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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Randy Wilson once said in a TurfNetTV video that dogs have "the No. 1 job in golf." 
    We could not agree more. Dogs chase geese and keep nuisance critters on the go. They run interference on golfers for the superintendent and generally serve as a calming influence in a world that often is anything but calm. And that is why TurfNet has been recognizing golf course dogs around the world since 2002 in the Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar, presented by Syngenta.
    There have been several facsimiles, but for almost 20 years, the Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar has been the original golf course dog calendar. If you have a dog that earns its keep at the golf course, enter a photo for consideration for next year's calendar.
    A panel of judges will select the 14 dogs for the calendar, including the cover and December 2019. Images should be taken horizontally at your camera's highest resolution setting. Also, try not to center your dog in the frame, as left or right orientation often can result in a more dramatic photograph. Nomination deadline is July 31. 
    Click here to submit a photo of your dog for consideration. Be sure to include the dog's name, age and breed; photographer's name; owner's name, phone number, email address; and the name of the golf course where the owner and dog both work. 
    For more information, email John Reitman. Submission deadline is July 31.
  • A teacher, mentor, career counselor and industry advocate, Jim McLoughlin (below right) also was involved in the development of Huntsville Golf Club, a Rees Jones design in Dallas, Pennsylvania (above). Over the course of 50 years in the golf business, Jim McLoughlin brought innovation and education to the industry he loved.
    The former teacher, coach, golf industry consultant and executive director of the Metropolitan Golf Association, the GCSAA and the Met GCSA, McLoughlin died March 9 at his home in Carlsbad, California. He was 84.
    A native of New York City and a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, McLoughlin was at times a controversial figure in the golf business and a true industry pioneer. 
    "He told people how it was, and people don't like to hear that," said former Westchester Country Club superintendent Joe Alonzi, CGCS. "He didn't have a filter between his brain and his mouth, and I'm not saying that was a bad thing. Whatever he said, he said because he thought it would benefit the superintendent." 
    McLoughlin was the Met Golf Association executive director from 1966-1980 and served in the same role for the GCSAA for the next four years. He helped the MGA become the first association to offer computerized handicapping and he was instrumental in developing what is today the USGA handicap system. 
    During his tenure with the GCSAA, the association made changes to the education and certification program that remain in place today.
    A frequent speaker and educator on career-development issues and an industry in decline (for two years he wrote a column for TurfNet that covered both topics), McLoughlin was not afraid to rattle some cages to try to get others to see the future of the industry from his vantage point. His approach built a solid foundation of allies and adversaries alike, said Jim Prusa, a golf course developer who nearly a decade ago left the sagging U.S. golf market for a job overseas with SKY72 Golf Resorts in Korea.
    "I knew Jim McLoughlin at a time in golf administration when powerful dynamics were precipitating tumultuous change," Prusa said. "Jim was brilliant, highly educated and surely persistent — an uncommon man who could be an unwavering friend or a tenacious foe. He had many diverse interests with a vision that too few in golf could comprehend. Jim wrestled to try to get those in organizational leadership positions in golf to see what he saw as the future."
    As dedicated as he was to improving the industry he loved, McLoughlin was equally committed to helping others. During his tenure with the MGA he recognized that superintendents were the golf industry's real driving force, and he helped many in turf maximize their career potential.
    When Alonzi was interviewing for the Westchester job in 1992, a position he held for 23 years, he went to McLoughlin for help.
    "I asked him to look over my resume, and he made some comments, positive and negative. He agreed to clean it up and we also went over possible questions you might get in an interview," Alonzi said. "He told me how to express myself and even put some words in my mouth, to be honest. He is the reason I got the Westchester job."
    Scott Schukraft, a former superintendent and the owner of Elite Sports Turf and Landscape Management in Dallas, Pennsylvania, also credits McLoughlin for much of his success as a superintendent, general manager and business owner.
    McLoughlin was involved in the development of Huntsville Golf Club, a Rees Jones design that opened in 1992 in Pennsylvania, and it was then that he helped Schukraft prepare for the role of construction superintendent. 
    "I didn't have any real construction experience, but he ushered me through the whole process soup to nuts," said Schukraft, who stayed at Huntsville for 20 years, including 13 as general manager until he started his own business. "He gave me the confidence to transition from superintendent to general manager. He was there every step of the way. When I left there, the first guy I called was Jim, and he told me 'Scott, your best days are ahead of you.' He was right. He encouraged me to start my own business."
    McLoughlin's upfront personality and mentoring style was not for everyone, Schukraft said. 
    "When things don't go your way he told you sometimes you have to step back and look in the mirror and ask yourself what you have to do to get better and get to the next level," Schukraft said. "I never took what he said as criticism, I took it constructively.
    "He knew what he was talking about. I have nothing but respect for him. He helped me enormously throughout my career."
    During his MGA days, McLoughlin hired a communications director named David Fay, who later went on to become the longtime director of the USGA.
    "Jim McLoughlin was a cutting-edge golf administrator and leader, known for his keen, innovative thinking," Fay said in a MGA release. "He was — truly — a pioneer in developing the modern state/regional golf-association model, offering numerous services and programs to all golfers, not just the tournament-caliber players."
    Survivors include wife Mary Ellen and their children, Laura (Herb) Cunitz, Jim (Stacey) McLoughlin, Ken (Karen) McLoughlin, and several grandchildren.
  • Admit it: there are times when standing over a golf ball, whacking the you-know-what out of it and reveling in the release that comes with it is therapeutic. 
    For those who work in golf maintenance, there are plenty of things to stress over: golfers who grouse, seemingly, about everything and demand increasingly unsustainable conditions, lack of employer loyalty, labor and budget issues, and looming pesticide bans. But there is a good side to the game of golf, a side that often gets overshadowed by negativity.
    Sure golf is fun, and can be a good source of exercise, at least for those who walk and give a pass to the beer cart. Randy Wilson has even hinted at it in some of his TurfNetTV videos that cast a satirical eye on golf. But real scientific research suggests that the benefits of playing golf are far more than anecdotal. That is good news for an industry often in need of a public relations win.
