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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Reinders Green Industry Conference is the largest independent green industry conference in the Midwest. Billed as the Midwest's largest independent green industry conference, Reinders 24th Green Industry Conference will be held March 13-14 at the Waukesha Expo Center in suburban Milwaukee.
    The bi-annual conference, which began in 1973, will include a panel of speakers and more than 35 educational seminars, making it an ideal destination for those in the upper Midwest who are unable to travel to national shows.
    Educational tracks are available for golf course superintendents, professional landscape contractors, lawn care operators, sports turf managers, equipment technicians and irrigation contractors.
    Attendees will enjoy the famous homemade donuts and an Entertainment Zone. The industry's top vendors will be offering show specials in addition to daily door and raffle prizes.
  • The Arroyo Seco runs through Brookside Golf Course and adjacent to the Rose Bowl (at left). There is no such thing as an offseason at Brookside Golf Course.
    Even when more than 100,000 golfers per year aren't playing this historic, 36-hole layout by architect William P. Bell, there is always something happening at the city-owned facility adjacent to the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Indeed, compared with other municipal golf courses, Brookside is, on one hand, an aberration in that some of the things that happen here occur nowhere else. On the other, it shares many of the same challenges other municipal and daily fee tracks face, just maybe at a slightly more intense level.
    "There are a lot of challenges here," said superintendent George Winters. "It's something you have to zen with."
    Designed by Bell in 1928, Brookside lies in a valley beneath Pasadena known as the Arroyo Seco that is named for the watershed that bisects the property and drains water - when there is any - from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River 25 miles away. Once a natural gulley that traversed along its current path, the Arroyo Seco was paved to prevent erosion in the 1930s as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal that was designed to help get unemployed Americans back to work on the heels of the Great Depression.
    Today, upwards of 150,000 golfers per year trek back and forth across the Arroyo Seco to play Bell's handiwork adjacent to the historic Rose Bowl Stadium, which opened six years before the golf course in 1922. 
    The golf operation, which is managed by American Golf, has a historic past. The larger No. 1 Course was the site of the PGA Tour's former Pasadena Open from 1929 to 1938, where winners include the likes of Horton Smith and "Lighthorse" Harry Cooper. In 1968, Billy Casper won the Los Angeles Open at Brookside.
    As a municipal operation, Winters has a limited budget to go along with a lot of play. Like everyone in California, he struggles with water-related issues and a full schedule of non-golf events on the Rose Bowl campus mean compaction issues. Serious compaction issues.
    When asked what is the primary turf type on the golf course, assistant superintendent Alberto Munoz laughed and answered "all of them."
    Winters and Munoz don't carry around a top hat, magic wand or a rabbit, but what they produce at Brookside under the circumstances they face dozens of times per year is nothing short of magic.
    The stadium and golf course, both owned by the city, are important revenue sources for Pasadena. The stadium is the site of a New Year's Day bowl game, a half-dozen or so UCLA home football games and countless other events that rely on Brookside's fairways for parking, tailgate areas and more. The golf course also is the site of a two-day music festival that attracts about 50,000 concertgoers. 
    "We don't just run a golf course," Winters said. "We run a golf course, concert venue, parking lot and festival area all on the same property." 

    Superintendent George Winters (right) and assistant Alberto Munoz flip Brookside from a golf course to an event-support center dozens of times a year. The city even markets the 16th and 17th holes of the No. 1 Course as The Greens at the Rose Bowl for the purpose of selling events.
    Several new events on the schedule for 2019 will mean even more challenges ahead for Winters, Munoz and their team.
    "There will be 28 Fridays this year where those two holes are closed. It's going to be interesting to see how that goes," Winters said. "That is in addition to the 40 to 50 other disruptions here. We're at almost 100 days of disruption on the campus. The wear and tear is not a big deal. It's about generating revenue."
    A former superintendent at Robinson Ranch - now known as Sand Canyon - in Santa Clarita, Munoz joined Winters' staff last October because he wanted to be part of something special.
    "What attracted me was all the things the happen here. The diversity of things, the golf, events, concerts, charity walks and runs," Munoz said. "There are all kinds of different things happening here, but you really don't have any idea what it's like until you actually get here. They tell you about all the events, the concerts and the parking, but until you get here and see the tailgating and the parking you, nothing prepares you for it. There are always so many people and so many things going on. So much of the golf course is taken up by some of these events, it becomes like a whole other world. It's not even like it's a golf course anymore."
    It took Winters about a year to zero in on the process of preparing the course for non-golf events that include removing items like ball washers, tee markers and flagsticks, staking off greens and bunkers and installing diesel-powered temporary lighting (pictured below). 
    "You're so immersed in the event, you're not even thinking of this as a golf course anymore. It's a property where you're trying to manage all these things around you," Winters said. 
    "For a UCLA game, we will have staff on site for almost 48 hours straight. It's not a normal golf course where we come in at 5 in the morning and leave at 1 in the afternoon. We are very good at preparing this to be a parking lot. It's like second nature to us. We are very organized and we have it down to a science. An outsider just can't understand when they see all these cars and tens of thousands of people here, then about nine or 10 hours after the last car is gone, it's a golf course again. There's no trash, greens are mowed and the bunkers raked. And we don't do it just once. We do it dozens of times a year. It's pretty neat to see."
    Of course that schedule does result in a great deal of compaction and ground under repair. Winters aerifies fairways eight or nine times a year and goes through a lot of city water to alleviate compaction and repair damaged areas.
    About a decade ago, Pasadena had reached a deal with nearby Glendale to bring reclaimed water to the Arroyo Seco area. Most of the infrastructure was in place when residents in the surrounding area squashed the plan because they didn't want purple pipe coming through their neighborhood.
    "We're all potable water," Winters said. "There is no other source on the horizon."
    Before the days of water-use restrictions, Brookside used about 750 acre feet of water per year. Today, that number is about 500 acre feet.
    "Or less," Winters said.
    That makes it a struggle to provide the kind of conditions golfers want when they play Brookside.
