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Happenings around the world of turf

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Heat and humidity are upon us...

In this episode of the BASF Pin Sheet (recorded July 20, 2017), host Jon Kiger chats with Kyle Miller of BASF about the current state of heat and humidity around the country and what superintendents should be aware and wary of to get through this period unscathed.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Summer Stress update from Kyle Miller

In this episode of the BASF Pin Sheet, host John Reitman caught up with BASF's Kyle Miller at the Southeastern Turfgrass Research Center Field Day on June 28 in Lexington, KY.   Kyle updates us on concerns of golf course superintendents regarding plant stress in mid-summer, and explains the mode of action of BASF's Intrinsic product line.   A lot of information packed into five minutes! Listen:  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Jeff Vannoy on Summer Stress

In this episode of the BASF Pin Sheet, host Jon Kiger chats with Jeff Vannoy, Sr. Product Manager for BASF Turf. Topics include planning for (starting at EOP the previous fall), causal agents, and avoiding and/or minimizing summer stress on fine turf.   Jeff also explains the popular BASF Holiday Spray program which provides a template for superintendents to control summertime diseases with spray applications around the three major US summer holidays: Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Craig Loving, Lost Creek CC, Austin, TX

With a wingspan of about 3 feet and dagger-like talons, the great horned owl is a critter to be respected.   That didn't stop superintendent Craig Loving of Lost Creek Country Club from stepping forward when a great horned owl needed a helping hand after becoming ensnared in some fishing line last month at the course in Austin, Texas.   Fishing line had become wrapped around the owl, preventing it from flying. The problem, besides the fishing line, the beak and the talons, was that the owl was perched in a small tree in a pond. Loving slipped on some waders, grabbed a pair of pliers and went into the water to help the bird.   The owl, unable to escape, sat still for the most part. And although the bird protested a little, Loving said in a that talking to the animal seemed to help keep it somewhat calm.   "I cut the fishing line. It was still wrapped around it. I unwrapped it a couple times," Loving said.   "He kept slamming his beak down . . . to say 'hey i don't like this,' but i kind of talked to it a little bit."   Once the bird was freed from its nylon captor, Loving coaxed it onto the handle of a shovel and walked it to shore. After resting on the ground under a large tree for a few minutes, the owl flew off, seemingly none the worse for wear.   "It was a little intimidating, especially when the beak started snapping at me, but it was cool, definitely was very cool.   "It was definitely the first time I've ever done that it was a new experience."

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Jeff Vannoy: Controlling Dollar Spot

In this episode of the Pin Sheet, presented by BASF, host Peter McCormick chats with Jeff Vannoy, Senior Product Manager at BASF, about the challenges of controlling dollar spot. Jeff updates us on new chemistries and recommended spray programs for dollar spot, including BASF's Start Early, Stay on Course, Finish Strong program.   More information on the Start Early... program can be found here.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Kyle Miller: GIS recap and early season warmth

In this episode of The Pin Sheet, host Jon Kiger chats with Kyle Miller, senior technical specialist at BASF, about the recent Golf Industry Show, his observations on the state of the industry, and the potential effects of early season warmth being experienced by much of the country.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Anthony Williams, CGCS, Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas

Our buddy Anthony Williams, CGCS, recently took a break from his plaque-polishing duties to celebrate a new job - as director of golf course maintenance and landscaping at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.   Williams spent 30 years with Marriott Golf, and most recently was superintendent at 36-hole Stone Mountain Golf Club near Atlanta, where he also was the arborist for Stone Mountains 3,200-acre state park.   Plaques he must regularly polish include the 2009 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award, J.W. Marriott Award of Excellence, Georgia GCSA Superintendent of the Year and Distinguished Service Awards.   A ninth-degree black belt in karate who had to put his skills to use on the job to ward off would-be muggers at the 2008 GIS in New Orleans, Williams also authored The Environmental Stewardship Toolkit:  How to Build, Implement, and Maintain an Environmental Plan for Grounds and Golf Courses.   The Four Seasons has been the site of the PGA Tours AT&T Byron Nelson since 1983, and will play host to one more event before moving to Trinity Forest in 2018.  