    According to research conducted by the University of Edinburgh and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, playing golf can help reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and dementia.
    The researchers noted that those who play golf have a lower mortality rate than non-golfers, and are less likely to suffer the effects of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and breast and colon cancer. They also noted that those who take part in moderate exercise activity, like golf, have a reduced risk for bodily injury.
    Just as real are the mental health benefits to playing golf.
    According to the Mental Health Foundation, a not-for-profit agency based in England dedicated to identifying and addressing sources of mental disease, as many as one in six adults experience some form of mental illness. Left unmanaged, the fallout can be depression, anxiety, domestic abuse and even suicide. 
    Jenny Roe, Ph.D., an environmental psychologist at the University of Virginia, stress can be compounded today thanks to the proliferation of digital media. Multi-tasking leads to decreased productivity and in the ultimate paradox, she said, social media, while connecting people via their electronic devices, isolates people from one another. Both instances can lead to increased anxiety and depression.
    Roe was not at superintendent Paul MacCormack's retreat last year, but she did talk about mindfulness and the role golf can play in achieving it.
    A professor of design and health and environmental planning in the UVA college of architecture and the director of center for design and health, Roe says just being present in a green space can help people manage their stress. 
    Some of the benefits of playing golf are detailed anecdotally in an article published by Syngenta entitled "Golf Saved my Life" as part of the company's Growing Golf campaign.
    The article shares stories of those who say playing golf helped them recover from their own battles with stress, anxiety and depression. They talk about how being outdoors is reinvigorating and how focusing on the game gives them a singularity of purpose so often missing in today's hectic lifestyle where the lines between work and family life have become so blurred it can be difficult to distinguish where one ends and the next begins.
    When it comes to alleviating stress and promoting mindfulness, science says one of the best sources of therapy is right outside your office door.
  • Kris Bryan (below right), the 2016 Golden Wrench winner, maintained a neat, organized shop at Pikewood National in Morgantown, West Virginia. We get it. Really good equipment managers are really hard to find, and when you find one, you don’t want your colleagues to find out. But we know they’re out there. Superintendents simply cannot produce the playing conditions golfers demand without a great mechanic to maintain equipment, innovate and invent new tools.
    Click here to show your equipment manager how much he (or she) means to your operation by nominating them for this year's award TurfNet Technician of the Year Award, presented by Toro. 
    Three finalists, as selected by our panel of judges, will be profiled on TurfNet and the winner will receive the Golden Wrench Award and a slot in an upcoming Toro Service Training Center session to further hone his skills.
    The deadline to nominate your tech is April 30.
    Judges will select three finalists - and ultimately a winner - based 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.
    Previous winners include (2018) Terry Libbert, Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; (2017) Tony Nunes, Chicago Golf Club; (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.
  • As the campaign against herbicides containing glyphosate continues, another shot over the bow was fired upon the agri-chemical industry when the European Union announced plans to ban the use of chlorothalonil among its member countries.
    The ban from member countries came after a report submitted by the European Food Safety Authority claiming chlorothalonil poses health and environmental concerns. Those who oppose the decision say the pending ban is overly precautionary.
    The EFSA report claims that chlorothalonil is a threat to aquatic life, amphibians and even bumblebees. The report cited a Cornell University study that linked fungicides to pollinator decline. The EU also is considering a ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, that also are blamed for contributing to declines in pollinator populations.
    Chlorothalonil has been registered for use in the United States since 1966 and in Europe since 1964, and since then has been one of the most widely used fungicides in agriculture and turf because of its multi-site mode of action and thus its low potential for resistance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency periodically reviews older chemistries, and chlorothalonil had been off patent for years and was an active ingredient in 210 fungicide products when the EPA reregistered it in 1998.
    The EU's decision was prompted by agricultural and environmental factors, and users there can continue to use chlorothalonil until existing supplies are exhausted, a period which is expected to stretch into 2020, according to reports.
    Chlorothalonil is known as an eye and skin irritant. It is a potential carcinogen in humans but has not been linked directly to any cases of cancer in people.
    The decision is another reminder that users here should consider advocating for continued use of such products that fall under such intense scrutiny and that their efforts should focus on responsible pesticide use before access to such products is restricted or banned. To that end, growers throughout the EU have said the ban will result in increased crop failure, rising food costs and a growing threat of resistance to other fungicides. For example, the National Farmers Union in the United Kingdom says the cost of wheat production could increase by as much as 12 percent.
    The news in the EU comes on the heels of repeated attacks of glyphosate use that culminated with the city of Miami approving a resolution to ban the use of herbicides containing glyphosate on city property.
  • For golf course superintendents seeking a glyphosate-free solution to weed control, Nufarm Americas recently launched Cheetah Pro a non-selective herbicide for control of grassy and broadleaf weeds. 
    With the active ingredient glufosinate-ammonium, Cheetah Pro is registered for use in 42 states and is labeled for control of more than 100 grassy and broadleaf weeds and sedges in a variety of golf, turf and landscape settings.
    It works quickly to control undesirable vegetation around ornamental trees, shrubs and potted plants, as well as landscape trim and natural areas. Cheetah Pro displays less translocation in grasses, which can help users create sharp boundary markers that are particularly helpful for golf and sports turf and precise trimming around ornamental beds.
    A soluble liquid formulation available in half-gallon and gallon containers, Cheetah Pro also has minimal residual activity in soil, which makes it an effective option for pre-plant weed control in turf and ornamentals. It also can be used to control many annual winter weeds, including annual bluegrass, in dormant Bermudagrass and Bahiagrass. 
  • Ice flow caused havoc at Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus, Nebraska, including turf and trees gouged by ice sheets (below). Photos by Roch Gaussoin via Twitter. Cover photo of Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Country Club by Tom Feller via Twitter. Imagine taking the same route to work, your child's school or the grocery store every day, then one day out of the blue being told "you can't get there from here."
