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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    The real news regarding the Golf Industry Show is not that the 2021 conference will take place as a virtual experience. What will be significant is what the show looks like whenever it resumes as an in-person event.
    After all, the show must go on.
    No one should have been surprised when the GCSAA announced on Aug. 12 that next year's show would take place as an online event. It really was the only choice facing the association as trade shows and conferences around the world went down like flights on an airport departure board during a blizzard. The question never was "if" an announcement was forthcoming regarding GIS, but "when."
    Exhibiting at the trade show is an expensive proposition for companies that spend boatloads of money to fund education for turfgrass professionals in exchange for a few minutes of facetime with customers and the goodwill that comes with supporting your association. No doubt there are many looking for an excuse to pull out of the show for good, and Covid-19 might have provided it.
    Time will tell.
    Years ago, the former head of marketing for a company that exhibits at GIS confided that the only thing preventing him from pulling out support and ceasing to exhibit was that he figured others would join in the exodus and he did not want his legacy to be "that guy who helped killed the Golf Industry Show."
    It is completely plausible to believe that several vendors will look at the cost associated with exhibiting and weigh it against the return on their investment and the economic hardship associated with the virus that likely will last for years, and opt out of GIS.
    It also is reasonable to believe that many employers of superintendents might take such events out of future budgets, especially when they see how you somehow were able to provide great conditions and firm, fast greens without attending GIS in person.
    If you went to this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, I hope you enjoyed it, because some might never have a chance to go again, at least for a very long time.
    In-person attendance at GIS for the past several years has been in the range of 11,000-13,000 people. Will that many return to San Diego in 2022, or Orlando in 2023, or whenever and wherever an in-person version of the show resumes? Will that many return ever? Will budgets allow it? Or, will the in-person show become like so many things we've learned to live without since March - expendable?
    When the show returns as an in-person event - and it will - it will be different. It probably will be smaller. Booth space, which has been shrinking noticeably for the past few years, too will continue to decline. Perhaps an in-person version of the show no longer is an annual event, but instead is held every other year.
    Time will tell.
    The virus has become one of those snapshots in time - like the recession of 2008 - at which we can point and say "this is when things changed." The virus has provided us with a chance to prioritize, and that is a good thing.
    Rewind the clock to mid-March when this madness began. The country's psyche was unraveling at a rapid pace. Governors began issuing stay-at-home mandates. Remember when staying home for two weeks except for trips to the grocery seemed like an impossibility? Who then could have imagined getting along without the spectacle of March Madness, a 162-game baseball season, dining out, trips to the mall or a vacation at the beach?
    Covid-19 has been a relentless foe that we have come to realize is everywhere all at once, waiting to strike anyone who lets down their guard. Millions have it worldwide, hundreds of thousands have died from it or complications associated with it. This invisible enemy has crushed economies around the world, and people in every corner of the planet are suffering from stress and mental health issues brought on by economic uncertainty. As many as 30 million Americans still are out of work due to the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and states are struggling to keep up with jobless claims.
    The virus also has afforded us a chance to re-examine what is important - and what is not. Things we took for granted, like meals and activities with the family, have taken on increased importance. Events and activities we once thought we could not live without, no longer seem so important. 
    Covid-19 will not last forever, although sometimes it feel as if it will. And when it is behind us, things will not be as they once were. The world is forever changed. How will these changes affect GIS?
    Time will tell.
  • Click the image to listen to GCSAA president John Fulling explain more about a virtual Golf Industry Show. The worst-kept secret in the turf business was leaked Wednesday when the GCSAA announced via video that next year's Golf Industry Show would be held in a virtual format.
    Originally scheduled for the first week of February in Las Vegas, the show now will take place in offices and homes across the country and around the world.
    "This was not an easy decision to make," GCSAA president John Fulling, CGCS, said in the video announcement. "We considered global health concerns, travel bans, restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing requirements, adjustments other shows were making and the state of the economy. We listened to members, engaged exhibitors and consulted our industry partners, and it became clear a virtual event would afford the best opportunity to offer you a safe and quality GIS experience."
    Tabbed "Your Space. Your Place. All in One Place." the online show will include education, informational videos and downloads on new products as well virtual networking opportunities in what the GCSAA promises will be an engaging platform.
    "Don't worry," Fulling said in the video, "this won't be a week of video calls."
    The decision has been met with understanding, if not disappointment.
    "We fully support  their decision and continue to support GCSAA as a gold level sponsor and look forward to GIS in this new virtual format," said Tripp Trotter, head of marketing for Syngenta turf and ornamental. "We believe this will be a great opportunity to engage across the industry virtually with many of our customers and are excited to showcase many of our new products,  which we are in the process of launching now for the early order period."
    Scott Ramsay, CGCS at The Country Club of Farmington in Connecticut, does not attend the show every year. He often can be found when the show rotates through Orlando and its middle-America destination. He was looking forward to attending the event in Las Vegas, but understands why he cannot.
    "The only decision that made sense," Ramsay said. "But I am old school and need the interpersonal touch. That's my first impression. 
    "I have missed too many shows and was looking forward to being in a position to go this year. Canceling the trip today to The Masters, also."

    The 2021 Golf Industry Show will bring a new meaning to a virtual trade show experience. Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa, has been attending the GIS and its previous iterations since 1980 with few interruptions. Like Ramsay, he also had his bags all but packed for Vegas.
    When asked if he would have attended the show had it gone on in person, Tegtmeier didn't hesitate in his response.
    "Yes!" he said adamantly. "I would have flown, and I would have flown with a mask on. I would have had no qualms about that at all."
    To Tegtmeier, the show is about in-person education and networking.
    "I always get something out of it. It's my time to listen to researchers talk about new products and chemicals and their trials. I hate to try anything new on the golf course until I see data I know I can trust."
    The online education will be conducted live. For those unable to attend live sessions or who want to watch one again, they also will be available on-demand, but interaction with the presenter is lost.
