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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club receives the 2018 Superintendent of the Year Award from Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta. His successor will be named Jan. 30 at this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando. This year's finalists for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta come from a variety of backgrounds. These experiences include opening an entire industry to the once-taboo subject of mental health, following a legend, dealing with the effects of a devastating natural disaster, managing a sprawling property under tough conditions and overcoming personal challenges most others take for granted.
    The finalists for this year's award are: Kyle Callahan, Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana; Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in Abaco, Bahamas; Ryan Gordon, the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington; Paul MacCormack, Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, Prince Edward Island; and Jake Mendoza, Detroit Golf Club.
    Kyle Callahan
    Meticulous planning and organization help overcome limited budget and staffing and wall-to-wall bentgrass at a sprawling 400-acre facility in southwestern Indiana - an area where all other courses are growing zoysiagrass. Click here to read more.
    Matt DiMase
    Stayed on the island during Hurricane Dorian and used his knowledge and experience as a superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course, for members of his team and for locals in his community. Click here to read more.
    Ryan Gordon
    Rather than let hearing loss hold him back, Ryan Gordon has used it to his advantage to redefine effective non-verbal communication at this Seattle-area course that is home to an annual Champions Tour event. Click here to read more.
    Paul MacCormack
    Began studying mindfulness to overcome the stress related to a job loss, then used a blog to spread the benefits of this movement to fellow superintendents, opening the door to discussing a difficult topic - mental health. Click here to read more.
    Jake Mendoza
    In just two years at historic Detroit Golf Club has proven to be a natural leader with what a member of his team has called unmatched agronomic skill and ability to handle anything that comes up while also prepping for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Click here to read more.
    Finalists are chosen from our panel of judges spanning the golf industry on criteria that 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.
    The winner will be named Jan. 30 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and will receive a trip for two on the TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland.
    Previous winners include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX & 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).
  • Carlos Arraya's successor to the Superintendent of the Year award will be announced on Jan. 30 in the Syngenta booth next month at the Golf Industry Show. A virtual reality experience, health and skin cancer screenings, a 5K run, a women in turf panel and the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award are a few of the things Syngenta will have on tap next month at the Golf Industry Show.
    During the show scheduled for Jan. 25-30 in Orlando, Florida, Syngenta will provide GIS attendees with opportunities for networking, prioritizing their personal health and learning about innovative solutions for defending their turf. 
    Visitors to the Syngenta Booth (#2628) can experience a unique look at the science behind the company’s Action-branded solutions through virtual reality. The experience will allow visitors to the Syngenta booth to see how acibenzolar-s-methyl, the plant defense activator in Daconil Action, Heritage Action and Secure Action fungicides, helps protect turf from stress. They also will be entered for a chance to win one of six sets of Sonos One Bluetooth speakers.
    During the show, Syngenta will introduce two new fungicides and also will support numerous events, including the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award presentation, the Ladies Leading Turf panel discussion and more. 
    Additionally, as part of Condition. Perform. Recover. from Syngenta, which focuses on turf health and superintendents’ personal health, attendees can receive free wellness check ups at the Mobile Wellness Unit in Booth #2607 and free skin cancer screenings at the GIS Wellness Pavilion. Online registration is also open for the annual Health in Action 5K fun run. 
    “Through our Experience the Action virtual reality, we’re excited to show superintendents an in-depth look at how the Action family of products helps manage turf stress,” said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager at Syngenta. “But we also know their jobs come with their own stresses, so we hope attendees take a moment to focus on themselves with our free health checkups and skin cancer screenings.”

    Rick Tegtmeier and Jorge Croda were co-winners of the Superintendent of the Year award in 2017. Below is an overview of all the Syngenta highlights at GIS 2020:
    Experience the Action – Virtual Reality Experience 
    Syngenta Booth #2628
    Jan. 29-30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 
    Go inside a turf plant via virtual reality to see how acibenzolar-s-methyl, the plant defense activator in the Action-branded solutions, helps protect turf from stress like disease, heat and drought. 
    Mobile Wellness Unit – Free Medical Checkups and Skin Cancer Screenings
    Booth #2607 – in the GIS wellness pavilion 
    Jan. 29-30, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Syngenta will offer free health screenings for turf management professionals at its Mobile Wellness Unit. A registered nurse will provide blood pressure measurements, cholesterol screenings, glucose analyses and more. Additionally, this year, attendees can again receive free skin cancer screenings. Health counseling for medical concerns and informational brochures discussing health and wellness topics will also be provided at no cost. 
    Sign up for an appointment with our registered nurse here. 
    Opening Reception
    Rosen Centre Hotel 
    Jan. 28, 5-6:30 p.m.