    Flooding is a common occurrence on many Midwestern golf courses - in spring and summer. But flooding? On golf courses? In late winter? That is not so common.
    An unusually wet winter with frigid conditions followed by periods of rain and rapidly rising temperatures have resulted in circumstances the likes of which some in the Midwest never have seen before.
    Rising water levels and ice jams caused as ice flows break apart as temperatures rise clogged rivers and creeks throughout parts of the Midwest in mid March, compromised levees and bridges in several states and have left floodplain golf courses in an unfamiliar position - with winter dormant turf inundated with nearly freezing cold water. By the following week, water had begun to recede, but by then the damage had been done.
    In Nebraska, where flooding in some parts has been characterized as a 500-year flood by FEMA, the situation is so unique that University of Nebraska researchers are using it as a teaching moment for their students. 
    Roch Gaussoin, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska believes the flooding conditions probably will not result in any long-term turf damage, with heavy emphasis on "probably".
    "Flooded turf survives better when it's dormant or the water is cold, but the ground was already saturated and we probably will get another couple of inches on a weekly basis through the spring," Gaussoin said. "It is going to be interesting to learn from this and go to multiple locations and watch the progress. There is so much silt on some courses, what do you do with that? We know what silt can do to a green. They can seal up. You know I'm not a fan of core aeration, but I think some guys are going to have to get out there and pull some cores.
    "This is going to take a lot of patience. We don't know what is going to occur. There is no crystal ball, because we've never seen anything like this before, and I've been doing this for 30 years. It's overwhelming."
    In Columbus, Nebraska, parts of Quail Run Golf Course were so severely damaged by glacial sheets of ice moving across the property that the boys high school state tournament scheduled for May already has been moved to another location. Flowing slabs of ice gouged the playing surface and caused tree damage several feet above the ground.
    According to a release from the city of Columbus that owns the course: "Damage at Quail Run is extensive. Staff is working on cleaning up damage on the section of the course north of the levee. We will be looking at reshaping a couple of holes so that there will be nine holes available on the north side of the levee. We are anticipating opening the north side of the course on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Damage on the south side of the levee is extensive. Therefore, the holes on the south side of the levee will remain closed until further notice."
    "Until further notice" could mean next year, said Gaussoin, who has visited the course numerous times.
    With floodwaters expected, the crew set out to remove what they could from the golf course, including irrigation satellites that would have been crushed by the ice flow. As they were finishing up, they were doing so in knee-deep water.
    "It's a heavily treed course," Gaussoin said. "Everything in the path of the ice was compromised. Part of a cart path just fell off into the lake."
    Flooding across the state was so severe that several bridges were closed across eastern Nebraska and on March 14 the sheriff's office in Colfax County, an hour north of the University of Nebraska, declared all bridges throughout the county unsafe and unusable.
    In Green Bay, Wisconsin, superintendent Mark Storby posted a video on Twitter of his crew using chainsaws to cut through ice on the 18th green that was more than a foot deep.
    Just to the south, in Iowa, Tom Feller has seen a lot of flooding during his 18 years at Cedar Rapids Country Club. The course is located in a floodplain of the Indian Creek, which meanders about 10 miles south by southeast until it eventually empties into the Cedar River. But it has been more than a decade since he's since anything like what occurred this year at the 1915 Donald Ross design.
    "Water was 4 feet high in some areas. That's the highest it's been since 2008," Feller said. "Ice jams, rapid melt, it created havoc all over the place."
    Like Gaussoin, Feller doesn't believe damage to the turf will be extensive or long lasting - other than that 6-foot-wide chunk of the No. 6 fairway that was washed away by the Indian Creek.
    "On the positive side, the turf was not actively growing and we did not have the heat of the sun to contend with. We have a lot of silt and sand, but not being open yet allowed us to concentrate on clean up," Feller said. "And we haven't put out our pre-emerge yet, so we won't see weeds like you do after flooding in summer.
    "On the negative side, since we're not open yet, we're not fully staffed, so that is going to delay opening, probably by a couple of weeks. Our board knows, and they're OK with that. 
    "This is the first late-winter flood we've had here, so there are no more surprises. The scary thing is it's still March and we haven't been through April or May yet. That is typically when we get our hardest rains. The good thing is I've gotten really good at skimming silt and sand."
  • Rather than you going to a field day, the University of Tennessee and AquaAid Solutions are bringing the field day to you with this year's #PoaDay. If you want to learn more about the most up-to-date methods to control Poa annua but don’t have time to attend a regional field day, the University of Tennessee has your answer.
    #PoaDay is a virtual field day event hosted by members of the university’s turfgrass and ornamental weed science team. The goals of the event are to make turfgrass managers aware of the emerging problem of herbicide resistance evolving in turfgrass weeds, particularly annual bluegrass and educate turfgrass managers about the different strategies available for annual bluegrass control.
    The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 3 and will be broadcast live on Periscope by AquaAid Solutions. Follow @UTTurfWeeds or @Solutions4Turf for more information.
    The event will include updates from field trials examining the effects of several herbicides applied at varying rates to control Poa annua in Bermudagrass at putting green and fairway heights as well as perennial ryegrass. A video of the proceedings will be made available this spring. 
    For more on weed control, please check out any of these TurfNet University Webinar archives.
    Summer weed control update: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee,
    Non-herbicidal strategies for control of Poa annua: Beth Guertal, Ph.D., Auburn University,
    Optimizing herbicide performance for better weed control: Jason Ferrell, Ph.D., University of Florida,
    New post-emergent herbicides for difficult-to-control weeds: Scott McElroy, Ph.D., Auburn University,
    Winter annual weed management: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee.
  • Bobby Jones Golf Course brings a private golf experience to daily fee golfers in Atlanta. Photos by Bobby Jones Golf Course It is only fitting that the inspiration to remake a golf course named for the great Bobby Jones came from one of his favorite layouts.
    When golf course architect Bob Cupp was hired in 2016 to redesign the compact Bobby Jones Golf Course from the ground up, he looked to The Old Course at St. Andrews and its numerous double greens as a way to get the most out of the 80 or so acres that comprise the state-owned track in Atlanta's Buckhead section.
