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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    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."
  • At the USGA's annual conference next month, Mike Huck (right) will join 2008 recipient Ted Horton (left) as a USGA Green Section Award winner. California has been mired in drought for much of recent memory. The state's ability to deliver enough water to 40 million people has reached crisis level that in recent years has included voluntary reductions and state-mandated cutbacks and has changed the way superintendents manage golf courses.
    Standing at the center of this issue for the golf industry has been Mike Huck, a former superintendent and USGA Green Section agronomist and, for the better part of two decades, an irrigation consultant and a self-made expert on all things water in the country's most populous state.
    Because of his contributions to golf in California and beyond, Huck's former employer will make him the recipient of its highest honor next month when he receives the USGA Green Section Award at the association's annual meeting in San Antonio. The award has been given annually since 1961 to one who exemplifies outstanding contributions and dedication to the game of golf through their work with turfgrass.
    Access to adequate supplies of quality water is one of the most significant challenges facing the golf industry, and nowhere is this issue more critical than in California. Huck has taught and talked about water issues for years, and was among the founders of the California Alliance for Golf, a non-profit entity that serves as a unified voice for all aspects of the state's golf industry in a variety of capacities, including environmental issues such as water-use matters.
    In a 2016 TurfNet profile on Huck, Russ Myers, the former superintendent at Los Angeles Country Club and now the head greenkeeper at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, spoke about Huck's contributions to golf on the subject of water.
    "Mike is the most trusted voice of water issues in the state. Mike is a former golf course superintendent, but he's not a golf guy. He's a water guy," Myers told TurfNet in 2016.
    "With Mike, you felt you had a real voice, not a blind advocate or a paid lobbyist. He knows what the issues are, what is realistic and what is not."
    A native of Wisconsin, Huck has been in the golf business since the early 1970s when he worked at Maplecrest Country Club in Kenosha. He's been a Californian since his days studying turf at Cal Poly Pomona, where he graduated in 1982. While there, he worked at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort, first on the crew, then as assistant and later superintendent until 1989. He then moved on to become superintendent at Mission Viejo Country Club and later the Southern California Golf Association Members Club. 
    "Mike's continued dedication to elevating the topic of water conservation in golf and advocating for education and dialogue has benefited courses across North America and the world," said Kimberly Erusha, Ph.D., USGA Green Section managing director, in a USGA news release. "His innovative approach, matched with his ability to communicate very complex science in a relatable way, has provided game-changing leadership that helps golf courses and communities."
    Previous winners include: (2018) Tim Hiers, CGCS, (2017)    Dr. Norman Hummel, (2016) Dr. Bruce Clarke, (2015) Dr. Pat Vittum, (2014) Dr. Peter Dernoeden, (2013) Dr. Victor Gibeault, (2012) Wayne Hanna, (2011) Dennis Lyon, (2010) Dr. Dan Potter;
    (2009) Terry Bonar, (2008) Ted Horton, (2007) Dr. Joseph Vargas, (2006) Dr. Robert Shearman, (2005) Peter Cookingham, (2004) Monroe Miller, (2003) Dr. Houston Couch, (2002) George Thompson, (2001) Dr. Patricia Cobb, (2000) L. Palmer Maples, Jr;
    (1999) Dr. Noel Jackson, (1998) B.J. Johnson, (1997) Dr. Paul Rieke, (1996) Robert Williams, (1995) David Stone, (1994) Dr. Kenyon Payne, (1993) Dr. Ralph Engel, (1992) Dr. Richard Skogley, (1991) Dr. Joseph Troll, (1990) Chester Mendenhall;
    (1989) Dr. James Beard, (1988) Dr. Roy Goss, (1987) Sherwood Moore, (1986) James Montcrief, (1985) Dr. Victor Youngner (1984) Dr. William Daniel, (1983) Alexander Radko, (1982) Charles Wilson, (1981) Dr. Joseph Duich, (1980) Dr. C. Reed Funk;  
    (1979) Arthur Snyder, (1978) Dr. Jess de France (1977) Edward Casey, (1976) Dr. James Watson (1975) Dr. Fanny-Fern Davis, (1974) Dr. Howard Sprague, (1973) Dr. Marvin Ferguson, (1972) Herb and Joe Graffis, (1971) Tom Mascaro, (1970) Eberhand Steiniger;
    (1969) Dr. Fred Grau (1968) James Haines (1967) Elmer Michael, (1966) Dr. H. Burton Musser, (1965) Dr. Glenn Burton, (1964) Joseph Valentine, (1963) O.J. Noer, (1962) Dr. Lawrence Dickinson, (1961) Dr. John Monteith, Jr.
