Racism in the golf turf industry? Say what? Yagottabekiddinme.
Of course I jest. There is no racism in golf turf.
That’s because, for all intents and purposes, there is only one race in golf turf management. In salaried positions (superintendents and assistants, and we might as well include suppliers, academics and the media as well), we are 99% white... and 99% male. Those figures are my guesstimates, but if these things are tracked somewhere — and what isn’t — I doubt I'd be more tha
Seems like I'm stuck in a pattern here of writing about people who we've recently lost. A month ago Walter Montross, then Ken Melrose, and now Dave Heegard. The hits just keep coming.
If you're among the hundreds (if not thousands) of turf guys who swung through Farmlinks during the Pursell days in the early 2000s, no doubt you met Dave Heegard. I had been to Sylacauga twice, once prior to the golf course and lodge being built, and of course the second after. The latter visit was when I me
I was saddened yesterday to hear of the passing of Ken Melrose, past president/CEO/chairman ("executive emeritus", if there were such a thing) of the Toro Company. I write this not as a factual obituary (I'll leave that to John Reitman), eulogy or even memorial, as I did not know him beyond several casual handshakes back in the late '80s/early '90s when I was in the peripheral Toro family. It's mostly a recollection of observations made as I watched him from afar.
Ken Melrose did well for h
Looking back a couple of months to BCV (Before Coronavirus), the thought that 200 million Americans and more around the world would be hitting the pause button and staying at home for a month or more would have been ludicrous. Absurd. No way.
Fast forward and here we are. I’m sure I am not the only one who wakes up from another restless sleep to hope that this is just a bad dream. Of course, it is not.
The horrors of this pandemic are yet to be felt by most of us. Thankfully we work i
So here we are. Uncharted waters. The stuff of sci-fi novels and B-grade terror flicks in the here and now.
The novel coronavirus of 2020 has redefined “rate of change” in our lives, upending the oft-tenuous sense of balance we enjoyed BCV. Before Coronavirus. Yesterday, last week and last month. The Dow at 29,000, sports on TV, handshakes and hugs the norm, the paper products aisle fully stocked. (I can understand shortages of Purell but the toilet paper hoarding thing has me stumped; afte
I really don't want to write this, but there is a rage welling up inside me that begs release. For me, writing is cathartic — like having a therapist at my fingertips — so here we go.
With senior citizenship upon me, I have dedicated the past year or two to personal wellness, finding and sharing joy, and shunning stress and negativity whenever possible. The latter is the most challenging of the three, but integral to the first two. I've found the key (if you can't simply avoid them) is to m
I heard yesterday about Toro's impending purchase of Venture Products just like most everyone did, via social media. Venture Products manufactures the increasingly popular and versatile Ventrac line of all-terrain prime movers and attachments.
My initial knee-jerk reaction was, "Perfect! Score one for Toro..." and of course for the Steiner family, owners of Venture Products. Toro will be a good steward of the brand, "Toro-ize" it to their standards, develop new attachments and take the line
Holidays are all about traditions, so it's appropriate that I sit here this Thanksgiving morning contemplating and writing. It's what I do, for some reason, like splitting wood on New Year's Day.
(Reading this after Thanksgiving? You may want to skip to here.)
This is an odd Thanksgiving for us, with no bird destined for the oven, no casseroles or side dishes in the making. Daughter A is rotating off with Hubby's family (at her chagrin, I'm sure), but a tradeoff for Christmas. My mothe
or, So Much For a "Relationship Business"...
My first inkling that something was awry was the announcement on Twitter about a month ago of a new podcast series aimed at superintendents.
Gee, that's novel. C'mon in, the water's warm... as the saying goes.
The weird thing is that this one, by @the_fried_egg, is sponsored by @ToroGolf.
I found this curious because we have been doing TurfNet Radio podcasts for five years now (270 episodes with 226,000 listens to date), and every
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 afternoo
I am fortunate to be able to spend a few months each year on a small island in the lower Bay of Fundy in eastern Canada. (Some would say I'm "lucky", but luck has nothing to do with it.)
Our home is almost at the northern tip of this 9 mile x 3 mile island, which narrows down to a 50 yard-wide peninsula topped by the Head Harbour Lightstation, a scenic lighthouse with 270 degree views of the surrounding bays. The lighthouse is a popular destination for tourists, lighthouse aficionados (of w
It's been a tough year or so for my 60-ish friends.
Last Thanksgiving long-time TurfNet member and one of my best personal friends, Jerry Coldiron, left us way too soon, at 60, of cardiac arrest.
Shortly after Valentine's Day it was an 18-year stalwart on our TurfNet hockey team, Tom Morris CGCS (ret), at 61. They thought it was the flu but turned out to be spinal meningitis, source unknown, four days soup to nuts. Went to bed and didn't wake up. Again, way too young.
We just arr
It's Sunday morning, 6:00 AM, Father's Day.
Even though the last round of the US Open will tee off at Shinnecock shortly, I'm not going to carry on about the brown greens that were broadcast around the world yesterday. I do feel sorry for Jon Jennings and his staff who have busted their humps for two years only to have it go to shit at the last minute... at the USGA's behest, I'm fairly sure. I guess they didn't learn anything from the wind-whipped forest fire on the greens there in 2004.