    Syngenta and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) will host a reception for all GIS attendees to meet and network with industry professionals from across the country, while enjoying complimentary appetizers and cocktails. Attendees who share a photo from the opening reception on social media and include #ExperienceTheAction will be entered for a chance to win a Sonos One Bluetooth speaker.
    Opening Session
    North Hall, main stage – North Concourse 
    Jan. 29, 8:30-9:50 a.m.
    To kick off the show, Syngenta and the GCSAA will honor several industry professionals, including the Certified Golf Course Superintendent Class of 2019, the recipient of the Old Tom Morris Award and the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards. Mike Parkin, global head of Professional Solutions at Syngenta, will provide a special welcome to attendees. 
    GCSAA Certification Luncheon
    North Hall, main stage – North Concourse 
    Jan. 29, 12:30-2 p.m.
    At this luncheon, Syngenta and the GCSAA will celebrate the Class of 2019’s newly Certified Golf Course Superintendents (CGCSs) and provide special acknowledgements of 25- and 40-year CGCSs in attendance.

    The Ladies Leading Turf discussion is scheduled for January 29. Ladies Leading Turf Discussion Panel and Networking Reception
    Convention Center, S230AB – South Concourse 
    Jan. 29
    3-4:20 p.m. – “Next level leadership – building your diverse team” – Panel discussion
    4:30-5:30 p.m. – Reception 
    Syngenta, Ladies Leading Turf and the GCSAA have partnered to host the third annual diversity and inclusion session, celebrating women in the turf industry. In this session, you'll hear from leading women in turf about their journeys to success in the industry and how you can foster diversity within your organization. 
    Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta, will provide welcoming remarks, and the session will be moderated by Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA, golf course architect at Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design, Inc. 
    Panelists include: Cathy Harbin, owner, Pine Ridge Golf Course; Elizabeth Guertal, Ph.D., professor at Auburn University; Kayla Kipp, golf course equipment maintenance manager, Lodestone Golf Course & Fantasy Valley Golf Course; Laurie Bland, golf maintenance manager, Miami Springs Golf & Country Club; Ellen Davis, vice president, SportZmix Solutions, Waupaca Sand & Solutions.
    Health in Action 5K 
    Orange County Convention Center
    Jan. 30, 6:30 a.m.
    Syngenta and the GCSAA will partner to host the fourth annual 5K fun run. Register by Dec. 27 to be guaranteed a T-shirt in your preferred size. Follow and join the conversation on social media using #GIS5K. 
    TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Presentation
    Syngenta Booth #2628
    Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m.
    Syngenta and TurfNet will announce the annual TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award winner, which recognizes the accomplishments of an outstanding golf course superintendent nominated by their peers.
  • Bill Meyer, Ph.D., (second from right) is the recipient of this year's USGA Green Section Award. Renowned Rutgers University turfgrass breeder Bill Meyer, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2020 USGA Green Section Award.
    The USGA Green Section Award honors distinguished service to golf through an individual's work with turfgrass. For more than 30 years, Meyer has made a significant impact on the turf industry through his turfgrass breeding work, which focuses on developing grasses for golf and other playing surfaces that are resistant to adverse factors. 
    As a professor at Rutgers University where he holds the title of Director of Turfgrass Breeding and C. Reed Funk Endowed Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics, Meyer has influenced all levels of the industry at the national and international levels through seminars, research papers and trade publications and his research in the field developing and improving turf varieties. 
    Meyer earned bachelor's (1968), master's (1969) and doctorate (1972) degrees all from the University of Illinois. He has been a plant breeder in the plant biology and pathology department at Rutgers since 1996 when he joined Rutgers as director of the turfgrass breeding program after 21 years as a commercial turfgrass breeder including 21 years as vice president of research for Turf Seed Inc. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading breeders of cool-season turfgrasses and is known for developing several varieties such as Midnight Kentucky bluegrass.
    Meyer will receive the award at the USGA's annual meeting Feb. 29 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
  • Anthony Williams, CGCS, (right) signs copies of his book at a recent Golf Industry Show. Find a new job, or at least be happier in the one you currently have.
    It is a common New Year's resolution. It also is one that usually is long forgotten by Valentine's Day.
    In a recent TurfNet University Webinar entitled Jump start your career in 2020, Anthony Williams, CGCS at TPC Four Seasons Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, shares how to keep your promise to yourself.
    In this webinar, which Williams has been presenting each year since 2014, Williams addresses questions to ask yourself to determine if the time is right for a career change, or if you just want to join that group of high achievers he calls The 2 percent Club. It is one of many TurfNet University webinars presented by Brandt/Grigg and BASF that are free for everyone in our recorded archives section.
    To accomplish this, he says it is necessary to take stock in your career as it is currently and list your goals of where you want to be. There is something permanent and definite that occurs in the brain when someone actually writes something on paper, rather than enter data into a phone or computer, so the actually writing by hand is an important step. 