  • Profile Products makes a variety of products for the T&O industry, including hydraulic mulch (above) and soil amendments to aid in root development (below). Profile Products, which manufactures soil-erosion products and soil amendments for the turf and ornamental and industrial markets, has been acquired by Incline Equity Partners, a Pittsburgh-based private equity firm. 
    Based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Profile is the world's leading manufacturer of hydraulically applied mulch and additives, horticulture substrates, as well as biotic and ceramic conditioners to amend soil. 
    Incline Equity Partners will work together with Profile's current leadership team to develop markets and identify areas of growth. Profile's management team and 200-plus employees will continue to operate in Buffalo Grove; Conover and Hickory, North Carolina; Canton, Ohio; Blue Mountain, Mississippi; and Limestone and Columbia, Tennessee.
    "We are extremely excited to begin our new partnership with Incline Equity Partners," said Jim Tanner, president and chief executive officer of Profile Products. "Incline has the experience, knowledge and financial resources to help us develop and fuel our newest expansion strategies. Through our industry knowledge and Incline's leadership, we will strengthen our plans for growth, while creating even more opportunities for our current and future customers."
    Profile will continue to develop environmentally friendly solutions designed to minimize soil loss, accelerate seed germination and enhance the environment in all of its industry markets, including energy, mining, airports, transportation, landfill, construction, fire reclamation, sports fields, golf courses and horticulture. Currently, Profile's products are sold in 75 countries on six continents.
    Incline Equity Partners is a private investment firm focused on investing in lower middle-market growth companies that generally seeks companies with values of $25 million to $300 million across a variety of industries.
  • Like it or not, putting green quality is the measuring stick by which golf course superintendents are measured.
    Tees, fairways and hazards are important, but golfers often will overlook them for the sake of putting surfaces that roll fast and true, even if that pace outruns their playing ability.
    Countless articles have been written about how to alleviate the accumulation of organic matter that can make putting greens soft and puffy and threaten to send a golf course superintendent to the unemployment line. 
    Conversely, the practices that help superintendents produce these sought-after conditions are temporarily disruptive and as such are immensely unpopular with golfers, many of whom do not understand their importance.
    At Ohio State University, Ed McCoy, Ph.D., associate professor of soil physics, has developed a simulation model that helps turf managers monitor organic matter accumulation, decomposition and dilution and provides a way to manage organic matter on a site-specific basis.
    The model uses a math-intensive set of equations that include initial soil organic matter quantity within the root zone, monthly accumulation of soil organic matter, monthly decomposition of soil organic matter, monthly dilution of soil organic matter by topdressing or sand injection, and the monthly removal of soil organic matter by core aeration. The model incorporates measurements at five intervals to a depth of five inches to provide a tool for turf managers to plan aeration, injection, tining and topdressing programs that is capable at projecting out as far as 30 years. 
    For more information, get out your slide rule and click here.
  • The year 2018 was a memorable year in the golf business, even if it was one many would like to forget. Weather that was unseasonably warm at some times, colder-than-average at others and seemingly far too wet for most of the year dominated much of the year for far too many superintendents.
