with Josh Saunders, superintendent at the Longue Vue Club in the Pittsburgh area. Saunders laments some of the challenges of hiring staff in his area: hours, weekends, and opioids... his quests for interns and assistants... tapping into new demographics... putting a hard sell on the industry as a career... the lure of tournament golf on a resume... and how agronomy over time yields to management of budget, membership and assistants.
Presented by STEC Equipment.
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By Jon Kiger,
With two or three days of education in the books, the pace of BTME turned to receptions and special dinners. Tuesday evening was BIGGAs Welcome Reception in historic Royal Hall. A capacity crowd pushed attendees to the upper reaches of the balcony for the first time.
The event was hosted by BBC Morning Show personality Naga Munchetty. Her passion for golf was combined with typical British wit which kept the audience both engaged and laughing. While some industry award events become bogged down with long speeches, the presentation of BIGGAs many awards was fast-paced and efficient.
Of particular interest on the awards front was TurfNet member Brian Stiehler, CGCS (HIghlands Country Club, Highlands, NC), who was the only BIGGA member to receive his Master Greenkeeper (MG) designation in this cycle. BIGGA also has a category of awards for Young Greenkeepers. The Young Greenkeeper of the Year was 25 year old Alistair Morrison of Durness Golf Club in the far Northwest of Britain. He is the sole greenkeeper at the club in the village of 300 people.
Brian Stiehler, CGCS MG, right, receives his Master Greenkeeper certification from Les Howkins, BIGGA chairman.
On Wednesday afternoon TurfNet hosted our second annual reception at BTME at the Majestic Hotel. This is our opportunity to connect with our many friends in the UK and around Europe. Trip participants are also encouraged to invite any other BIGGA members they may have met in Harrogate during the week. As the photos here attest, we attract a Whos Who in golf course maintenance from around Europe. We were thrilled that BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton, Chairman Les Howkins, and current President Chris Kennedy joined us.
On Wednesday evening thoughts turned to the universal concerns of Golf and the Environment. STRI hosts a dinner for their Golf and the Environment awards and we were dispatched to different tables around the special events space at The Crown Hotel. Hearing of these initiatives from courses with much smaller staffs inspired many TurfNet members to redouble their efforts back home. Our friends at Carnoustie Golf Links won Environmental Golf Course of the Year. Having visited Carnoustie before BTME in 2017 and during the TurfNet 2017 Scotland trip we were delighted to see their many environmental initiatives receive this preeminent award.
Longtime friend-of-TurfNet Jose Milan, center (Turf & Ornamental Global Market Manager at Bayer) with l-r Drew Barnett, Scott Bordner, and Todd Fyffe at TurfNet "Beer & Pretzels UK-Style".
Dr. John Dempsey, frequent webinar presenter and Twitter personality, with Sean Tully.
Bruce Williams of GRIGG makes a point to Scott Pavalko at the TurfNet reception.
Tony Girardi with more long-time friends-of-TurfNet, Gloria and Phil Cowen of VinylGuard.
The entire TurfNet group with Jim Croxton (BIGGA CEO), Les Howkins (BIGGA Chairman) and Chris Kennedy (BIGGA President
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A big part of our international members trips is making sure the non-golfers have side activities to partake in while the rest of the group is away playing golf. Thursday was moving day where as a group we were checking out of the hotel in St. Andrews and moving into Edinburgh for our last two nights together.
The group was playing Crail Golf Club on the way to Edinburgh. Rather than having Diana Frank and Maureen Gall wait at the golf course I contacted my friend Susie Malcolm. Her husband Jim is a longtime singer/songwriter from just up the road in Perth. Jim performed for TurfNet in January when we were in St. Andrews as part of the BIGGA/BTME trip. He would have played for us this trip but ironically he is touring the States while we are over here.
Susie picked up Maureen and Diana at the hotel and they visited Rosalyn Chapel and Stirling Castle on the way to Edinburgh. As an added treat I arranged for each of them to receive a couple of Jims CDs, including his latest with Susie.
