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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    With so many challenges and hurdles since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought everyone could use a dose of good news as the holiday season approaches. 
    Thanksgiving is more than a day on which people stuff themselves with turkey and dressing, watch football and take a tryptophan-induced nap. It is day for giving thanks for our many blessings.
    Since early 2020, people have been struggling with mental issues, separation anxiety, loneliness, stress related to job security and financial uncertainty as well as physical health stress related to the virus. Add to that supply issues and personnel shortages in the service industry that add the uncertainty of being able to secure necessary goods and services in a timely manner, and it adds up to a powder keg ready to blow. Still, several people we spoke with did not hesitate to say they still have much to be thankful for in 2021. We have some of their responses here.
    Bryan Unruh
    University of Florida, Pace, Florida
    I’m thankful for friends and industry partners – some are both! This past year, we lost a few due to Covid, at it causes one to pause and reflect on what’s really important. At the end of the day, the importance of growing grass pales in comparison to growing people.
    Carlos Arraya
    Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis
    I share with my family, friends and Team at Bellerive, I’m thankful for the Triple H.
    Health (physical)- Several medical issues followed by a pandemic forced me to reflect and be truly thankful for the my life.
    Happiness (mind) - Thankful I’m surrounded and supported by people that shine love in my life, no matter what I’m going through or stupid things I do.
    Healing (spirit/emotions) - Thankful my faith has provided emotional healing following 2018, which has opened a doorway to a better life.
    Lastly, thankful I’m aware and live my life knowing I have an unknown expiration date. I just pray to be a positive light for those around me while I’m here. 
    Chris Reverie
    Allentown Golf Course, Allentown, Pennsylvania
    I would say the past two years have been a whirlwind to say the least. In 2021 I am most thankful for the culture that has been taught and grown in the turfgrass industry. Short staffs, long days, more play then ever but we adapted. The resurgence of golf has led to a boom in capital that many facilities have needed for years. Supply chain has become a battle but the strength in our relationships is strong. An example is a grow in I did for a local sod farmer. Now getting the product I need on time and local!
    Justin Sims
    Alotian Club, Roland, Arkansas
    I am most thankful for my wife and three boys, Carter, Jackson and Hayden.
    We have a very fast pace and chaotic schedule, but we always find time to spend together and show each other love and appreciation.
    I am thankful every day to have such a wonderful family.
    Tim Moraghan
    Aspire Golf, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    Thankful for friends.
    Personal - I am thankful for the angel that is my wife and our health. 
    Professional - It is our sport which has given me everything. 
    Anthony Williams
    TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas, Irving, Texas
    It has been a crazy year, but that makes us grateful in deeper and different ways. I am thankful for my family that supports all my aspirations. I am also thankful that my staff at Four Seasons is always committed to excellence no matter what weather, virus or budget issue shows up they always give the highest effort. I am grateful to still be a golf course superintendent in now my 36th season, and perhaps most of all I am thankful for all of my friends and mentors in the green industry that keep me rooted and reaching for the stars. 
    Rob Golembiewski
    Bayer Environmental Science, Columbus, Ohio
    The health and safety of my family, walking my daughter down the aisle, a new son-in-law, watching in person all of my daughter's collegiate field hockey games and my son's high school cross country meets, opportunity to spend time with my parents who live in Arizona, summer cookout with siblings in Michigan, a weekend getaway with buddies in Asheville, my co-workers and the great turf industry that I am a part of.
    Ross Miller
    Country Club of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan
    It sounds very cliché and boring, but I am beyond thankful for friends and family this year. Personally, it has been amplified by the tragic loss of one of my closest friend and his wife in a plane crash this past summer – leaving their 1-year-old son to grow up without his parents. Has definitely brought into focus work/life balance, and my time with friends and family that much more, and to appreciate the little things in life. 
    Brandon Horvath
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
    I'm thankful for how well golf has done this year, as I think it has excited folks in the industry. I'm thankful for my continued journey of health and weight loss personally. I'm thankful that my son has developed a great bit of self reliance this year and is growing up to be a fine young man. Rick Brandenburg said it best at the Carolinas this past week, "When we pass, are we going to want to be remembered for how many papers we published or grants that were received, or what kind of a father, husband or friend we were?” I'm thankful for all the friends I have in this industry and beyond.
    Jake Mendoza
    Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, Michigan
    I have so many things to be thankful for this year! My top three are my family, a wonderful hardworking staff  and the support of our industry partners and club membership during an extremely difficult tournament this past summer!
    Gordon Kaufmann III
    Brandt Consolidated, State College, Pennsylvania
    I'm thankful for the planet Earth and the wonder of nature.
  • Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati will be the site of a new LPGA event in September. Photo by Kenwood Country Club Kenwood Country Club, a 36-hole facility in Cincinnati, will be the site of a new LPGA event, and the club's new superintendent will have just a few short months to prepare the club's championship course for the event.
    The inaugural Kroger Queen City Classic presented by P&G, a new LPGA event scheduled for early September at Kenwood Country Club, has added two key members to its tournament brain trust. The club hired Nate Herman as director of agronomy and grounds.
    "Launching and administering a new tour event requires a cast of thousands, but Nate and (tournament director) Emily (Norell) will steer the ship when it comes to successfully presenting the tournament, and the course itself," said Dylan Petrick, the CEO at Kenwood CC. "The Kroger Queen City Classic is a brand new tour stop, but Emily and Nate bring extraordinary tournament experience to the table. Everyone agrees the event could not be in better hands."
