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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    Attendance this year? 'About' the same as last year. There is no question that the Golf Industry Show is nothing like it once was. The decade-plus-long trend of declining attendance and shrinking convention floor space have made measuring shows since the 2008 recession against those before it an apples-and-oranges comparison.
    As the GCSAA's largest money maker and the engine that drives member education, its place in the industry cannot be overstated. Given the corresponding trend of industry contraction and changes in the way people gather and consume information, the show also has entered a critical time in which its future and how it will be constructed in years to come must be discussed.
    The changing nature of the show is indicative of a few things, among them market contraction (there are 1,472 fewer courses today than there were 15 years ago) and cost of attendance (especially for those whose club will not cover the cost). It also is reflective of a dynamic industry in which it no longer is necessary to get on a plane and spend a week in a hotel to get certified education or learn about the latest and greatest products designed to help superintendents be more efficient.
    Not knocking GIS education at all. It is one piece in a puzzle of how many superintendents stay ahead of the curve in an evolving industry. But it does not take a genius to figure out there are many more people in classrooms early in the week than there are on the show floor on Wednesday and, umm, Thursday.
    As we've heard over and over during the early days of the presidential primary season, "do the math" and it appears some cracks are starting to show. 
    It was easy to look at numbers each year and gauge the health of GIS. The way some of the data are now measured by the GCSAA even makes it a challenge to compare this year's show in Orlando with ones as recent as, oh, last year in San Diego.
    Attendance last year was 11,900, including 5,950 folks the GCSAA calls qualified buyers, or those who have the ability to make a purchase agreement on the GIS trade show floor. A total of 510 exhibitors rented 208,650 square feet of space at the San Diego Convention Center. Attendance also included 5,479 education conference seats sold.
    How does this year's show compare? That's a good question, but given the reporting of metrics this year, "about" the same will have to do. Gone are the days when GCSAA had ironclad numbers on all its show metrics before everyone left town to return home. I'm sure vendors are privy to exact numbers, but after four requests, we got "about" and "nearly".
    Attendance this year was "nearly" 12,000 and there were "nearly" 6,000 qualified buyers, according to GCSAA. The association also said there were "more than" 500 exhibitors and the trade show covered "more than" 450,000 square feet inside the Orange County Convention Center - 450,000.
    If that number looks a little off, it should.
    That figure is more than double that of last year's show in San Diego and is 50 percent more than 2008 in Orlando. The difference is those shows reported only rented booth space. This year's 450,000 sf includes the GCSAA store and all common areas.
    Anyone who remembers that 2008 show in Orlando on the west side of International Drive will recall how massive and daunting that trade show floor was. Navigating this year's show was anything but. It was defined by wide aisles, little competing foot traffic and enough unoccupied space on the periphery to build a small subdivision. 
    Requests for specific numbers were met with silence and the reason behind changes to reporting trade show floor space was "This figure give(s) a more clear picture of the trade show floor." So, there you have it.
    What we do know for sure is this, there is a loud and clear message that fewer superintendents are unable or unwilling to travel to the show and many who do attend for education fail to find value in the trade show model. 
    Changes in technology change the way society works. It's part of evolution. When cars were invented, no one poured more money into the horse and buggy trade, and the Internet has decimated the newspaper industry. Changes to GIS will be necessary at some point to maximize how it best serves GCSAA members, the association itself and those called upon to fund your education.
    I recall a discussion with the golf market manager for a very large industry vendor - he no longer is in the business - who told me how he would be happy to donate money for superintendent education but skip the expense of exhibiting at the annual GIS trade show. He also knew he never could follow through because of fear that it would cause a snowball effect and he didn't want to be known as "the guy who killed the Golf Industry Show."
    That was in 2005. 
    How the GIS model works in the future is up to you, your association and those asked to pay the bills. But before you help decide, you should know all the numbers, not just "about" and "nearly". You deserve more than that.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Syngenta expands social media footprint 
    Syngenta has launched a new Facebook page to provide additional turf management resources for golf course superintendents, sports turf managers and lawncare operators.
    The interactive platform is designed to provide more social content and supplement Syngenta’s Twitter page. It includes expert advice on disease and pest control, as well as product information, testimonials and videos, and news items such as the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award and the Ladies Leading Turf event at this year’s Golf Industry Show. 