    We have compiled a list of the top-10 most-read stories of 2018 from the pages of TurfNet. Click the headline to read the full text of each story.
    Topping the list were the events surrounding last year's U.S. Open: Note to the USGA: Call on the expertise of the GCS.
    From off-color greens, to tricky pin placements, a boorish gallery and one of the game's biggest names making a mockery of the rules, the USGA's biggest event of the season could not end soon enough.
    After years of preparation and anticipation to show off the William Flynn classic to the world, superintendent Jon Jennings (pictured above walking the course with Brad Klein) and Shinnecock members gave Mike Davis and the USGA what appeared to be a perfect golf course. What greeted the world's best players was anything but perfect, and within a matter of days, the course was a reminder of the 2004 Open, when workers were dragging hoses between pairings on the final day in an attempt to keep the greens alive.
    Final-round conditions drew complaints from golfers and, in the most surreal moment in championship golf in recent memory, led Phil Mickelson to backstop a putt to prevent it from rolling down hill.
    Exactly what happened is anyone's guess, but repeated U.S. Open set-up woes beg the question: Why are not the trained professionals who are in the business of providing championship conditions to please their members 365 days a year left in charge to since they are in the best position to know how far they can push their courses for championship tournaments? 
    Here are the rest of the top stories from TurfNet in 2018.
    2. Ohio YMCA takes over golf course with a fresh approach
    Hickory Sticks Golf Club in rural northwestern Ohio has defied the odds for nearly 60 years, trudging along in an area with a modest population that has always hovered in the neighborhood of 9,000-10,000 people. It is a conservative area where playing it safe can be a way of life. The golf course entered a new era last month when its former owner donated the 27-hole facility to the YMCA of Van Wert County.
    3. Former superintendent finds Plan B in an unlikely place
    Former superintendent Trey Anderson left the golf course behind after 20 years for the next phase of his career as director of production for Ieso Illinois, a medical cannabis grower in Carbondale, Illinois.
    4. Women in turf encourage others to follow in their footsteps
    Since the days of Old Tom Morris, becoming a golf course superintendent has largely been a man's job. Two female superintendents in Canada, however, are paving the way for others who want to follow in their footsteps.
    5. Cold temps deal blow to some Grand Strand courses
    One of the first signs that the weather was knocking the golf turf business off the rails in 2018 occurred in the Myrtle Beach area when cold temperatures last spring affected playing conditions at an estimated 30 percent of the area's golf courses. The widespread damage prompted former Clemson turf pathologist Bruce Martin to describe the damage as the worst he had seen on the Grand Strand in 30 years.
    6. Opinions vary on solid tine vs. core aerification
    There are differing schools of thought on aerifying greens - namely whether to pull a core, and what to do with them after extracting them. Superintendents in different parts of the country weigh in on which method they prefer and why. 
    7. Colo brothers: Taking Florida by storm
    Both professionally and personally, John Colo is no stranger to adversity. Fortunately, he and brother Jim (both pictured at right), who also is a superintendent, have each other to lean on as they ply their craft in South Florida.
    8. Myrtle Beach courses closed to repair Bermuda greens
    Unfortunately for superintendents - and golfers - troubles continued into the year in Myrtle Beach as at least a dozen courses to repair Bermudagrass greens that went uncovered over the winter and showed significant damage by spring.
    9. Saunders leads revival at Pittsburgh classic
    The Pittsburgh area is home to some of the country's best golf courses. There was a day when the Longue Vue Club was on that list. After years of neglect and disrepair at Longue Vue, superintendent Josh Saunders (at right) has the course back in that conversation.
    10. Reigning superintendent of the year going out with a bang
    Dick Gray put the exclamation point on his reign as 2016 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year by unveiling a newly redesigned Ryder Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. It was the fourth renovation in four years for the 74-year-old Gray.
  • Recent research has shown that there are four pathogens that are responsible for causing dollar spot in turfgrass. Is there a higher honor in the scientific world than having a disease named after you?
