Every now and again we all have moments that force us to tune in. It can be an achingly beautiful sunrise, that profound stillness that accompanies watching a child sleep, or the moments of reflection that come with the death of a loved one. Such events are so poignant and so groundless that we have no choice but to pause and pay attention.
For all of us in the TurfNet family these past few weeks have placed us square in the midst of one of these moments. The sudden passing of long time Tur
The passing of seminal artists always has an effect on those fans who remain behind. With their deaths, we are confronted with a review of the full reach of their creativity and contribution to society as a whole. The magnitude of their contributions can easily be taken for granted while the artist is alive and creating, yet as in many things, it isn't until we posthumously acknowledge the power of their legacy, that we fully appreciate their artistic impact.
Recently, TurfNetters from nort
Throughout the years writing this blog, I always find the September edition the toughest one. Being a superintendent/GM in the northeastern portion of the continent is always difficult this time of year. You are worn out by the season, many of your younger staff members have returned to their studies, and you still have a few miles left to go before winter. Finding clarity and creativity can be a challenge.
Creative inspiration can be an elusive concept to pin down. We know it when it hits
"Embrace the vulnerability of being human as a source of strength." -- Pema Chodron
No, it wasn't this past week. It was actually the week before. One of our members took a serious health turn on the third hole and his playing partners brought him back to the clubhouse. It was one of those emergency events that you prepare for, hope never happens, and one that both my staff and I won't soon forget. We promptly called 911 and went into action responding to the situation, all the while keepin
In everyone's life they have a few core things they know in their heart of hearts to be so. I hesitate to use the word truth, because it can so often get twisted and deformed. One person's version of "truth" can be vastly different from someone else's, so for the purpose of this piece, we will leave that word alone.
In our industry there are also things that appear to be so. These things are not dogma, nor are they written in stone anywhere. They are simply things that I have noticed over th
When you write a blog with a certain theme you are constantly on the lookout for inspiration. No matter where you are or what you are doing, a thought or idea can sneak up and whisper to you. If you are mindful enough to create some space that day, you tune in and pay attention.
Such was this past Saturday as I was driving home from dropping off my youngest daughter Clara at dance class. The radio was tuned into a CBC show called "My Playlist." It's essentially an hour long show where famous
We all love a good story. From our favorite bedtime yarn to our best movie, stories capture us in a unique way and share what it means to be human. Stories and those who tell them bind us together as a culture and allow us to access a deep sense of shared community.
But what happens when our stories become, well, not our stories? What happens when stories are used against us for nefarious reasons? In this day and age this appears to be an increasing problem. The wild west that is the interne
As you might know from previous posts round about this time of year (un learning, merry christmas to me), I am a big fan of the Christmas season. But, as you also may have guessed, I am not a big fan of the New Year's resolution thing. I am all for challenging the status quo and improving one's life, but feel that it should be an ongoing, lifelong pursuit, not just a once a year sound bite.
So to start this year off, we are going to touch on an issue that has been prominent in my consciousne
Last week marked the 40th Anniversary of "The Last Waltz", the legendary final concert by the equally legendary musical ensemble, The Band. While reflecting on the band and the film, I couldn't help but circle back to their most famous tune, The Weight... a song that speaks to the journey that is life, and the extra baggage we may carry along the way.
Our ability to endure pressing weight in our lives is a fascinating part of the human experience. Whether it's a physical, emotional, or
The Ryder Cup was many things to many people, but for me it was the opportunity to see something up close that I have thought about a great deal. This blog has touched on many things and has hopefully created a balanced framework for many of us to look toward. But it wasn't until I got to spend a week at Hazeltine with Chris Tritabaugh and his crew, that I finally found what I have been searching for: a truly Mindful Superintendent.
Chris embodies all of the traits that one would aim for if
Beyond the spectacle, the perfect turf conditions and the insane merchandise tent, there is one thing that stands out more than anything else at this 41st edition of the Ryder Cup. It is community. It is the connection that only seems to come when greenkeepers, researchers, and industry representatives gather to work toward a common goal.
I got to spend some time with my fellow TurfNet contributor, Dr. Frank Rossi.
We have discussed the power of connection here on this blog before, (th
Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them... Lucy Maud Montgomery
This post will be the first in a "once on a lifetime event" series. The Mindful Superintendent is on the road this week in Chaska, Minnesota, volunteering with the world class turfgrass crew from Hazeltine National Golf Club. The 2016 Ryder Cup Matches take place here this week and to say I am looking forward to it would be a gross understatement.
While reflecting on our preparation for this exciting week, antici
When seeds are planted, the seedlings must be watered, nourished, and given room to grow. Just like humans, they require proper growing conditions and ongoing, loving maintenance.