    It also includes features on personalities like groundskeeper extraordinaire George Toma, who has helped with field prep for every Super Bowl since the inaugural game in 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
    Aquatrols adds to sales team
    As a result of a recent strategic agreement between Aquatrols and Redox Turf, Aquatrols has expanded its sales team with former Redox employees, Daniel McCann and Barry Bennett. 
    In their previous roles, McCann and Bennet both served as Manufacturing Representatives for Redox. 
    They will join the sales team as territory managers and will help the company promote the new, expanded Aquatrols and Redox lines. “
    Customers can contact McCann at DMcCann@aquatrols.com and Benett at BBennett@aquatrols.com.
    Rain Bird taps Lawson for sales manager post
    Jeff Lawson recently was named national sales manager for the Rain Bird golf division. 
    He will be responsible for leading Rain Bird’s sales and distribution teams in the U.S. and Canada with the ultimate goal of driving golf product and pump station sales.
     
    Most recently, Lawson served as Rain Bird Golf’s western regional sales manager. During that time, he built relationships with distributors and strengthened his sales team. 
  • Conditions at Monterey Yacht and Country Club rival those at private clubs in South Florida. Photos by John Reitman Names can be deceiving.
    On the surface, Monterey Yacht and Country Club in the well-to-do town of Stuart, Florida, sounds like one of South Florida's premier golf clubs. The name alone rivals high-budget courses in the area like Mariner Sands, Champions Club, Sailfish Point and the Floridian Club that was built in the 1990s by late garbage magnate H. Wayne Huizenga. 
    In reality, Monterey YCC is a modest, yet well-maintained nine-holer that redefines low-budget golf. There are no yachts here, and the course weaves so tightly through a 55-and-older condo complex that the buildings there create a stadium effect that is every claustrophobe's nightmare. In many respects, Monterey is the poster child for the mom-and-pop type courses that are the backbone of the golf industry and too often are closing. 
    In an area peppered with courses designed by the likes of Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Joe Lee, there is no architect of record at Monterey. Although the course is barely on Florida's mainland, it can seem like an island for superintendent Matt Lean.
    Lean has so few resources at Monterey - his total budget for everything is about $100,000 - he admits he sometimes is embarrassed if colleagues from around the industry come calling for a visit.
    "Nobody comes here. No magazines, nobody," Lean said in the days after this year's Golf Industry Show. "You're the only one who's come here, and I was embarrassed to have you here the first time."
    For the record, this recent visit to Monterey was the second for TurfNet, and the first in nearly four years. There are a lot of courses like Monterey and a lot of superintendents like Lean throughout the country, but their needs and accomplishments often are overshadowed by their high-rent neighbors. And their stories, good as they are, rarely get told.
    OK, so "nobody" visiting might be a bit of a stretch. In his 10 years as superintendent at Monterey, Lean has developed a few trusted contacts, mostly vendor reps who he knows he can rely on for the unvarnished truth when he has serious issues or just a simple question. Still, he's right when he hints he's not exactly on everyone's radar screen. To his credit, Lean won't come out and say it, but let's face it, a nine-hole, executive course that barely measures 1,200 yards and winds past a shuffleboard court and bocce complex in a senior condo community hardly fits the alphabet crowd's agenda. Ironically, many of the courses that do fit the golf industry model would love to have the 140-plus rounds per day that are played at Monterey throughout the winter.
    One of those contacts is Mike Bailey, a WinField rep who has become Lean's close confidant.
    A former superintendent for two decades, Bailey has been on the commercial side of the business for 18 years and builds trust with superintendents by taking a low-key approach to sales.
    In those early days of Lean's career, Bailey talked to him about disease, invasive turf species, height of cut, cultural practices and more. He still does.
    "I've known Matt for so long, I can't remember where we first met," Bailey said. "I don't call on people as a sales person, I talk to them as a fellow superintendent. They ask questions and we talk as colleagues."

    With no formal turf education, Matt Lean has been superintendent at Monterey Yacht and Country Club for 10 years. Even when Lean hires contractors, sometimes they show, sometimes they don't, sometimes they're just late, leaving him feeling like the Rodney Dangerfield of golf course superintendents.