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania

According to legend, John Zimmers was a pretty good baseball player back in the day at Tyrone High School in west-central Pennsylvania. But it has been his work in the golf business that grabbed the attention of folks back in his hometown of Tyrone.   On Jan. 28, Zimmers was one of eight people inducted into Tyrone High School's Golden Eagle Monogram Club.   The 2007 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award winner, Zimmers, 45, has been superintendent at Oakmont since 1999 after spending three years as superintendent at Sand Ridge Golf Club in Chardon, Ohio.   Zimmers got his start in the business by happenstance when he answered a help-wanted ad in the Altoona Mirror. That ad had been placed by Paul R. Latshaw at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, more than 200 miles away. His career includes overseeing two U.S. Open championships (2007, 2016), a U.S. Women's Open in 2010 and the 2003 U.S. Amateur.   Dave Delsandro, Oakmont's director of U.S. Open operations and projects, was on hand to announce Zimmers' induction.   "John is the absolute best," Delsandro said in the Altoona Mirror. "He is such a great manager, honest, hard-working, and a good communicator."   The Monogram Club is a group open to all letter-winners from Tyrone Area High School. It began Honor Group inductions in 1988 and has added a new class to the group every other year since 2001.

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

BASF at GIS2017: "Championship Conditions"

In this Pin Sheet audiocast, Jon Kiger chats with Jeff Vannoy, BASF Sr. Product Manager, Turf, about BASF's new products, updates and activities planned for the upcoming GIS2017 in Orlando.    The theme of the BASF booth (#3033) is "Championship Conditions". A panel discussion with John Zimmers of Oakmont Country Club and a presentation by Mark Kuhns of Baltusrol Golf Club highlight the schedule.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Paul Carter, CGCS, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay

Thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated individuals at Harrison Bay State Park near Chattanooga, Tennessee, it has been possible since 2011 to witness bald eagles more up close and personal than anyone could have previously imagined.   Through the years, there have been a lot of heart-warming scenes on display through the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam. Viewers have been able to watch eggs being laid, new eaglets hatch and grow as the adults brought back blackbirds, turtles and fish to feed them. and ultimately leave the nest. There have been some sad stories as well, including a couple of years where the eaglets did not survive.   Truly, it has been Mother Nature at her finest.   This nesting season, however, it was Mother Nature that knocked out the camera perched in a tree above the nest during a storm in early December. Federal regulations, namely The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, make it illegal to harm, kill or otherwise harass the birds.   Talk about irony.   Paul Carter, CGCS, who has been a key driver in the project since its inception (his daughter, Hannah, named the adults Elliott and Eloise), said they won't be able to retrieve the camera until the eagles have left Harrison Bay for the season in the spring.   The timing was unfortunate as a new female (dubbed Eliza, courtesy of Hannah) joined Elliott in the nest, replacing Eloise.   For now anyway, the second camera that captures the nest and the surrounding area from ground level will have to do - that is unless anyone wants to cover the $500,000 fine and do the jail time that comes with harassing the birds. If next year is anything like the past five, the wait will be worth it.

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

BASF's Dr. Kathie Kalmowitz: Managing Pythium for bentgrass >> ultradwarf conversions

For this audiocast episode of the BASF Pin Sheet, host Jon Kiger caught up with BASF Technical Specialist Dr. Kathie Kalmowitz at a recent BASF Turf Research & Solutions Seminar held at Druid Hills Golf Club in the Atlanta area.   Topics include differing strategies for managing Pythium and other diseases on both bentgrass and ultradwarf Bermudagrass in the South, and special concerns for those converting from bent to ultradwarf.  

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Marty Smith, University Park (Illinois) Golf Club

Who says you cant go home again?   Marty Smith spent the past 12 years as superintendent of University Golf Club south of Chicago until the city-owned course closed last November. He returned in June when Billy Casper Golf took over the management contract on the course that had fallen into disrepair since it closed.   Renamed University Park Golf Club, the course is scheduled to reopen this week   Casper has a large footprint in the Chicago area. With a portfolio of more than 150 courses nationwide, Casper manages nearly 30 courses in Illinois, at least 17 of which are in the Chicago area.   When Smith returned to the course in June, grass in the roughs was tall, really tall, as high as 3 feet in some places.
The club had targeted a Labor Day weekend grand reopening, but that was delayed thanks to rainfall totals of 4-5 inches in August in the Chicago area.  

