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About this blog

TurfNet founder Peter McCormick weighs in on topics relevant and not...

Entries in this blog

Producer or consumer? What's your +/- rating?

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

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Gus, the golf course dog...

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

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Enjoy the high points, 'cause sh*t can happen at any time

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.

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Career: Know when to stay the course, and when to change it...

This is a career case study of two individuals in very different circumstances but with one thing in common: they know what they want out of life and career. Those of you who have hung around TurfNet for any length of time either know or know of John Colo.  Passionate golf course superintendent, long-time TurfNet member who organized and orchestrated the around-the-world "Where's TurfNet" banner campaign a few years back, twin brother of a golf course superintendent (Jim, at Naples National

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Not another travel rant; GIS from afar...

I didn't make it to GIS this year, a victim of two powers greater than I -- the weather and the airlines -- who consorted and conspired to befoul and befuddle my life yet again. No, this will not be another travel rant.  I have given up, raised the white flag; can't and won't fight it any more.  But a word or two of explanation might be in order. In nutshell, I arrived at Burlington (VT) airport on Monday afternoon full of expectation of another week of camaraderie and the latest in go

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Lucky or fortunate? It's a matter of intention...

Reading Paul MacCormack's recent blog post about the concept of intention got me thinking... as good blog posts do. In this case, it prompted me to think of the popular concepts of luck and good fortune, and how each may or may not be related to intention. I come from a long line of wordsmiths (writers, editors, a photojournalist, newspaper people, even a dictionary editor) who instilled in me a love of language and its various nuances. My maternal grandmother, an author of children's first

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

An open letter to Dave Wilber...

Good blog post last week, Dave. Resonated with a lot of people (over 18,000 as I write this), and I'm sure it was therapeutic for you. Dave, we need to talk. As we get older we look back on our lives and tend to remember the defining moments: the first girlfriend, first car, first garage band, sports triumphs (and losses), graduations, jobs, marriage and divorce, kids, dogs, grandkids, granddogs, and yes -- the death of friends and loved ones. You get the picture. In many ways our

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Finally, discovering a "Bucket Item"...

A favorite conversational topic of mine among my graying peers is whether or not they have a Bucket List, and if so, what's on it.  I ask because I'm interested in them (the person), but also because I don't have one (Bucket List), and wonder if I might be missing something. How can one not have a Bucket List?  I touched on this in a post about a year ago, but in review, I have already checked off the major bullet points that would populate most lists: I've been happily married to m

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

A Slap-Me-Upside-the-Head WTF Moment

Here's a holiday chuckle for you: It's no secret that I really, really don't like to travel.  I don't mind being elsewhere (although home is always the best place), I just don't like the process of getting there and back.  And every trip, it seems, has a story.  This one has a Real Slap-Me-Upside-the-Head WTF Moment in it. I'm not one of those who fixate on frequent flyer miles, affinity programs and all that.  The LAST thing I want is a free ticket anywhere, although on second thought

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Mac, I’m all in…

I listened for years (albeit with one ear) to the adulation of the MacIntosh devotees, singing the praises of the computing system on which most of the software applications I used wouldn't work.   Every three years or so when my PC died (or was on life support), I would briefly toy with the idea of taking that plunge.  But nah, couldn't justify the 3x cost compared to a PC, not to mention the learning curve and aforementioned software incompatibilities.   Not that I was ever a huge fan of M

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

It's all about the people...

I had fun last week.  That's not an ENTIRELY unusual situation, but it was notable because it happened outside my traditional milieu.   I have worked at home for 20 years now and I like it -- to a fault sometimes -- in that I almost have to be pried loose to get me away from here (particularly if there are airports involved... but that's a whole 'nother conversation).     What's not to like?  Get up when I want (usually 5-ish), work the morning in my shorts or flannel PJ bottoms and a T-shir

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

After maintenance mode, refreshed and fired up...

I'm back.  Not baaaaaack... just back, from my self-imposed six-month-or-so sabbatical-of-sorts. 'Sabbatical' meaning no new projects or learning curves for awhile, sleep in (past 5:00) on occasion, take a couple hours to read a book or an afternoon snooze if the spirit moves.  Take a few deep breaths... look around, regain one's bearings... hopefully emerge renewed and refreshed.   I have long said that our society should allow everyone a sabbatical at some point in their life.  From Wikipedi

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Which is which, and making the adjustment...

I am still haunted by some aspects of my college years -- yes, even 35 years later -- but maybe not by those things that might first come to mind.   I have occasional recurrent dreams (that border on nightmares) about going into exams completely unprepared. Weird, for sure, but so it is. There's no worse feeling than when you open up a test booklet and get that hard lump in your throat, thinking, "Oh, sh*t -- I'm screwed."   Ecology and Calculus for the Life Sciences were the two major culprits.

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Communicating impending events: two different strategies

Back when I supported and shepherded salespeople for a living and they would tell me they were working on a big deal they felt positive about happening, I would counsel them to keep it quiet for the time being.   "If you make a big deal about it now but something happens and the deal falls through, you'll look like a jerk. On the other hand, if you keep it quiet and then it DOES happen, you're a hero."   Pretty simple. I recall something about counting chickens that would be applicable here.