    Williams has multiple sets of goals defined by the acronyms S.M.A.R.T. and G.R.E.E.N.
    S.M.A.R.T. goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, resourced and timed (deadline).
    G.R.E.E.N. goals, which are more specific to the turf industry, must be generational, relevant, easy to start, environomic and networkable - a field Williams knows a lot about.
    For any long-term project like this, he said, it is critical to track your progress daily. One of many ways of doing that is by making 3x5 goal cards and reading through them regularly and noting your progress on attaining them.
    We don't want to give away all the secrets here, but there is no question that Williams' approach takes time and commitment and, but both are necessary to effect change, he says: "If you wish to achieve something you have never achieved, you will have to do things you have never done and see things in a completely new way to connect to a new network or you will default to the old normal 100% of the time."
    Click here to watch it.
    Click here to see the rest of our archived webinars.
  • Pete Dye, who had a hand in designing or restoring more than 250 golf courses around the world, died Jan. 9. He was 94.
    A native of Urbana, Ohio located between Columbus and Dayton, Dye was a longtime Indiana resident. His design career began in 1959 with wife Alice (right), who died last February at 91. 
    "Pete made an indelible mark on the world of golf that will never be forgotten," read a statement released by Dye's family. "We will all miss him dearly."
    The list of courses he designed reads like a who's who of modern golf, and includes The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, Harbour Town and The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island both in South Carolina, Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run both in Wisconsin, the Honors Course in Tennessee, PGA West in California, Brad Klein's home course of Wintonbury Hills in Connecticut and Crooked Stick in Dye's home state of Indiana.
    Born in 1925, Dye enlisted in the Army in 1944 at age 18. As the story goes, he was in paratrooper training when the war ended. An accomplished amateur golfer, Dye qualified for the 1957 U.S. Open at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. He was in the early stages of a successful career in insurance sales in Indianapolis when he decided on a career change designing golf courses.
    The courses laid out by the quotable Dye are noted for the difficulty.
    "Life is not fair, so why should I make a course that is fair?" he once said.
    His first course of renown was Crooked Stick in 1964, which was the site of the 1991 PGA Championship. 
    A 2008 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Dye was the recipient of the 1995 Donald Ross Award (ASGCA) Old Tom Morris Award (GCSAA) in 2003 and the PGA Distinguished Service Award a year later. 
    Dick Gray, the 2016 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, has known Dye since they met on the fairways of Crooked Stick in 1969. They have been close friends ever since. 
    "Today is my American Pie," Gray said, "the day the music died."
    Photos by PGA Tour and Indianapolis Star
  • Rain Bird is introducing a new integrated course control solution that makes it possible to install satellites and the company's IC System on the same wire path. The Integrated Control Interface Plus (ICI+) allows superintendents to renovate or expand their existing satellite system in phases, at a lower cost and with less disruption to the golf course.
    This interface offers fully integrated course control, allowing the golf course to splice into the nearest satellite wire path and add integrated control modules without running wire all the way back to the maintenance facility. With the ICI+, courses with satellite systems can now easily integrate the IC System and its companion IC CONNECT devices, which offer advanced diagnostics, easy expansion, precision watering and the ability to integrate and interact with sensors and other field equipment, says Carolyn Maloney, Rain Bird product manager.
    Available in two different versions, the ICI+ System replaces Rain Bird Golf's current MIM and MIM LINK Satellite interfaces, as well as the current ICI. The ICI+ two-wire version communicates with existing and new Rain Bird Satellite and IC Systems, and the ICI+LINK version communicates with existing and new LINK satellite systems (with the option to add the IC System). 
    Rain Bird has also developed a new IFX Satellite Board that will be installed in all new PAR+ES Satellites and is also backwards compatible with the company's older satellites and the MIM Satellite interfaces. This board allows courses to put IC rotors or Integrated Control Modules (ICMs) on a satellite's wire path. Because the IFX board is both backward- and forward-compatible, courses can connect their current satellite systems to the future-forward technology offered by IC and IC CONNECT simply by installing a simple interface board at a fraction of the cost.
  • Carlos Arraya was named Superintendent of the Year at last year's Golf Industry Show. The year 2019 was a memorable year in the golf business, even if some would like to forget it. It seems like 2019 was the year in which many people and places came out against pesticides, including many that are used on golf courses. Lawsuits and use bans made headlines nearly every week, and the golf industry continued its slow, steady retraction toward that elusive market equilibrium.
    We have compiled a list of the top-10 most-read stories of 2019 from the pages of TurfNet. Click the headline to read the full text of each story.