    He's not bitter about being among the latter in a world of haves and have-nots; but if he wants things done and done right he knows he's on his own. Once an aspiring tennis professional who chased his dream decades ago on the mini-tours in California, Lean doesn't have a formal turf education. He learned on the job nearby at the Joe Lee-designed Piper's Landing Golf and Yacht Club (they have real yachts there!) and continues to learn daily through trial and error at Monterey.
    Lean's brain is always racing and he's constantly asking questions and posing hypothetical situations about cultural practices, pests and diseases and the chemistries used to manage them, water issues or how he has to think outside the box 365 days a year because of his general lack of resources to give his members a playing surface. Trying to keep up as he darts from one topic to the next can be an exhausting exercise in futility.
    "I think I've always been like that, but this job has probably made it worse, or heightened it. I think I like heightened better," he said. "But, if you're in this business and you're not always thinking, you're going to have problems."
    To call the resources at Lean's disposal "modest" would be an understatement. 
    His shop does not have a lift and he has walk-in closets in his home that are larger than his 5x5 office.
    His aerifier - circa 1998 - recently broke down, leaving him with only a tow-behind spiker until he finds an alternative. The motor on his 30-year-old irrigation pump burned out just before GIS leaving him without water for 12 days. Fortunately, it did rain two days in the interim, but there were scars around the course that he's masked with a colorant. His 2001 utility cart doesn't always respond when he steps on the pedal, and his 20-year-old sprayer is still chugging along - between repair jobs.

    About 140 rounds per day are played at Monterey throughout the winter months. "It's like a World War II fighter, it runs great," he said.
    The last time the sprayer went down, Lean saved thousands by finding parts online and making the repairs himself. It's what he has to do.
    Lean has a background in basic mechanics and used to rebuild vintage hot rods.
    "I'll do some of the basic mechanics around the golf course, but I won't grind reels," he said. "You have to pick your battles." 
    His "staff" consists of 70-year-old Joe Dovutovich, a retired ironworker from Pittsburgh with a work ethic and an edge that is hard to find today. Lean would be sunk without him, just don't ask Dovutovich about Ohio State football, unless you're ready for a fight.
    Dovutovich has a lot to say about the current state of the industry, but the volume of four-letter words interspersed through his opinions - on golf, or the Buckeyes for that matter - make it a challenge to get him on the record.
    With all these limitations, Lean is a veritable magician. His greens are pristine, and when he has bumps and bruises after 12 days with no water, he has managed to hide most of them. He's so good that he leaves his clientele wanting more and expecting him to deliver. They want conditions that rival those at courses where the initiation fee for each member is more than his total budget. 
    A native of Stuart, Bailey recalls riding the school bus along Palm City Road to Martin County High School in 1973 when the golf course was under construction. He'd played it several times long before Lean was ever hired there, and is amazed at the product he is able to turn out.
    When asked about Lean's ability as a superintendent compared with his budget, Bailey barely can contain the laughter. 
    "It's spectacular," he said. "It's a small golf course and a small property, but what he is able to do there is amazing."
  • What would be the fourth trial alleging that Roundup causes cancer has been delayed - again.
    The trial, originally scheduled to begin Jan. 24 but was delayed amid reports of a possible pending settlement, was to begin today but has been delayed indefinitely and some reports say the case is not expected to resume. Another trial, scheduled to begin Feb. 24 in San Francisco, also is expected to be delayed indefinitely, further fueling the notion that a global settlement could be near, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. 
    According to that publication and Investors Business Daily, Bayer is dedicating $8 billion to settle current suits filed by those who claim Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and another $2 billion for future settlements. Bayer attorneys are on the record saying fewer than 50,000 cases have been filed against the company, which acquired Monsanto - the maker of Roundup - in 2018.
    Just last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it concluded a regulatory review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and reaffirmed its stance that it is not a carcinogen.
    The World Health Organization labeled glyphosate as a possible carcinogen in 2015, a claim the EPA refuted a year later after conducting a regulatory review.
  • One simple phrase served Mark Wilson well throughout his career as a golf course superintendent.
    "Life is short, sod it," said Wilson, who spent 22 years at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was the host superintendent of two PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup.