    If that's the case, four prominent turfgrass researchers have posthumously been afforded quite a distinction as each, in an effort to redefine the dollar spot-causing pathogen, has been singled out for his work either in disease management in turfgrass or developing disease-resistant cultivars.
    Dollar spot in turfgrass was identified in 1937 as being caused by the pathogen Sclerotinia homeocarpa. Ever since, it seems scientists have been trying to learn even more about the disease and what causes it. Research conducted recently by a host of scientists at Rutgers, North Carolina State, Ohio State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified a new genus and four species - not just one - that cause dollar spot in turfgrass. 
    "To a large extent, this is not a big change for the average turf manager," said Bruce Clarke, Ph.D., of Rutgers University. "It is critically important to understand that there is more than one pathogen out there, but it boils down to this - one attacks cool-season grasses and one is the major pathogen on warm-season grasses in North America. The other two occur primarily in the U.K., so for the average turf manager, you're still dealing with one pathogen. It just happens to be there are four pathogens worldwide that can cause symptoms that everybody associated with dollar spot, but you're just dealing with one species."
    The new genus, Clarireedia, is a combination of the latin "Clarus", meaning famous, and "reedia" for C. Reed Funk, Ph.D., the legendary Rutgers turf breeder who dedicated much of his career to developing disease-resistant turf cultivars.
    Among the four species identified, two occur primarily in North America and two in Europe, according to the research.
    C. jacksonii is named for Noel Jackson, Ph.D., the former University of Rhode Island turf pathologist and diagnostician, who conducted some of the early research on dollar spot and how to manage it over a career that spanned 40 years. It also is the species that scientists say occurs commonly in cool-season turf in the U.S.
    C. monteithiana, the pathogen that causes dollar spot in warm-season turf in the U.S., is named for former USDA scientist John Monteith who first described dollar spot in turf in 1928. The other two pathogen species, C. bennettii, named for British scientist F.T. Bennett who conducted early work on dollar spot, and C. homeocarpa are found primarily in the United Kingdom.
    The most recent study, which was conducted from 2012-2017 and the results published in the August 2018 edition of Fungal Biology, hardly marks the end of the road for scientific research on dollar spot. On the contrary, Clarke says scientists still do not know as much as they would like about dollar spot and why so many turf managers in the field have observed inconsistencies about how and when the disease manifests.
    "It is possible that there are different species that can be associated with these observations," Clarke said. "For the most part, I think it's still the same species, but it's just different strains that occur more prevalently let's say in the fall than in the summer, or in the fall than in the spring.
    "At this point in time, we don't have a quick-and-dirty method for separating out these species. We're working on that with different molecular techniques."
    A research team led by Paul Koch, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin is awaiting USDA approval for a multi-state research project on dollar spot. Once approved, that project should begin later this year, Clarke said.
    "Part of that is to develop a rapid method to separate out which species you are dealing with," Clarke said. 
    "In essence, in most instances it is going to boil down to those two pathogens (C. jacksonii and C. monthethiana). Now, in certain parts of the country where you have warm- and cool-season grasses together, you might have some back-and-forth movement."
    Part of the pending research will be to simplify identifying the four species and how each is affected by chemical and agronomic programs.
    "We need to start looking at fungicide screening in the laboratory with various chemical groups to see if there is any difference in terms of fungicide susceptibility among the various species. So, there is a lot of work that needs to be done now to see how fungicides affect the different species and how management practices might affect the different species," Clarke said. "But before we can start doing that on a large scale, especially in research, we need to have the ability to speciate these much more easily than we do right now. 
    "We have learned there is a tremendous amount of diversity within this pathogen and that it's not just one species, there are four species. What we don't know now, we haven't by any means exhausted identifying where isolates fall into these categories. When I say c. jacksonii seems like it's primarily in cool-season grasses, that's what it seems like based on this research, but it's possible that it's not that simple.