    "If we were just golf with no other events, we would probably be OK with that," Winters said. "Disruption to irrigation, when we have to turn it off for two or three days when it's hot, that is our biggest challenge. We figured there are at least 250,000 people in any event season going through the golf course to the stadium. That is an astounding number in golf course terms. Once we get into these events where we have to recover, repair and grow-in, it's not possible in my opinion.
    "We have 40-ton semis, many, many semis, coming onto the golf course many times a year. Some of the damage doesn't show right away, so when it does people sometimes wonder whether we are doing everything we are supposed to be doing. We have dozens of areas like this all over the place and that slowly chips away at the golf course."
    The daily challenge for Winters and Munoz is to chip back and do what they can to produce the best conditions to keep more than 100,000 coming back year after year, and keeping the spirit of William Bell alive in one of the game's most unparalleled environments.
    "It's very cool to be part of this - the uniqueness of the property," Winters said. "There's always something fresh. We have our frustrations, but what job doesn't?"
  • Seems like the overall golf industry and the education conference and tradeshow for superintendents that bears its name are joined at the hip.
    Both are unable to match pre-recession participation numbers and both are struggling to find ways to boost interest in what appears to be a declining model.
    Attendance at this year's Golf Industry Show in San Diego came in at about 11,900 with 5,950 qualified buyers. That's about 200 more attendees and 500 or so additional qualified buyers compared with last year's mid-America show in San Antonio, which in two attempts has been pretty much a total bust - at least as far as numbers go. That attendance figure is about 500 behind the five-year average of 12,440 that includes two shows in San Diego (2019, 2016), two in San Antonio (2018, 2015) and one in Orlando (2017).
    Long walkways make the layout at the San Diego Convention Center appear deceptively large. To that end, the 510 vendors who exhibited at the show were 21 less than last year, 40 behind the 2017 show in Orlando and easily the fewest since the current GIS model was implemented in 2005 in Florida. 
    The last time the GIS was in San Diego in 2016, 550 vendors rented out 250,000 square feet of exhibit space in the convention center. This year's show fell short of that number by nearly 42,000 square feet, or about 16 average sized U.S. houses. 
    That said, exhibit space this year was up from last year's 184,400 square feet in San Antonio. The all-time low for exhibit space in the GIS era was 172,900 in 2013 in San Diego. The all-time high was 2008 in Orlando when the combined show that included the Club Managers Association of America attracted 965 vendors covering 300,900 square feet of booth space. To be clear, that was a different show in a different era, and, like pre-recession golf, we're never going back there.
    The show does typically receive a bump when it travels through Orlando, and next year's show could get a big boost by a schedule change that has it running back-to-back in late January immediately following the annual PGA Merchandise Show. Word on the street is that since two large tradeshows are running in succession the next installment of GIS might be moved across International Drive to the North/South Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center and away from its traditional home in the West Concourse. Whether butting up to the PGA Show was intentional or not, it's a move that is long overdue and kudos to the GCSAA hierarchy for trying something different to boost attendance as well as cut down travel expenses for the select vendors who exhibit at both shows.
    The following year's show in 2021 will return to Las Vegas for the first time since 2012. That show was considered a dud when compared to some of the old line shows of Orlando and New Orleans. Today, however, numbers like 14,700 attendees, 7,000 qualified buyers and 540 vendors sound pretty good. What the show holds after that is anyone's guess. A site has not been announced for 2022, which would be the traditional San Diego slot. What we do know is that sky-high hotel rates and a city ill-equipped to deal with its homeless population is not a good match for an industry trying to find its way in a shrinking market.
  • All good things come to an end at some point, even Law and Order and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  After almost 100 episodes over an eight-year run on TurfNetTV, Hector Velazquez is closing Hector's Shop as we know it and moving on to the next challenge in educating turf equipment technicians, whatever and wherever that may be.
    On the heels of an epic week hosting Inside the Shop at GIS2019, receiving the Edwin Budding Award and appearing on Good Morning San Diego, Hector decided to seize the moment and springboard to something new.
    "I appreciate the experience I was able to gain from my time with TurfNet. I've learned a lot with your help and really am grateful," Hector said. "My wife and I are excited about what the future holds for my family, even though we're not sure at this point what that is or where it will be. The only thing I know is that I want to continue helping equipment technicians."
    The Velazquez family is not afraid to pull up roots and find a new adventure. In 2015, Hector took Hector's Shop and his family on the road and spent the next four years crisscrossing the country while living in an RV and homeschooling their seven children. Along the way he worked on a temporary basis at several golf courses, did onsite tech training, extreme makeovers, shop organization consultations, speaking engagements and hands on classes.
    "Hector's Shop on Tour was an amazing experience for me and my family, allowing us to see and experience parts of the country and meet people that we never would have been able to otherwise," Hector said. "But after four years on the road, we are ready to settle down.  We are looking for property now, preferably with a shop on it already."

    Awards Hector has won representing TurfNet in TOCA's annual contests. Peter McCormick of TurfNet said, "There is little doubt that Hector has done more over the last eight years to elevate the stature of the turf equipment technician than anybody else, ever. He has trumpeted the value of a clean, organized shop, shown us how to paint a shop floor properly (even sprinkling on some glitter), how to properly use basic to the most specialized tools, and has introduced little-known tools, techniques and gadgets to broaden the skill set of the equipment tech. His influence on the industry has been huge."
    Speaking of huge, anyone who has met Hector and shaken his catchers-mitt-sized hands knows that he has spent time in the gym. He is an imposing presence.
    An early Tips & Tricks video Hector did for us back in 2010 while he was the equipment manager at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA. "One of the most enjoyable things for me while working with Hector over the years has been the masterful way in which he has built his personal brand," said McCormick. "From the evolution of his logo (to currently include his caricature) to his signature bowling shirts, a professional branding agency could not have done a better job than Hector has done for himself. I wouldn't be surprised to see him pitching products on TV or hosting a show like This Old House or NPR's Car Talk some day. He has an open road ahead of him."

    A future for Hector as a pitchman, or as Bob Vila for equipment techs? Of note is the fact that Hector produced all of his videos himself, learning the nuances of lighting, camera and audio gear, and editing applications along the way.
    Hector's influence has not gone unnoticed outside the turf industry. He was recruited several years ago to produce 50 videos for Home Depot's tool rental department, and has worked with the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC).