    A few months ago, I ran into Wilson at a memorial service for his friend, the late Jerry Coldiron. Shortly thereafter, we caught up to take a look back over his long career as a golf course superintendent.
    "I tried to make nature my friend, not my enemy," he said. "One of my strengths was I was always able to remember that the turf could always be fixed; problems were never permanent. Warm-season grass in spring can be downright ugly, but it will get better. On the other hand, cool-season grass in August can look pretty bad, but I knew September was close and it would get better in a hurry."
    Turf conditions on golf courses might not always be on an upward plane, but Wilson's career path pretty much was. Since the 1970s, when he worked on the crew at Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Florida, through a work history that spanned parts of five decades at three clubs in Louisville until he retired a decade ago, Wilson's career was the stuff of legend. He worked for Gleason when Inverrary still was the site of what today is the PGA Tour's Honda Classic, and was hired by the Gahm family in 1988 at Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla. Hired shortly after grow-in at Valhalla, Wilson had been the superintendent at Audubon Country Club, a 1908 Thomas Bendelow design 20 miles away. 
    "Most of my career, in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s, it seemed like I had the wind at my back, and I was going downhill," Wilson said. "The industry was strong, and people were demanding new golf courses, and we were always trying to grow better grass.
    "We had big intentions at Valhalla, but a lot of it was luck. The course was built at the right time during the golf boom and it was kind of early in Nicklaus' designing career."
    His career at Valhalla included managing the turf for the 1996 and 2000 PGA Championships and the 2008 Ryder Cup Matches.
    Jumping into high-level tournament golf wasn't necessarily a goal or a choice. It just sort of happened, Wilson said.
    "As far as tournament golf, I just hopped on the bandwagon," he said. "I was at Audubon when the Gahm family built Valhalla. After the grow-in, they asked me to apply. I went from the oldest club in town to the newest.
    "I grew up in northeastern Ohio, so my big treat was seeing Firestone. Then I got to play Arnold Palmer's Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania, so I came to appreciate great golf courses at an early age."
    A native of Beloit, Ohio in the Cleveland area, Wilson went to turf school 350 miles away at Eastern Kentucky University, where he also was a walk-on on the school's golf team.
    A 1976 EKU graduate, he remembers many of his teammates believing they had a future in professional golf. Wilson, who mowed greens before high school and college tournaments, had no such delusions.
    "Nobody I played with went on to play professional. It was a good thing I went on to a career in turf management," he said. "In fact, the other players on the team called me turfgrass boy. I remember mowing greens before a tournament, running to the car and getting my clubs and then playing in the tournament. I think it was the best tournament I ever had."
    Wilson started working on golf courses during high school and interned at Louisville Country Club while attending EKU. He counts turf legends like former LCC superintendent Louis Miller among his mentors.
    "He was the Daniel Boone of superintendents in Kentucky," Wilson said. "He had a degree from Penn State and was, as far as I know, the first formally educated superintendent in Kentucky."
    A lot has changed in turf management between those days of working for the Daniel Boone of Kentucky superintendents and when Wilson retired from Valhalla in 2010.
    "The norm then was a quarter-inch on greens. When I left Valhalla, it was a tenth (of an inch), or lower," he said. 
    "We had fans on all 18 greens. We can't grow grass now without fans? It seems like we complicated everything.
    "I like to think I'm pretty organized, but it was frustrating. We had three or four acres of greens, but we had to maintain 430 acres. I was frustrated how much time and money was spent on greens compared to the whole operation. I wanted to manage the whole property, but the greens took away from that."
  • Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke presents Matt DiMase with the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award at this year's Golf Industry Show. With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on The Bahamas late last summer, Matt DiMase didn't give much thought to leaving. 
    The superintendent at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, DiMase easily could have ridden out the storm with his wife and kids in the safety of the family home 400 miles away in Ocala, Florida.
    But he didn't.
    "Someone asked me today if I had it to do over again, would I do it again," DiMase said. "If it happened again, I would stay again, but I hope I don't ever have to make that decision again."
    DiMase rode out the storm, brought the devastated golf course from the dead and played a key role in a humanitarian effort to help members of the club, his employees and members of his Bahamian community.