    "This has opened up a lot of opportunity for research, but it's going to take a while before we can start sorting this out and start saying with any degree of certainty 'If you have species A, B, C or D, this is the type of BMP program that you want to be following. That's a ways off."
  • To help professional turf managers stay up to date in their efforts to combat troublesome weeds, the Weed Diagnostics Center at the University of Tennessee has updated its Mobile Weed Manual.
    Developed to "assist turfgrass managers with developing effective weed management programs" includes the latest information on weeds and the products used to control them, including label updates.
    The site includes a search function that allows users to select from pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicide products.
    Users also can search for products by selecting weed types. The tool even allows users to select from broadleaf or grassy weeds or kyllingas or sedges, or by selecting from among any of 126 specific weed species.
    The manual can be used on Apple and Android devices and is desktop compatible.
  • There is no indication that Edward Murphy, the late aerospace engineer who conducted early work on rocket sleds and safety equipment for the U.S. Air Force, ever was a golfer. But if he had been, Murphy might have found Carolina Golf Club to his liking because the law associated with his name that states "anything that can go wrong will go wrong" was on full display last year at the club in Charlotte.
    In a year that started with horrible weather, ended the same way and in between felt the effects of two hurricanes, including one that arrived on the doorstep of a USGA championship, Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG, ushered the course through every challenge, pulled off a successful tournament, took on the role of president of his association and drew the admiration of many.
    By year's end, Wharton had received 14 nominations for the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta, comprising two members and a half-dozen fellow superintendents, including two former winners of the award.
    "This past summer, Matthew and the staff at Carolina Golf Club held a tremendously successful USGA Mid-Amateur tournament just days after Hurricane Florence delivered close to 8 inches of rain to the Charlotte area with over 35 mph winds leaving the golf course in shambles and not up to USGA tournament specifications," wrote Paul Carter, CGCS at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Tennessee and the 2001 Superintendent of the Year. "With the hard work of Matthew's team, the course was repaired and made ready for USGA championship play."
    Matthew Gourlay, CGCS,, at Colbert Hills in Manhattan, Kansas,nominated Wharton because of his willingness to help colleagues along their respective career paths.
    "His biggest impact with me personally is as a mentor," Gourlay wrote. "I have phoned Matthew once a week for the past year. He is always available to conversate and provide guidance on life and golf course operations."
    For all he does for others in his profession, Wharton admits the story for 2018 at Carolina Golf Club was all about the weather.
    Carolina Golf Club, along with Charlotte Country Club, was one of two sites for last year's mid-am. Months before the tournament was played in September, Wharton laid three truckloads of new sod when, for the first time in three years, winter injury left in its wake wide areas of dead Bermudagrass.
    That was followed by what the National Weather Service says is one of the 10 hottest summers ever recorded in Charlotte. Wharton said the temperature at the golf course never dipped below 70 degrees at night for 90 consecutive days. Then the week before the tournament, Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas coastline on Sept. 14 near Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Seemingly suspended, the storm spun for days and eventually dumped 7.16 inches of rain on Sept. 15-16 at the golf course, which is the most Wharton's seen there in a 24-hour period in his 14 years at the club.
    "A course that was perfectly conditioned for a major event was now flooded with downed trees and debris everywhere," wrote Carolina member Ed Oden. "I cannot even begin to recount the amount of work Matthew and his crew put in over the next three days to transform a storm-ravaged course into major championship condition. Truly unbelievable."
    Club member Ben Maffitt served as co-chairman of the mid-am committee, and worked closely with Wharton and the USGA on tournament logistics. That included everything from recruiting volunteers to deciding the best location for portable restroom facilities, Wharton was involved every step of the way, leading Maffitt to detail his accomplishments surrounding the tournament as follows:
    > he successfully prepared the golf course for a major national amateur championship, overcoming some unique weather challenges only days before the commencement of the tournament;
    > he was a very helpful partner with a wide variety of other logistical requirements unrelated to turfgrass management as we prepared to host a major national championship;
    > he actively and effectively participated in the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, and provided excellent leadership to that organization;
    > he consistently provided excellent communication and updates on status of the golf course and our efforts to prepare to a major national championship to the membership of Carolina Golf Club;
    > he brought an even-handed, thoughtful, and professional approach to every task that he was required to address.