    For the son of a preacher from New Jersey with little formal training in mechanics -- and none in video, audio or marketing for that matter -- Hector has done an amazing job. We wish him and his family nothing but the best... and Keep Those Zerks Greased.
  • Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke, right, presents Carlos Arraya, CGCS, with the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. Personal tragedy once 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. 
    "Losing my son gave me a new perspective," Arraya said. "Tragedies really awaken people, or they make them go down a road they can't come back from."
    Count Arraya among the former.
    The pillar management style he implemented since the tragedy emphasizes people first, from recruitment through training, with the idea that "the best people will produce the best conditions and is a big part of why, during this year's Golf Industry Show, Arraya was named the recipient of the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    "The difficulty of this loss few of us will ever grasp," wrote Dr. Thomas Schneider, a Bellerive member and green chairman during the PGA Championship, in his nomination of Arraya for the award. "Carlos endured these dark days by crediting his deep faith."

    Syngenta's Stephanie Schwenke congratulates Superintendent of the Year winner Carlos Arraya, and finalists Brian Conn, Dwayne Dillinger and Matthew Wharton (left to right). It was eight months after he started at Bellerive as superintendent under John Cunningham that Arraya's son died. When Cunningham left the following year to become general manager at Aronimink near Philadelphia, Arraya decided it was time for him to change.
    "I told John I was going to do something different," Arraya said. "I didn't know at the time what that was, but I knew I wanted to do something different."
    His team-building management style helps members of his staff focus on specific tasks, take ownership of conditions and pride in the knowledge that their work in a definitive areas help prop up the pillars that hold up the golf course.
    The staff is separated into teams, and each member has six items as part of their routine and they have to take ownership of those six items. The pillar is the key to each team's success. This way, they know exactly what they are doing every day, they know our plan and how what they do impacts others.
    "Culture has a variety of meanings," he said. "What does it mean to this group? Professional excellence comes from remembering life is more than work."
    That even applied during the PGA Championship. Although preparing a golf course to challenge the world's best golfers on the game's biggest stage requires a lot of work, Arraya made sure members of his team were not overworked, especially those with young children at home..
    "We have to love each other, take care of each other and take care of our children," he said.
    "The golf course has been here since 1897. A lot of generations have come and gone, one day I'll be gone, but the golf course will still be there."
    Arraya was chosen from a field of five finalists that included Brian Conn of Transit Valley Country Club in East Amherst, New York; Dwayne Dillinger of Bell Nob Golf Course in Gillette, Wyoming; Pat O'Brien of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Matthew Wharton of Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Criteria on which nominees are judged include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
    As the winner, Arraya receives an expense-paid trip for two on the TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland in October.
    Previous winners include: Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013), Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  • The Toro Co. is celebrating its 100th anniversary of serving the needs of golf course superintendents and greenkeepers.
    Founded in 1914, Toro brought the first motorized fairway mower to market in 1919. Known as the Toro Standard Golf Machine, the unit was developed for use at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. It consisted of five reel mowers attached to the front of a farm tractor and immediately was recognized as superior to horse-drawn equipment.
    Since then, the company's contributions to the golf business have been well chronicled - and used - with mowers for every applications, bunker-maintenance and irrigation equipment, soil-monitoring technology and more.
    The company credits its staying power to: listening to customer feedback, innovative products, customer relationships and its distribution network.
    The Bloomington, Minnesota-based company has a long list of influential employees who have helped it be a pioneer in the golf industry.
    The company's first president and co-founder, John Samuel Clapper, personally held several patents for golf course equipment, including the first electric-powered (corded) greensmower in 1928. Also on that list is Dr. James "Doc" Watson, who joined Toro in 1952, and is revered as a pioneer in agronomics and teacher. John Singleton joined the company in 1967 and was instrumental in establishing Toro's golf course irrigation division.
    "Without a doubt, we owe much of our success to the Toro employees who have helped shape the golf industry with countless innovations," said Rick Rodier, vice president and general manager of Toro's Commercial Business. "But we wouldn't be here today without the Toro customers across the globe who put their faith and trust in our products every day. As we celebrate a century in the golf industry, we simply want to say thank you to our customers and channel partners for continuing to put your trust in Toro people and products."
    The company has a long history of serving its community and industry.
    This year, the Melrose Leadership Academy sent 13 golf course superintendents to the Golf Industry Show.
    Developed in 2012 by former Toro CEO and chairman Ken Melrose, the foundation that bears his name supports professional development of golf course superintendents based on financial need, volunteerism and desire to advance their careers.
    Superintendents sent to this year's show through the program are: Dean Chase, Carnegie Abbey Club (RI); Benjamin Culclasure of Kilmarlic Golf Club (NC); Jason Culver of Pine Acres Country Club (PA); Ryan Dykes of Camp Creek Golf Club (FL); John Hardin of Oro Valley Country Club (AZ); Richard Lewis of Willowdale Golf Club (ME); Mitchell Miller of The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club (FL); Manuel Oliveira of Green Valley Country Club (RI); Charles Passios, CGCS, of TGC at Sacconnesset (MA); Patrick Skinner of Brown Acres Golf Course (TN); Douglas Vogel of Preakness Valley Golf Course (NJ); Toby Young of Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland (ME); Timothy Zurybida of Alverthorpe Park Golf (PA).
  • The definition of purgatory is a place where the souls of sinners suffer and atone for their misdeeds in life before going to heaven: Think the ghost of Jacob Marley who wears his burdens in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol.
    The golf business has been going through its own version of perdition for several years. After more than a decade of contraction, the golf industry might be stuck in this state of limbo for much longer than anyone ever thought possible.
    A total of 120 golf courses closed in 2018, while only 30 new courses opened, resulting in a net loss of 90 18-hole equivalents.
    The news marked the 13th consecutive year that more courses closed than opened, according to the annual Pellucid Corp., Edgehill Golf Consulting State of the Industry reported delivered at the recent PGA Merchandise Show.
    Back in the mid-2000s, when golf course closings began outpacing openings in the wake of the "build a course a day" mantra, some industry stakeholders suggested it might take 10-15 years for the market to reach that magical place where supply and demand peacefully coexist.