    10. TurfNet turns 25
    Armed with little more than a freshly inked monthly print newsletter, a $20 bill in his pocket, and a blank slate for ideas to come, Peter McCormick filed the incorporation papers for TurfNet on February 1, 1994. His initial goal was to not be one of the 90% of new businesses that fail within the first five years. With the support, participation and intellectual investment of forward-thinking superintendents and commercial members, TurfNet made it. In spades.
    9. Brewing brothers share passion for beer
    As a former golf course superintendent, Dan Miller is accustomed to the pursuit of perfection. Nowadays, as the owner of Mighty River Brewing Co., in Windsor, Colorado, Miller exhibits the same quest for excellence in brewing the nearly 15 different beers his family-owned and operated business has been churning out since it opened last fall.
    8. Managing the world’s most famous field is serious business
    Since Warren Harding occupied the White House almost 100 years ago, playing in the Rose Bowl - the game and the stadium - has been a dream for countless kids across the country. It's a legacy turf superintendent Will Schnell takes seriously at the world's most iconic stadium that opened in Pasadena, California in 1923.
    7. Autonomous mowers help cut costs
    There was a time when golf course superintendents could not envision entrusting putting surfaces to autonomous mowers. But 12 months after incorporating the technology into his day-to-day routine at the Presidio Golf Club in San Francisco, Brian Nettz cannot imagine ever going back to walk mowing greens.
    6a. OSU research helps monitor greens conditions
    Putting green quality is the measuring stick by which golf course superintendents are measured. At Ohio State University, associate professor Ed McCoy, Ph.D., has developed a simulation model that helps turf managers monitor organic matter accumulation, decomposition and dilution and provides a way to manage organic matter on a site-specific basis.

    Lee Butler (left) and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., say the business of turfgrass pathology is pretty good thanks to golfer demand to produce increasingly faster putting surfaces. 6b. Pushing conditions? NCSU researchers say enough is enough
    When it comes to pushing turf to please golfers, Butler and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., associate professor of turf pathology, believe that science and superintendents have gone about as far as they can go. The demands that golfers place on superintendents to produce championship conditions every day - or else - are a threat to the sustainability of the turf and the game itself.
    5. Glyphosate ban in Miami should be wake-up call
    No one should have been surprised earlier this year when the city of Miami approved a resolution banning the use of herbicides containing glyphosate on city property. The ban affects city works and contractors working on behalf of the city. The PR campaign to stop the use of such pesticides is well organized, much more so than any efforts to save them.
    4. EPA says glyphosate does not cause cancer
    In the PR war being waged against glyphosate, no one can accuse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of buckling to public opinion. As the debate wears on about whether the world's most popular weed killer causes cancer, the EPA reaffirmed its findings from 2017 that there is no evidence to support claims that glyphosate is a carcinogen.
    3. Golf hasn’t found the bottom yet
    The definition of purgatory is a place where the souls of sinners suffer and atone for their misdeeds in life before going to heaven. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley who wears his burdens in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the golf business has been going through its own version of perdition for several years. contraction, the golf industry might be stuck in this state of limbo for much longer than anyone ever thought possible.

    Dan Dommer of Ozaukee Country Club in Mequon, Wisconsin is the recipient of the 2019 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award. 2. Dommer wins Golden Wrench
    The TurfNet Technician of the Year Award is given annually to a golf course mechanic who excels at a variety of tasks associated with maintaining the golf course. The criteria on which the recipient is determined might need updating after Dan Dommer of Ozaukee Country Club in Mequon, Wisconsin, won this year's award. Besides excelling as a mechanic in a 100-plus-year-old shop at this historic 1922 William Langford-Theodore Moreau design, Dommer mows and topdresses fairways and fills in wherever else he is needed.
    1. Arraya wins Super of the Year
    Personal tragedy caused Carlos Arraya to question whether he had made the right career choice by becoming a golf course superintendent. If he ever has those thoughts again, Arraya, the director of agronomy and grounds at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, probably has a future as a motivational speaker. That tragedy, the death of his son, Isaih, in a car accident in 2016, was the impetus for some honest introspection and sobering changes to the way he manages his life and his team as the 2018 PGA Championship loomed at Bellerive.
  • Jake Mendoza, left, and USGA agronomist Paul Vermuelen during the inaugural PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic. Longevity and loyalty are nothing new at Detroit Golf Club.
    Former superintendent Clem Wolfrom lasted 51 years there until he retired in 2013, and the club has had the same green chairman for a decade. An honorary member of the club, Wolfrom still plays at Detroit and about once a month current superintendent Jake Mendoza meets with him to pick his brain.
    "Clem is an honorary member here, and he still plays golf here a lot," Mendoza said. "He's always available and I have lunch with him about once a month. He's been a huge asset for me during this transition."