    "I'm the guy who goes to an all-day, eight-hour session and asks a lot of questions all day long," Tegtmeier said. "I don't like a 20-minute Zoom call, let alone an hour-long talk online.
    "This virtual thing is great, but for me, education is a two-way street. If I can't ask questions, what good is it?"
    Getting to GIS either on the West Coast or East Coast, or somewhere in between is no small feat for Matt DiMase, superintendent at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in The Bahamas. Despite the challenges often associated with international travel, during a health crisis no less, DiMase, was looking forward to the 2021 show. He also understands why he won't be able to attend.
    "I was hopeful GIS was going to happen, but at the same time I also knew in the back of my mind we have many persons in the industry who travel from all over the world, so, I was not surprised," DiMase said. "I also knew it wasn't an easy decision but it was the right decision in my mind.  
    "Given everything going on, yes, I would have attended. I'm not discrediting the virus, or what's going on, but I also believe it is up to each person to do their part and be safe and smart."
    Two years ago, Carlos Arraya, CGCS at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, was named TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year. Today, he is the club's assistant general manager. He believes there are opportunities for long-term change in the switch to a virtual format. Namely, he would like to see more education focused on helping superintendents promote their business acumen. 
    Earlier this year, rather than send senior members of his greens staff to GIS in Orlando, he sent them to the Club Managers Association of America conference, where, as first-time attendees, they received free education focused on improving their management and leadership skills.
    "From my perspective, it had become a little antiquated and needed to be refreshed," Arraya said. "I think this is going to separate those who really want education and those who look at this primarily as a social function.
    "The CMAA was a better platform for business and leadership. I told my guys, 'I'm not sending you to a wetting agent class, I want you to learn how to be better leaders and build a team."
    The cost savings realized by not traveling to next year's GIS (the fate of next year's CMAA conference has not yet been decided) will allow Arraya to focus more resources on educating his team and completing his certification through CMAA.
    "Education is a value proposition," he said. "It's not only what you have, but it's also about how you go there. It's about value; it's about information, education and communication."
    DiMase is all-in for GIS education this year, even if it is not in person.
    "I'll look at the schedule and see what classes are being offered and sign up for ones that pertain to me," he said. "As long as Internet is good on the island, which it hasn't been for the past 11 months, I'll take advantage.
    "I have taken classes every year, and I love not only the classes themselves but I look forward to the the people I meet in them. I even thought about possibly teaching a class in hurricane preparedness or disaster management, but that will maybe wait until 2022."
    Although the primary functions of the GIS are education, professional development and conducting business with industry partners, the significance of the social component cannot be ignored. The virtual event promises opportunities for personal networking, but in an industry that prides itself on being about relationships, nothing takes the place of face-to-face interaction.
    For many, GIS represents the only time throughout the year that friendships forged through a fraternal vocation are renewed in person. And that makes Tegtmeier sad.
    "I've been going to this show since 1980, and to not see my friends is going to be tough," he said. "I've already had people call and say: 'We're not going to get a chance to see each other. What are we going to do?' "
    His answer was simple.
    "I don't know."
  • SBI, a management and leadership conference held each year by Syngenta and Wake Forest University's School of Business, will go on as an online event this year. This year's Syngenta Business Institute program will be hosted virtually, Dec. 7-11. 
    "After much discussion, and with the health and safety of our customers in mind, we are excited to announce we will continue with the Syngenta Business Institute this year, but instead of in person, we are going virtual," said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta. "This is not a decision we made lightly. We are committed to providing education and we are continuing to work closely with the staff at Wake Forest University to provide eight hours of quality higher education. This is the perfect hybrid of live teaching that will challenge and engage superintendents online."
    The 2020 program will be held via Zoom, beginning with an introductory social networking session on Monday evening. Educational courses will then be hosted in two-hour sessions Tuesday through Friday. Faculty from the nationally ranked Wake Forest University School of Business will teach the curriculum, which will cover the following topics: 
    •    work/life balance
    •    negotiating
    •    tools for managing employees
    •    leading across cultures and generations 
    "It is wonderful to see Syngenta has a strong desire to continue providing golf course superintendents with critical leadership and business savvy to ensure they have professional growth opportunities they need to thrive," said Kerry Shronts, executive director of executive education at Wake Forest University School of Business. "In working closely with our Wake Forest Executive Education team, Syngenta is reinforcing its commitment to the industry as we transition this program to a virtual classroom and continue to provide an effective and safe learning environment." 
    To help encourage interaction and participation among attendees, the class size for SBI 2020 will be limited, like previous years. Syngenta will select approximately 24 individuals employed in the United States as a superintendent, director of agronomy or at an equivalent level to participate in the program. 
    Applications must be submitted online by midnight, Pacific time, on Sept.15. 
    To be considered, candidates must fill out an application, which includes a short essay on why they should be selected to attend SBI. Selected participants will be notified in October. 
  • The mysterious seeds planted in Arkansas started as small orange-colored flowers (below) and grew like crazy before eventually producing fruit that looked like large, white squash (above). Remember those mystery seed packets - apparently from China - that have been showing up recently on doorsteps across the country?
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has identified some of them, and all, so far anyway, have proven to be harmless, although the jury is still out on at least one.
    According to a recording on the USDA web site, the federal agency has identified at least 14 plant species from seed packets that were delivered to homes in several states. So far, they have found mustard, cabbage, morning glories, roses, hibiscus and herbs such as mint, sage, rosemary and lavender.
    Osama El-Lissy, with the Plant Protection program of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the species represent just a sampling of the seeds collected so far, so we're not exactly out of the woods yet. In fact, the USDA and state agriculture agencies across the country are still warning people not to plant the seeds or improperly dispose of them.
    At least one person - and there are probably more - did not get that message in time. Doyle Crenshaw of Booneville, Arkansas, said he recently received seeds, including zinnias that he had ordered and another packet of unidentified seeds that he had not. 