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Audiocast: Willie Pennington, industry icon

In this audiocast episode of the BASF Pin Sheet, Jon Kiger chats with long-time BASF Southeast Sales Representative -- and industry icon -- Willie Pennington. Jon and Willie cover a broad range of subjects, from Mother Nature to bent-to-Bermuda conversions, changes in levels of turf inputs over the years... and Willie's penchant for deep sea tuna fishing vacations!    

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Scott Bender, CGCS, Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, Lexington, Kentucky

A 2015 renovation project at Marriott Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington, Kentucky resulted in reducing the bunker count from 69 to 67 at this former Champions Tour site. That might not sound like much, but as is often the case in the golf business - things are not always as they appear.    The project also reduced bunker square footage from 130,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet in an effort to reduce the threat of washouts after rain events and to make the course more friendly for resort play. The project also left Scott Bender, CGCS, director of engineering and grounds, and course superintendent Zach Newell with a lot of dirt to move around.   They used the dirt to build a 3,000-square-foot pad that the 400-room hotel can utilize as a wedding venue or for other special events that help drive revenue.   They also grassed it with Meyer zoysiagrass, a tried and true standard in this part of the world.   The course has had ryegrass fairways since the PGA Tour's urging in the mid-1980s, when the course was home to the Champions Tour's Bank One Classic. Much has changed since then. Lower mowing heights make the turf more susceptible to disease pressure, and Pyricularia grisea, the pathogen that causes gray leaf spot, has developed resistance to strobilurin fungicides.   As a result, the ryegrass struggles during the sweltering summer heat.   Bender had a specific purpose in mind when he chose Meyer for the special events venue. It stands up to Kentucky's weather extremes, including cold winters and hot, humid summers and it is wear tolerant, factors he wants to exploit to sell a future fairway renovation.    

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Tom Fisher, Wildwood Golf Club, Allison Park, Pennsylvania

There are hazards, and then there is the greenside bunker on the fourth hole at Wildwood Golf Club near Pittsburgh.
Wildwood pro Bernie Hough watched recently as a female snapping turtle spent four hours depositing a clutch of eggs in a hazard on No. 4 on the course in suburban Allison Park.
The club is going the extra mile to help ensure the nestling turtles get a chance to survive. Superintendent Tom Fisher made sure the area was roped off so golfers dont disturb the nesting site, and golfers hitting into the roped off area are asked to take a drop away from the eggs until the turtles are gone from the area.   Much of the hazard likely will be out of play for most of the summer.
Common snapping turtles typically retreat from water to lay their eggs in a warm location to incubate them until they hatch, a period that can take as much as 90 days.

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Matthew Wharton, Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

While many golf courses are marketed as a place to spend a weekend, the Carolina Golf Club near downtown Charlotte is a little different.   "We're not the club where you live. We're the club where you work. You can see the tops of the buildings downtown from here," said superintendent Matthew Wharton. "On weekdays, we're very busy for lunch with the business crowd."   So when it was time to rejuvinate an event lawn area near the clubhouse, it was a task Wharton and his crew took seriously.   The job entailed flattening, enlarging and resodding an area that members use quite often. The project, which was completed around Easter, was prompted by drainage issues but the end result was not only area that drained better, but was more functional for the club's members, as well.   "It's right off the dining room patio, and when the weather is nice the members come out here for lunch," he said. "It used to be a two-tiered, kidney-shaped putting green. Then we built a new practice green on another part of the property, and this was sodded over and the patio was built here in 2012. The elevation was not where it should be. We regraded and reshaped it and created a larger user-friendly space. It's a lot flatter than it used to be."

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Audiocast update: BASF's Kyle Miller on dollar spot control, industry outlook

In this BASF Pin Sheet update, host Jon Kiger chats with Kyle Miller, BASF Sr. Technical Specialist about scheduling dollar spot applications.  With his thumb on the pulse of the industry, Kyle also relates his take on the outlook for the golf industry in 2016.   Kyle Miller has been with BASF for 27 years, and is based out of Chesterfield, Virginia.         