A few years back my wife and I attended the annual dinner meeting of the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club, of which we were new members. Sounds kind of snooty, doesn't it? Ahhh, names often belie the true nature of things.
The Passamaquoddy Yacht Club is half sailing organization and half social club. Its locale is a triangle of ports (Eastport and Lubec, Maine, and Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, where our summer place is located) near the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, off the Bay of Fu
Laying the framework for this story requires a bit of background, so bear with me...
About three weeks ago Team TurfNet was headed for Niagara Falls, Ontario, for our 20th appearance at the Golf Course Hockey Challenge. For those unfamiliar, the GCHC is a 2-day event every January that pits 12 teams of superintendents, assistants and suppliers against one another in (usually) good-natured but serious men's-league caliber hockey. With three common threads among players -- playing hockey, wor
Yesterday was Valentine's Day, that Hallmark-perpetuated day of roses, chocolates and mushy greeting cards that gives a nice uptick to the mid-February economy. Sounds kind of cynical, doesn't it?
But no! I went whole-hog yesterday with a $6.99 greeting card (Hallmark, nothing but the best), a dozen roses, a warm cinnamon bun from the bakery, and date night by a roaring fireplace at a favorite "country French" restaurant nearby. All good, voluntary, enjoyable and meaningful.
The Golf Industry Show is a few weeks away and I thought it time to assess the event in advance, at least in my mind's eye from my perch in the cheap seats. For what that's worth.
Nobody I've spoken with is anything more than underwhelmed with San Antonio as host city. Bad memories of travel experiences three years ago -- both to and from the iced-over state of Texas -- still linger
I never made it at all. My Monday afternoon flight was waylaid and the best the airlines could do was ge
After writing a monthly column in our now-retired print newsletter (TurfNet Monthly, for those not around then) for 17 or 18 years, I sort of ran out of things of import to say on a regular basis. No sense contributing to more milquetoast, editorial drivel or fill-up-space pontification... there's plenty of that elsewhere.
Occasionally something starts the gears whirring and prompts me to sit down and write. Yesterday was one of those occasions.
I finally caught up by phone with an ol
Back in the day when Daughter B was in the college application mode, envelopes in the mail were opened with a combination of anticipation, excitement and trepidation. Unlike many of her peers who threw a dozen or more applications against the wall hoping that at least one of choice would stick, she had applied to a mere four or five.
When the letter arrived from Middlebury College here in Vermont, the opening yielded a somewhat confusing result: "We are pleased to offer you a place in the
No, not the 15 Minutes of Fame. I'm talking about the 15 minutes that create discipline in a young employee, camaraderie in a crew, a few moments of bonding with the staff for a superintendent or other supervisor.
It's the 15 minutes before work starts at the beginning of the day.
The time around the coffeepot when the games last night get reviewed, balls get busted, shit gets shot. A few moments of relaxation and anticipation before the horn sounds and the mower parade heads out.
I don't get inspired by life events too much anymore to pick up the pen and scribe a column for the "Cheap Seats" but I can't let my Monday past go without comment. It was a day (morning, actually) of irritation, resignation, conflicting feelings, awe, pride and wonderment. It was my day in court.
The story starts about six weeks ago when I received an envelope in the mail from the United States District Court, District of Vermont, with JUROR SUMMONS showing through the window. Ah, shit,
Couldn't resist sharing my Forum post...
Gotta tell you about my day so far (it's only noon now)...
Woke up at 3:00AM as is about the norm these days, squirmed for an hour then got up at 4:00 to peruse the "news" (as it were) and surf some online guitar lessons. Made my pot of coffee but must not have pushed the pot all the way back in to open up the no-drip thingy. So the coffee and grounds backed up all over the counter and down into the innards of the coffee pot (a problem wit
My parents used to drill into my siblings and me, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything." I've taken that a step further lately with the adage, "If I don't have something meaningful to say, don't say anything." -- hence my hiatus from the Cheap Seats blog of late. But I'm back.
I was reading a book over the Easter weekend entitled When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Not my usual reading fare (I lean toward murder mysteries, legal and police procedurals), but w
Here's one from the TurfNet Archives, a reflection I wrote back in December of 1997 during the era when I still pretended to be a golfer... before the "four hours of frustration and embarrassment" got the best of me and I parked my sticks forever. Memory tells me it was after a trip to Alabama to visit with David Pursell and family to view the early plans for what would become Farmlinks. I can't recall the name of the golf course we played that day, but reading this again reminded me that aside
Father of the Bride is undoubtedly the best gig to have on wedding day: all pride and no pressure. August 1 of this year was one of the two proudest days of my life, as I walked Daughter A down the aisle at Old North Church (of "one if by land, two if by sea" fame) in Boston. The other proudest day was when I did the same with Daughter B in Vermont, back in October, 2013.
Prouder than my own wedding... births of the girls... graduations... starting TurfNet*? Yes. I'll explain in a bit.