    Every once in a while, change is good, even at a place like Detroit Golf Club, where all 36 holes were designed originally by Donald Ross.
    Mendoza has to put into place management practices today that superintendents from Wolfrom's generation might never have imagined. 
    "A lot of things have changed here," Mendoza said. "We get in front of the members and explain things, why they are changing, why we are now walk-mowing greens, why we use the fertilizer we use. It helps them feel empowered and active in what happens at their own club."
    "No way they would have mowed at 0.10 or lower. Rollers have changed everything. It gives the modern superintendent the ability to push the envelope. It goes back to that it used to be as long as it was green it was good, even if it was soft and slow. Today's golfer is OK with a little brown because they expect the greens to be hard and roll at 13. Golfer expectation has changed."
    In his second year on the job, Mendoza was charged with getting Detroit ready for a PGA Tour event. The inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic held last year at Detroit replaced the Quicken Loans National played for a dozen years at Congressional, Aronimink, Robert Trent Jones GC and finally at TPC Avenel in Potomac, Maryland.
    Mendoza had plenty of opportunity prepping a classic facility for big events and just for everyday play for a demanding membership in 10 years under Curtis Tyrrell at Medinah.
    "I learned the way he did things. With 54 holes you can't do it all yourself," Mendoza said. "You have to put people in the right place to get things done. We're doing the same things here we did at Medinah. You have to understand peoples' strengths and abilities and do what is best for the club.
    "We have a very supportive membership that is very involved in what is going on on the golf course. We've had the same green chairman for 10 or 12 years, and he is excited to learn about what we do, so we keep an open line of communication about what we do and why we do it."
  • Paul MacCormack has opened the door for people in the turf industry to discuss a difficult topic - mental health. For the way he has brought the subject of mental health to the forefront and made it a subject OK to discuss for an entire profession, Paul MacCormack has been named a finalist for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. The following four paragraphs are taken from a nomination submitted by Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University.
    "Paul MacCormack's story is one of a guy from a small island off the coast of a northern town in Canada who transformed an industry from experience gained from failure and desperation. His public honesty alone seemingly gave permission to hundreds of his colleagues to express their own feelings of sadness, anxiety, grief, joy and love for each other. 
    In this expression our industry has come together, cynics and nappers, to address mental health concerns. Paul is the reason. He started it with the mindful superintendent blog, then speaking engagements, then seminars, then a retreat and now he is the face of mindfulness in the golf turf industry.
    Most Superintendent of the Year finalists are recognized for things they did at their own place, with their crew or in their local community. Paul's work is nothing short of an international movement committed to sharing the burden, lightening the load and giving each other a break.
    Some superintendents are great grass growers, others master communicators, and a rare few are true leaders, not just of their own operations but leaders in every sense that they have a vision and a plan. Leaders face obstacles and overcome them, but along the way sometimes leading will hurt, it will frustrate and will demand sacrifice. Paul's journey is out there for all to see, success and challenges. He shares that journey so honestly and it is resonating with many."
    MacCormack entered into the world of mindfulness years ago after losing a job.
    "My experience with mindfulness meditation practice began a decade ago after a major shift in my career," MacCormack said. "I had lost a job after a long two year renovation project and knew that if I was to continue in the industry things had to change. My wife, Jill, presented me with a book that introduced me to mindfulness, and I knew immediately that it would be an important piece of a healthier lifestyle."
    Initially, his goal was to help himself. It soon turned into something more.
    "The overall goal with mindfulness practice was to move toward living a life with more balance," he said. "It has become so much more and has grown into a vital part of my life. 
    "The feedback from other supers with regards to the blog and the speaking has been very positive and rewarding. Many folks have shared their own personal stories and talked about their own struggles. Knowing that the message helps in some small way inspires me to continue writing."
  • Ryan Gordon has turned his hearing loss into a positive by focusing on communication at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. Ryan Gordon likens his career to the disease triangle. The host is his personality, the pathogen is the collection of life experiences he has encountered, and the environment was a matter of him being in the right place at the right time, which included his time at Oregon State studying under Tom Cook and Brian MacDonald.
    When checking the boxes for criteria on which nominees are judged for TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, Gordon meets most of them.
    He works to further the careers of his employees at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, provides tournament-ready conditions daily for members and an annual Tour event, deals with all the unexpected headaches that arise on a daily basis, manages the local environment to ensure the club is a sound environmental neighbor in the Seattle area.
    That he does so facing the communications challenges he does is nothing short of amazing.
    "My philosophy for managing turf is very similar to how I approach my relationships with people," Gordon said. "I seek to create a sustainable, continually improved upon operation with smart, repeatable systems in place that provide consistent conditions for our members and their guests."