    For the selfless way he put the needs of others ahead of his own during a natural disaster in which many lost their lives, DiMase was named the recipient of the 20th annual TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. The award was presented Jan. 30 at the Syngenta booth during this year's Golf Industry Show.
    DiMase and his team are responsible for managing the golf course, all beach areas, landscaping, grounds on the estate homes and the right-of-way on more than 7 miles of roads.
    "For us, this is a job, but for our members, this club is their investment," DiMase said. "I told my team we can stay and protect their property, or we can abandon ship and who knows what will happen."
    The club still was wrapped up in a search for a GM making DiMase the property's senior employee. He could hardly leave the people who had been so good to him and his family with a rudderless ship.
    "I didn't want to leave," he said. "I wanted to stay because of the people."
    That decision changed the course of life for DiMase and many others who were fortunate he stayed.
    Within hours of reaching its peak strength, Hurricane Dorian slammed ashore on Abaco Island in The Bahamas as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds reaching 185 mph. That was way back on Sept. 1, but the effects of the storm live on.
    Since September, DiMase has worked harder than anyone on the island to help others there rebound from the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.

    Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke with the finalists for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, Ryan Gordon, Paul MacCormack, Jake Mendoza, Matt DiMase and Kyle Callahan (from left). The storm devastated the club and most everything else on Abaco Island. The wake of destruction included buildings that were flattened, blown away or washed away and entire towns devastated. According to some reports, more than 75 percent of the homes in the town of Marsh Harbour had been destroyed. Some of the loss went far beyond loss of property. To date, the official death toll in The Bahamas as a direct result of the storm is 70 people, though many remain unaccounted for.
    With no electricity or phone service, the immediate concern after the storm was looting. There were rumors that stores and homes in town were being pillaged and for DiMase a 12-gauge shotgun was never far away. 
    "We had two choices if people showed up at the club," he said. "We could kill them with kindness, or fire warning shots over their heads and worry about the aftermath later."
    Within days, a private security detail hired by the club that included former U.S. Navy Seals and ex-Marines, was on site. 
    "People might have looted stores in town, but nobody was getting by them," DiMase said.
    In the days, weeks and months after the hurricane, DiMase stayed on Abaco Island in The Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian and used his experience as a golf course superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course and for his community.
    The club was without utilities for several weeks and conditions in town were worse, but eventually most of the team made it back.
    "Ten days after the storm they were asking what they could do," he said. "And these were people who'd just lost everything."
    DiMase, who worked in Punta Gorda in southwestern Florida when Hurricane Charley tore through the area in 2004, could have put The Bahamas in his rearview mirror and returned to the U.S., and there isn't a soul alive who would have blamed him. But as his friend Gary Cotton wrote in nominating DiMase for the award: "Any adversity Matt faces he takes it head on. It's one of the things that makes him stand out and one of the things I admire the most. If Matt is presented with a challenge or told something can't be done, it's best to sit back and watch, because he thrives on challenges.
    "Everyone has a story, and every superintendent in their own way is deserving, however 2019 for Mr. DiMase has shown me and several other superintendents there is more to (the job than) just growing grass."
    DiMase said he is unsure where he will hang the award, in his home in Ocala or his office in The Bahamas.
    "This is amazing. I'm humbled and grateful to win this award," he said. "Any one of these guys is deserving of this award. Everybody on my team who came back to work had a part in this. I'm going to go back and share it with them."
    DiMase was chosen by a panel of voters from across the golf turf industry from among a field of five finalists that include Kyle Callahan of Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana; Ryan Gordon of the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington; Paul MacCormack of Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, Prince Edward Island; and Jake Mendoza, Detroit Golf Club.
     
    The award is given annually to a golf course superintendent who excels at one or more of the following criteria: 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 receives a trip for two on the annual TurfNet members golf trip that in October heads to Scotland.
    Previous winners include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX & Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013); Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  • Leasha Schwab, Cathy Harbin, Laurie Bland, Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, Kayla Kip, Ellen Davis, Beth Guertal, Ph.D., and Jan Bel Jan (left to right) at the third annual Ladies Leading Turf event at this year's Golf Industry Show. Even growing up in South Florida within close proximity to so many golf courses, Laurie Bland never knew a career as a golf course superintendent was even a thing. It wasn't until a school field trip to what then was known as Lake City Community College that she knew stewarding finely managed turf on golf courses was a career option.