    Herman arrives in Cincinnati from Harbor Shores Golf Club in Michigan, site of the PGA Champions Tour's Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship. Herman also spent four years as head golf course superintendent at  Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana. Before being a head superintendent, Herman prepped at such venues like Pine Valley, Oakland Hills and Crooked Stick.
    He will need that experience at Kenwood, where he has 10 months to prepare the recently restored Kendale Course for a championship event.
    "That's just the way life is: I arrived at Harbor Shores less than a year before the 2018 Senior PGA, as well," said Herman, who replaced longtime Kenwood superintendent Kent Turner. "Tournament preparation, especially at these rarefied tournament levels, is all about preparing a course to peak at the right time. And, to be honest, that's as true for an LPGA event as it is for the club's member-guest. The Kendale course here at Kenwood is an amazing golf course, newly renovated. We'll have it looking and playing its best when the best players in the world arrive in September."
    Donald Ross originally was retained for design work, but the club eventually settled on architect Bill Diddel to design the Kendale and Kenview courses, which opened in 1930. The club was the site of the 1954 Western Open and the 1963 Women's Open. The recent restoration project was completed by Fry/Straka Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design of Dublin, Ohio.
    "I've joked that we should a statue in honor of Jason Straka," Herman said. "He was on the phone with me the day I was hired, and he was here in Cincinnati the next day to help get me up to speed. He's already been an incredible resource."
    Cincinnati boasts a long history with the LPGA. The area served as host to Women' PGA Championship from 1978 to 1989. Then known as the LPGA Championship, the event was held at the City of Mason Golf Center, formerly known as the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center. Tour legend Nancy Lopez won three of those events, including the inaugural tournament in 1978, another in 1985 and the last one, in 1989.
    Fittingly, when the Kroger Queen City Classic presented by P&G was formally unveiled in early September 2021, Lopez was there at the press conference — along with one of her 21st century protégées, Lexi Thompson. They were on hand to promote the event, the city and the LPGA Tour. 
    "I always say it's my tour," Lopez said. "It's still my tour."
    The reach of the tournament will extend far beyond the golf course.
    Lopez and Thompson also helped announce the off-course centerpiece of tournament week: a women's leadership summit, the program for which is still being formulated by Kroger, Procter & Gamble and the LPGA, with input from Norell and local stakeholders like Denise Kuprionis, the immediate past president of Kenwood CC, and Lesli Hopping, immediate past president of the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association — both of whom are the first women ever to serve in those positions.
    "The LPGA has been empowering women and diversity for 75 years," Norell said. "Whatever form it takes, the Women's Leadership Conference will inspire greater opportunities for women on and off the course, especially in the workplace — because that's what the LPGA does and has always done. That's what Cincinnati has always done, which is yet another reason we're absolutely thrilled to be back in the Queen City, at Kenwood."
    - Compiled from staff reports
  • Bill Rose was a giant of a man in the turfgrass industry - both figuratively and literally. 
    Standing 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Rose towered over most people he encountered, and his chiseled features and piercing stare were enough to cut all the others down to size. As a tough and shrewd entrepreneur and businessman sharpened by a humble childhood and years behind the stick of a U.S. Air Force bomber, Rose was years ahead of his time in the grass seed business.
    Bill Lee Rose, who revolutionized the grass seed business from field to sale, died Nov. 7. He was 91.
    A native of Bakersfield, California, Rose grew up in Hubbard, Oregon, where he later founded a collection of companies that tied the grass seed industry together, all the way from grower, to research, to marketing and sales. His start-ups include: Roselawn Seed, Tee-2-Green Corp., Turf Seed,  Pure Seed Testing, HybriGene, Rose Agri-Seed and Pure Seed. He also was instrumental in establishing the Penncross Bentgrass Association, and the Manhattan Ryegrass Association to ensure higher standards across the industry.
    "He always had vision. He was always ahead of his time," said Rose's daughter, Crystal Rose-Fricker. "He could see things that had value before others could, and because of that he always had people riding on his coattails. His life was like a field day; everyone else was riding along."
    Bill Meyer, Ph.D., worked for Rose for 21 years before heading to Rutgers, where he has been a professor and turfgrass breeder since 1996. He moved his family to Oregon in 1975 to take the position of vice president of Turf Seed Inc., a deal that included stock in Turf Seed and Pure Seed. But a year after taking the job, Meyer thought all the time he was spending loading bags of seed onto trucks for delivery was beneath his title. When he approached Rose about his frustration, he received a predictable response.
    "After a year, I was pretty discouraged. I was doing a lot of loading of trucks in the afternoon instead of doing research," Meyer said. "Bill came to me and said, how about I give you your stock now and let you be president of Pure Seed? Now get to work."
    That tough exterior defined Rose throughout his life in and out of business. Many recall him as a rugged yet gentle man, who along with late Penn State professor Joe Duich, Ph.D., worked to ensure more accountability in the seed industry by working to hold seed producers accountable by making sure what was IN the bag was actually what was labeled ON the bag, and not some junked up sack of weed-contaminated seed.
    "He looked like a tough guy, but he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet," said former Penn State professor Al Turgeon, Ph.D. 
    "Along with Joe Duich, they brought a degree of integrity to an industry that some indicated beforehand was lacking. Together, they formed the Penncross growers association, and part of the reason they did that was to maintain standards in the seed industry."
    Rose's tough, rugged persona was not just talk. He earned it. The son of a pig farmer, he was B-36 Peacemaker pilot during the Korean War era. With a wingspan of 230 feet, the B-36 had the longest wingspan of any U.S. military aircraft. A 10-engine behemoth (yes, it was powered by 10 engines), the plane had a range of 10,000 miles without requiring refueling.