    So what does one do with a packet of mystery seeds that they didn't ask for? Plant them, of course. After all, what could go wrong. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is asking the same question after Crenshaw called and admitted he planted the seeds, and fertilized the daylights out of them, before seeing the notice warning him of doing just that.
    What is growing in his garden isn't exactly something out of Jack and the Beanstalk just yet, but it is something the likes of which he has never seen before. 
    Crenshaw said in published reports: "We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I'd come by and put Miracle-Gro on it and they just started growing like crazy."
    The plants first produced orange flowers from which eventually came what Crenshaw described as something that looks like a giant squash.
    The state agriculture commission hasn't seen anything like it, either.
    Officials from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture told Crenshaw to leave the plants alone and that they would be sending someone out to remove them. Although the USDA said there is no evidence to suggest that Seed-Gate is nothing more than a marketing scam called "brushing"  but not all seed varieties have been investigated. 
    "Those who have planted the seeds (we can't believe Crenshaw is the only one, right?) should leave the plants where they are and contact the Department for guidance," the department said in a release. 
    "Our concern," according to Scott Bray of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, "is from an invasive pest aspect, these seeds could introduce an invasive weed, or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease."
    The Chinese Foreign Ministry says its country's postal service prohibits transmitting seeds oversees and has asked for the seeds to be returned to China. The foreign ministry also has said that many of the mailing labels indicating the packages originated in China appear to be fake.
  • Green Start going online this year
    This year's Green Start Academy is moving to a virtual format. The annual educational event for assistant golf course superintendents that is hosted by John Deere and Bayer will  comprise a series of virtual sessions that will kick off Oct. 14 with an opening general session. 
    Following the general session, participants will have an opportunity to connect via virtual roundtable conversations with notable industry professionals and cultivate critical skills such as leadership and team management through a series of online sessions. In addition, participants will be assigned to smaller mentorship groups with various golf industry leaders to further encourage meaningful conversation and deeper connections with other participants and facilitators. Dates for those sessions have not yet been confirmed.
    A new offering for the 2020 Green Start Academy, will be a keynote session that is open to all past participants and facilitators, bringing together 15 years of Green Start Academy attendees. The keynote session on leadership in a multigenerational culture will be presented by Jeff Havens, a successful author, business growth expert and communication expert. During the keynote session, Havens will provide participants with insights about how to become a better leader and guidance for successfully navigating the challenges they might face throughout their careers.
    Green Start Academy is open to assistant superintendents from the U.S. and Canada who want to advance their careers and build connections within the golf industry. Click here to apply. Deadline is Aug. 31, and selected participants will be notified by Sept. 15.
    BIGGA cancels BTME due to pandemic
    The British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association has canceled its Turf Management Exhibition scheduled for January due to "ongoing uncertainty" relating to the coronavirus pandemic according to a news release.
    The decision to cancel was made after talking with members, representatives of the Harrogate Convention Centre and other stakeholders. A "festival of turf" is scheduled for next summer and the show is expected to resume in 2022.
    BIGGA’s education program, Continue to Learn, will still take place in January as a virtual event and will include a full program of presenters.
    The announcement of an alternative event next summer will enable BIGGA to explore options for hosting the event outdoors.
    The Harrogate Convention Centre, home to BTME and its previous iterations since 1989, has been used as a hospital since April.
    Bayer helps superintendents save
    Golf course superintendents can save instantly on select Bayer products purchased in August and September through the NOW Solutions Program.
     
    Superintendents can save more than 12 percent instantly with off-invoice, volume-based discounts on certain products. Turf managers also can earn up to 21 percent in rebates. Eligible products include Indemnify, Revolver, Tribute Total, Specticle G, Specticle FLO, Chipco Signature, Interface Stressgard, Mirage Stressgard, Signature XTRA Stressgard and Banol. Qualified purchases must be invoiced in August or September by authorized Bayer agents.
     
    All rebates will be issued in the form of My Bayer Rewards points. Customers must be enrolled in My Bayer Rewards and accept current Terms and Conditions to receive a rebate. Points can be redeemed for checks, agent credit or thousands of catalog items.
     
    The NOW Solutions program runs through Sept. 30.
    PBI-Gordon offers new formulation of SpeedZone
    SpeedZone EW is a new broadleaf herbicide for turf from PBI-Gordon with an emulsion-in-water formulation that does not rely on solvents to solubilize active ingredients.
     
    With the active ingredients 2,4-D, carfentrazone, mecaprop-p and dicamba, SpeedZone EW is labeled for control of dozens of common weeds, including dollarweed, ground ivy and spurge in warm- and cool-season turf.
    The emulsion-in-water technology of SpeedZone EW creates smaller particle size than emulsifiable concentrate formulations, resulting in more of the active ingredient impacting the leaf surface for improved efficacy, plus a lower odor profile and lower volatile organic content. And the EW formulation is engineered for use in low-volume and conventional sprayers.
     
    Other features of SpeedZone EW include a visual response within 24 hours and weed death in 7-14 days, rainfast in as little as three hours, allows for reseeding in one week.
    SpeedZone EW will be available for sale this fall, pending state registrations.
  • In just five years, the Deep South Turf Expo has grown into one of the country's premier regional conferences for superintendents.
    The sixth edition of the Deep South event, at least the in-person educational portion, will have to wait a while, and we'll give you three guesses why.
    In response to Covid-19, this year's event has been canceled, and a hybrid outdoor trade show and golf event will take its place this year.
    The show was scheduled for Nov. 4-5 at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. The hybrid event will be held Oct. 26 at The Preserve Golf Club in Vancleave, Mississippi, and will include - for now - golf, an outdoor tailgate event and a trade show with products and equipment on display throughout the golf course. Show organizers said most respondents to a customer survey indicated they wanted to hold the show in a traditional in-person format, but in the end there were too many question marks.
    According to a release from show organizers: "The majority wanted to meet in person, however the facilities were not guaranteed to be open for us to meet . . . so we have made some adjustments that will ensure social distancing and safety for everyone."