    Since being named director of golf course operations at city-owned Miami Springs Golf and Country Club in 2013, Bland works hard to help introduce the business of being a golf course superintendent to young girls throughout South Florida.
    "Telling them that there is a whole turf industry out there is important, because when I was in high school, I didn't know there was such a thing as a golf course superintendent, and I live in the golf capital of the world," Bland said during the third annual Ladies Leading Turf event at the Golf Industry Show. 
    "I talk to Future Farmers of America, I talk to kids locally to promote what I do. I think it's important. We all want to leave it in good hands."
    Bland was one of five panelists speaking at the event sponsored by Syngenta and moderated by golf course architect Jan Bel Jan. The panel also included Kayla Kipp, a golf course equipment manager at Wisp Resort in McHenry, Maryland, Ellen Davis of SportZMix Solutions, golf course owner Carthy Harbin and Beth Guertal, Ph.D., of Auburn University.
    In its third year, Ladies Leading Turf was developed by Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Ontario. The event debuted at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio and since has given a voice to women in the industry who continue to break down barriers to professional development and encourage others to follow them.
    Kipp manages equipment at Lodestone and Fantasy Valley golf courses. She learned automotive mechanics at a young age and many other skills at her father's knee. Even after six years in the U.S. Air Force, a commitment that included tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait, Kipp said earning credibility as a mechanic was not very easy.
    "Being a wrench turner, you're a female in a man's world straight up," Bland said. "Women don't make up a large section of that field, and I refused to be left behind. I'm very bull-headed."
    Reaching for diversity in the workplace is more complicated than just men vs. women, she said.
    "What does diversity mean to me? To me, it means bringing all the pieces together: ages, genders, cultures, religions, languages, education and experience," Kipp said. "Bringing all these pieces together cultivates a creative environment."

    Laurie Bland (left) and Kayla Kipp have taken different paths on their way to successful careers in the golf turf business. A 2008 graduate of Lake City (now Florida Gateway College), Bland admitted there were rumblings when she was hired at Miami Springs, which had slipped into disrepair in the years prior to her arrival. 
    Opened in 1923, Miami Springs was home to the PGA Tour's Miami Open from 1924-1955. Despite the prevailing conditions when she arrived - huge swaths of playing areas were completely without turf - it was plainly evident when she arrived just how much the historic course meant to the people who played there and how long it would take to get the course back into shape. 
    Huge swaths of playing surface were completely devoid of turf, and whipping the course into shape, a process Bland called a resurrection, would take years to complete.
    "There were no cultural practices in place. We had to start from the ground up," she said.
    "What was unique about this property, there were golfers, there were golfers still out there playing, which showed me that they really truly cared, that this was something special to them. They didn't mind paying whatever the fee was, they were still out there to enjoy themselves because that was their home, so it motivated me to make sure I take care of their home."
    Bland prepped under Tom Trammell at Doral Golf Resort - now Trump National Doral - before taking over at Miami Springs. With the resurrection pretty much complete and hopes of a full scale renovation somewhere over the horizon, Bland no longer has to prove herself at the historic course in the shadows of Miami International Airport. She's a proven commodity when she approaches those girls at local high schools around South Florida about potential careers in turf. And are they responsive to her efforts to build awareness about the profession of being a golf course superintendent?
    "They're responsive to the salary," Bland said. "When you tell them the sticker number; when you tell them how much you can make, their eyes get really big."
  • A fourth trial alleging that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer was postponed as both sides seek a settlement, according to reports.
    Attorneys told The New York Times that an agreement had been reached to postpone the trial that was scheduled to begin Jan. 24 in St. Louis to give parties on both sides time to reach a settlement. There are thousands of claims of the herbicide causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma awaiting litigation. Reports of how many cases are pending are all over the place and range from about 50,000 to more than 75,000, according to Ken Feinberg, the court-appointed mediator working with attorneys on both sides in hopes of reaching a settlement. 
    Rumors of settlement figures have been published, but have not been confirmed. A news release from Bayer says no settlement has been reached and does not hint at when one should be expected - if at all.