    Since then, 1974 golf courses (measured in 18-hole equivalents) have closed, been plowed under, redeveloped and repurposed vs. 586 new openings, for a net loss of 1,388 EHEs. As demographics constantly shift and the rate at which golf courses close (about 1 percent of the total inventory each year) closely mirrors the pace at which the game loses players, the market might never reach equilibrium, according to Pellucid's Jim Koppenhaver.
    Other key indicators from the report, rounds played nationwide dropped about 5 percent from 448 million rounds in 2017 to 427 million rounds last year, and rounds per 18-hole equivalent dropped by about the same percentage to 31,700 rounds per year per facility. The high for rounds played in a year was 518 million in 2000.
    The game also lost about 100,000 players last year, down from 20.9 million two years ago to 20.8, a difference the industry dismisses as "flat", but even flat, or marginal losses add up over time. The game has lost 7 million players since golf course supply contraction began 13 years ago and 9 million since 2002.
    Currently, there are about 13,500 golf courses in operation across the country. At the current play rate, equilibrium will be reached when the the number of 18-hole equivalents drops to 12,200. The problem is, the play rate is a fluid number.
    On the other side of that coin, if the number of golf courses in the inventory is going to stick at 13,500, rounds played will have to climb to 472 million - and stay there - to reach equilibrium.
    "Unless/until rounds trend reverses, supply contraction is the only path," Koppenhaver wrote. 
    "The definition of purgatory, 1 percent rounds decline matched to 1 percent supply reduction. We never reach equilibrium."
    For years, the game has been carried by baby boomers who fall into the category of committed golfers, or those who play 40 or more rounds per year. As that demographic decreases in numbers, the results are now showing in rounds played, as the industry lost some 300,000 committed golfers. Those who play on a casual level increased by the same amount, while another 100,000 people walked away from the game.
    Increases among might be attributed to off course entities like Topgolf, which is attracting the demographics traditional golf is seeking.
    A total of 70 percent of traditional golf rounds are played by those 35 and older, and only about one-fourth of all players are female.
    In 2011, there were 10 Top Golf facilities nationwide. This year, there are expected to be 60 facilities across the country earning $1.5 billion in revenue. Last year, off-course facilities like Topgolf attracted 13 million visitors, 51 percent of whom identify as non-golfers, 70 percent are under 35 years of age and 32 percent of which are female. The good news is that about 29 percent of those who attend these off-course facilities. 
    Whether it will actually translate to more rounds at traditional golf facilities, you'll have to wait. But that's nothing new.
  • TurfNet founder Peter McCormick with the 'Where's TurfNet?' banner at the 2011 GIS in Orlando. 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.
    In his editorial column in the inaugural issue of TurfNet Monthly, McCormick wrote, "... 'a good business enhances the lives of all who work within it and enriches the lives of all who are touched by it'. ... I will grow a good business. I will add quality people over time who will fuel that growth. and we will all have fun doing it." A pretty accurate forecast.
    For perspective, 1994 also saw the release of Forrest Gump, Shawhank Redemption and The Lion King. The Sony PlayStation was launched. Justin Bieber was born. Yahoo and Amazon were founded.
    Kicking off in the NJ/NY metro area where McCormick had previously been the sales manager for a Toro distributor, TurfNet steadily carved a niche among early-adopting superintendents who saw its potential. McCormick was assisted in the early years by his brother Bob, with a satellite office in Charlotte, NC.
    "When I think of Peter, it immediately puts a smile on my face," said Matt Shaffer, a pioneering superintendent in his own right before retiring two years ago. "Here is a man that never once walked at the back of the pack. Had he been born in the late 1700s, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have left before Lewis and Clark to explore the Wild West."
    Longtime TurfNet member Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS MG at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, recalled visiting an early online message board when he first learned about the possible advent of TurfNet.
    "I remember being on Turfbyte and Peter calling me to tell me about his idea of TurfNet," Tegtmeier said. "I thought at the time it was a futile endeavor and why would one pay to join this group when we had GCSAA. Well, time has proven me wrong, and I am so happy I jumped on the TurfNet train at that time."
    Much has changed since McCormick’s first trade show, the 1996 NYSTA conference that involved a $6,000 investment in a new booth backdrop, no member signups and a long, soul-searching drive home to New Jersey.

    It hasn't always been a bowl of cherries. McCormick's enthusiasm for his first trade show was tempered by zero business done. TurfNet soon brought the industry's first job board that through the years has helped thousands find employment, and a marketplace for used equipment that has allowed buyers and sellers alike to save money that can be used elsewhere. The members-only forum provides a venue where superintendents, assistants and equipment technicians can give or receive solutions to nagging agronomic, equipment, irrigation or labor-related issues, or discuss current events, politics, movies and more.
    Those keystones continue to serve as TurfNet's foundation today.
    "TurfNet is more than a page that loads on my browser at startup," said Jim Campion of NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio. "It is a consolidated, easy-to-use tool for me to utilize when looking to network, sell or buy equipment, hire staff or stay current with hot topics in the forum."
    Although there are many media where one can get advice on agronomic and other issues important to superintendents, the sense of community and camaraderie of the TurfNet Forum make it a trusted source for many, says Tegtmeier.
    "I have learned so many innovative ideas from the TurfNet family," Tegtmeier said. "Many times, we think we need to try something, but were afraid of the consequences. However, being on TurfNet one just had to post the idea and pretty soon you would have some answers from others that had tried it, or they encourage you and your ideas. I have met so many friends and colleagues on TurfNet, it has broadened my networking opportunities over the years. I can't imagine doing my job without the support from the TurfNet family. If I had one recommendation today for a young turf professional, it would be to join TurfNet and become an active participant. Sure, there are other forms of networking through social media, but the TurfNet family is so much more than 140 characters."

    Superintendent of the Year Rick Tegtmeier (l) with Peter McCormick at GIS 2018. Shaffer agreed, saying the Forum has been unique because it is a place to get frank advice and unbiased critiques of products and equipment.
    "There is no doubt about it, when God put Peter McCormick on this earth, he intended for him to be a disrupter, and he couldn't have found a more qualified candidate," Shaffer said.