    The fate of next year's Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas is still undecided. The GCSAA is considering several options for the next GIS and members and show exhibitors will be surveyed later this month with a final decision expected in October.
  • It is unlikely that superintendents give a great deal of thought to all the time, energy and resources involved in bringing to market products used to manage golf courses. Each product that makes it to the marketplace is the result of years of research and millions spent in development that leave literally hundreds of thousands of other formulations on the cutting room floor.
    "It's a fascinating and incredibly complex process that takes a lot of teamwork," Lane Tredway, Ph.D., technical representative for Syngenta, said during a virtual Syngenta product launch event July 30.
    "We need to eliminate the ones that won't work as quickly as possible, so we can get the ones that do work to market as quickly as possible."
    On Thursday, Syngenta launched three fungicides - Ascernity, Posterity XT and Posterity Forte -  for long-lasting control of diseases like dollar spot, spring dead spot, anthracnose and large patch on golf course turf.
    Ascernity is a combination product that includes SDHI technology from the foliar fungicide Solatenol (benzovindiflupyr) with DMI technology of difenoconazole for control of foliar diseases such as anthracnose and brown patch.
    It carries no heat restrictions, even in summer.
    Posterity XT and Posterity Forte combine three active ingredients, pydiflumetofen (Adepidyn), propiconazole and azoxystrobin from FRAC groups 7, 3 and 11, respectively. Posterity Forte is labeled for control of brown patch, dollar spot, large patch, leaf spot, spring dead spot and zoysia patch in warm- and cool-season turf. Posterity XT provides up to 28 days of control of nearly 30 turf diseases, including anthracnose, brown patch, dollar spot, spring dead spot and summer patch in cool-season turf.
    While launching a stable of new products now comes with its inherent challenges, tough summer conditions make the timing otherwise perfect, said Syngenta technical manager Mike Agnew, Ph.D.
    "The disease pressure this summer, is the worst I've seen since 2011 and 2012," Agnew said. "Turf always looks better when the weather is good. We're launching products in the worst weather conditions in years."
    All three products will be available for sale in August.
    The R&D channel is a long, long road.
    As many as 150,000 potential compounds per year enter the pipeline. That list eventually is whittled down to several thousand then several dozen before. Ultimately, it takes about eight years and as much as $300 million for one product to emerge from the process and eventually make it to market.
    Syngenta's technical services team also has developed agronomic programs that rotate these fungicides with other products. To find recommendations for incorporating Ascernity, Posterity XT and Posterity Forte into an existing agronomic program, visit GreenCastOnline.com/Programs.
    "The technology doesn't have to stop (with new products)," said Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke. "We don't just focus on the chemistry; we also know that it is important to golf course superintendents to support them with application technology."
  • The fate of next year's Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas is still undecided thanks to Covid-19, but another green industry conference has been canceled because of the virus and the country's largest trade show, scheduled for the same venue as GIS, will be all virtual in 2021.
    Scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky, the Green Industry Expo, the largest conference and trade show for the lawn and landscape industry, was canceled July 29.
    Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and continued regulatory uncertainty, GIE/OPEI, LLC announced that the 2020 show will be postponed until next year. The show will resume Oct. 20-22 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
    Likewise, the Consumer Electronics Show, the country's largest trade show with more than 100,000 attendees, will be online only next year. The show, which is scheduled for Jan. 6-9, was to be the first event in the new convention center in Las Vegas. The Golf Industry Show is scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb. 4 in the same building. The GCSAA has not yet announced how the virus will affect GIS, but the association is considering several options, one of which still is a traditional in-person trade show, according to CEO Rhett Evans.
    According to a release from GIE, "show ownership and management (GIE/OPEI, LLC) of GIE+EXPO, the Green Industry Equipment and Exposition, have been monitoring the situation closely, and have been working with state and local authorities to put on the safest show possible. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of such a rapidly evolving environment prohibited this year's show from taking place safely." 
    "The health and safety of our attendees and exhibitors is critical, and it is with profound regret that we announce the cancellation of our 2020 event. We're looking forward to 2021 and already gearing up to make our next show a dynamic and engaging experience for the entire industry. I encourage exhibitors and attendees that have already registered or secured exhibit space to roll those monies forward to the 2021 show."
    Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on July 27 issued a mandate prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. The cancellation comes on the heels of the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show earlier this month.
    Next fall, attendees and exhibitors will experience several updates to the Kentucky Exposition Center grounds. The facility is undertaking $8 million in outdoor improvements and enhancements, including: 
    GIE+EXPO has been held in Louisville since it was founded nearly 40 years ago. Registration is currently open for next year's event.
  • Mystery seeds from China have been showing up for the past several days all across the country. For the past several days, people have been receiving unsolicited seeds from an undisclosed sender in China, and a federal agency is warning recipients not to plant or even discard them.
    According to a release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "USDA is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
    "USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins."
    Seeds have been received in several states from coast to coast, with some appearing to be grass seed and others perhaps agricultural. Some recipients have said that the package labeling indicates the contents are jewelry and some have reported the contents do include a cheap trinket. The seed contents are unidentified. 

    "At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said in a news release. "If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag."
    Although USDA-APHIS, which regulates biological material in the U.S., said it has no evidence indicating that this is a marketing scam known as "brushing", seeds could contain an uncontrollable invasive species or unknown disease pathogen that could be disastrous and should not be planted or even discarded.
    "Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops," said a release by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations."
    According to preliminary investigation by the Utah Department of Agriculture, mystery seeds that arrived there have included only flowers and herbs, including rose, amaranth and mint.
    One of the recipients was Ohio State University sports turf specialist Pam Sherratt, who tweeted that she was waiting to hear from the USDA on how to properly dispose of them.