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

 

Jeff Plotts & Clay Breazeale, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

The next time a group of golfers ask why the playing conditions at their home course don't resemble those they see on TV every week, remind them what it is involved in readying a course for just one week in the spotlight. TPC Sawgrass, home of the upcoming Players Championship, is as good an example as any.   Director of golf course maintenance Jeff Plotts, superintendent Clay Breazeale and their agronomy team spend more than half the year prepping the Stadium Course for the annual fifth major that is scheduled for May 9-15 at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.   The Sawgrass agronomy team begins constructing and installing tournament infrastructure around the holidays.    Once the tournament begins, it requires the help of a small army, or least a battalion of volunteers to pull off the tournament, and Breazeale begins accepting volunteer applications in November. Suffice to say, prepping for and hosting the annual tournament, followed by deconstruction takes well over six months.   A total of 90 volunteers from 18 states and 14 countries will help with this year's fifth major. The application process begins in November and installation of tournament infrastructure begins shortly thereafter for the agronomy team at Sawgrass.    Volunteers will report to the property the Saturday before the tournament begins for a practice run through their tournament prep routine to make sure everyone is on the same page and to address any contingencies.   That's why the Stadium Course looks the way it does for the Players and why other courses don't look the same the rest of the year.

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Mike Harrison, Osoyoos GC, Osoyoos, British Columbia

Give Mike Harrison an A for effort.   Harrison, superintendent at Osoyoos Golf Club in Osoyoos, British Columbia since 1991, recently spoke to his town's Rotary Club, providing insight into his job to golfers and non-golfers alike. It might not sound like a big deal, but it is a platform most superintendents are not afforded.   Harrison talked about the challenges of the job, including personnel management at a 36-hole property, water management and more. Osoyoos is in south-central British Columbia along the Washington border and is in an area noted for having the highest average daily temperatures anywhere in Canada.   While much of Canada is under snow cover, Osoyoos has been enjoying seasonably warm weather. The club's Desert Gold Course, a links-style desert layout, has been open for nearly a month, and the parkland-style Park Meadow Course is expected to open soon.   His full-time staff of three swells to 30-35 during the summer, and the club, which was built in 1972, has been using treated effluent water since 1980, long before conserving potable water was fashionable anywhere.    Effluent water means a virtually limitless source of water for irrigation, but it has its downside, Harrison told the crowd.    Putting green turf at Osoyoos usually shows signs of stress by late summer, requiring Harrison to flush the greens. Sometimes he actually floods the greens with fresh water, and a combination of summer heat and exceptional greens drainage sucks the water, and the impurities of the effluent, through in short order.   It might not seem like much, but for Harrison, the club as well as golfers and non-golfers in their community, it's a step in the right direction.  

John Reitman

John Reitman

 

Chris Tritabaugh, Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, Minnesota

When Chris Tritabaugh left Northland Country Club in Duluth, Minnesota, for Hazeltine National Golf Club three years ago, the Ryder Cup Matches seemed so far away. Now, Tritabaugh and his crew are in the final run-up to the Ryder Cup.   "When I started, it was almost four years to the Ryder Cup. I thought that was going to be a long time," Tritabaugh said. "These three years have flown by."   Whether it is at Hazeltine, the uber-tough Robert Trent Jones design in Chaska, just outside the Twin Cities, or back at Northland, either facility would provide a stern test of golf for the best players from the U.S. and the Great Britain.   Tritabaugh called Hazeltine, a 1962 Robert Trent Jones design, and Northland, a classic-era Donald Ross masterpiece, two of Minnesota's most difficult golf courses, with each unique in its design and how it confounds golfers.   "Hazeltine was built to be tough and long," Tritabaugh said. "It's like an army coming at you. You know it's coming to get you, and there's nothing you can do about it."   Northland, however, is more stealthy.   "It's like Special Forces; you don't know it's coming," he said. "You can hit the ball well there and walk off the course saying That's the worst round of golf I've ever played in my life.' It has very confusing greens. You can easily three-putt from 6 feet."  

John Reitman

John Reitman

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