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Sometimes, you just gotta believe...

From the TurfNet Archives, Jan 2001:   Some people get really hung up on image, whether personal or professional.  If you have teenage kids, you know what I mean.  I am generally secure enough to avoid that, but do admit to having one image to uphold.  You can't be the TurfNet guy and have a lousy lawn.   While all of our neighbors hire out their lawn maintenance, I stubbornly resist.  Not only is it good exercise, but it's good for the mind.  I do much of my best thinking while mowing the la

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Blow-your-hair-back moments at GIS

With all the preliminary "get all your ducks in a row so you can get away for a week" hassles, no doubt it's getting tougher and tougher to get pumped for GIS. But, once I walk through the doors to the trade show I am instantly reminded how very cool this industry is, and how rejuvenating GIS can be.   I love fresh ideas and true innovation. Read that as "true innovation, not just mimicking that of others" as seems to be increasingly the norm. That includes turning existing products inside out

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Then and now...

It's no secret that the rate of change today outpaces any other in history. What used to be measured in centuries now often comes down to a matter of years or even months.   I read a lot of novels. Turns out most are police or legal procedurals, with an occasional classic thrown in for contrast.  My wife buys the new books for the local library (it's a small Vermont country store-type library, in a room off the Town Hall - to give you a sense of scale), so I get first crack at the new ones com

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Taking stock...

I'm admittedly a little late with my year-end backward glance and look-forward prognostications.  But so it is these days... so much to do, seemingly so little time.   2014 is a milestone year, of sorts.  TurfNet turns 20 on February 1 and I turn 60 on July 4. I'm not sure which is more monumental.  Probably the former, given the odds.   As I have said many times, one of my first goals as a newbie entrepreneur slicing through the uncharted waters of a paid information service/networking plat

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The work ethic... never too late.

Another nugget from the archives...   A discussion took place in the TurfNet.com Forum this past month about interns and their university-imbibed book knowledge but lack of any semblance of practical work ethic.  Many have their sights set on the Superintendents Desk but with little or no understanding of the work. Yes, sometimes manual labor required to get there.   Isn't this the age-old gripe of one generation about the next?  Those young kids don't know what work is.  They have everythin

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Rant: The travel in traveling...

I like to go places, see things and meet people.  I just hate the process of getting there and back.   How much do I hate it, notably airline travel?  Let me count the ways... I hate time inefficiency. I hate waiting around. I hate delays, mechanical or weather or otherwise. I REALLY hate missed connections and cancelled flights.   I hate a whole day to get somewhere, another whole day to get back, and then another day to recover from the process.   I hate being herded like cattle.  It's i

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Gone to the dogs...

I have 18 or 19 years worth of newsletter columns hanging around in my archives, so I thought I'd dust one off every once in a while, as some are timeless...   Our industry seems to have gone to the dogs in recent years.  Border collies, various retrievers and even an occasional stray have become course staples for goose control, often turning into key crew members and companions in the process.  Perhaps it was Greg Stent's poignant essay on his beloved canine companion Ted (Superintendent New

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

The 'new direction'...

A long-time TurfNet member got 'the news' from his club last week. (I almost started off that sentence with "another" rather than "a", hopefully not a harbinger of a trend.)   He had served that club for 33 years, the last 30 as superintendent.   No recent mistakes, turf loss, malfeasance or other gruel for the axman. Quite the contrary, in fact, with a multitude of projects (including a multi-year renovation) successfully completed.  He had just been awarded a larger than usual performance

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Guest post: From the Very Cheap Seats in Atlanta

This week we have a special guest post from our own Jon Kiger...   I seem to be especially hard on deck shoes. Maybe it's the Georgia climate that lends itself to wearing them year round, but I seem to go through a pair in about a year. A few months ago I sprung for a pair from a company that has an airtight guarantee of satisfaction. Those shoes started to come apart at the seams and they had me return them 'no questions asked' for a repair that would take two to three weeks round-trip.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Unspoken job requirement...

I'm not a huge fan of Twitter -- I prefer my conversations to be a touch deeper than 140 characters will allow -- but I follow turf-related tweets and do find certain things of value.  Amidst all the extrania, I love the photos. Golf course sunrises, maintenance practices du jour, summer crew shenanigans, golfer foibles... they're all good.   Somebody out there in the Twitterverse had the foresight to register the Twitter handle @superproblems and aggregate tweets from superintendents all arou

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Rethinking extended warranties...

Used to be I wouldn't give a second thought to extended warranties on consumer products.  Just a way for retailers to pad their profit margins, I'd tell myself as I smirked and shook my head when offered them at the checkout counter.   I'm rethinking that in light of what I'm experiencing as a new low in consumer product quality.   I have railed on this before but I'm gonna do it again. The newest inhabitant of the boneyard alongside my garage is the electric pressure washer I bought from No

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

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