    It was during his days studying soils at Oregon State and flying the world's biggest bomber that he became interested in seed production.
    "He was a lieutenant in the Air Force flying bombers and I was a helicopter pilot in the Army during Vietnam, so we always talked about aviation," Turgeon said. 
    "He was a very successful man. I became a real admirer of Bill."
    Meyer remembers Rose as a detail-oriented businessman whose drive and preparation were unmatched.
    "He was organized. Before a trade meeting, we would work for maybe five days developing a file for each customer; what we sold them last year and what we have to sell them this year," Meyer said. "My job was to play devil's advocate in those meetings and tell him why his ideas were wrong. It's amazing to think back now on the rehearsals we did for those meetings. 
    "His plan was to bring the opposition to its knees. He wanted to win, not unethically, but aggressively. He had grit in the seed business. He had grit like no one else had grit."
    Survivors include Sheryl Robertson and her children and grandchildren; mother Betty Rose; daughter Crystal Rose-Fricker (Mark); grandson Austin Fricker; granddaughter McKayla Fricker-Smucker (Chris); daughter Cara Rose-Tuggle (Scott); son Ed Rose (Tami); grandson Brandon Rose and granddaughter Kahleia Rose.
  • Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, site of this year's Solheim Cup and several USGA and PGA events, has been chosen as the site of the 2029 U.S. Amateur. Photo by the PGA of America Fresh off a successful summer on the world stage, Inverness Club has been tapped by the U.S. Golf Association as the site of the 2029 U.S. Amateur.
    The news caps a successful run for the recently restored Donald Ross classic. The course in Toledo, Ohio, was the site of this year's Solheim Cup, and hosted the LPGA Drive On Championship and in 2020 and the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur. 
    When the Junior Amateur returns to northwestern Ohio on Aug. 13-19, 2029, it will be the second time Inverness has hosted the event and the club's ninth USGA event overall. Craig Stadler beat David Strawn 6-and-5 in 1973 in the only other U.S. Amateur at Inverness.
    Other USGA events at Inverness include the 1920 U.S. Open won by Ted Ray, 1931 (Billy Burke) and 1957 (Dick Mayer) and 1979 (Hale Irwin).
    The announcement is a fitting continuation of success for the club where the USGA Green Section was founded in advance of the 1920 U.S. Open. 
    The influence of the Green Section is evident still today at Inverness, where John Zimmers is superintendent and where architect Andrew Green completed a restoration in 2017 that brought back many of Ross's design elements that had been lost through the years.
    The club, where Byron Nelson was the pro from 1940-44, already was entrenched in men's championship golf. Inverness was the site of two PGA Championships (1986, '93), two U.S. Senior Open Championships (2003, '11).
    Future U.S. Amateur Sites
    2022: The Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, New Jersey.
    2023: Cherry Hills Country Club, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.
    2024: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.    Aug. 12-18
    2025: The Olympic Club, San Francisco, California.
    2026: Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
    2027: Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, New York.
    2028: TBD
    2029: Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio.
    2030: TBD
    2031: The Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tennessee.
  • LebanonTurf, a provider of innovative and high-performance plant nutrition for the golf and landscaping industries, announced its news Growing Together end user reward program for industry professionals to maximize their maintenance budget.
    Through Feb. 28, 2022, golf course superintendents and turf managers can earn rewards on LebanonTurf's most popular products used in the industry, which include Country Club MD, Emerald Isle Solutions, Country Club with Acelepryn + Dimension, Country Club Humic Max and Country Club Root Reviver.
    “Our industry professionals are at the center of all we do and we’re constantly looking for more ways to involve and reward them with LebanonTurf’s brands ,” said Chris Gray, golf market manager for LebanonTurf. “By offering a rich reward program with multiple ways to redeem them, we’re giving them more reasons to engage with us.”
    Industry professionals will earn a reward for each unit purchased during the program period that can be redeemed as either an Amazon e-gift card or as a distributor credit. A minimum purchase of 50 units is required to qualify for the reward payment and they can double the total reward with a purchase of 150 total units or more.
    Click here for more information on the Growing Together reward program, including the full list of eligible products and rewards.  
    LebanonTurf, a division of privately held Lebanon Seaboard, offers the landscape and golf markets both microbiological components and advanced controlled-release fertilizers delivered as part of an integrated systems approach to turf- and plant-care needs.
  • This slide reflects one of the many models Herb Stevens and Garrett Bastardi use to predict long-range weather forecasts, including an upcoming La Niña winter in 2021-22. Photo courtesy of Garrett Bastardi. Photo below from Michigan State University. Anoxia, a complete lack of oxygen in the turf plant caused by prolonged periods of ice cover on some types of cool-season putting greens, is a major concern for golf course superintendents.
    Imagine the benefits of knowing about threatening weather events long before they arrive. 
    Herb Stevens, a former TV meteorologist and one of the original on-air personalities when The Weather Channel debuted in 1982, has been providing weather reports to the skiing and golf turf industry for more than 20 years. His clients in the golf business say his mid- to long-range forecasts are more reliable than anything they can get anywhere else.
    In a recent TurfNet webinar he presented with fellow meteorologist Garrett Bastardi, Stevens said superintendents in some areas of the country can expect colder-than-average temperatures and higher-than-normal amounts of precipitation that are common in a La Niña winter.
    "As we take a look at the next five months or so, you have to understand the main consideration is where the potential energy is wrapped up in the whole global machine of the weather. Oceans are where we look first," Stevens said.