    Superintendent at Snoqualmie Ridge since 2012, Gordon was born with a 90-percent hearing loss that makes communication much more of a challenge and his accomplishments much more significant. For his accomplishments at Snoqualmie Ridge, Gordon was named one of five finalists for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    One of the biggest challenges for superintendents in the Pacific Northwest can be water. There are times of the year when there is far too much it, and other times where there is not nearly enough. Drainage was added throughout the course to ensure that the course stays dry when rain is plentiful, and added quick couplers to keep the turf alive when water is scarce.
    The end result has been a reduction in water use of at least 15 percent.
    Communicating effectively at Snoqualmie Ridge requires a different approach to some tasks, including mowing practices.
    "Ryan expanded the yardage book of the club and made it an agronomy guide of the do's and don'ts of the maintenance department," wrote Dean Miller, vice president of agronomy for Arcis Golf, the Dallas company that owns the club. “It details out mowing patterns and how to get to areas of the golf course and allows them to verbally communicate while also giving the team members a visual on where and how to get the job done. First of its kind that I have ever seen and has proven to be a great tool for the club."
    Gordon's hearing impairment is something that he, his team and everyone else he works alongside at Snoqualmie Ridge have learned to overcome through utilizing non-verbal communications technology like Google Docs, the use of assistive-listening devices, some sign language and Gordon's own mad lip-reading skills. In fact, effective communication is such a non-issue that when pro golf's senior circuit tees off next week at Snoqualmie Ridge, no one who knows Gordon or is in anyway affiliated with the Boeing Classic will give his hearing - or lack of it - a second thought.
    "Ryan is a servant leader that is always willing to help out across all departments at the club or anyone who may reach out that needs it," Miller said. "Ryan lives by the 5 P’s – Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance – and pulls it off on a daily basis. He is one of the best in the business."
    In a story that appeared on TurfNet last summer, Ryan Ingalls, operations manager for the Boeing Classic, an annual Champions Tour event played at Snoqualmie Ridge, said: "I would say I've never met anyone who cared for a golf course more than Ryan does, and that bleeds out to other people."
  • Workers make repairs to the golf course in the months following Hurricane Dorian. With his golf course devastated by a hurricane, it would have been understandable for any superintendent to focus on clean up and recovery efforts inside the gates and let the rest of the world fend for itself.
    That is not Matt DiMase's way.
    When Hurricane Dorian crossed The Bahamas last Sept. 1, the storm devastated The Abaco Club on Winding Bay where DiMase is superintendent, and pretty much the rest of The Bahamas as well. The scene was horrific: homes and buildings flattened or gone, towns devastated, dead bodies, dead animals, debris everywhere. In the days, weeks and months after the hurricane, he stayed on the island during Hurricane Dorian and used his knowledge and experience as a superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course, for members of his team and for locals in his community.
    For his efforts to help his employer, employees and local community, DiMase has been named a finalist for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    A veteran of Hurricane Charley in 2004 when he lived in southwest Florida, DeMase and his team did all the normal things one does to prepare for such an event - sweep the course of everything that is not nailed down, fill fuel tanks, make sure chainsaws are ready. It's what he did afterward that stood out.
    He began work to restore water and clear a way to his maintenance facility, which was flooded and nearly everything in it destroyed. The club, which hired a security team to protect it from looters, was without water and electricity for 45 days. With no phone service, it was weeks before he was able to reach everyone on his team. His immediate concerns were the wellbeing of his staff and trying to keep his greens alive.
    The club-provided home he was living in was destroyed, so he moved into another house owned by the club and opened its doors to others from his team displaced by the hurricane.
    He was a point person for recovery efforts, meeting multiple times with the Bahamian prime minister, head of immigration and other government officials.
    When he received a plea for help from a member of his crew, he and the security team went into town to rescue him and his family. And when the mother of a crew member and a contractor employed by the club had to be evacuated for medical reasons, he contacted the U.S. Embassy to organize a U.S. Border Patrol air evacuation to Florida. 
    As if all of that was not enough, in the months leading up to the hurricane, DiMase organized the first chapter or golf course superintendents in the Caribbean.
    "Any adversity Matt faces he takes it head on," said Gary Cotton, a sales rep for Winfield based in Florida, in his nomination letter supporting DiMase. "It's one of the things that makes him stand out and one of the things I admire the most. If Matt is presented with a challenge or told something can't be done, it's best to sit back and watch, because he thrives on challenges."
  • In just six years at Victoria National Golf Club, Kyle Callahan has built a career defined by efficiency.
    That's usually the way for every superintendent, but it is especially important at Victoria National, a 418-acre tract in Newburgh, Indiana that stretches 3 miles from one end of the property to the other.