    "He was much more than just an excellent golf course superintendent who was making sure greens and fairways were mowed and bunkers were raked," Maffitt wrote. "He was a valuable contributor on almost all aspects of the tournament's logistics."
  • You know you have a big job when you are in charge of a $12 million construction project that includes nothing on the golf course.
    As superintendent of grounds at Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, a Donald Ross classic on Cincinnati's fashionable east side, Pat O'Brien is putting the finishing touches on just such a project that has been five years in the making.
    The project, which came in two phases, includes a new pool and baby pool, locker and restroom facilities for the pool area only, upgrades to the bar and restaurant at the pool area, ladies locker room, golf learning center building with four indoor hitting bays and outdoor chipping area and putting green, 160-foot outdoor artificial hitting surface, expanded praced range, new bunkered short game area, racquet sports facility, four paddle tennis courts, two pickleball courts, two hard surface tennis courts and four clay tennis courts.
    All O'Brien was responsible for, according to a nomination letter for the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta, by Hyde Park member Nick Spadaccini was coordinating with the contractor, developer, sub-contractors, members, architect and engineers; coordinating with golf course architect Tim Liddy regarding the design of and managing construction of the expanded practice range and short-game areas; managing all landscape design associated with all phases of the project; planning and construction of the racquet sports center;  and keeping the golf course open, immaculate and accessible through all of it.
    And he had to do all of this in what many in the eastern half of the country would recall as one of the worst years for weather in recent memory.
    Temperatures in Cincinnati were warmer than usual early in the year, and the city recorded the third-wettest February on record. The daytime high of 79 degrees on Feb. 20 was the hottest winter day in Cincinnati - EVER. Nearly 8 inches of rain pushed the massive Ohio River to a depth of 60.53 feet, 8 feet over flood stage. The following month, 10 inches of snow fell in March and another 3 in April - which is a lot considering the latter coincides with the start of baseball season and most golf courses are already in full swing. Furnace-like temperatures soon followed with the hottest May on record.
    Summer endured until late October and finally gave way not to autumn, but temperatures more closely associated with winter.
    An ice storm blanketed the city on Nov. 15, and many trees, still laden with leaves because of the absence of autumn, came crashing down on utility lines, wiping out electricity across a metropolitan area that is home to 2.1 million people.
    You get the idea.
    "I've never been involved in a huge undertaking like this," said O'Brien, who earlier this year completed his path to U.S. citizenship (shown above right celebrating the moment with daughters Brynna and Maeve, U.S. federal judge Stephanie Bowman and wife Jen, left to right).
    "We finally started in August 2017. We're just about finished. We are down to one structure; the cold storage building for equipment for the golf course, and that should be finished by mid-February."
    Although O'Brien's responsibilities were spelled out in black and white, his duties were, at times, a bit more nebulous - in part because of challenges associated with the weather. Other times, the roadblocks were man made.
    "Because of the scope of the work, there were a lot of gray areas," O'Brien said. "We were called upon to fill gaps on things the subcontractors couldn't do."
    That included working with zoning officials when the city mandated additional fencing, landscaping and paving of maintenance parking areas during the project. Much of the work to meet city demands was completed in house, shaving about $88,000 off the cost of the project.
    The project ground to a halt when drawings by the architects and engineers did not match, and subcontractors stopped working until there was a consensus on drawings, especially those on grading of tennis courts, sidewalks, patios and driveways. Only when O'Brien brought all parties together on nearly a daily basis did the project get back on track.