    "He stirred the pot with his online forums. Peter took issues that everyone was whispering about, exposed them and they were resolved years ahead of schedule."
    Like any good business, TurfNet has grown and evolved since 1994, but the emphasis always has been on creating and maintaining a place where superintendents could feel like they were part of a community, where they could network with peers with common interests and issues, trade stories and advice and have a laugh along the way. To that end, the inaugural "Beer and Pretzels Gala" was launched at the 1997 GCSAA annual conference and show (now the Golf Industry Show) in Anaheim, California, and two years later, Team TurfNet participated for the first time in the annual Golf Course Hockey Challenge tournament in Ontario. Both continue to this day.
    "I have made so many great friends from all over the country, shared lots of laughs and the stories from years past. You can't make this stuff up," said Ken Lallier, CGCS at the Quechee Club, in Quechee, Vermont and sole participant as goaltender in all 21 seasons with the TurfNet hockey team. "Thanks to Coach (McCormick) for using TurfNet to bring a bunch of hockey-loving turfheads together each year in Niagara Falls. It has been priceless. Another unexpected benefit from the TurfNet brotherhood."

    21-year goaltender and team captain Ken Lallier with Team TurfNet 2019 earlier this week at the 25th Annual Golf Course Hockey Challenge in Niagara Falls. Coach/sponsor Peter McCormick is at right. McCormick sold TurfNet in 2001 to Turnstile Publishing Co., an Orlando, Florida-based company owned by Rance Crain of Crain Communications fame. Turnstile published Golfweek and Golfweek's SuperintendentNEWS magazines and wanted to add a turf-oriented web presence. McCormick stayed on to manage the TurfNet business segment and orchestrate it's future growth. 18 years later, he's still there.
    In late 2007, Turnstile ceased publication of SuperNEWS (which had become TurfNet the Magazine for several issues). John Reitman and Jon Kiger, the magazine's editor and advertising director, joined TurfNet in similar capacities. Also joining TurfNet at that time was Eleanor Geddes. As TurfNet's "director of member happiness" she continues to be the administrative glue that holds everything together and keeps everyone moving forward on a day-to-day basis.
    Making the migration with SuperNEWS were the publication's annual Superintendent of the Year and Technician of the Year awards that recognize industry leaders for their hard work, dedication and ingenuity. The Superintendent's Best Friend dog calendar also assumed TurfNet branding.
    Added to the TurfNet offerings over the ensuing years were TurfNet University (2008), TurfNetTV (2009) and TurfNetRADIO (2014), as well as blogs by Paul MacCormack, Joe Fearn, Matt Leverich, and Jim McLoughlin.

    The Beer & Pretzel Gala in New Orleans, 2000, was the party 300 attendees were still talking about ten years later. The TurfNet University Webinar series brought more than 20 online educational seminars to thousands of viewers annually.  TurfNetTV introduced the irreverent Randy Wilson and his fictional Rockbottum Country Club, Hector Velazquez and Hector's Shop,  OnCourse with Kevin Ross, and hundreds of Tips & Tricks videos.
    TurfNetRADIO podcasts include the popular Frankly Speaking series with Cornell University professor Frank Rossi, the Turfgrass Zealot Project with Dave Wilber, profiles of career superintendents in Living Legends, career guidance in The Ladder, and a roundup of renovation and restoration projects with Anthony Pioppi in The Renovation Report.
    "Being one of the first 50-members of TurfNet I can honestly say it's been a big part of my career as a turfgrass professional," said Tony Girardi, CGCS MG at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, Connecticut. "The forum has been invaluable through the years and I have learned many tips and tricks, as well as making many friends along the way. I don't know where we would all be in the turf industry without TurfNet by our side for the past 25 years. Kudos to Peter and everyone at TurfNet who have made this a wonderful journey."
    Former superintendent and general manager at Huntsville Golf Club in Shavertown, Pennsylvania and the founder and owner of Elite Sports Turf Management, Scott Schukraft was one of those early adopters of technology looking for an edge in his career.
    "I didn't know Peter McCormick when he started TurfNet, but I immediately saw how important and impactful a tool it was," Schukraft said. "I signed on 25 years ago, and have never looked back. I can still remember anxiously awaiting the monthly print newsletter, if for no other reason, to read his always-insightful View from the Cheap Seats. TurfNet has become my go-to trusted industry resource for just about everything. Throughout the years and many changes, it has evolved and remained relevant unlike any other that comes to mind. Looking forward to the next 25 years."
    Other additions to the TurfNet inventory of benefits include an annual members golf trip that has visited Ireland on several occasions, Scotland, Bandon Dunes and the Kohler properties in Wisconsin, a members trip to the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association turf exposition in the United Kingdom and an overseas internship for a U.S.-based turf management student.
    John Paquette of Indian Hill Country Club in Northport, New York is a charter member of TurfNet from that first year in 1994. Last year, his family was one of the recipients of the inaugural Coldiron Positivity Awards, named in honor of longtime TurfNet friend Jerry Coldiron, a former superintendent who was working for Hector Turf in South Florida when he died suddenly on Nov. 22, 2017. Paquette's family was singled out for one of the $2,500 awards disbursed by the Jerry Coldiron Embrace Life! Fund after son Nick Paquette was diagnosed with leukemia. With the support of his family, Nick completed treatments last year and is back in action at SUNY New Paltz, where he is a senior on the basketball team.
    The elder Paquette is grateful for the sense of community TurfNet has brought not only to him, but his family.
    "I've been able to hire great people; make great friends; buy and sell equipment; blow off steam; learn, learn and learn more about turf and tips on how to do it better," Paquette said. "I traveled with my dad and a fantastic group of gentlemen, led by Jon Kiger, to Ireland in '11 for which we both often recall as one of the best weeks of our lives. And, most importantly, my son, Nick, and I have and continue to receive tremendous, uplifting support from our membership with respect to his unending battle with Leukemia for which we are forever grateful. Peter, I thank you for this gift you have given us all."