    "While Bayer is constructively engaged in the mediation process, there is no comprehensive agreement at this time. There also is no certainty or timetable for a comprehensive resolution."
    Reaching a settlement that all sides can agree upon will likely be a tall task.
    In three previous court cases, juries in California have awarded millions in damages. The pending St. Louis case was to be significant on two fronts: it would be the first that groups multiple plaintiffs (four) in a single case, and St. Louis was Monsanto’s home for 117 years, since the company was founded in 1901 until it was acquired by Bayer in 2018.
    In the first three trials, juries awarded plaintiffs $289 million, $80 million and $2 billion. All awards were subsequently reduced by the judges.
  • For more than a decade, the golf industry has been collectively sucking wind.
    The number of people playing the game is decreasing and subsequently the number of rounds played is shrinking accordingly. Trade show participation is way off and the supply of golf courses in the market has been on a steady decline since the Bush Administration.
    There was a bit of good news in 2019, according to Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp. and Stuart Lindsay of Edgehill Golf Advisors, who delivered their annual State of the Industry report during the PGA Merchandise Show.
    An estimated 432 million rounds were played in 2019, according to Koppenhaver. That number is up from 426 million in 2018 and marks the first bump in rounds played since 2016 and only the second time since 2000.
    "We're losing our consumer base slowly, and we're losing rounds slowly," Koppenhaver said. "Other than that, we're good."
    The number of golfers in the market in 2018 (the latest figures available for that statistic) dropped 200,000 from 20.8 million in 2017 to 20.6 million. That number is down 400,000 since 2015. That might seem like a lot, but doesn't sound like so much compared with the period from 2010 to 2015 when the game was shedding an average of about 1 million players per year.
    The game has lost 8 million players since golf course supply contraction began in 2006 and 10 million since 2002.
    "We've been shedding a million a year. So, 200,000 is not bad trend-wise, but the fact of the matter is we ain't gonna get to glory shedding 200,000 golfers a year," Koppenhaver said. 
    If there was any bad news in that nugget it was that the number of committed golfers, defined as those who play 40 or more rounds per year, dropped by 4.7 percent. Those people didn't leave the game, but rather played fewer rounds, dropping them out of the committed category, Koppenhaver said.
    The supply of golf courses in the industry also dropped again in 2019 as the market moves toward ever elusive equilibrium. For the 15th straight year, golf course closures outnumbered openings.
    A total of 103 courses closed last year, compared with 19 openings for a net loss of 84 courses measured in 18-hole equivalents. Fifteen years ago, when negative growth in golf course supply became a reality for the first time since 1946, industry analysts at the 2007 PGA Show said it would take 5-10 years to reach equilibrium, when supply and demand meet. During the State of the Industry address, Koppenhaver said it could be at least another eight years before that occurs - based on today's figures. The problem for golf is the number of players, courses and rounds played decreases every year, thus making equilibrium a moving target.
    Since 2006, 605 courses have opened and 2,007 have closed for a net loss of 1,472,  bringing the net supply of courses nationwide to 13,408, according to the study.

    Rounds played were up in 2018 (the most recent statistics available). Photo by John Reitman Since Koppenhaver and Lindsay have been delivering the State of the Industry report 20 years ago, some have accused them of being naysayers. Koppenhaver says they're just realists. Just before the presentation started Koppenhaver said he was happy to be able to report some good news this year, speaking specifically about the bump in rounds played and a marginal loss of players. 
    It's not exactly a tail wind, but there is a sense, he said, that the game no longer is flying into a strong head wind.
    "This is our dose of reality," he said. "When I started doing this with Stuart by my side, people said 'oh, you guys are industry contrarians, you know, you only have bad news.' I said 'what purpose could we possibly have for bringing bad news to an industry that I hope to make my living off of?' So I think people have realized over time we're analysts. We look at numbers, and we try to make informed decisions from the numbers. And history has borne out much of what we said back in 2000 has come to pass for good or for bad."
    During the past few years, industry analysts have argued that alternatives to traditional golf, such as Topgolf and other off-site experiences have helped introduce the game to new audiences. Koppenhaver disagreed.