    A year of record-breaking weather trends in 2018 complicated things even further on the construction project and managing the golf course, which O'Brien concedes he delegated almost entirely to his assistants Dan Lawendowski and Aaron Garrett.
    "The best thing about work is the guys I work with. They are fantastic and they know what they are doing," O'Brien 
    "The weather was awful this year, and they did a fantastic job running the golf course. They had to make a ton of decisions because the majority of my time was spent on the project. They made choices I didn't even know about until afterward. They made so many good decisions. They really nailed it, because it could have been an ugly year."
  • Much of Dwayne Dillinger's 29-year career as as superintendent has been about solving problems.
    Whether it was finding an out-of-the-box solution to an expensive water problem, working around a constantly shrinking budget or helping find a way to grow the game on a local scale, Dwayne Dillinger has been up to the task at the county-owned Bell Nob Golf Course in Gillette, Wyoming. And that is why Dillinger, 55, has been named as a finalist for the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    Nearly a decade ago, Bell Nob was facing a crisis.
    In those days, the course was on the potable water IV. Facing escalating water costs and no feasible alternative source at the time - there are two wells on the course, neither of which was a viable source - the property was staring down the barrel of a genuine financial situation.
    "The price of water was going to make it difficult for the golf course," Dillinger said. "We were spending $60,000 to $70,000 on water every year, and it was going to go up even more. The course had already declared bankruptcy in the 1980s because of water.
    "Two wells on the property were not suitable for irrigation. One was high in bicarbonates and had almost no calcium, so there was nothing to buffer the bicarbonates. The other was high in iron and calcium."
    That's when Dillinger, who studied turfgrass management in the 1980s at Colorado State University, had a brilliant idea. Why not mix the two?
    Water from each source had been used to irrigate turf in the past and had caused poor turf quality. After running some tests and mixing the water from both sources together it was determined that the weaknesses of one source were countered by the qualities of the other. The result, if everything worked according to plan, would be a more stable water source at a fraction of the cost of potable water.
    Dillinger hatched his water-saving idea in 2010. Two years later, after he had sold the plan to county stakeholders, the county had built an 11-acre holding pond capable of storing more than 150 million gallons where he could mix water from both wells. The project, which included some upgrades to the irrigation system came with a $1.2 million tab. Officials projected, based on anticipated rate hikes for water and power, that it would take about nine years to break even, so it is right about now that the county is finally realizing the true benefits of the project.
    "The expanding city was reaching the limits of its water supply and began raising water rates to help curb usage and promote conservation. Rates were raised to a level that would have required the golf course to spend over $350,000 on water in 2011. Irrigating with potable water was no longer economically sustainable, the golf course needed to develop an alternative," wrote Rick Mansur, executive director of the golf course in his letter nominating Dillinger for the award. 
    "The new system is producing usable irrigation water for $1.30 per 1,000 gallons as opposed to $4.23 for 1,000 gallons of potable water."
    In conjunction with the water project, Dillinger reduced the irrigated acreage by 10 percent and cut water use by more than 20 percent.
    Finding alternative water sources and ways to use less of it are just a couple of the reasons a half-dozen people nominated Dillinger for the award.
    When the county looked to grow the game Dillinger designed a nine-hole par-3 course that was friendly for kids and beginners. He also secured funding and donations to see the project through to completion.
    "Through donations, fundraisers, seeking product and materials from businesses at cost, the course was build for less than $250,000," wrote Dave McCormick, a former parks and recreation director for Campbell County, Wyoming, which owns Bell Nob. "The Wee Links is home to our junior golf program with more than 200 youth participating each golf season and the Campbell County School District golf teams.
    "Dwayne has had a tremendous impact on the golf community in Wyoming and around the region for more than two decades."
    He also has had an impact on his fellow superintendents. His experiences combining two unusable water sources into a single viable source was the subject of a case study and was fodder for educational presentations for his colleagues.