Maureen, Susie and Diana at Roslyn Chapel, above. Looks like they enjoyed each other (below).
The same type of side trips will be part of our TurfNet Members Trip to Ireland next year (October 12 -20, 2018) and will include use of our larger tour bus.
Jim and Susie Malcolm's latest CD.
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By Peter McCormick,
Due to the success of our inaugural/trial trip to BTME in 2017, TurfNet will again host a delegation to BTME in January, 2018! Download the pdf for full details.
Dates of the trip are Thursday, January 18 (overnight departure from USA) to Friday, January 26 (morning/afternoon return flight).
We have a housing block booked for 16 people at the Harrogate Lifestyle Apartments across the street from the conference center. No shuttle busses!
Cost is $1750 double occupancy or $2300 single occupancy (only four available), plus airfare and incidentals.
Our housing block guarantee expires November 1. Firm commitments need to be made before then, on a first-come/first-served basis.
- TurfNet trip brochure
- BIGGA membership application
- Continue to Learn conference application
- Continue to Learn brochure with seminar descriptions
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Golfers today have grown accustomed to playing on quality turf and are willing to pay higher greens fees to play on tour-quality greens. Chemical Rescue is one method widely used by greenkeepers and golf course managers in the UK and Ireland on links, heathland and parkland courses.
Rescue is a selective herbicide from Syngenta that attacks ryegrass in greens, tees, fairways, approaches, and roughs. In the past turf managers would have to remove ryegrass through hand-weeding or re-turfing areas. Rescue attacks the ryegrass and other coarse grass weeds like Yorkshire Fog and Purple Moor-grass but leaves the finer grasses unaffected.
The main reason greenkeepers want to remove ryegrass from their course is to achieve the most uniform turf surface possible. Using Rescue helps to achieve this creating a more consistent ball roll. It also gives a cleaner finish when mowed. Removing unwanted ryegrass from out-of-play areas allows wildflowers and biodiversity to thrive.
The way Rescue herbicide works is that when sprayed the chemical pinoxaden targets specific enzymes within ryegrass that are responsible for cell division and shuts those down to instantly stop growth.
The Island Golf Club uses this product approximately twice a year -- once in the early spring months to minimize summer growth and again in the late summer, early fall months. Our last spray was at the beginning of August. The Island uses about 1 liter per hectare on their greens and the same amount for their approaches.
The Island has been using this Rescue regimen for about 3 years now in alignment with industry approved codes and practices. The final product on the greens is a smoother surface improving the playability and the appearance of the course.
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Back in June, I was headed home from a trip to Minneapolis to visit my son, who had been interning at Toro. My route took me through Des Moines, Iowa, so I decided to visit Rick Tegtmeier. This was my first visit to Des Moines Golf & Country Club, and Rick was anxious to show me around. So, out we went for a tour of the golf course... all 36 holes of which had been completely renovated over the past four years under Rick's guidance.
Even though I was on a tight traveling schedule, I really didn't care how long it took -- this was one of those experiences that somehow you know not to rush. I think the tour gave Rick a little relief from everything else that was going on. When I finally got back in the car and on my way, I told my wife that I had a great feeling about the upcoming Solheim Cup in August.I really didn't care how long it took -- this was one of those experiences that somehow you know not to rush.
Fast-forward to the recently completed event, and boy was I dead-on! The 2017 Solheim Cup is now among my greatest career experiences, ever. Since arriving back home, I have been asked about my favorite moments or takeaways from the tournament. Let's just say there are so many that it certainly was hard to select just a few to feature for this video. So, here are some of my best takeaways from the 2017 Solheim Cup. It really is just a sampling of great moments, just like I thought there would be when I got back in the car that day in June.
It was one great ride, and I want to thank everyone for coming along!Family first. With the Solheim Cup and thousands of fans all around him on Saturday, Rick Tegtmeier shares a moment with his granddaughter while his wife Sherry looks on.