  • With only about six weeks notice, the Inverness Club in Toledo will be the host site of the newly added Drive On Championship. Photos courtesy of Ryan Kaczor Ohio is the retail and hospitality test market capital of the world. New restaurants often show up here first, and when existing ones want to try out a new menu item, they're often tested first in Ohio. When snack food companies come up with a new flavor of cookie, cracker or potato chip, odds are you'll have to be in Ohio to get that first taste.
    This year, Ohio also has become a test market for how to launch a golf tour during a global health crisis.
    With the PGA Tour doubleheader of the Workday Charity Open followed by the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in suburban Columbus in the books, focus now shifts northwest to Toledo. That's where the first two LPGA events of 2020 will take place in consecutive weeks.
    The Marathon Classic, originally scheduled for July 9-12 at Highland Meadows in Sylvania, had been moved, thanks to the you-know-what, to Aug. 3-9 in what was supposed to be the delayed season opener for an abbreviated LPGA season. Things often change quickly in a test market, however, and the LPGA has since added the makeshift Drive On Championship to its schedule from July 31-Aug. 2 down the road from Highland Meadows at the Inverness Club in the LPGA's new season opener.
    The LPGA didn't even ask officials at Inverness, site of next year's Solheim Cup, to host the new event until June 16, giving superintendent John Zimmers and his team just six weeks to prepare.
    If any place is up to the task of holding a professional event on such short notice, it is Inverness. The Donald Ross classic is fresh off a 2018 restoration by architect Andrew Green. The U.S. Junior Amateur was held there last year, and the Solheim Cup will be there next year. Zimmers came to Inverness in 2017 after 19 years at Oakmont, where he kept Henry Fownes' sole design in tournament-ready shape every day.
    "It was short notice, but the LPGA came to us because they knew with everything going on that we would be a good fit," said Inverness assistant superintendent Ryan Kaczor.
    "With the Marathon Classic the next week, this really puts Toledo on display. It's good for the city and for northwest Ohio."
    Many LPGA players already are sequestered in a Toledo hotel in an attempt to isolate them from Covid-19.
    "I saw where the PGA Tour went back-to-back at Muirfield," Kaczor said. "The LPGA has already been here a while because of the Solheim. Holding a tournament here takes away from the burden of Highland Meadows holding events in back-to-back weeks."

    Inverness was the site of last year's U.S. Junior Amateur and will be the host course of the 2021 Solheim Cup. Not everything has been in Inverness's favor.
    Zimmers' crew of 30 includes 16 seasonal employees. The team wasn't at full staff because of the virus, until the week before the LPGA called.
    "The biggest effect early on was there were so many unknowns. There still are a lot of unknowns," Kaczor said. "No one knew if the golf course would be full, or if it would be generating any revenue. We limped along with a smaller staff, and we spent a lot of time cleaning mowers, tables and other touchpoints, and that has slowed us down, but that's where we are in the world right now."
    Since June, the temperature has reached 90 on 23 days since early June.
    Zimmers, however, is an old hand at producing stunning championship conditions. Besides last year's U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness, while at Oakmont he was the host superintendent for the U.S. Open in 2007 and 2016, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open and the U.S. Amateur in 2003.
    "John has done this so many times," Kaczor said. "We are already at a high standard here to begin with, so not much will have to change. We're just honing in on some of the details to get things where they need to be. 
    In fact, Inverness is just coming off an annual member-guest tournament, and Kaczor said they might have to slow the greens a bit for the LPGA.
    "There is no better feeling in the world. It's what we live for - the spotlight," he said. "We take pride in everything we do. When you do your best and get a call at the last minute to hold the opening LPGA tournament of the year at a moment's notice, it shows all of our hard work is paying off."
  • Managing water use helped produce two different tournament experiences in consecutive weeks at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photos by PGA Tour via Twitter The PGA Tour had two main goals when it decided to pitch its tent on the same golf course in Dublin, Ohio for two straight weeks: maximize player safety by limiting potential exposure to Covid-19 and somehow coax two very different tournament experiences out of Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Workday Charity Open and last week's Memorial Tournament.
    Although three players who made the cut tested positive for Covid-19 and played the weekend as singles, Muirfield director of grounds Chad Mark and his team, along with PGA Tour agronomist Thomas Bastis had a plan to first ease players into the Muirfield experience for the Workday event held July 9-12, then provide a firmer, faster course for the Memorial Tournament mostly by managing rough and water. 
    The results of their work showed with a 10-shot differential on the leaderboard. Collin Morikawa survived a playoff with Justin Thomas to win the Workday at 19-under-par, while Jon Rahm, who sits atop the World Golf Rankings, won the Memorial with a four-day score of 9-under.
    The weather didn't hurt. During the Workday, the average daily high was 87 degrees and about an inch of rain fell in the Columbus area, according to the National Weather Service. A week later, the average high each day was 91 degrees, with weekend temps in the mid-90s. A brief shower and a lightning delay during the final round of the Memorial was too little too late to rescue players from Muirfield's slick putting surfaces.
    "We set out with the Tour to put on two different events. If the weather hadn't cooperated, we probably couldn't have done that," Mark said. 
    "We had a green, lush PGA Tour event the first week, and the second week was more like a championship. We dried it down and firmed it up and put minimal water on it. You could see the results when you see the different scores and the different strategies by the players. It could have been boring to play here two weeks in a row, and it wasn't, and I think that is what was cool about this."
    Rough was topped off at 3.5 inches the Monday of the Workday event and irrigation was turned off. Because conditions in central Ohio were so hot and dry, the grass didn't grow much. By Sunday, it had reached about 4 inches. The following day, the rough was trimmed down as needed to a uniform 4-inch height. 
    "We weren't going to let it get out of control," Mark said. "By the end of the (Memorial) week, there might have been some stragglers out there over 6 inches, but we didn't mow all the rough after the Monday of the Workday."
    The Muirfield team also didn't double-cut for the Workday until the weekend, but did so and also rolled twice a day every day during the Memorial.
    "We increased the intensity of our night work, and really pulled back on the water," Mark said.