    "Working for Paul B. Latshaw, we were always thinking ahead. I've instilled that same culture into our program," Callahan said. "If you start a project and aren't thinking through that project, if you forget something in shop, you can make four trips and you've lost an hour of work."
    For his ability to manage a huge property with a modest staff as efficiently as possible, Callahan has been named a finalist for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    A graduate of Oklahoma State, Callahan worked under Latshaw at Muirfield from 2006 to 2010.
    "I'm not one who sits in an office," Callahan said. "A good leader leads by example. As much as I have office work to do, I have to instill the things taught to me, and I have to be out there to teach that."
    Efficiency also is important because Callahan is managing bentgrass - L93 tee to green - in an area where all other courses are growing zoysiagrass, which is more tolerant to heat and dry and conditions.
    "We're all cool-season grass, and everyone else around here is all zoysia," he said. 
    "L93 can handle heat and humidity, but not drough. The trend now is to go a little brown, but if we back off the wate, it doesn't just go brown; it goes brown and dormant."
    Victoria National is an undulating course with a lot of elevation change. It took seven members of his crew several days to push mow grass bunkers and banks throughout the course. Callahan eventually found an alternative method - the use of robotic mowers from Evatech - that has helped save labor hours and allows him to redirect human resources elsewhere.
    "I personally have worked at five golf courses across the country with four of them being ranked in the top 50 in the country by Golf Digest, and I have never been part of a team that can successfully complete multiple tasks with limited people in such a short amount of time," wrote assistant superintendent Dane Olsen in his nomination of Callahan for the Superintendent of the Year Award. "Kyle has a talent for being able to schedule members of our Agronomy team to efficiently get multiple jobs done at once with strategic placement."
  • TurfNet has been a pioneer in the golf turf industry since 1994, offering an online platform to help superintendents do their jobs better, faster and more efficiently before most people even had an email address. 
    TurfNet in January will begin its 13th year of offering Web-based education in conjunction with Brandt and BASF. 
    The TurfNet University schedule begins Jan. 8 when Anthony Williams, CGCS, of the Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, kicks off the new year with "Jumpstarting your career in 2020."
    Williams will discuss how setting career goals for 2020 and beyond and working to attain them can help ensure career longevity. 
    When it comes to facing - and overcoming - adversity, Williams is something of an expert.
    Nearly six years ago, in a span of just more than two months he lost his stepbrother in a car accident, his wife suffered - and survived - a massive heart attack and Williams himself underwent emergency open-heart surgery. About a year later, his position at Stone Mountain Golf Club near
    Atlanta was eliminated, leaving him without a job.
    His presentation in January will include how to establish realistic standards and how to go about working toward achieving them. He also will talk about how to market yourself, from self-promotion and public relations strategies in your current position and resume-writing and other career advice tips designed to help you realize your next opportunity. 
    Other presenters throughout the year will include Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., of Nebraska, Beth Guertal, Ph.D., of Auburn, Brad Klein, Ph.D., of The Golf Channel and Golf Advisor, Bruce Martin, Ph.D., of Clemson University (retired), Frank Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University and many more. 
  • During the past several years, TurfNet has reported live from many events, such as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 2017 Solheim Cup in Iowa, the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open in Chicago and this year's Presidents Cup in Australia.
    Add the 2020 Rose Bowl to that list.
    Beginning Dec. 27 (thanks to a chance meeting earlier this year facilitated by our friends at Brandt) TurfNet news and education director John Reitman will be volunteering for the New Year's Day game in Pasadena, California, on field superintendent Will Schnell's team and sharing the experience with readers in the TurfNet Tackles the Rose Bowl blog, sponsored by Brandt.
    Reitman will be there through game day, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at what Schnell and his crew do each year to provide college football players with a surface that is the envy of the college football world and even has earned comparisons to Augusta. TurfNet also will visit other historic venues in the area, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Brookside Golf Course which for every special event, including concerts and UCLA home football games, is transformed from one of the area's most popular golf courses into a parking lot and tailgate area thanks to an around-the-clock effort by superintendent George Winters and his team.
    Follow our experiences in real time on Twitter.
    Throughout the week, Reitman will be posting updates to the live blog, sharing photos through Instagram and producing a couple of videos so readers can get an up-close-and-personal feel for what it's like to prepare a field for the oldest postseason game in college football.

  • Environmental stewardship is more important than ever for golf course superintendents. At next year's Golf Industry Show, Nufarm will feature plans and programs to help superintendents maintain naturalized areas.
    Throughout the week, visitors to the Nufarm booth can learn more about Nufarm products like Aneuw plant growth regulator; Sure Power, Millennium Ultra and SureGuard SC herbicides; and Traction and Pinpoint fungicides.