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In this episode of the Pin Sheet, recorded August 2, 2017, host Jon Kiger chats with Jeff Vannoy of BASF on the history, uses and best practices for utilizing turf colorants on actively growing, semi-dormant and dormant turf.
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With a single tee start at 7:50 AM our last reporting time was again 5 AM. Bernard captured the final day rollout of equipment and personnel. After seeing/filming these for many years I was finally included in one! Rain was forecast for later in the day and started briefly for about an hour during our Sunday duties.
The leaders after three rounds were Daniel Im from the USA and Jon Rahm from Spain. They were set to tee off with the final tee time at 1:10 PM. This meant the tournament would end sometime around 5 PM.
David, Dana and I had already decided that we would leave after the morning shift in the hopes of getting settled in Dublin in time to watch the last few holes on television there. Marty was headed back with volunteer Mike Brennan from Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links as our car was again at capacity.
Our morning rounds were completed efficiently and the equipment was stored for the final time that week. The combined group of Portstewart greenstaff and volunteers gathered for our final meal together -- the now familiar hot breakfast.
Tee mowing team leader John O'Brien of the Portstewart Golf Club staff after his last shift of the week. He walked over 140 miles while mowing since the previous Sunday.
During the breakfast we were joined by Miguel Vidaor, tournament director for the European Tour. David captured the following video of his remarks. He declared the tournament and our work a success and thanked us for our efforts. Tour consultant Eugene Hennessy added that we "were a tribute to the profession and we always did our jobs with a smile."
All smiles on the final morning of tournament prep. (L-R) Portstewart Deputy Course Manager Brian McConway, European Tour Consultant Eugene Hennessy, and Damien McConway from nearby Castlerock Golf Club. (Portstewart's Jonny Hemphill with the photobomb in the background!)
We said our goodbyes (or "cheerios" as they say locally) and realized that like a last gathering at high school graduation we would likely never have this same group assembled again in the future. A quick stop at the house to pack up and we were on our way.
On the road out of town we stopped at Dunluce Castle. Originally built by the MacQuillan family in the 1500s, the castle has a rich history and is in outstanding shape for its age and exposure along the Antrim coast. An extensive visitors centre and good signage told the story of this piece of Irish history. Bringing our trip full circle was the fact that stones brought from nearby Giants Causeway were used in construction of the castle.
Dunluce Castle on the Antrim coast.
The drive to Dublin was mostly motorway and we arrived into the area in about three hours. Dana checked into his friend Sean's BnB in Portmarnock while David and I headed into the Castle Lodge BnB in Malahide. We also made a quick stop at Malahide Castle, ancestral home of the Talbot family since the 1100s until being turned over relatively recently to local authorities for preservation.
It was early in the afternoon and David and I were able to reserve a tee time for nine holes at Portmarnock Golf Club. We watched the last few holes of the Irish Open in the bar of the club.
David with Ireland's Eye over his right shoulder at during a nine hole round at Portmarnock Golf Club.
Spaniard Jon Rahm won the tournament by six shots finishing at 24 under par with a total score of 264. Those staff and volunteers who were around for the award presentation (we weren't the only ones to get on the road early) posed for a photo with Rahm and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy. It goes without saying that this practice should be adopted more broadly across professional golf circuits worldwide.
Irish Open Winner Jon Rahm of Spain poses with his trophy and the remaining greenkeeping staff.
Sunday night David rested up for his flight while Marty and I met up with Malahide resident and retired greenkeeper Eddie Donlon for dinner and a few pints. With a more normal wake up hour the next morning, there was finally time to reflect on our amazing week together at the Irish Open in Portstewart.
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...
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!
Recent EntriesItaly is a beautiful country full of art and culture with monuments, churches, landscapes, and rich agriculture. All small towns have a castle and a story to tell especially in Tuscany and Veneto which were both gateways to my travels. It seems that in Italy art is in the blood of all architects, designers and artists both past and present generations.Having the opportunity to experience this trip filled me with a great sense of thankfulness and appreciation for many things.I am thankful that I was able to blog about the trip and share my experiences with other people interested in golf. I am thankful that I was able to spend so much quality time with my wife and experience so much history and culture along side her. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to explore the country of my forefathers and find my roots.I am also extremely appreciative of my assistant, Roberto Cruz, and the maintenance crew at Southern Oaks for the exceptional job that they did maintaining the course while I was away.