    "A La Niña usually results in a colder-than-normal winter for much of the country."
    Stevens has been providing weather updates for superintendents under the Grassroots Weather badge and has teamed with Bastardi and others to recently launch the Turf Threat Tracker app that provides geo-specific short-term weather updates.
    For the second straight year, the United States appears to be headed into a La Niña winter, which is triggered in part by cooler water in the Pacific Ocean according to Stevens and Bastardi. 
    Stevens explained that temperatures are colder than usual for much of the U.S. even in a weak La Niña year. 
    "There is a fair degree of variability during the course of a winter," Stevens said. 
    "If you get to moderate (La Niña), it changes things. You have a colder-than-normal winter for a good portion of the country."
    There are differences between the La Niña predicted for the upcoming winter and the last one, including pockets of warm water off the coast of Alaska last year that kept precipitation amounts down. Those warm waters have been replaced by cooler waters this year signalling more chance of precipitation in the Midwest and Northeast, and increased chance for ice accumulation where cold and warm air masses meet. As warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico sweeps north and meets a cold air mass, the result is snow, or worse, ice.
    "The weather event that scares me the most is the ice storm," he said. 
    "You tend to have dry winters in Florida. If you like to go to Florida during the winter time, La Niñas are a good time to go."
    It is no surprise that Stevens eventually brought his forecasting to the golf industry. An accomplished golfer, Stevens caddied on the PGA Tour from 1969-80, including five years for Larry Nelson. He once called caddying for Nelson during the 1979 Ryder Cup at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, his greatest golf memory. As a graduate of Penn State University's meteorology school, Stevens always believed it made sense to work with superintendents, given the school's well-known turfgrass program.
    Most traditional forecasting services use information from the National Weather Service. But those forecasts only look at small windows of time. Stevens and Bastardi make their long-range forecasts from studying time-tested forecasting models that marry current conditions with information gleaned from examining similar weather patterns and cycles from the past.
    Several European models that Stevens and Bastardi have studied point to a second straight La Niña winter.
    "There's going to be a battle between the cold air that's going to want to push in due to the driving forces through the atmosphere along with the warmer that's farther south due to some of the La Niña impacts," Bastardi said.
    "So what you're going to see is a lot of back and forth this upcoming winter. We think early on, everything is pointing toward a cool, fast start. But after we get past that cool, fast start to winter there is going to be some variance. And so when you look at these temperature anomalies at 5,000 feet above the surface it very much reflects what you see with the 500 millibar pattern: cooler across the northern plains, cooler than normal in Canada, warmer than normal across the South, and in turn, the stormiest weather you are going to see is right at the collision of those two air masses."
  • Aquatrols names 2 new managers
    Aquatrols, a manufacturer of soil surfactants and related technologies, has appointed August Young and Tom Breiner as U.S. territory managers. 
    In their new roles, Young will be responsible for overseeing the company’s business in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Breiner will oversee business in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. 
    Both Young and Breiner join Aquatrols after holding previous sales positions within the turf industry and between them hold more than 25 years of combined experience.

    SubAir partners with Soil Scout
    SubAir Systems has announced a partnership with Soil Scout, a wireless underground soil moisture sensor startup from Finland, to give turf managers more control with automated subsurface monitoring and ventilation.
    Soil Scout’s sensor transmits moisture, temperature and salinity data in real-time from more than 6 feet below the surface and works in concert with SubAir’s subsurface aeration and moisture-removal units to automatically adjust soil-moisture levels.
    Soil Scout, which was founded by Finnish agro-technology researcher and 19th-generation farmer Johannes Tiusanen, Ph.D., and electronics expert Jussi Sirkiä, also recently announced its partnership with GreenSight, a U.S.-based provider of autonomous aerial intelligence services, and is expanding its U.S. operations to help combat the ongoing drought in California.
    LidoChem names new president and CFO 
    Lisa Pucillo has been named acting president and chief financial officer of LidoChem, Inc. She assumes the leadership role held by her longtime business partner, Don Pucillo, who died in October.
    Now in its 40th year, LidoChem will carry forth the “Partners in Growth” philosophy embodied in a quote from Don Pucillo: “We appreciate the trust growers and turf managers place in us when they buy our products, and we honor that trust by continuing to offer the best products we can.” 
    LidoChem was founded in 1981. In 1999, Don Pucillo was one of the first in the industry to acknowledge a change in the needs of crop, turf and ornamental growers. Both regulations and environmental awareness drove demand for economical, effective and greener products, and he recognized the need to utilize natural resources to provide nutrition for plants and soil microbes.
    The Performance Nutrition division was later created within LidoChem to develop eco-friendly products for the agricultural and turf markets using new and cutting-edge technologies. 
  • If you have forgotten how to pack for a road trip after being grounded for nearly two years by a global health crisis, there is no need to worry, because you probably are not alone. After all, who has not forgotten such travel essentials as toothpaste, a hairbrush or, oh, say a copy of your Covid 19 vaccination card? Everyone headed to next year's GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego better pack all three.
    The California Department of Public Health recently reaffirmed its rule that all attendees at indoor events of 1,000 or more people - which includes the GCSAA Conference - must show proof of a Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test result. The department most recently reviewed its policy on what it calls "mega events" on Oct. 28, and there is no indication that it will be reviewed again before the GCSAA Conference scheduled for Feb. 5-10 in San Diego. And that policy has not influenced the association's desire for an in-person show for its members and industry partners in 2022.