    Initially, Cupp told representatives of the Bobby Jones Foundation that oversees the property and members from the late player's family that he had two choices - design and build a short 18-hole course with no practice range, or a nine-hole layout with one.
    "No one really liked that idea," said Bobby Jones superintendent Kyle MacDonald. "One night (Cupp) had an epiphany, and started thinking about St. Andrews and playing in different directions and double greens, and he came up with an idea that offered public golfers a better experience."
    With a dearth of affordable public golf within the Atlanta city limits, Cupp, who resided locally in Buckhead, was brought aboard for what turned out to be his last project. He was tasked with the goal of creating a quality public layout worthy of Jones' name. A practice facility that could help introduce newcomers to the game was a critical part of the project.
    "We need to get golfers back," MacDonald said. "A lot of younger people think golf takes too long, is too boring and is too rigid."
    Cupp completed the design before he died in August 2016, and his son, Bobby, ushered the project through to completion. The result of his vision is a reversible nine-hole course with double greens that average 10,000 square feet and multiple teeing areas for a layout that truly can accommodate players of all skill levels, a practice area and short course designed for kids and beginners. The updates, that will include a new clubhouse, were funded through donations.
    The project bucks golf's norms in more ways than one, including a fleet of Club Car golf cars with the Shark Experience. Developed in cooperation with the Greg Norman Co. and Verizon, the Club Car vehicles incorporate the Visage fleet-management system and come equipped with an array of music and entertainment options designed to appeal to an entirely new golfing segment.
    The golf course is where things really are different, and staff at BJGC are still fine tuning the system. 
    The property's Magnolia and Azalea layouts share nine double greens and each hole has eight teeing areas copied after the Longleaf teeing system that offers multiple teeing options allowing players to choose which best suits their game. Tees are marked only with plaques and are not color-coded or identified as men's or ladies' tees.
    "It's all one height of cut," MacDonald said. "They are defined as teeing areas, but there is no definition. You can easily tee off and end up on a tee box going the other way. There is no definition of what is a tee and what is not. When you're playing, it just looks like you are hitting from the fairway.
    "If you want to play 18, you play the same course twice. People think they can come in and play one way and turn around and play the other. We figured that won't work; you'll kill people out there. We alternate courses each day.
    "We are doing things outside the box. We have a more relaxed dress code, you can listen to music on the golf course, or even watch the (NCAA) basketball tournament."
    The TifEagle greens at BJGC currently are being mowed at 0.130 and the TifTuf turf grown everywhere else is maintained, for now, at about 0.75 inches. MacDonald does not even own a Stimpmeter and insists reaching a specific speed is never a goal.
    "For 99 percent of golfers, 11.5 (on the Stimpmeter) is too fast. If we do that, we'll lose golfers and we'll lose revenue."
    Ideal putting conditions instead are the result of working with the golf shop to find conditions that work for BJGC's clientele.
    "We'll see if that works," MacDonald said. "I've worked at courses where we lived and died by green speed every day. We want to make sure players can get through here in two hours. Our greens are so big, you can have a 150-foot putt. If the green is too fast, you could have a four- or five-putt situation. We don't want that."
    There will be times when golfers can play both directions at BJGC on the same day.
    "When we have a shotgun start, you play one course, then when everyone is ready to make the turn, you turn around and play the other one," MacDonald said. "We are still learning as we go."
    A graduate of the Auburn turfgrass program, MacDonald, 39, came to BJGC from private St. Ives Country Club in suburban Johns Creek.
    "There are not a lot of nice public golf courses in the city of Atlanta," he said. "We're coming from a private background. The challenge is to provide daily fee golfers with the kind of golf experience private member golfers get on a daily basis. That is our goal, to provide private club conditions and experience."
    Bobby Jones Golf Course opened in 1932 in response to the overwhelming interest in the game generated by Jones, an Atlanta native. The original routing was designed by Wayne Stiles and John R. Van Kleek and was part of Peachtree Creek Memorial Park. with its namesake striking the ceremonial first tee shot. 

    All areas of Bobby Jones Golf Course except greens are mowed at one height of cut. Described by MacDonald as a typical short, city-owned urban golf course, BJGC eventually fell into a state of disrepair.
    "There were dangerous blind shots, it was dilapidated, and there was no investment in it," MacDonald said. "It was a goat track. The Bobby Jones Foundation and the Bobby Jones family saw the course as a disgrace to Jones' name. They wanted to do something that would do justice to his name."
    The property was transferred to the state of Georgia in a land swap that allowed a private developer to buy the old Underground Atlanta for redevelopment.
    It was only fitting the elder Cupp turned to St. Andrews for inspiration. The Old Course was a favorite venue of Jones', and he was a favorite of the people of St. Andrews.
    He won the Open Championship at the Old Course in 1930 and his run to the 1930 (pre-Masters) Grand Slam started with him winning the British Amateur Championship there. In 2002, the town of St. Andrews celebrated the 100th anniversary of Jones' birth. Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times and three times won the Open Championship, died in 1971 at age 69. He was diagnosed with  syringomyelia in 1948, a neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord and eventually confined him to a wheelchair.
    Now, the course named after Atlanta's most famous golfer is hoping again to capitalize on his legacy to attract new players to the game.
    The project has not been without its challenges for MacDonald, assistant Jeff Weeks and the rest of the team. Since golf course irrigation systems typically are laid out to accommodate greens, tees and fairways.
    "We don't have roughs. My assistant and I went back and forth over how to catalog the irrigation system so that it makes sense," MacDonald said. 
    "We've readjusted patterns more times than I could count. We never saw that coming."
    Training his team on the nuances at Bobby Jones, like the number of the double greens on Magnolia and Azalea also has been a bit of a challenge.
    "Each green is double, so greens are 1 and 8 or 2 and 7, etc.," he said. "Training the staff on which green to mow or meet at has been a challenge."