    Naturalized Areas Presentations: With the growing focus on naturalized areas, Nufarm has solutions for making every course the best it can be. Attendees can come by Nufarm booth 4217 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 29-30 during the show to hear Rick Fletcher and Aaron Hathaway, Nufarm’s technical services managers for turf & rnamental, talk about the care and cultivation of naturalized areas.
    Naturalized Areas Rotation Plan: Nufarm offers expertise in planning and caring for naturalized areas on the golf course. Superintendents will learn how a rotation that includes Sure Power for tough broadleaf weeds like ground ivy and wild violet, Millennium Ultra 2 to melt away unsightly weeds like Canada thistle, and SureGuard SC to keep dormant areas clean through the winter, will help superintendents manage naturalized areas. Plus, Millennium Ultra 2 preserves milkweed, which benefits pollinators. Attendees can come by the Nufarm booth to learn more about customizing a plan for their course.
    Win an Original Grain Timepiece: While learning how to manage naturalized areas, attendees can enter to win one of two watches from Original Grain. These timepieces feature stainless steel and reclaimed wood – the perfect reminder to take time for nature.
    EXCEL Leadership Program: Nufarm will host the most recent group of EXCEL participants into the third year of the program. The EXCEL program offers leadership training and development opportunities for participants. Program participants will take part in the education and networking opportunities provided at the show, as well as community involvement and further professional training later in the year. Each class participates for three years, completing a curriculum focused on personal development, leadership at their course, and leadership within the industry as a whole. Learn more about the EXCEL program and how to apply for the next class at the Nufarm booth.
  • The parasitic wasp known as larra bicolor parasitizes a mole cricket. Photo by University of Florida entomology department. For the better part of a generation, entomologists have been trying to convince golf course superintendents why they should plant wildflowers on golf courses. The typical selling point has been to provide habitat for beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies.
    University of Florida entomologist Adam Dale, Ph.D., has a new hook to convince superintendents why it is important to manage natural areas on golf courses with the right mix of plants.
    Dale is promoting a program of diverse native plants that attracts not only honeybees and monarch butterflies, but also predatory insects that can assist in organic pest control.
    Through the years, Dale has consulted with one of the experts in the field of establishing natural areas to attract beneficial insects.
    "I've had a lot of discussions with (University of Kentucky entomologist) Dan Potter, and I know what he's done in the past. My research focuses on managing insects in urban landscapes and turf systems," Dale said. "Golf courses are good avenues for conservation and biological pest control. This is a great opportunity for golf courses to conserve wildlife, conserve inputs and reduce pests."
    A program of at least nine wildflower species that bloom throughout the year attracted a variety of pollinators as well as predators of various turf pests. The program was implemented throughout 2017 at three golf courses in north-central Florida - University of Florida Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Top of the World in Ocala and Adena Golf Club in Ocala, which closed abruptly in mid-2018.
    "We planted specific wildflowers to attract wasps and other parasitic insects," Dale said. 
    The most abundant predator found throughout the study was a parasitic wasp called the red and black mason wasp, which is a predator of caterpillars, Dale said. 
    The female wasp stings and paralyzes the armyworm, carries it to its nest then lays and attaches an egg to its prey. When the next generation of wasp hatches it feeds on its host.
    When fall armyworms were released on fairways, the study showed that predation increased by 50 percent.
    The study measured the effects of a program that included a mix of nine wildflower species and one with just five wildflower species. One included a mix of Canada toadflax, lanceleaf coreopsis, goldenmade tickseed, Indian blanket, spotted beebalm, blue mistflower, shrubby false buttonweed, slender blazing star and wand goldenrod, the other just five wildflower species.
    The nine-flower program outperformed the five-flower program, Dale said because it provided habitat for predators throughout the year. 
    "We wanted to learn if a diversity of flowering plants in the mix affect the attraction of insects and is there a translation to the level of pest control," Dale said. "The takeaway is that a high diversity wildflower mix of nine species or more maximizes predation because there is something always flowering and providing a continuous source of pollen and nectar."
    The wildflowers also attracted other predatory wasps, including larra bicolor, which parasitizes mole crickets, and scoliid and tiphiid species that parasitize white grubs in the same manner of the red and black mason wasp.
    "One of the drivers of doing this is to help superintendents justify doing this," Dale said. "We wanted to identify the direct benefits to them beside saving bees. We wanted to be able to demonstrate that we can attract other insects to help reduce turf pests on golf courses."
    Dale is seeking funding to expand the research to other parts of Florida.
    "We want to do this on a larger scale, include more courses in more regions. We still lack information to make better recommendations," he said.
    "This is a good opportunity to educate people on the broader value of golf courses. Golf courses are large areas of vegetative space that provide benefits to the landscape, but nobody sees that. We are trying to demonstrate that they can benefit Florida's overall ecosystem and make programs like this justifiable for superintendents."
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