    Proof of a vaccine or negative test result, so far, are NOT necessary to fly anywhere in the continental United States, including San Diego, but one or the other will be required to gain access to the convention center upon touchdown at Lindbergh Field. Convention center personnel told TurfNet that a picture of a vaccine card downloaded to a smartphone will suffice for proof.
    "Nope," was Joe Wachter's response when asked if showing proof of a vaccination will influence his decision to attend the show. 
    "I'm planning on going. Just a few more left for me, unless I go after I retire. Which could happen, I guess."
    If you have not been vaccinated, you better stick a mask in that suitcase, as well.
    According to convention center personnel, the facility follows all CDC recommendations for masking, which includes mandatory mask use for anyone who has not been vaccinated. And since showing a vax card is required for entry, there is no faking it - at least when entering the facility. What happens afterward is between each unvaxxed attendee and their respective conscience.
    The convention center also suggests vaccinated visitors mask up, but it is not required - at least by the convention center. Host organizations are at liberty to impose stricter guidelines for their events, including masks for all attendees, according to convention center staff.
    Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa, said he is OK with vax mandates.
    "I don't mind showing that I have been vaccinated to go to the show," Tegtmeier said. 
    "I am not going to Beer and Pretzels and wear a mask, or walk the trade show floor with a mask on. I would rather stay home than be forced to do that at any function."
    This year's show scheduled for Las Vegas was canceled due to Covid, and was replaced by a virtual show. In the event a physical show goes off as planned in 2022, there will still be a virtual show held over a 32-hour period Feb. 23-24, and the education will differ from that offered in the live conference.
    Although the GCSAA is planning for an in-person show, nothing is certain. The number of Covid cases has been on the decline in California, but much can change between now and February. If Covid conditions in California were to worsen, another all-virtual event could be on tap again.
    John Zimmers of Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, said he probably will be headed to San Diego, but he also wonders how many of his colleagues will be staying home this year, either because of Covid concerns, opinions on vaccinations, club economics or just plain old coronavirus fatigue.
    "From my perspective, I've been vaccinated, so it probably wouldn't really change much of what I will decide to do, or not do," Zimmers said. "But it is interesting, and I'm sure it will have some sort of output or input on people who are going or not going. Everybody seems to have a different opinion on it. But it appears if you are going to travel that you are going to have to have the vaccine. I think it would certainly be easier if everyone would standardize things.
    "I think it will be very interesting to see how many people actually do travel. There is still a lot of uncertainty with people and kids in school and being around other people, and I also think there are a lot of employers that are still kind of a little hesitant in terms of employees traveling."
  • Just when you thought you've seen everything, something comes along that makes you realize just how naive you are.
    Since the golf industry slipped into a decline of waning participation, fewer players and even fewer golf courses nearly 20 years ago, operators have been searching for ways to cut expenses. A French company believes it has a handle on wrangling some of those high costs associated with maintaining a golf course - just stop mowing the grass, or watering it.
    At least some of it, anyway.
    Academie 57, a golf academy in the east of France, is constructing a golf course with synthetic turf on greens and tees and around bunkers.
    Academie 57 is a golf learning center in the city of Metz about 40 miles from the German border. Its facilities include a host of instructional golf opportunities for children and adults, including classes and clinics and classroom education - and apparently teaching newcomers to play the game on a surface they probably never will encounter again lest it include a windmill.
    The project, a nine-hole short course comprising par-3 and par-4 holes, is being led by Diamond Golf Architects of Belgium and Southwest Greens Construction, located in The Netherlands. Greenshaping, a French partner of Southwest Greens, also is involved in the project.
    The project will have natural grass in all other areas. Officials did not say how much they expect to save on maintenance and water use over the lifetime of the course. Academie 57 officials have said they are confident the synthetic surface will stand the test of time. That opinion is based on their testing the product . . . for two years. Fortunately, it comes complete with a user guide and five-year warranty.
    According to the American Society of Golf Course Architects, a golf course putting green constructed with natural grass should last 15 to 30 years - but does not include a user guide.
  • Thousands of trees were damaged or destroyed at TPC of Louisiana by Hurricane Ida in August. Photo by TPC of Louisiana New Orleans has a long history with professional golf, dating back to Lighthorse Harry Cooper's win in the first and only Crescent City Open at City Park Golf Course more than 80 years ago.
    Since Cooper's win at City Park in 1938, there have been several name changes to what is now the Zurich Classic, and it has been played a host of courses since finally settling in - for the most part - at the TPC of Louisiana in nearby Avondale in 2005. 
    New Orleans also has a history with tropical weather, and sometimes Mother Nature wins out over golf.
    The TPC of Louisiana, a Pete Dye design 15 miles upriver from the French Quarter, reopened recently after being closed for two months courtesy of Hurricane Ida, and the course lost perhaps its most well-known feature when the Category 4 storm passed by on Aug. 29.
    The 105-foot bald cypress once located 80 yards in front of the 11th green was uprooted by Ida, which recorded maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. The storm damaged or toppled at least 500 trees on the course, and thousands in the surrounding woods and swampland.
    Course officials hope to replace the tree with another cypress on the course before next spring. A healthy 75-foot cypress in a nearby wooded area has been identified as a possible replacement. A company that specializes in moving trees could complete the job in late January or early February.
    Officials plan to re-plant hundreds of trees on the course over the next year to restore heavily damaged wooded areas throughout the course.
    Four buildings on the site also received roof and interior damage from winds and wind-driven rain and are under repair.