  • The life of a golf course superintendent is a constant journey, traveling along from one challenge to the next. One day, it might be hauling out greens covers to protect against winter damage, the next it could be getting a jump on disease control in advance of the next playing season.
    Dollar spot is one of the most common diseases superintendents encounter. It is most active when temperatures are between about 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a pretty big window of opportunity for the pathogens in genus Clarireedia that cause the disease and a big window for guesswork on the part of turf managers.
    The Smith-Kerns Dollar Spot Prediction Model developed at the University of Wisconsin can help superintendents identify periods when dollar spot is most likely to occur. Developed by Damon Smith, Ph.D., and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., the model that bears their name uses a five-day average of daily humidity and average air temperature that superintendents then can use to accurately time spraying for dollar spot control. According to the University of Wisconsin, the model was developed using years of research conducted in Wisconsin, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
    Users must determine a spray threshold unique to their property and turf type and a fungicide reapplication interval. For example, at the University of Wisconsin, the researchers determined that a threshold of 20 percent provided acceptable disease suppression on creeping bentgrass. That level can vary based on turf type, cultural practices, environmental conditions and climate.
    Once the application interval has been reached and conditions (theoretically) change, the model should be run again to help the superintendent determine the next application period.
    The model is the result of a complex mathematical equation that is described in-depth in this peer-reviewed document.
    Users can use excel documents to upload weather data either in degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius. Data also can be uploaded for users in select states through the Michigan State University Growing Degree Day Tracker and the Greenkeeper App developed by Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., at the University of Nebraska.
    Syngenta also has recently enhanced its dollar spot alert system that is based on the Smith-Kerns model. The Syngenta system provides season-long text and email notifications along with the ability to forecast disease development risk five days into the future. Superintendents can sign up at GreenCastOnline.com/DollarSpot to be notified by email or text, when conditions in their area are conducive to dollar spot development. 
    Once a superintendent registers they will receive their first notification of the season when dollar spot pressure in their area based on the 20 percent threshold level described above, which will help them prepare for a preventive fungicide application. After the first alert, superintendents can also elect to be notified of their dollar spot risk on 7-, 14-, 21- or 28-day intervals.
  • Superintendents from Washington and Oregon recently helped American Lake Veterans Golf Course get ready for the upcoming golf season. The mission of American Lake Veterans Golf Course is a simple, yet noble calling: to offer rehabilitation, socialization and support to veterans with physical and psychological wounds.
    Superintendents throughout Washington and Oregon recently did their part to help the course on the grounds of a Veterans Administration Hospital near Seattle in its mission by volunteering their time and expertise to help prepare for the upcoming playing season.
    Dozens of superintendents on March 14 turned out at American Lake, a not-for-profit operation located at the Veteran's Administration Puget Sound Healthcare System in Lakewood, Washington to help superintendent Randy Moen aerify greens and tees, restore and repair bunkers and generally clean up so the course can be ready to provide a service to those who need it most and who have paid a steep price to serve their country.
    "Forty guys from two associations showed up and probably knocked out about a month-and-a-half of work in six hours," Moen said. "Just incredible."
    For Sean Reehoorn, president of the Western Washington GCSA and superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, giving his time and talents to the American Lake project was personal.
    "My dad was a veteran; my dad served in Vietnam, so giving back on this platform is something that is near and dear to my heart," Reehoorn said. "And any time you get a chance to thank people and pay it forward, it's always fun."
    The efforts of the Washington and Oregon contingent were the subject of a Youtube video.
    American Lake opened in the 1950s as a nine-hole operation and was owned and operated by the Department of Defense until 1995, when the government ceased funding the course and all other VA golf facilities nationwide. 
    The course nearly closed its doors after several years of financial hardship, but today is managed by the Friends of American Lake, a 501 c3 organization. In 2013, Jack Nicklaus donated his design services to expand the course to 18 holes so it could further serve its constituents through healing through the power of golf regardless of whatever wounds they have, mental or physical, said American Lake general manager Bruce McKenty, who also is a Vietnam War veteran.

    The goal of the the members of the two associations was to help Moen provide golfers with the best possible conditions.
    "Today, we go the Oregon chapter and the Washington chapter together, both golf course superintendents associations to come out and kinda take some of our knowledge and take some of what we know and give back to a worthwhile cause … ," said Oregon GCSA president Gabe Hughes, superintendent at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha.
    At American Lake there are golfers with brain injuries who need the assistance of service dogs, amputees, double-amputees and those with spinal injuries or who because they are paralyzed from the waist down only can play from a specially designed golf cart with a seat that lifts them into a standing position to strike the ball or putt.
    In 2013, Aaron Boyle, a U.S. Army veteran who in 2010 lost his right arm above the elbow and right leg above the knee in a mine explosion in Afghanistan, told TurfNet what American Lakes and the opportunity to play assisted golf meant to him.
    "It represents the opportunity to get out and function, but learn what your body can do and can't do," Boyle said. "It also lets you know that you're not the only one who has gone through something like this."
  • Syngenta technical services manager Lane Tredway, Ph.D., demonstrates the effectiveness of Divanem nematicide in the field at Orange County Golf Center in Winter Garden, Florida. New spot treatment rate can help expand nematode control
    To provide faster enhancements to turf quality for golf course superintendents managing plant parasitic nematodes, Syngenta has announced a new curative spot treatment rate of 12.2 ounces per 10,000 square feet for Divanem nematicide.
    With the new rate more product is available to turf roots and plant tissue, which helps provide greater control of a broad spectrum of nematodes, including spiral, lance, root-knot and sting, on golf course greens, tees and fairways. It also results in more rapid turf quality improvements than when using the Divanem broadcast rate. Divanem is recommended for use as part of an agronomic program to better manage multiple nematode species and prevent the onset of resistance.
    With the active ingredient abamectin, Divanem targets nematodes where they are most active, helping protect turf from nematode damage, which can make roots more susceptible to disease and drought. Turf that is properly protected will be more durable and can recover more quickly from stress. Divanem also is a good tank-mix partner with several fungicides that can help provide greater turf quality and protection against disease and abiotic stress.