    John Paquette (r) with his father, Bill, at Ballybunion on the TurfNet Members Trip, 2011. No one has a crystal ball, but one thing is certain: TurfNet will continue to lead, innovate and bring new ideas and solutions to the turf industry.
    "I always wonder 'what is Peter thinking about now?' " Shaffer said. "I am sure it is something none of the rest of us have thought about yet."
  • Playbooks for Golf launched Conditions, a new software platform designed to help superintendents do their jobs faster and more efficiently than ever.
    The easy-to-use mobile app is the culmination of 20 years of work for those seeking better communications, and was released after 18 months of beta testing at golf facilities nationwide, says Playbooks co-founder Matt Leverich. It easily integrates third-party software to communicate critical course conditions faster and more efficiently with other departments and golf facility staff.
    Using Conditions is as simple as writing a blog post or tweet, and it allows the superintendent to update course conditions in real time, making it accessible to golfers and facility staff.
    "The problem with all current forms of communication is that they require the golfer to visit them on their own or filtered through a social feed with all kinds of distractions," Leverich said.
    "With Conditions, we take the critical course information straight to golfers' phones where they can easily see the entire operation, and get alerts via push notifications, in a great app format. Plus checking Conditions becomes part of their routine just like checking other critical apps."
    It can work seamlessly with any clubhouse app, while still allowing the superintendent the ability to send alerts to golfers only, and it promises to increase member satisfaction, save superintendents time — and minimize negative feedback for factors beyond their control by addressing misunderstandings or misperceptions that arise when members and staff don't have the information necessary to understand the "what" and "why" of course conditions.
    "As a former superintendent, I know how challenging it can be to get the right information to the right people at the right time," says Playbooks co-owner Greg Wojick. "We try everything to keep the right people informed — Twitter, Facebook, email, and even Instagram. But we can never be sure the message gets through. Conditions renders these and other forms of communication obsolete by making it possible for superintendents to share real-time course conditions and project updates at any time — quickly and easily."
    Playbooks also works with ezLocator to integrate daily hole locations from that platform, for both ezLocator and ezPins clients. This allows golfers to only need one app for both Pins and course conditioning information.
    Houston Country Club was among the Conditions test sites, and it helped superintendent Billy Weeks communicate course conditions regularly with players and golf facility staff. 
    "Our membership loves it," Weeks said. 
    For a demonstration of Conditions, visit goplaybooks.com.
  • Brothers Dan Miller (left) and Tim Miller, both former superintendents, have found their calling brewing beer at the family-owned Mighty River Brewing Co. 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.
    "There are so many choices out there. You have to make good beer," Miller said. "You have to make stuff that hits the notes people expect. If you make a sour, it better be sour. If you make an IPA, you better have a lot of hops in there. We brew styles that are true to what they are supposed to be. We are trying really hard at making good beer."
    The construction superintendent at Broadlands Golf Course in Broomfield and later Highland Meadows in Windsor, Miller, 47, was a superintendent for about 20 years in the Fort Collins area, when he decided two years ago to leave one dream behind to chase another. 
    He had fiddled with home brewing while he was a student at Colorado State University, and finally took it up as a serious hobby a little more than a decade ago at the prompting of his brother, Tim, also an ex-greenkeeper with more than two decades of experience. Dan spent the next 10 years honing his craft while still managing playing conditions at Highland Meadows.
    "I started home brewing in 2006. I did a little in college, but not enough to note," Miller said. "I didn't get serious about it until 2007."
    Today, Dan and his wife of 18 years, Kristine (pictured together below right), are owners of the Mighty River operation on Fairgrounds Avenue on Windsor's southwest end. And, with brother Tim as head brewmaster, his wife Heather handling social media and father Jim helping with the brewing operation, Mighty River is a true family-owned and run operation.
    "We both needed a change. And the ability to hop in here with Dan on this venture seemed too good to pass up," Tim said. "We knew this would never be as stressful or difficult as what we had done our whole lives. It was an opportunity to really change our direction in life and hopefully improve our quality of life. It was something we could do and be passionate about. We needed that. We needed to feed that fire again. And we thought we could make some decent beer for people along the way."
    Tim, who was a superintendent for the City of Greeley for 23 years, was the first in the family to take up brewing in 1991.
    "I got everyone in the family into it in 2007 and 2008. Then we all started doing it together," he said. "So, opening a microbrewery has been in the making for some time. We've had a long time to hone our styles and explore other things on a smaller scale. It's worked out great. Except for a few glitches here and there, for not being in the brewing business I think we've been doing pretty well."
    Named for the brothers' affinity for life on the wild and unspoiled Cache La Poudre river that flows through Windsor and Greeley on its way to the South Platte River, Mighty River features 14 beers on tap and a 90-seat taproom with room for 40 more outside on the patio.
    Their offerings include an assortment of lagers, ales, sours and porters, all of which are available only on tap either on site or at a few other local bars.
    The Millers' experience as golf course superintendents came in handy in the beer business, as they did much of the electrical and plumbing work at Mighty River themselves.
    "Working as a superintendent prepared us for that," Tim said. "You have to know how to do a little bit of everything as a superintendent."
    The Millers aren't sure what the future holds for their fledgling business, but they know one thing, after more than two decades in golf, they've finally found their calling.
    "I think the ultimate goal would be to see where we can take this," Tim said. "At what point do we decide we go big or stay small? I don't think we know the answer to that."
  • Old Marsh Golf Club superintendent Tony Nysse (left) congratulates 2018 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award winner Terry Libbert. When eventual 2018 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award winner Terry Libbert was nominated by not one but four superintendents for whom he had worked at Old Marsh Golf Club, our panel of judges figured he must be something pretty special.
    We weren't alone. Between the time Libbert was chosen by the judging panel as last year's winner and when he received the award, he had been lured away from the club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida to work at Michael Jordan's Grove XXIII in nearby Hobe Sound.
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's equipment manager is not one of the commandments of golf course maintenance. To the contrary; scouting, recruiting or luring away another club's top mechanic is common, illustrating the fact that great equipment managers are hard to find, much less keep.
    If you have an equipment manager you believe is among the best in the business, please nominate him, or her, for the 2019 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award, presented by Toro.
    Click here to nominate your equipment manager.
