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Trailing Thoughts: LOOK UP

So much of a turf manager’s job happens beneath our feet. Dry spots, insect damage, diseased and trafficked turf—we spend a lot of our day looking down. Looking for the next problem. If we spend too much time looking for problems, we run the risk of getting mired in the negative. The job starts to feel like “work.” It begins draining us of our energy. We forget what drew us here in the first place. We must remind ourselves to LOOK UP. Find something that takes you back to that moment

Adam Garr

Adam Garr in Trailing Thoughts

Share your story, trumpet your accomplishments...

Telling your work story is an important part of a successful operation. Bringing attention to the ways your team performs its work or the benefit you bring to your organization is just smart business. Far too often we are so busy working that we forget to share our accomplishments. And the people that depend on us are too busy to notice. Putting your head down is sometimes necessary but opening your mouth is sometimes important too. Being vocal on behalf of your team can be powerful, but when so

Rockbottum Lost A Family Member

In this episode of Rockbottum Radio, we pay tribute to Matt Jones, longtime member of Rockbottum, former Golf Course Superintendent, GM, US Army vet and more. In the second half of the show, we experience a rather severe outbreak of gossip, back-biting, name-calling and false witness bearing, which leads to Momma finding a solution to this current social media plague.

Is There a Diamond in Your Rough?

Every once in a while, a person comes along that shines a little brighter than everyone else. They might not even see it in themselves, but if you train yourself to spot talent and drive, then they become easier to spot. They’re that diamond in the rough, so to speak. The best turf managers are able to identify those diamonds on their teams. These leaders take the time to develop them, start trusting them with more challenging assignments, and they give them the experience and tools to succ

Let's not do this...

I had just watched and read Adam Garr's latest blog post/video (Rise Above) a week or so ago, in which he lamented the demise of Turf Twitter into a "cesspool of contrarians and armchair quarterbacks". Frankly, I had not seen much of that in turf-related social media content, maybe because I typically don't read the comments. I have found across the board that's where the trolls reside, the vitriol festers, the arguments start, where the grenade-launchers hide in the weeds... and I have no inter

Non -Judgment Day

We live in a world that thrives on judgment and opinion. These often harmful habits were amplified during the pandemic and have only grown stronger since then. Many people have retreated to their corners and are refusing to come out, stuck fast in the belief that their take is the right one.  World leaders serve us daily rhetoric that only serves to fuel a deepening a sense of division and further their own agendas. Then there is social media. Via our devices, the algorithms drip feed a constant

Heatherns At The Gate

Do you secretly watch Rockbottum CC, the longest running webisode on the entire internet?  You're not alone.  If you're new here, try to follow these rules and your job will be safe:  Never admit you watch, even to your most trusted associates.  Don't admit actually  knowing anyone from Rockbottum . . . and never, ever say anything in the comment section.        Now watch this film or I'll tell Momma.             

Trailing Thoughts: Rise Above...

The internet has become an ugly place over the years. Take Turf Twitter, for example. What once was a bastion of idea sharing and supporting one another has turned into a cesspool of contrarians and armchair quarterbacks.   In this episode of Trailing Thoughts, I reflect on the current state of social media as I summit Emory Peak, the highest point in Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA. Along the way I offer advice based on my own experiences on social media, encouraging positive interaction

Countering The Invasive Species

My first encounter with invasive species on the golf course was with the Russian Thistle, a thorny, rolling, seed-spreading bush commonly called The Tumbleweed.  It happened on a raggedy 9-holer out in the barren Kettleman Hills of California, miles from nowhere.  I had been left alone to manage the course while Dad tried to make the cut in some tournament. At age 13, I could run the pro shop fairly well, clean the pool and pick the range, but I was an awful bartender.  I was nervous stayin

The Season Waits for No One...

In my previous life as a sales rep, I was visiting a private club right around this time of year. I was shocked to see the superintendent still had his greens covered, when everyone else in town had removed them in mid-March. I had to ask. “What’s with the covers?” “I’m not ready for the season to start,” the superintendent replied. Normally I’m not one to be lost for words, but a long silence followed. I could see the superintendent was dead serious. “What do you mean you’re

Rockbottum Radio: Tell it all, Brother, tell it all...