    The Divanem supplemental label must be in the possession of the user at the time of spot treatment. Existing Divanem inventory may be used at the spot treatment rate as long as the supplemental label is on hand. 
    Nufarm's Safari receives expanded label
    Nufarm Americas announced that Safari 20 SG insecticide has received a 24(c) label for the control of spotted lanternfly in New York. This follows 2ee label approval to control spotted lanternfly in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
    The spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant-hopper quickly invading, and now spreading in, the northeastern US. The pest impacts more than 70 host plants and, if infested, would result in significant damage and loss to nursery operations.
    With the active ingredient dinotefuran, Safari 20 SG is approved for supplemental use in containerized and field grown (in-ground) ornamental plants in nurseries, outdoor landscapes, tree plantations and reforestation nurseries. It includes national, private and state forests and wooded areas. The label provides application alternatives that include foliar spray, media drench, soil drench or basal trunk spray.
    Safari is a super-systemic insecticide with quick uptake and knockdown of tree, shrub, and herbaceous ornamental pests. It controls a broad spectrum of invasive pests including Q- and B-biotype whiteflies, emerald ash borers, mealybugs, leafhoppers, leafminers, and armored and soft scales — and now both nymph- and adult-stage spotted lanternflies. 
    Turfco launches new large-area spreader
    Turfco recently introduced its CR-15 large-area topdresser and material handler that provides precision spread application for fairways and other large areas.
    The CR-15 features a digital smart controller that gives superintendents the ability to calculate preferred rates and lock-in rates and widths into four savable pre-sets. Users can set up and save all of their application programs at the same time. The user also can switch between the various pre-sets on the fly, varying the spread rate and width for different areas. This allows the operator to move from wide to narrower areas and still maintain the same application rate without wasting material.
    The CR-15's advanced hydraulics and spinner design allow for uniform application, with edge-to-edge spreads at any desired width from 15 to 45 feet.
    The CR-15's Fast Attach system requires no tools when connecting attachments, and the galvanized, self-cleaning hopper accepts virtually any wet or dry turf material, including sand, lime, compost, stone, wood chips, soil conditioners and grass clippings. 
  • If Hollywood made a movie about golf courses in California and their access to water, it might be titled "The Way We Were." 
    Starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, the movie by that name made its Hollywood debut in 1973, which happens to feel like the last time golf course operators in California were not concerned about issues related to water use. Although much of California has been lifted out of drought status since 2016, the way golf courses are managed in the country's largest state will never go back to those pre-drought days. 
    Even in times of plenty, the rising cost of water eventually will become more than some golf facilities can bear, and efforts are underway in Southern California to protect two main water sources in the region - groundwater aquifers and the Colorado River Basin that provides water to more than 40 million people in parts of seven states.
    To that end, California was the latest state this week to sign onto a multi-state drought-management plan to monitor levels in the overly burdened Colorado River Basin that includes Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border. The plan gives the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation authority to shut off access to the river that is the primary water source for California's Coachella and Imperial valleys.
    No one in the California golf industry follows these water issues more closely than Craig Kessler, government affairs director for the Southern California Golf Association and chairman of the Coachella Valley Golf and Water Task Force for the California Alliance for Golf.
    He believes it is better for golf courses in the valley to start getting used to the concept of even less water in the future, and they should start sooner rather than later. If the level of Lake Mead continues to drop, it could trigger a series of cutbacks initiated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a branch of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The first cutbacks would go into place if the lake drops below 1,075 feet above sea level, which is expected as early as next year. Additional cutbacks occur if the lake level continues to fall. The lake's current level is 1,089 feet above sea level, and surface elevation at full capacity is 1,221 feet, which hasn't occurred since 1983.
    "If Lake Mead drops below a certain level, and it's close to it, the government steps in, declares an emergency and cuts the whole thing off," Kessler said. "It's inevitable sometime in the 2020s that the very rich allocations that the Imperial and Coachella valleys get off the Colorado River now will change. They're still the primary users, but things are wrapping up now, so that will be cut back. So suddenly, the cheap and plentiful water that is in the desert today won't always be there. But when water is cheap and plentiful and there is no threat of drought statewide, it is very difficult to get the attention of golf communities in the desert where people come from Manitoba and Sweden and wherever in the world to see wall to wall green.
    "The pressure is off, or people think it is, but it isn't. We are huddling to try between now and then to convince people that it is the better to ramp up to this over four, five or six years rather then when an ax falls."
    Water in other parts of the state is not so cheap. In fact, constant year-over-year rate hikes will continue to eat away at California's golf business, Kessler said.
    "The Coachella Valley really is a nation apart from the rest of California in many regards, in particular regarding water and golf," Kessler said.
    "In other parts of the state, notwithstanding the breaking of the drought, everything related to water is baked in for years to come. There are many places in the state where water is going up 9 percent a year. When you're going up 9 percent on 9 percent on 9 percent, it adds up very fast and you have a doubling effect in very rapid order. That rate structure has imposed incredible discipline."
    In the L.A. area, changes are coming in the way the the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power manages groundwater resources. The department eventually will be given new powers of tiered pricing, penalty pricing and allocation to users.
    "Those tools soon will become available to the water district, and they will be compelled by California law to use them if necessary to keep the aquifer in balance and the state capital happy that they are doing a prudent job," Kessler said. 
    Although the U.S. Drought Monitor shows only small areas in extreme Northern and Southern California to be abnormally dry (the site's lowest level of drought awareness) access to water continues to be a matter of serious concern in California. Last November, a stormwater-storage measure in Los Angeles County that taxes real estate at 2.5 cents per 1,000 square feet of building space received nearly 70 percent of the vote. The measure promises to provide hundreds of millions of dollars annually to add infrastructure to capture and store stormwater.
    "The cost of everything related to water is going up and up and up," Kessler said. "And it is going up by many multiples of the consumer price index. And for the golf industry it is more than the market's ability to absorb through green fees and club fees.