    Nominees are considered by our panel of judges on the following criteria: crisis management; effective budgeting; environmental awareness; helping to further and promote the careers of colleagues and employees; interpersonal communications; inventory management and cost control; overall condition and dependability of rolling stock; shop safety; and work ethic.
    Finalists will be profiled on TurfNet, and the winner will receive the Golden Wrench Award and a spot in an upcoming Toro Service Training University session at the company's headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota.
    Previous winners include (2018) Terry Libbert, Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; (2017) Tony Nunes, Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, IL; (2016) Kris Bryan, Pikewood National Golf Club, Morgantown, WV; (2015) Robert Smith, Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, PA; (2014) Lee Medeiros, Timber Creek and Sierra Pines Golf Courses, Roseville, CA; (2013) Brian Sjögren, Corral de Tierra Country Club, Corral de Tierra, CA; (2012) Kevin Bauer, Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Crest Hill, IL; (2011) Jim Kilgallon, The Connecticut Golf Club, Easton, CT; (2010) Herb Berg, Oakmont (PA) Country Club; (2009) Doug Johnson, TPC at Las Colinas, Irving, TX; (2007) Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club; (2006) Fred Peck, Fox Hollow and The Homestead, Lakewood, CO; (2005) Jesus Olivas, Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, Marana, AZ; (2004) Henry Heinz, Kalamazoo (MI) Country Club; (2003) Eric Kulaas, Marriott Vinoy Renaissance Resort, Sarasota, FL.
  • Think you know all there is to know about measuring soil moisture and salinity and how it affects turfgrass conditions? Researchers at New Mexico State University are convinced there is more to learn and will undertake a study this year that they hope will shed more light on soil moisture, soil salinity, when irrigation to remedy either is necessary and how much.
    "There are times when soil contains enough moisture that it doesn't trigger a need for irrigation, but salinity content triggers the need to leach salts out of the profile," said Bernd Leinauer, Ph.D., professor and turfgrass extension specialist at New Mexico State University. "This is where the project comes into play. Computer engineers will develop an algorithm that combines both aspects to determine if irrigation is necessary and to what extent.
    "We want to take the guesswork out of that and hopefully develop technology that will determine that decision for us."
    The project, which will be conducted with Toro and the Colorado School of Mines and is funded by the National Science Foundation, is scheduled to begin later this year. Funding for the study will cover 18 months of research, but Leinauer hopes to collect enough data soon enough to secure enough money to continue the study beyond that.
    "Hopefully, we will have enough baseline data available for more funding to carry over for a longer period of time," he said. "Salinity and salt build-up take time in field studies."
    Although soil-monitoring devices, either handheld or those installed underground, have been widely embraced by the golf industry, others in the T&O market have not been so quick to adopt this technology. And much of the impetus for the study has come from those who have not used it. In fact, the very stipulation for securing the funding is to investigate "promising technology already in existence that hasn't been accepted or used by industry or the end user."
    Previous research on soil moisture monitoring conducted at New Mexico State, Leinauer said, has shown reductions in irrigation of as much as 40 percent. With the advent of new, more salt-tolerant grasses (both warm- and cool-season varieties), savings could exceed that shown in previous studies, he said. 
    "We're losing potable water and resorting to effluent, recycled water, gray water, whatever term comes to mind. That is what we have now," he said. "Salinity becomes a more critical aspect.
    "Salts don't disappear. We just move them to different areas in the profile where they don't pose as much of a risk."
    As more turf managers become more reliant on alternative water sources, Leinauer believes the results of the study will help end users far beyond the borders of New Mexico.
    "Parts of Europe had record drought in 2018. Problems for us that are normal are catastrophic elsewhere," Leinauer said. "People from other parts of the world ask us 'How do you handle this?' 'What do you do?'
    "This certainly doesn't relate just to New Mexico, but the entire southwest and anywhere in the U.S. or the world that has water-shortage issues. That makes our work even more important." 
  • Few things in sport stir the same sort of nostalgic tradition as golf. Count the Rose Bowl Stadium among those few.
    The Rose Bowl game has been played 105 times since 1902, and every year since 1916. Even two world wars couldn't stop the game, which was moved in 1942 to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor just weeks earlier that launched the United States into World War II.
    A total of 41 different college football teams have played in the game, and it is the home turf of the UCLA Bruins. Taking care of that turf is as important as managing the fairways at Augusta National.
    Brandt has been the fertilizer partner of the Rose Bowl Stadium for two decades, a relationship that both sides just made official, making Brandt the stadium's official fertilizer partner. Will Schnell, superintendent at the Rose Bowl, will be on hand at the Brandt booth during the upcoming Golf Industry Show to discuss turf management at the iconic stadium.
    Brandt's Grigg brand of fertilizers have been used on the Rose Bowl Stadium field for more than 18 years. The field has been named the Best Looking Field in All of College Football and some of the key nutritional products used on the field include Grigg's Proven Foliar nutrient line and GreenSpec granular nutrient line. Both product lines are high quality nutritient blends that have been proven and tested through years of university field trials.
    "It's my job to give athletes and fans the very best playing field and experience possible. My number one priority is player safety and performance," said Schnell. "I need high quality products that I know will perform consistently and help me achieve the turf playing surface I'm after. The reason I chose Grigg is because the products are the most proven and tested."