    "We hydrated the golf course on the Sunday of the Workday while Collin and Justin were still on the golf course. There was nothing overhead on the rough for three weeks. Our staff did a good job on hoses touching up what needed water and not overwatering anything. By the end of the week, my staff saw what little water could be put on and that the turf would respond if you needed it to. We had it on the edge and our guys learned how to to water and keep things on the edge for a championship."

    Muifield was identified as a two-time host when the Memorial Tournament, originally scheduled for early June, was postponed due to stay-at-home orders in place in response to Covid-19. The event was moved to July 16-19 when the British Open, scheduled for Royal St. George's, and the PGA Tour's corresponding Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky, both were canceled.
    There also was a hole in the PGA Tour schedule the week before the Open Championship and the Barbasol, a slot reserved for a future event that eventually will be held in Northern California. Holding two events in consecutive weeks at the same location was seen as a benefit by limiting travel and contact points for players during the virus and made sense for a Tour trying to get on its feet this year.
    Still, two tournaments in two weeks on the same course is a lot to ask. 
    Meetings - mostly in the dark and in the parking lot because of the virus - began at 4:30 a.m. daily. For three weeks, Mark and assistants James Bryson and Adam Daroczy were at the course from that 4:30 a.m. start until about 10 p.m.
    "Our staff did an incredible job," Mark said. "They pulled it off, and that shows how dedicated they are."
    A scheduled greens renovation that started literally with sod being removed on the front nine during final round play, allowed Mark and Bastis latitude with decisions on water.
    "We didn't water after the tournament on Sunday, and we didn't touch anything up on Monday," Mark said. "As we drove around Monday, the greens were fried, that's how on the edge we were. 
    "Not having to turn the golf course over to members after the tournament made it easier to do some of that stuff."
    What makes the dual tournament feat more impressive is that both events were staged with minimal outside help. Superintendents rely heavily on volunteers to ensure nothing is missed during a Tour event, much less two of them in consecutive weeks. Mark's team of 45 grew to only 52 for the Workday and 64 for the Memorial. Typically, he recruits 35-40 volunteers just for the Memorial.
    That might sound like a lot of people, but when running two tournaments in two weeks, you need a lot of people..
    "There were sacrifices made. We reminded the Tour guys that there were things we can't do because we didn't have the numbers," Mark said. "As Covid goes away, I'm going to look at the numbers we've traditionally had during the Memorial."
    And if the Tour ever needs to go back-to-back in a single location again?
    "No, no, no. Not next year," Mark said. "Our greens will be too new. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We proved we can go a lot farther with the golf course than we thought we could. I'd do it again, it's what we all do this for - to prove yourself. But not next year."
  • CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION
    With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on The Bahamas just last summer, Matt DiMase didn't give much thought to leaving. 
    The superintendent at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, DiMase could have ridden out the storm with his wife and kids in the safety of the family home in Ocala, Florida.
    But he didn't.
    DiMase rode out the storm, brought the devastated golf course back from the dead and played a key role in a humanitarian effort to help members of the club, his employees and members of his Bahamian community. His selflessness earned him the honor of being named the recipient of the 20th annual TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. 
    "For us, this is a job, but for our members, this club is their investment," DiMase said when he received the award at the last Golf Industry Show from Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke (pictured above). "I told my team we can stay and protect their property, or we can abandon ship and who knows what will happen. . . . I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay because of the people."
    Nominations for DiMase's successor are now being accepted. Although it's hard to imagine anyone going through a more trying experience than what DiMase faced in 2019, there has been much about 2020 that has been hard to believe.
    A panel of judges will select five finalists and ultimately the winner from the list of nominees. In a year that will be defined by a global crisis and one in which people starved for outdoor recreation have flocked to courses around the country, the nominations should be plentiful.
    Click here to submit a nomination. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 1.
    Since 2000, the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta, honors the accomplishments of golf course superintendents across the nation. 
    Criteria on which nominees are judged include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
    CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION
    Previous winners include: Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Cherokee, Great Abaco, Bahamas (2019); Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013), Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  • Rounds played at Bayou Oaks at City Park in New Orleans help fund a variety of projects to assist the local community continue its slow comeback from Katrina. Sense of community runs deep in New Orleans. That might be obvious to those who live here, but probably not so much to those who don't. Any doubts likely were swept away 15 years ago when Hurricane Katrina erased more than 1,800 lives across the Gulf Coast, but failed to destroy hope.
    Although it happened so long ago, Katrina still is a defining moment here, and its effects are still evident all over town. Ask anyone who either rode out the storm or returned shortly afterward how high the water was in their home, and they can still tell you. They can still describe the scenes and the stench. 
    A local public golf course that opened a dozen years after Katrina is playing a critical role in rebuilding a New Orleans neighborhood that was among the hardest hit in the city.
    The recently opened South Course at Bayou Oaks at City Park is a city-owned course designed by Rees Jones that is affiliated with the PGA Tour's TPC network and managed by a non-profit agency. The Bayou District Foundation that operates the course uses revenue from the property to fund a host of redevelopment projects in an at-risk neighborhood that local leaders say has transformed from one of New Oreleans' most-crime ridden communities to one of its safest.
    It is a responsibility that the turf operations staff at Bayou Oaks takes seriously. Look them in the eye, and you can see it in their faces; talk with them, and you can hear it in their voices.
    Bayou Oaks superintendent Ryan McCavitt has been in New Orleans for four years. An Illinois native, he missed Katrina, but he's hardly an outsider. He has deep roots in central Louisiana. Earlier in his career he was superintendent at Oakwing Golf Club in Alexandria, and his wife is from Marksville. He knows what Katrina's legacy means around here.
    "After Katrina, everything here was pretty much ruined," McCavitt said.
    "The Bayou District Foundation is spearheading rebuilding the hardest-hit neighborhoods in New Orleans, specifically the Gentilly area.
    "I love telling the story of what is happening here."