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JON KIGER AUG 21 | If one of the goals for course set up between the Men's and Women's Olympic competitions was parity the organizers succeeded. South Korea's Inbee Park claimed the Gold Medal to end the tournament at 16-under the same score that Great Britain's Justin Rose shot to win Gold on the Men's side. The seven time major champion became the first woman in 116 years to earn Olympic gold.
New Zealand's Lydia Ko finished at 11-under to earn the Silver Medal and China's Shanshan Feng finished at 10-under for the Bronze.
(L-R) New Zealands Lydia Ko - Silver, South Koreas Inbee Park - Gold, and Chinas Shanshan Feng - Bronze
While golf's usual refrain for those who don't win is "wait until next year" Olympic participants and those who stayed home will have a four year wait to have a chance at Olympic glory. And with such a long wait until the next competition it is only fitting that the top three competitors are honored compared to the "winner take all" attention paid to traditional tournament winners.
The 120 golfers who participated can forever add "Olympian" to their resume and the 41 countries represented have reason to take great pride in being a part of golf's return to the Olympic stage after 112 years.
If there is another Gold Medal to award it's to Olympic Golf Course superintendent Neil Cleverly, his local crew and the volunteers from around the world. To pull tournament conditions off (TWICE!) under these circumstances was nothing short of remarkable.
Working double shifts for three weeks and enduring travel, lodging, security and other logistical challenges was beginning to take its toll on the volunteer crew by Saturday morning. Several volunteers reported general fatigue. Being a part of history in a special setting and the camaraderie of the rest of the crew carried them through the final hours of preparation.
Neil Cleverly (front in blue jacket) with local crew and volunteers for the Olympic Golf competitions.
One of golf's enduring qualities is its ability to bring people together whether you're joining a threesome at your local muni or meeting colleagues from around the world to do something never before accomplished in the modern era. In Rio in 2016 it definitely accomplished that in abundance.
Welcome Back, Golf. See you in Tokyo in 2020.
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"It's not where you go, but who picks you up." I remember Dr. Danneberger saying this about his traveling stories. Personally experiencing this on my own excursions and adventures this summer, I couldn't agree more.
My side trips have been to several spots in Ireland and one to Holland. With each adventure I met many new people, each adding to the experience.
All roads led to County Louth Golf Club at Baltray, my home for the summer.
Arriving first at the village of Baltray. It was this small seaside village that became my summer home. County Louth Golf Club will always be special thanks to all the employees and members of this club. Many from County Louth have assisted my summer excursions in more ways than one.
All who I have met there showcased the Irish hospitality. Knowing I was so far away from home, they wanted to make me feel as close to home as possible. With everything brought about for me, they succeeded.
The clubhouse/restaurant at County Louth Golf Club. My accommodations were above.
Outside of Baltray, I've met other passionate people in the golf industry. Most of these connections came from volunteering at the Irish Open. Had I not gotten to know the volunteers at the K Club, my trips to Portmarnock Links and The Dutch would not have been the same. The visits were fantastic. Each golf course was class, more importantly though the people that picked me up made it all the better.
I did not drive a car in Ireland. Public transportation was the key to traveling. It took a while to get used to, however transport was made easy thanks to Damien Keenan and the Matthews Bus Services. Damien had supplied passes that covered trips to Dublin and Dundalk. The Matthew bus was always on time, comfortable and convenient.
The big Matthews white bus, right on time.
Dr. D was right; I have learned the best trips come about by who picks you up. My excursions this summer were made enjoyable from the Matthews Coach getting me to and from plus the people guiding me along the way. I wouldn't say Baltray is the number one place for everyone to visit in Ireland; however, for me, this summer, the people I spent this experience with made it the greatest place to be.
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