    "It is impossible to be complacent - everything baked into the system moving forward is a hardship related to water and golf. We'll be able to solve the problem, I have no doubt about that. The question is how much of the golf industry is going to come out the other side. It has nothing to do with not being able to get water. It has everything to do with not being able to afford water."
  • Nikki Gatch definitely is a glass-half-full person. And that is a personality trait that comes in handy as the membership coordinator for the Southern California PGA.
    So when Gatch pointed out during the Ladies Leading Turf event at this year's Golf Industry Show that the overwhelming majority of members of two of the largest professional associations in the golf industry are men, she chose to look at that as a chance to effect change, not an obstacle to success.
    As a former collegiate golfer and the daughter of a golf pro, Gatch has spent virtually her entire life around the game.
    "It was simple, I wanted to be like dad," she said. "I didn't want to be a golfer necessarily. I just wanted to be like dad."
    As she spent more and more time around the golf course, Gatch noticed early on that there were not a lot of women in the golf business. They might have been selling merchandise in the pro shop or working in the office, but they were not the face of the business. Not like men, anyway.
    "They certainly weren't a golf pro," she said.
    They weren't mowing greens either.
    According to statistics Gatch presented at GIS, 4.4 percent of the PGA's 29,000 members and 1.5 percent of the 18,000-member GCSAA are women. 
    The number of female superintendents is even lower than what Gatch reported. According to the GCSAA, 112 female superintendents are members of GCSAA, only 61 of which are head superintendents.
    "Let's look at this as an opportunity," Gatch said during the Syngenta-sponsored event at GIS. "What can we do to close that gap? 
    "Maybe (girls and women) just don't know what we do every day. We have to educate them on that."
    In its second year, the Ladies Leading Turf event was organized by Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Ontario. Unlike Gatch, who played competitively at Oklahoma State University, Schwab did not grow up around the game and doesn't really play it, either.
    "I grew up on a farm. I never golfed, I just wanted a job where I would be outside," Schwab said at GIS. "I think it's just a matter of educating women that this is even a thing and then mentoring and helping those who get into it."
    There are many benefits to diversity in the workplace, which include new ways of thinking, new ideas and new solutions to old problems. 
    Gender diversity is just one slice of that pie. 
    Hispanic laborers make up the backbone of the golf maintenance business in much of the country, yet few seem to make the transition to head superintendent. 
    Access to golf and education have made career development a challenge for many Hispanics. Jorge Croda, a native of Mexico and the co-winner of the 2017 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, who now runs his own consulting business, says just educating fellow Hispanics that they can become a superintendent and helping them along the way is critical. He points to newly minted GCSAA president Rafael Barajas as an example for others to follow.
    "I'm so proud of him," Croda said. "I tell my workers 'You can do that.' We need more exposure to the game. In Mexico, you need a degree to be a superintendent. Here, you can have a two-year degree. Being a superintendent is a real opportunity for people who come to the United States."
    It's not always that simple.
    At the annual Syngenta Business Institute, a three-day professional development program developed in conjunction with the Wake Forest University School of Business, WFU professor Amy Wallis, Ph.D., discusses gender, generational and cultural differences in the workplace. She also points out how some Hispanics shy away from promotions and title changes because they don't want to be a boss among their peers.
    Jesus Romero is a native of Mexico and an assistant superintendent at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He is a former superintendent at Sailfish Point in nearby Sewall's Point and knows first hand the challenges associated with elevating the careers of his workforce.
    "Some Spanish people take advantage of other Spanish people," Romero said.
    "We don't trust. You have to gain that trust. Spanish people, in the beginning, don't trust supervisors. It's worse if it's an Hispanic supervisor. First, you have to gain their trust. 
    "They will believe an American boss. But when they see a Spanish boss, they see somebody who they think is going to take advantage of them."
    Barajas came to the U.S. with his family when he was 14, started working on a golf course two years later when his brother hired him at Sunset Hills in Thousand Oaks, California, and hasn't looked back since. He's been in the business for 40 years, the last 36 as a superintendent.
    Although Hispanic workers comprise a large sector of the golf course labor market, many do not see a path to becoming a superintendent as a realistic option for them, and that is something that has to change.
    "The percentage of Hispanic superintendents is low. How do we change that?" Barajas said. "We just have to go out and encourage those in the industry to participate. We have to show them that this is an inclusive industry. I'm here."
    Barajas (pictured above) places heavy emphasis on the word "inclusive" when discussing his profession and his new role as GCSAA president.
    "I have been looked at through a large magnifying glass, and a lot of people want me to succeed. And there are some who don't," Barajas said.
    "I happen to be Hispanic. I have a great responsibility to continue to make sure that professional development is available, relevant and affordable. That is our responsibility and our mission. . . . I know I play a bigger role because of who I am and that I touch the Hispanic community more than any other past president because of my background and heritage. But it's not as much about Hispanics as it is everybody. We have to include everybody. This industry is inclusive. We include everybody. It's just how do we motivate some people. How am I going to motivate them? Just be being who I am. That's part of motivating Hispanics, but I do it for everybody."
    Schwab has become a self-appointed champion for other women in the field. Opening the door to women and minorities means not only educating people about turf maintenance as a career option. It also means current superintendents must be willing to mentor them. 
    "I know women who have gotten into this, and have been too intimidated and decided to leave the business because they didn't see anyone who looked like them," she said.
    "I did not have any women as mentors, but I was lucky I had some very good mentors who were men."
    Being a resource for others is a big reason why she created the Ladies Leading Turf event.
    "I wanted a place for women where they could network and talk with other women in the field, because I didn't know of anything else like this," she said. "I know nothing is going to change overnight, but it's a start."
  • A letter from Jack Harrell, Jr. CEO of Harrell's regarding recent decision to discontinue distribution of glyphosate products.
    There has obviously been some discussion and concern about our decision to stop selling glyphosate products. I apologize for any confusion about this and I would like to explain why we made this decision.