    Among the projects that receive funding from Bayou Oaks are two schools in the nearby Gentilly neighborhood. In the days, weeks and months after the storm, New Orleanians largely were left to fend for themselves to begin picking up the pieces of their lives and putting to rest loved ones who had lost theirs.
    Although Tiger, Elvis, Cher and LeBron need not a last name to be recognized, the most widely known single-name entity in this town is still a blowhard named Katrina.
    A municipal golf course that was hit equally hard by Katrina and needed a hand to recover is an unlikely hero in this story.
    City Park has been a staple of the New Orleans golf community since 1902, but was all but destroyed 15 years ago by the hurricane. The golf complex was rebuilt with FEMA dollars as well as state and local funding thanks to the work of city leaders who had a vision that revenue generated by the golf operation could help lift up the surrounding community in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood through the non-profit Bayou District Foundation. That vision includes new schools, affordable housing and healthcare facilities for those in need.
    Course conditions are paramount to ensure golfers and money keep coming through the door to help fund the foundation's outreach initiatives 
    "For myself, being part of the Bayou District Foundation was a big selling point for me coming down to New Orleans," McCavitt said. "I've built four golf courses now throughout my career. The opportunity to move back to Louisiana and be part of something like the Bayou District Foundation and rebuilding after Katrina just checked all the boxes for me."
    Katrina might be a tiresome topic elsewhere, but it remains a big deal in New Orleans.
    In the early morning hours of April 29, 2005, Katrina made landfall in Buras, Louisiana, south of New Orleans near the Mississippi River Delta before laying waste to the Crescent City over the next several hours. Levees protecting the city - much of which is below sea level - from the Mississippi that flows through downtown, were breached in dozens of locations.
    Katrina left New Orleans looking like a war zone. Homes and businesses were destroyed. The lucky left well in advance or at least survived the aftermath. Many others were not so fortunate. The images in the wake of the storm were horrifying: bodies floating in the water, or abandoned on the sidewalk. By the time floodwaters receded weeks later, the storm was blamed for more than 1,836 deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi. The bodies of many others never were recovered.
    A longtime member of McCavitt's crew who evacuated to Atlanta, said his home had 8 feet of water in it when he returned. For two years he paid rent on a home he lived in and a mortgage on a flooded home under repair.
    Gentilly was an easy target when Katrina overwhelmed the levies that protect the area from the surrounding canals leading to Lake Pontchartrain. Equally hemmed in by Bayou St. John to the East, the Orleans Canal to the West and the lake to the North, City Park and its golf operation was hit just as hard.
    Once home to four golf courses, City Park now has two. The original North Course, built in 1902, was home to the city's PGA Tour event, now known as the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, from 1936 through 1962 when the tournament moved to Lakewood Country Club and later English Turn Golf and Country and finally to its current home at the TPC of Louisiana in nearby Avondale. The North layout was restored and renovated several years ago, the new 7,300-yard Jones-designed South Course was built on the site of the former East and West layouts, and the fate of the old south course location today remains uncertain. 
    A year after the hurricane, a group of the city's public and business leaders decided something had to be done to save their city. Together, they formed the Bayou District Foundation to help revitalize the city's Gentilly neighborhood. 
    East of the city's more famous French Quarter, Central Business District and Uptown neighborhoods, historic Gentilly was hit especially hard by Katrina. Bayous and canals run through the area to massive Lake Pontchartrain, making Gentilly and City Park easy targets.
    Bringing the area back has been a slow and steady process that continues today. 
    At the center of that project is Bayou Oaks, the multi-agency project that helped fund construction of 685 housing units at the Columbia Parc apartment complex, a collection of 685 housing units, the Educare New Orleans early learning center, the KIPP Believe K-8 charter school and the St. Thomas Community Health Center. And there are plans for a 25,000-square-foot grocery store and pharmacy. Profits from the golf operation help support those initiatives.
    "The Bayou District Foundation has done a lot for the community; they've built apartments that are affordable and two schools," said Evan Meldahl, the newly minted winner of the 2020 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award, presented by John Deere (pictured here). "The money is going toward good things in the community."
    The blueprint for this plan to rebuild the Gentilly area is East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where philanthropist Tom Cousins who founded the East Lake Foundation that is the cornerstone of redevelopment efforts in the surrounding neighborhood. Cousins, former owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, even helped civic leaders in New Orleans establish the Bayou Oaks District Foundation.
    As many as 150,000 rounds a year once were played at City Park. After Katrina, City Park golfers scattered. Many left town and those who came back found other places to play. Since completion of the new South course, players have been coming back in droves.
    Even throughout the coronavirus period, Bayou Oaks has been jammed, with up to 9,000 rounds a month played there despite New Oreleans' infamously hot and humid climate.
    Although New Orleans is not among the country's great golf destinations, it has something big in its favor as it continues its long, slow road recovery from a life-altering event that occurred nearly two decades ago - the people who lived through it and who want to see their community and their golf course succeed.
    You can see it in their eyes, and you can hear it in their voices.
    TurfNet editor John Reitman is a former resident of Louisiana
     
  • This year's Women in Golf by Bayer will be a virtual event. After last year’s inaugural Bayer Women in Golf event in North Carolina was so successful, some folks from Bayer were wondering as the summit counted down how they would follow up in 2020 with something unique.
    No problem.
    This year’s Women in Golf event, scheduled for Sept. 16-18, will be a virtual, online event thanks, of course, to the coronavirus.
    Last year’s event, held at two Bayer facilities in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, attracted 50 women in the turf industry from across the U.S. and Canada for a series of career-development and networking opportunities.
    This year’s event will open Sept. 16 with a keynote speaker and previous attendees. The second day will include a half-day of professional development with panel discussions from industry leaders and a resume-building session. The following day will include Women in Golf alumnae and professional development seminars. Susan Hite, a career-development coach who spoke at last year's event, will return. The final day will conclude with a virtual happy hour, which should be a hit with attendees since such an attractive segment of the program is network building.