    The forerunner of the Zurich Classic has been played in New Orleans since that inaugural event in 1938. The only interruptions to play were in 1943, 1947, 1949-57 and 2020. Tournaments were played at City Park from 1938 to 1962, Lakewood Country Club (1963-88), English Turn (1989-2004, 2006) and TPC Avondale (2005, 2007-21). TPC Louisiana is no stranger to tropical weather. The Zurich was moved back to English Turn in 2006 when the TPC was closed due to damage from Hurricane Katrina, which struck the area the year before.
  • The folks who revolutionized the way superintendents relive soil compaction on golf courses are now offering their services to the residential and commercial turf and tree-care markets.
    DryJect recently launched Advanced Agro, a version of its soil compaction-relief service that uses a high-speed, water-based injection system to blast aeration holes through the root zone to fracture the soil and simultaneously fills holes to the surface with high volumes of sand or amendment. This allows users to relieve compaction, increase water infiltration, reach the root zone with oxygen and amend the soil with high volumes of material all at the same time while also leaving the surface smooth and immediately playable. 
    Current DryJect franchisees are bound to golf or sports turf. Advanced Agro will serve the commercial and residential turf and arboriculture markets.
    "We have a soils-first mentality," said DryJect president John Paddock. "If you build the soils, you have happy turf and happy trees. If you take care of everything below the surface, you will have the ability to take care of everything above the surface."
    DryJect worked with a local tree-care company in Arizona to develop the new service under the name Advanced Agro, which features a machine that is 2 feet shorter and a foot narrower than the original DryJect equipment. It also has the capability to deliver multiple products at once at the root or surface level for turf and tree care, Paddock said. 
    "The machine is set up for a 36-inch gate and an injection pattern that is 32 inches wide with eight injectors spaced 4 inches apart," Paddock said. "It gives us the ability to inject four products at the roots or surface and incorporate some things that the tree-care industry is looking for, such as nutrients, plant growth regulators or two dry products."
  • City-owned Balboa Golf Course in Los Angeles opened in 1954. Photo by golf.lacity.org Too much water in some places, not enough in others. Increasing negative publicity as a fallout from water use, chemical and fertilizer applications and a longing eye from those who look at golf courses and see what "could be." There is no doubt that a perfect storm has been brewing in California for some time, and some golf courses throughout the state could get caught in the maelstrom.
    Is California caught up in yet another drought similar to the one that reigned over the state from 2012 to 2016, or has this year been part of a longer event? Did recent storms that dumped unusual amounts of rain and snow for October do anything to alleviate those concerns of drought? With the state mired in what some consider a climate event that has been ongoing for two decades, one thing is certain, California is facing a water crisis of dire proportions. Many reservoirs built to collect surface water to feed the needs of nearly 40 million people are at a fraction of their holding capacity and the governor recently declared a statewide water emergency.
    The declaration does not call for mandated cuts in use, but does establish target goals that call for voluntary savings statewide of 15 percent compared with 2020.
    "That storm was really good. It didn't end the drought for us, but it certainly helped," said Tom Hsieh, whose company manages municipal Gleneagles Golf Club at McLaren Park in San Francisco. "It allows most of us to turn off the water for a little while here, and it gives us a little bit of hope that we will have a normal season; we don't know. This rain storm does not end the drought by any means. We're not going to be out of a drought until at least a year of normal, maybe two years of normal rainfall before they declare the drought over."
    California's water woes are at a confluence with another problem plaguing much of the state - a lack of affordable housing. A bill introduced into the California Assembly could make it attractive for some cities to convert municipal golf courses to high-density real estate.
    Assembly Bill 672, introduced in February by Cristina Garcia of California's 58th district in Los Angeles County, targets municipal golf courses as potential sites for affordable housing and open space, died in committee in April. However, the bill has been amended as of September 1 with changes, including an influx of public assistance and the elimination of certain zoning requirements. It is expected to make a return engagement in session in January as a two-year bill.
    "It doesn't matter, in every city in the state the most pressing issue everyone is talking about is affordable housing," said Craig Kessler, governmental affairs director for the Southern California Golf Association.
    "The problem golf has goes to public opinion. Land is precious and extra expensive. Golf encompasses acres of land in cities that cannot meet their housing needs."
    AB 672, in its newest form, makes available $50 million from the state's general fund "to provide grants to cities, counties, and cities and counties to incentivize making publicly owned golf courses in densely populated areas available for housing and publicly accessible open space," the bill states. It also removed zoning requirements and the need for an environmental impact statement in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
    The allure of a piece of that $50 million pie might be too good to pass up for elected officials looking to curry public favor by paving the way for more affordable housing and greenspace at the expense of what many in the public consider an extravagance for the privileged.
    "People love wide-open spaces in an urban setting," Kessler said. 
    "If you don't play golf, a 150-acre golf course doesn't do you much good, but a park does, even though we know golf courses are much more utilized than public parks."

    Municipal Rancho Park Golf Course in Los Angeles serves the city's west side. Photo by golf.lacity.org In March, leaders from 191 cities and six counties comprising the Southern California Association of Governments voted for a plan to add 1.3 million new homes by 2029. Municipal golf might be considered low-hanging fruit, but it will not go very far in helping Southern California meet its housing needs. The City of Los Angeles owns seven regulation golf courses, three nine-hole facilities and two par-3 layouts.
    Hsieh, who has a background in local politics and public advocacy, says AB 672 is bad for golf and does not go far enough to accomplish its stated goals.
    "This bill concerns me a great deal," Hsieh said. "There are many other options to accomplish home-density goals, but instead this bill targets low-hanging fruit, and that's the golf industry; specifically the municipal and public golf industry.