    First, Harrell's is not making any judgment as to whether glyphosate is detrimental to anyone's health. In fact, the weight of scientific evidence strongly supports its safety when used properly.
    That said, during our annual insurance renewal last month, we were surprised to learn that our insurance company was no longer willing to provide coverage for claims related to glyphosate due to the recent high-profile lawsuit and the many thousands of lawsuits since. We sought coverage from other companies but could not buy adequate coverage for the risk we would be incurring. So we had no choice other than to notify our Harrell's Team and customers that we would no longer offer products containing glyphosate as of March 1, 2019.
    We are still ready and able to help you with a variety of alternative products that will meet your non-selective control needs or to help you find glyphosate elsewhere. As always, we will make sure your needs are met no matter whether we sell a particular product or not.
    Finally, be assured that Harrell's will continue to partner with our suppliers, customers, and all National, State and Local associations to advocate for responsible regulation and legislation of our products and practices. Together we can educate lawmakers and the public and ensure we can continue Growing A Better World.
  • Growing the game will mean finding ways to make it more appealing to women and children. For the past century-plus, golf has had a pretty good run in this country as a game supported mostly by white males.Those demographics will have to take on a different look if it is going to be viable for the next 100 years.
    "One of our stated objectives is we want golf to look like America looks," said World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona. "That means gender perspective, age, ethnicity, physical disability, sexual orientation, you name it. And we're not there, obviously. The biggest delta is women are 50 percent of the population and just 24 percent of the golfer population. Minorities are 37 percent of the population and just 18 percent of the golfer population."
    There are plenty initiatives afoot to help golf usher in a new era. Some are taking place at the association level, like the First Tee, which started in 1997 and today claims to reach 5 million kids annually, and the recently launched PGA Reach program that also promises to introduce the game to children and veterans and to others through the workplace.
    Other attempts at growing the game are occurring at a more grassroots level.
    Jorge Croda is more than a skilled superintendent who transformed Southern Oaks Golf Club from a rundown daily fee in northern Texas into one of the best-conditioned courses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area on his way to being named the co-winner of the 2017 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award, presented by Syngenta. He also is one of the game's true ambassadors.
    An 8 handicapper, Croda is a skilled player who shares his passion for the game with anyone who has an interest in learning the game. A certified First Tee instructor, he has helped introduce thousands of Fort Worth-area kids to the game. He also teaches adults, and has helped dozens of employees and hundreds of others 
    Like the First Tee, which teaches children soft skills through its core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance and courtesy, Croda believes adults too can learn from the lessons the game teaches. In fact, he said, it's a critical component of helping the game stick with newcomers.
    "One of my goals is growing the game, not just for kids, but women, minorities, all people," said Croda who recently started his own consulting business after a change in ownership at Southern Oaks Golf Club in Burleson south of Fort Worth. 
    "Teaching them the game has impacted their lives through focusing on the importance of values in their personal and professional lives, and also the importance of societal responsibility."
    According to the WGF, about 24 million people in the U.S. play golf. The National Golf Foundation puts that number at a little lower at about 20 million. Of the WGF's total, approximately one-fourth are women and about 4.3 million are minorities, which the association defines as African American, Latino or Asian.
    TurfNet reported recently that interest in golf is at an all-time high. Getting people to the golf course and convincing them to come back has been the challenge. Or, as Nikki Gatch, chief membership officer of the Southern California PGA, put it, there is a difference between introducing people to the game and making the experience a positive one. Gatch was on hand in San Diego as the keynote speaker at the second annual Ladies Leading Turf, a professional networking event for women in the golf industry. Held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show, the event was organized by Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run GC in Sharon, Ontario, and sponsored by Syngenta.
    "Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance," Gatch said.
    "In my opinion, you can't have one without the other. . . . Are we inviting people to the party, and if we are, are we inviting them to dance?"

    Jorge Croda, center, has taught the game to a lot of people through the years, including dozens of people who have worked for him. Croda is a regular Fred Astaire. He's taught the game to dozens of his crew members, hundreds of adults and thousands of kids in the U.S. and Mexico.
    "Hispanic people are very interested in learning the game," Croda insists. 
    "In Mexico, there is not too much opportunity to play golf, because about 95 percent of the courses are private. You only play if you are a caddie or work at a golf course. There is less opportunity than like you have here in the United States. Then there is an economic part, too."
    Mona agreed that there are cultural walls to break down to grow the game. And that, he said, is where the First Tee can play a role, especially its National School Program that makes golf part of the physical education program at more than 9,000 schools nationwide.
    "The parents might not play, but their kids go to school, and golf gets introduced in a four-to-six-week program in the P.E. curriculum," Mona said. "That's a big deal because parents will try to help their kids get ahead and help them pursue whatever interests they have. 
    "Latino parents here from Mexico probably were never introduced to the game, and it's unlikely they're going to come home and say 'Hey, let's go play golf today.' That's not going to happen. But, if their kids come home and say 'I really liked this,' they're going to do their best to try to get them introduced to the game."
    Objections to growing the game based on gender are not as challenging as those based on culture.
    Although women are about a fourth of the U.S. golfer population, they are ahead of the curve when it comes to new players, Gatch said. About 35 percent of new golfers are women or girls, and one-third of all junior golfers are girls, she said.
    "I think the game is in a great place," Gatch said at GIS.
    "Let's look at this as an opportunity. What can we do to close that gap? We have girls and women interested in the game. Maybe they just don't know what we do and we have to educate them on that."
    The game also has to be presented in a way that keeps people coming back.
    "It has to be welcoming, fun and inclusive," Gatch said. "We have to make the game fun. We can't lose site of that. If it's not fun, people are not going to spend extra money and extra time doing it."
    Croda agreed, saying golf has to be perceived as a more attractive option than other ways of spending discretionary income. He said the industry can learn a thing or two from Hollywood.
    "The game needs to be like going to a movie theater: It takes two hours to see a movie. It's expensive, popcorn, soda, everything," he said. "Golf can be six holes or whatever you can enjoy for two hours, and it should be too expensive. You can make your revenue on food."