    Click here to apply for a slot in this year's virtual event.
  • Largely neglected throughout the virus quarantine, Yale Golf Course in New Haven, Connecticut, will remain closed through August. Photos by Anthony Pioppi From staff reports
    The pictures out of Yale Golf Course since spring have been, to say the least, pretty shocking. Images of unkempt greens, unmowed turf, weed-filled bunkers and patches of brown that until just a few weeks before were lush and green and awaiting golfers stand in stark contrast to Yale's historic place among the country's elite golf courses.
    Among those images, the most startling to golfers was a sign indicating that Yale, widely considered to be the best university course in the country and a regular fixture on top-100 lists, would remain closed through August.
    The course in New Haven, Connecticut was designed nearly 100 years ago by Seth Raynor. Conditions there this year have left members eager to play the layout wondering why it has been, for the most part, neglected when golf courses throughout the rest of Connecticut are open for play.
    "I can understand the frustration that some alumni and members may be feeling, however, I am in year two of my time at Yale working on a 40-year problem mixed in with a global pandemic," Yale athletics director Vicky Chun said via email. "I applaud our grounds crew and staff working directly with the course and I'm excited to hire a general manager and superintendent who will lead us into the future.
    The story of Yale Golf Course in 2020 is like most everything else this year, a complicated matter with no easy answers.
    The Yale campus was shuttered in mid-March, which included closing the golf course, which the university traditionally treats as part of the overall university infrastructure rather than a standalone golf entity. All employees across all sectors of campus operations were sent home until further notice. According to Chun, the AD at Yale since July 2018, what she described as a "skeletal crew" was permitted to stay on and work a minimal number of hours to maintain the golf course.
    "Once the university made the decision on the Spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all of our staff joined our students in a remote setting," Chun said via email. "In keeping the health and safety of our employees at the forefront of our decisions, a skeletal crew worked at both the Yale Golf Course and Yale Bowl fields. Even though the golf course grounds crew was skeletal, we did receive permission to add additional hours to their schedule."

    Complicating matters was the departure of superintendent Scott Ramsay, CGCS, in early March, two weeks before the shutdown. Ramsay, the 2006 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, had been at Yale since 2003. Yale is a union campus, and even if Ramsay had stayed, the university's collective bargaining agreement with the employees union likely would have prevented the superintendent, a management position, from working on the golf course during the shutdown.
    General manager Peter Pulaski also had left Yale earlier this year. Once a GM is hired, that person will set about the task of hiring a superintendent. Until then, Ramsay's former assistant Matthew Golino is in charge. The rest of the staff finally was permitted to return to the course full time in early July.
    Yale is ranked No. 49 on Golfweek's list of Top 100 Classic Courses, and No. 1 on the publication's list of Top 30 Campus Courses. Getting the course there and keeping there always made Ramsay work extra hard for his lofty Superintendent of the Year status, and he has said in the past that it was always a challenge to unwind years of neglect that occurred before he arrived in New Haven in 2003.
    The club, which is subject to flooding, recently completed a $400,000 drainage project, and was well on its way to marked improvement until Ramsay left for the Country Club at Farmington and the coronavirus arrived in his place.
    "The Yale Golf Course is one of numerous athletic facilities that we are extremely proud of and have plans to improve," Chun said. "When I started as Director of Athletics, I immediately recognized the importance of the course and we pushed its improvement where it was better maintained this last year as compared to the recent past. I have had many discussions with alumni who are excited about the direction the course is headed in terms of improvements. A strategic plan has been started to bring the course back to its glory. We were on our way until COVID-19 hit."
  • Thanks to the coronavirus, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center will be a lonely place this fall after the Carolinas GCSA announced its Conference and Show will be replaced with an online education event this year. Covid-19 has claimed another victim.
    As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association will replace its annual Conference and Trade Show with an online event centered on education.
    "This is a sad day for our association, but it is the right thing to do," says Carolinas GCSA president, Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG from Highlands Country Club in Highlands, NC. "The health of our members and the many industry partners who support them is our primary concern."
    Since its inception in 1962, the Carolinas Conference and Show has grown into the largest regional gathering of golf course superintendents in the country, attracting some 2,000 attendees to Myrtle Beach, SC every November. The three-day event features a golf championship for more than 350 players, nearly 30 education seminars and a trade show with around 200 companies covering more than 100,000sq.ft. of exhibition space at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
    "Clearly, this is a major blow for our association and our members in many ways," Stiehler says. "But it is also a blow for all of golf in the Carolinas because Conference and Show is like an in-person Google for what worked and what didn't work on golf courses in the previous 12 months. There is an incredible amount of information, tips and solutions that won't be passed around this year because we cannot come together as we normally do."
    The decision to cancel comes after the 1,800-member association surveyed members, industry partners and educators to discern their likely participation in a traditional Conference and Show in the current health climate.
    "Not surprisingly, a significant percentage of people had serious concerns," Stiehler says. "And it wasn't just superintendents. Some companies aren't letting their representatives travel and the same is true for many of the university scientists and researchers who lead our seminars."
    In the meantime, the association is working to deliver formal education via online platforms this fall. This ongoing education is necessary for superintendents to keep up to date with the latest research findings and to maintain various licenses.
    "I'm confident we will be able to provide access to high quality education, just in a different format and perhaps over a longer period than the traditional show dates," Stiehler says. "Trust me, like superintendents always do, we will make the most of this challenge and look forward to coming back with a great Conference and Show next year."
    Stiehler draws some of his optimism from the fact that golf in the Carolinas has remained open for play despite the virus.
    "Our members and the golf industry at large should be very proud that we have been able to keep courses open throughout this time," he says. "We said we could do it safely and we have. I want to thank our governors and our legislators in both states for putting that trust in our industry. As a result, the game has provided a critical outlet for many people and saved a lot of jobs."
    - Source: Carolinas GCSA
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