    "I think the assembly member has ample ability to introduce or support measures that increase the housing density that we need in California to meet the housing needs, but it's obviously a little bit harder, because it has to go into existing neighborhoods, or rezone existing places."
    Hsieh points to legislation, such as Senate Bill 10, which was introduced by State Sen. Scott Wiener and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 21. SB 10 calls for increased high-density housing on existing transit corridors and provides bonuses for increasing density in existing structures.
    "In many ways, Assembly Bill 6-7-2 is in exact opposition to the stated goals of California to reduce emissions and to get people out of their cars.
    "Golf courses are Fortunately, during the pandemic we were able to showcase why golf is important from a holistic community point of view, beyond just affinity for the sport. This measure eliminates that opportunity. It eliminates it. And it contributes to urban sprawl. And it contributes to increased CO2 emissions. It's going to make people drive. Most golf courses are not in the center of a city. I think San Francisco is the only place that has them in the center of a city. It's an ill-advised, not thoughtfully crafted piece of legislation."
    Kessler said state golf associations are busily preparing a marketing campaign to educate the public on the merits of the game, namely public golf. With $50 million dangling in front of local leaders, that might be a tall order, especially in times of drought. Hopefully, recent weather systems that have dumped rain throughout much of the state and snow by the foot in the Sierra Nevada, which is critical to feed water supplies during spring thaw, continue and are not an anomaly, Kessler said.
    "We want to give golfers a reason to take a few minutes to make a call, or send an email," he said. "It's going to be a challenge, but I'm optimistic. It's bad policy that creates a lot of problems and doesn't address the problems it is designed to solve."
    "You can't hide a golf course in a drought, and you can't hide it when others covet it for other uses."
    Hsieh hopes the public and state officials see golf courses for what they are, valuable recreational outlets that played a key role during the pandemic, and that taking any of them away for high-density housing is misguided - at least in California.
    "Municipal golf courses are recreational outlets not unlike a softball field, or a public swimming pool, or tennis court, and we saw the benefit of open accessible public space like a golf course during the pandemic when everything else was closed and the safest way to recreate as a family was on a publicly managed golf course. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic to realize that," he said. "So, the whole trope that golf is an elitist sport and golf courses are not widely used is just not true. So, I think it's a misguided piece of legislation, and I hope the rest of the assembly sees it for what it is."
  • Registration is open for the 2022 University of Massachusetts Winter School for Turf Managers.
    The Winter School is a certificate program designed to present concepts essential to maintaining high quality turf, with emphasis on environmental stewardship, input reduction and fiscal responsibility. This comprehensive short course is designed for experienced professionals working in the golf, sports turf, LCO and parks and recreation industries. It also is ideal for those who want to advance in their career, but do not have the time or resources for a traditional two-year or four-year academic program.
    Since the onset of the pandemic, the Winter School has made the transition from a full-time, in-person, six-week event to a 10-week virtual experience scheduled for Jan. 3-March 11, 2022. Instruction will be a combination of live and on-demand content. The routine schedule will feature live class time from 1-3:30 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 3:330-5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. On-demand content can be viewed as time allows for each attendee.
    Topics to be covered include: Fundamentals of Turf Management; Advanced Topics in Turf; Soil Science and Management; Turf Pathology; Turf Entomology; Weed Management; Irrigation and Equipment Management; Arboriculture.
    Winter School instructors will include Michelle DaCosta, Ph.D., Deborah Henson, Ph.D., Geunhwa Jung, Ph.D., Olga Kostromytska, Ph.D., Jason Lanier, Angela Madeiras, Ph.D., James Poro and Randall Prostak, all of the University of Massachusetts.
    Everyone who completes the program will receive a Certificate of Completion. Continuing Education Units also are available. Pesticide recertification contact hours will be offered. The UMass Winter School for Turf Managers meets continuing education requirements for licensed pesticide applicators in all New England states.
    Deadline for application is Nov. 19, and space is limited. All interested parties must apply and be accepted to enroll, and applications will be considered in the order received. All applicants will be notified via email of application status within one week of submission of a complete application, therefore please provide an active email address and check spam/junk folder, or contact us if not notified within one week. Payment is required within three weeks from the date of your acceptance email, and the deadline for all students to pay in full is Dec. 10.
  • When former golf course superintendent Jim Hill decided it was time for a change of scenery in his professional career, he opted for a line of work far less stressful than managing greens for demanding golfers - he started a business to assist other superintendents and entered the world of politics to help his local community.
    Hill, 52, currently is vice mayor of Sebastian, Florida, a still somewhat sleepy-ish town in Indian River County that has managed to avoid some of the unchecked growth so common in the state's coastal cities. In mid-November, he will be named the city's mayor, a title he has held so many times (at least five) since he was first elected to the Sebastian City Council in 2000, he admits he is losing count.
    "Right now, my title is vice mayor. If you wait a few weeks, I'll be the mayor again," Hill said. "I've probably been vice mayor eight times, and I think five times I've been named the mayor."
    Sebastian operates as a city manager-run town. City council, which determines long-range goals for the city, chooses a mayor and vice mayor from its body.
    "The city manager runs the day-to-day operations of the city," Hill said. "The city council oversees the city manager and establishes a long-term vision for the city. The city manager takes that vision and makes it happen."
    A 1997 graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, Hill was most recently superintendent from 2005 to 2008 at Pointe West Country Club in Vero Beach, Florida. He left the ranks of working golf course superintendents to start Innovative Drain Technologies, which specializes in clearing clogged drainage systems on golf courses.