In this sensitive and revealing episode of Rockbottum Radio, the entire crew tells it all, aided by literary inspiration from Matt Jones and Peter McCormick... and Momma's Mushroom Truth Serum. Learn what really happened on Ludell's honeymoon and how Rockbottum plans to handle the ball rollback and Golf A.I.  Buddy returns from working on Science Interfusional National, an A.I. course, and then RW screws everything up by telling why he's been deliberately provoking the Imperials for 50

Trailing Thoughts: Burning Bridges

The bloodiest single day in American soil didn’t happen on 9/11 and it wasn’t at the bombing at Pearl Harbor. It occurred across a rolling piece of farmland in northern Maryland, known today as Antietam National Battlefield. Perhaps the most iconic location at Antietam is Burnside’s Bridge. For more than three hours, General Ambrose Burnside repeatedly sent his men to attack a fortified position across a narrow bridge against a much smaller force. His stubbornness to reconsider his tactics

Musings on Momentum...

Lately in my quiet moments, I find myself circling back to the idea of momentum. It would appear to be both elusive and very common, with most of us not even pausing to appreciate it until it vanishes. Our culture doesn’t often reflect on the necessary elements that go into creating momentum, instead spending much of our time chasing quick fixes and expecting instant results.  My personal life has recently been an interesting paradox in momentum. On one hand something that I have worked inc

Sustainable Organic Material Management

Organic matter (OM) is everywhere in the landscape. Given that OM is a key component of nutrient cycling and soil structure, it only makes sense we treat it as a valuable commodity. In any landscape OM is generated when we intervene mechanically (think mowing, pruning), when we clean the landscape (think leaf removal). OM is also utilized/handled (think mulching or soil amendment). Every time we “manage” OM we incur a cost whether financially or in ecological disruption. Added to this cost is th

Saying Goodbye...

Years ago, I faced my team in the morning meeting and told them I was leaving to pursue another opportunity. I’d been preparing for this moment for days, but when it was finally time to tell them, the emotion of the moment took over.  Yes, my voice cracked. Yes, my chin quivered. Yes, a tear fell. I think what hit me the most were their faces. The shock and the sadness were reflected back at me in all directions.  Then came the sense that I was letting them down. It was this nagging, g

Adam Garr

Adam Garr in CourseCares

Trailing Thoughts: Building a Winner

What makes a team a winning team? As demonstrated by the 2023–24 Detroit Lions, building a winner begins with the complete buy-in from the team’s high performers. The team’s core shares the same work ethic, attitude and goals of the organization. While this Lions team came up a little short of their goal, they remain poised to be successful for years to come as long as they remember the core strengths that got them there. The best teams in golf course maintenance are built like a succe

Your Team is Speaking to You. Are You Listening?

What’s the pulse of your team when they walk into the break room in the morning? Are they bright-eyed and still buzzing about last night’s big game? Or do they shuffle in like zombies and sit mostly in silence, staring down at their phones? If your morning meetings are preceded by awkward silence, or if your staff stiffens up the moment you appear, then it might be a warning sign that you’re coming up short on building a winning team culture. People who want to be there engage in conv

Adam Garr

Adam Garr in CourseCares

My Hope for 2024 ...

Planning is the linchpin to success. You may be successful with planning, but the odds are longer. In grounds management having a good plan will help the manager communicate direction to the team, help build excitement toward an outcome, alleviate problems before they arise, and build the organizational support essential to fulfilling the plan. Last blog I looked backwards in order to understand where our operation is and how we got here. This blog I look forward to 2024 and share some of the bi

Trailing Thoughts: Life is Like a River

Our lives, much like a river carving through a canyon, are never on a set path. If you aren’t happy with the direction your life is going, you can always change the flow of your river. A year ago, I found myself mired in a job that I found to be morally at odds with my personal values and unfulfilling on a professional level. I traveled to Big Bend National Park in Texas, hoping to unplug from turf for a while and reflect on my career and my life path. In Santa Elena Canyon I watched t

The Season...

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. — Lao Tzu There is a natural flow to seasons. No matter where one is situated, the shifts and changes in the natural environment follow their own patterns. Sometimes these patterns will alter and slowly evolve into something slightly different, but overall the seasonality of the natural world doesn’t change. When viewed through our human lenses, a season can appear to exist in singularity. We say things like “the start of another s
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