  • 2016 Superintendent of the Year Dick Gray (right) of PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and the club's general manager Jimmy Terry. From finding innovative sources of irrigation water and tackling the mother of all construction projects to managing a national championship under grueling weather conditions, redefining personnel management and even donating an organ to help save a colleague, five finalists with vastly different resumes have been named for the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    Finalists include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis; Brian Conn, Transit Valley Country Club in East Amherst, New York; Dwayne Dillinger, Bell Nob Golf Course, Gillette, Wyoming; Pat O'Brien, Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, Cincinnati; and Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG, Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Carlos Arraya
    Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis
    Arraya was nominated by former green chairman Tom Schneider namely for resurrecting Bellerive's bentgrass greens that had been struggling after several hot summers, but he was recognized by the judges for his personnel management skills. Arraya's philosophy, which was borne mostly out of tragedy, puts life and people first and product second, with the understanding if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the golf course. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
    Brian Conn
    Transit Valley Country Club, East Amherst, New York
    While struggling to deal with his father's suicide, Conn was moved to act on an email seeking potential organ donors for fellow superintendent Scott Dodson. One year after a successful kidney transplant, both men and their families are linked in perpetuity. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
    Dwayne Dillinger
    Bell Nob Golf Course, Gillette, Wyoming
    When Bell Nob faced escalating costs for potable water and no realistic alternative sources, Dillinger developed a protocol for mixing water from two separate wells. One well was virtually devoid of calcium, the other was too rich in it. The result was a combined water source that has helped the county that owns Bell Nob save more than $1 million since the plan was implemented. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
    Pat O'Brien
    Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, Cincinnati
    As the man in charge of a $12 million construction project that touched almost every part of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club - except the golf course, O'Brien spent the past two years making vast changes to the club's infrastructure while constantly serving as a liaison between contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors and city officials, all of whom often were going in different directions. And he did it all while enduring weather conditions that constantly threatened to derail the project. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
    Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
    Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
    Wharton endured what he called the worst year for weather in his 14 years at Carolina Golf Club. The year started with dead Bermudagrass attributed to winterkill and ended - almost - with Hurricane Florence's arrival on the doorstep of the USGA Mid-Amateur. Wharton led the course through every challenge, pulled off a successful tournament, took on the role of president of his association and drew the admiration of members and colleagues. 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 Feb. 7 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The winner and a guest will win a trip for two on the 2019 TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland in the fall.
    Previous winners include: 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).
  • Harrell's recently acquired Golf Enviro Systems, expanding the company's western footprint.
    Golf Enviro Systems is a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based distributor of soil, turf, greenhouse and landscape maintenance products servicing the professional markets in Colorado, New Mexico and southern Wyoming. 
    All Harrell's products, including granular fertilizer products; liquid foliar nutrients; and wetting agents, adjuvants and colorants; and all branded fungicides, herbicides and inseciticides distributed by the Lakeland, Florida distributor of products and materials for the turf and ornamental industry will be available to customers in these regions.
    Gary Schinderle, Ben Boehme and Robert Gonzales, who served area customers for Golf Enviro will continue their roles with Harrell's. Rounding out the team will are territory manager Chris Freeman, regional sales director J.J. Jansen and vice president Nick Spardy.
    James Penny and Daniel Lewis will continue to manage operations and distribution out of the warehouse in Colorado Springs. Their combined years of experience backed by the Harrell's operations and business teams generates a new level of quality and customer support to Golf Enviro customers. 
  • Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS, MG at Des Moines Golf and Country Club (right) with former North Course superintendent Tim Sims (left) and South Course superintendent Nate Tegtmeier. Below right Tegtmeier and wife Sherry help Zach Johnson celebrate his induction into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2016. Tegtmeier was one of four inductees named to the hall of fame this year. When the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour decided to bring the Solheim Cup to Iowa, Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS, MG, wanted to make sure it was an experience that players, organizers and those working the event would never forget.
    Tegtmeier's efforts in staging Des Moines Golf and Country Club and simultaneously highlighting the greenkeeping abilities of his team and volunteers during the 15th edition of the Solheim Cup in 2017 left a lasting impact on many involved with the tournament. It also was one among the career achievements that recently resulted in Tegtmeier being named among the latest group of inductees to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. 
    "My whole goal was to shine the light on the superintendents who worked for me, their efforts, my crew and other Iowa superintendents who volunteered for the event," Tegtmeier said. "Many don't realize how good they are, but what they do matches every other superintendent in the country, but people don't know that because they don't see it on TV. To do that for them was a big deal for me."
    Tegtmeier, who was named winner of the 2017 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta, was among four named to this year's hall of fame class that also included Jill Blackwood, a champion for women's golf in Iowa; Sean McCarty, a three-time high school state champion who also led Iowa to the 1992 Big 10 championship before embarking on a career as a professional; and Pat Wilcox, who was elected posthumously for his endeavors on the Iowa golf scene in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
    Administered by the Iowa Golf Association, the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame includes a nominating committee that determines candidate eligibility of nominees, and a voting committee that consists solely of current hall of fame members.
    The seventh superintendent named to the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, Tegtmeier and the other members of this year's class will be inducted at a time and location to be determined.
    Tegtmeier's efforts to stage a Solheim Cup for the ages did not go unnoticed. His volunteer staff included other superintendents from throughout Iowa and former colleagues and employees who had moved on elsewhere, and the event was a hit with other Iowans from around the state who turned out in droves to fill the gallery each day of the event.
    Those who nominated him for TurfNet Superintendent of the Year included PGA Tour player Zach Johnson, Solheim Cup Team USA captain Juli Inkster and then-Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
    "Players from both sides raved about the course conditions, in particular the greens and how pure they were," Inkster wrote in a letter nominating Tegtmeier for the award. "The 2017 Solheim Cup was an epic and historic display of women's golf played on an unbelievable state at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. I have been around a lot of golf for a long time, and can honestly say that the conditioning of the course for the Solheim Cup was among the best I have ever seen."
    A graduate of Hawkeye Community College with a degree in horticulture science, Tegtmeier, 59, has been in the golf business for 45 years and a superintendent since 1980. The recipient of the Iowa GCSA Distinguished Service Award in 2017, he has been director of grounds at 36-hole Des Moines Golf and Country Club for 12 years, and prepped there for six years as North Course superintendent under fellow hall of fame member Bill Byers.
    "It's an honor," said Tegtmeier, one of 74 certified golf course superintendents also certified as a master greenkeeper by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association. "I'm only the seventh superintendent to be inducted, and to follow in (Byers') footsteps is pretty special."
    Other inductees include Champions Tour player Dave Rummells, former superintendent and longtime Standard Golf sales manager Steven Tyler, and Johnson, who won the Masters in 2007 and the 2015 Open Championship at The Old Course at St. Andrews.
    Johnson texted a congratulatory message to Tegtmeier after the vote was official.
    "In Iowa, this is a big deal," Tegtmeier said. "You don't get a lot of Masters champions or British Open champions telling you congratulations."