When irrigation systems are new, they require a lot of training. Because they leak it takes a while to get used to the new pipes. As they age they become more unpredictable, leak more, and become much less "depend"-able.
After years of constant rolling, greens seal off and become hydrophobic. Aeration is necessary
This post may sound like a bit of a rant. Okay, it's a flat out rant a Wilberesque "if it did not happen in a research trial, it did not happen"-style rant, if you will.
My kids were asked by someone the other day if they were ready for school. It wasn't even August (unlike some parts of the southern US, here in the Maritimes we don't return to school until September). My youngest daughter was perplexed by the question and asked us afterwards why adults ask kids such silly questions. Unfort
We are now a couple of weeks removed from the 2016 edition of the US Open golf tournament. Hopefully John Zimmers and his crew got some much needed rest, and the USGA has slinked back to their lair to plot their next revenge against Dustin Johnson (I'm not saying the word conspiracy, but you know)
After the dust of a Major settles and we have moved on to our next set of tweets showing a dozen fairway mowers cutting all at once and balls being dropped into 10" rough, what are we to do with o
Just for a brief moment, imagine the following scenario. You are on your way to the clubhouse for an important management meeting with your GM. Before the meeting you rush to the first tee to check up on your project crew, who is handling the ongoing irrigation project on #1 tee (it has not been going well, and you know if you don't check in, things will only get worse). You arrive to find them standing around scratching their collective heads. You guide them through the next steps and tell them
It's funny how our minds work. Sometimes the most innocuous thing can trigger a cascade of thought. Case in point: a few weeks back my neighbor told us he and his partner were going away on vacation and asked us to keep an eye on his house. He left us his keys and was off.
Now at any other time this would not warrant a blog post. Not much to see here. But when we hung up his keys it hit me immediately. My neighbor's key chain had the saying "Mind the Gap" on it. I have since found out that t
A couple of weeks back, I was fortunate enough to make my way down to Cocoa Beach, Florida with my thirteen year old son Lucas. It was actually our first time in the southern US, and it was a great experience. Lucas is an avid bird watcher, so for him being in Florida in March is like being the proverbial kid in the candy store.
It was a great time to decompress and forget about the real world for a while, something that I am sure most of you can relate to. Being blessed with lots of time fo
Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all. -- Buddha
As superintendents we are subject to a great deal of scrutiny on a daily basis. The seesaw of praise and blame can be incessant. If we are not careful it can suck us down into a ten inch deep aerification hole of constant judgment. An important part of our job involves working to rise above the pitfalls of these two evil twins and arriving at
The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. There are a wide variety of reasons for this, but one of best parts for me personally is time given over to reflection. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year's celebrations, there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting quietly and thinking about life in general. Most of the time there are no great revelations, just me simply taking time to reflect and recharge. But this season one theme has been nagging at me a bit more th
This is going to be the second installment in a series that I meant to finish a couple of years ago (I can't actually believe that it has been that long). The irony of this delay will soon become very evident.
The second demon that we are going to deal with is a sly one indeed. Most times this behavior becomes so habitual that we don't even notice that we partake at all. It can cause untold amounts of worry and anxiety, and can tear at the fabric of our confidence. Many of us that have this
Musical instruments have always fascinated me. From the trombone to the French horn, or from harmonica to the acoustic guitar, there is virtually no end to the combinations of sound or the possibility for creation.
One of the most perplexing things about instruments is their relationship to the people around them. To those who do not play at all, musical instruments are a complete mystery; they might enjoy music, but they have no idea how musicians coax the music out of them. Then there are
A few posts back I touched on thankfulness. It is a powerful tool we can use to not only connect to our inner selves, but to those around us that matter most.
It can also be very helpful to reflect on those things that bring us true joy. I'm not talking about things that make us happy... I mean those things in our lives that create those moments that make life worth living. Those things that only we know; the ones that strike a chord deep inside and bring us both lasting peace and contentmen
Back in the heady days of the late 90s, the golf industry was all about the creation of new courses. They could not build them fast enough, and everyone (Green Keepers included) rode the wave of euphoria that was to usher in a new age in golf. Fast forward 15 plus years and that wave has crested, crashed on the beach, and sucked many of us back out in its undertow.
While the construction of new courses dwindled, the golf industry changed its focus and now the buzz words center around restora
"Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness, and gratefulness is a measure of our aliveness."
-- Brother David Steindl-Rast, Jesus and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings
When life is throwing you a series of knuckleballs it can be close to impossible to find things to be thankful for.
As greenkeepers we face adversity on an almost daily basis. Unrealistic expectations, unpredictable weather, equipment malfunction...the list goes on