    IDT provides no-dig clearing of sand, silt, sediment, rocks, roots and other blockages from drainage systems without the need for excavation. The system works through a high-pressure, bullet-shaped nozzle that uses water pressure to work through and clear blockages. Since Hill founded the company, it has expanded to offer video inspection of drainage systems and ground-penetrating radar services.
    Hill's next term as mayor, which runs for one year, will be his last. 
    "I don't have any intention to run again in 2022," Hill said. "To be honest, my business is doing so well, it takes up so much of my time, and I am traveling so much. I have focused the last 22 years of my life on the City of Sebastian; I think Sebastian is in good hands. I'll let the new guys take over and take control, and I will focus on business and family."
    The life of a politician - even at the local level - is not a lot unlike being a golf course superintendent. Both positions have constituents who criticize and praise your work.
    "The mayor takes a lot of complaints or praise from the public, does ribbon-cuttings and veterans memorial services," he said. "We take input from the public on what they would like to see happen.
    "There is a lot of negative stuff, just like you see in national politics. If someone disagrees with you on one thing, suddenly you are inept and corrupt, all the things you hear about politicians, suddenly you're that person. The difference is, you go to the same church and grocery store as these people, so when negative things are said about you, it sticks to you a little more because you see them in the community."

    Jim Hill's IDT uses ground-penetrating radar to locate lost greens perimeters and clogged drain outflows. In more than two decades serving his community, Hill believes he has made a lasting impression on Sebastian, which has a population of about 25,000. Tucked between cities where growth has run amuck, Sebastian and Vero Beach (population 16,000) still have a hint of Old Florida charm about them. That feeling is lost in Palm Bay to the north (population 112,000) and Port St. Lucie (pop. 190,000) to the south.
    The road connecting the town to Interstate 95 looks the same today as it did two decades ago. There has been commercial growth, mainly retail shops and restaurants, along the Indian River (Intracoastal Waterway) to provide services to residents and help attract tourist dollars.
    "When I came here, (State Road) 512 was four lanes, and you'd see some stores pop up on it. I want to keep it that way," he said. "We've been able to keep Sebastian a cool place. We've built up the riverfront, we've developed the airport to help build the tax base, we've developed parks, but we've been able to keep it a small place that is very cool."
    Hill's background in golf has helped the city develop its own IPM program and ward off attempts from those who have promoted pesticide and fertilizer bans.
    "We just finished establishing an IPM program that took two years to complete," Hill said. "We've had some fairly boisterous environmental groups push for fertilizer bans and pesticide bans and talk to us about water use. 
    "My degree is in environmental horticulture, so I have been able to look at these issues through a scientific eye and make recommendations based on that knowledge. I have been able to convince the majority of the council that those bans are not beneficial in the long run and that we are doing the right things. 
    "We developed a program that is specific for Sebastian, our stormwater issues, parks and wetlands, and we put it into a published IPM that people can look at and read the data. You can talk to people 'til the cows come home that you are doing the right thing, but until you have documentation for them to look at, it is hard for them to listen to you."
    So, will Hill miss local politics when he steps away to focus on family and business?
    "I've gotten out of it what I went into it to get," he said. "I love my community. It's a nice city with a vibrant riverfront district that still has that small-town feel. And we've been able to keep it that way."
  • California is coming off its second-driest year ever in 2020. Photo by James Hempfling California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide drought emergency on Oct. 19, but stopped short issuing any use-reduction mandates. The move by the governor came after voluntary conservation efforts continue to fall far short.
    Newsom also authorized California’s water regulators to ban practices, such as hosing off public sidewalks, and directed the Office of Emergency Services to fund drinking water as needed. 
    Today’s announcement extends drought emergencies, already declared in 50 counties, to the eight remaining counties where conditions had thus far not been deemed severe enough. They are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, San Francisco and Ventura counties. 
    Under the proclamation, local water suppliers must begin preparing for the possibility of a dry year ahead.  
    Data released Oct. 19 by the State Water Resources Control Board showed that year-over-year water use in California was cut 5 percent in August compared with the same month last year. The state had sought cutbacks of 15 percent.
    The current reductions in water use are on top of conservation that has continued since the last drought. In 2020, Californians were already using about 16 percent less water in their homes and businesses statewide compared to 2013, according to the state water board.
    August was the hottest and driest month on record in California, according to the governor’s office.
    With nearly 90 percent of the state under extreme drought, last year was the second driest on record in California, and reservoirs statewide are at an average of 60 percent of capacity, according to the board.
    State officials have said water providers south of the San Joaquin River Delta might be cut off from water from the State Water Project, which collects surface water and transports it throughout the state via a system of canals and aqueducts.
  • SiteOne recently launched a new line of Lesco ride-on spreaders and sprayers for a variety of applications.
    The new Lesco 100, 200, 300 and 600 Applicator models boast an all-stainless steel frame and coated Peerless transaxle to resist corrosive granular chemicals.
    The 100 model features a low center of gravity for improved stability on sloped terrain, and the 200 can be used to apply dry or liquid materials and features a dual setting spray system with 3-foot and 10-foot settings for multiple applications. It also has a narrow width of 35.5 inches making it easy to navigate around tight spaces.
    With zero-turn drive and a variable spray system, the 300 model delivers coverage widths of 2, 4, 6 or 8 feet. Two liquid spray tanks provide a total capacity of 24 gallons for up to 2.2 acres of coverage.
    As the largest model in the lineup, the 600 model provides 20 percent more liquid and granular capacity. It offers 12-foot spray coverage, plus a pivoting front axle with a low center of gravity for improved performance on uneven terrain. 
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