    Ten years ago, there were 10 Topgolf facilities nationwide. Today, Topgolf is enjoyed by more than 20 million people in nearly 60 markets nationwide. And there are other similar off-course experiences. In that same time, traditional golf has lost almost 6 million players.
    It's no wonder the golf industry has struggled so much in the past 15 years, Koppenhaver said. What other business has to manage a retail outlet, restaurant and a farm, he asked?
    Golf has had the stigma of being a rich white man's game, but that is not the growing segment of the population, and golf has not been quick to catch on with minority populations and younger generations like it has with its bread-and-butter market. It will require a new way of thinking and a new way of doing business for golf courses owners, operators, superintendents and employers who do not want to be a statistic in the quest for equilibrium. 
    To illustrate the need for a new way of thinking, Koppenhaver posted a slide that shows how we think of strangers has evolved from protecting kids from people they don't know to hiring services like Uber: In 1998, our parents told us not to get into cars with strangers. In 2008, they told us not to meet strangers on the Internet. Today, we hire strangers on the Internet to pick us up in their car.
  • For more than two decades, Ventrac has been synonymous with mowing severely sloped areas where other mechanized equipment could not go. The Toro Company will acquire privately held Venture Products Inc., maker of Ventrac-branded products. 
    Toro will purchase Venture Products for $167.5 million in cash. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close before the end of Toro's second fiscal quarter.
    "The Toro Company is committed to a culture that aligns with our employee values, has a rich history of success in the marketplace, and a proven track record of growing their brands," said Dallas Steiner, chief executive officer of Venture Products in a joint news release. "By joining with The Toro Company, it allows us to continue to serve our customers with authentic experiences and trusted products."
    Started in 1996 by Marvin Steiner, Venture Products is a maker of professional articulating turf, landscape and snow and ice management equipment for the golf, grounds, landscape contractor, municipal and rural acreage markets located in Orrville, Ohio, home of Smucker's jams and jellies. 
    With a combination of power and maneuverability, Ventrac products are designed to enable the operator to use the equipment in a variety of settings with ease. Despite that power and maneuverability, Ventrac machines are known for their light footprint in soft turf conditions and their versatility with multi-season attachments for a variety of applications. Ventrac generated net sales of approximately $100 million in 2019.
    "Ventrac is well recognized in the industry for its market-leading innovation and commitment to meeting the diverse needs of customers," said Richard M. Olson, Toro's chairman and chief executive officer. 
  • Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club receives the 2018 Superintendent of the Year Award from Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta. His successor will be named Jan. 30 at this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando. This year's finalists for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta come from a variety of backgrounds. These experiences include opening an entire industry to the once-taboo subject of mental health, following a legend, dealing with the effects of a devastating natural disaster, managing a sprawling property under tough conditions and overcoming personal challenges most others take for granted.
    The finalists for this year's award are: Kyle Callahan, Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana; Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in Abaco, Bahamas; Ryan Gordon, the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington; Paul MacCormack, Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, Prince Edward Island; and Jake Mendoza, Detroit Golf Club.
    Kyle Callahan
    Meticulous planning and organization help overcome limited budget and staffing and wall-to-wall bentgrass at a sprawling 400-acre facility in southwestern Indiana - an area where all other courses are growing zoysiagrass. Click here to read more.
    Matt DiMase
    Stayed on the island during Hurricane Dorian and used his knowledge and experience as a superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course, for members of his team and for locals in his community. Click here to read more.
    Ryan Gordon
    Rather than let hearing loss hold him back, Ryan Gordon has used it to his advantage to redefine effective non-verbal communication at this Seattle-area course that is home to an annual Champions Tour event. Click here to read more.
    Paul MacCormack
    Began studying mindfulness to overcome the stress related to a job loss, then used a blog to spread the benefits of this movement to fellow superintendents, opening the door to discussing a difficult topic - mental health. Click here to read more.
    Jake Mendoza
    In just two years at historic Detroit Golf Club has proven to be a natural leader with what a member of his team has called unmatched agronomic skill and ability to handle anything that comes up while also prepping for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Click here to read more.
    Finalists are chosen from our panel of judges spanning the golf industry on criteria that include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
    The winner will be named Jan. 30 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and will receive a trip for two on the TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland.
    Previous winners include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX & Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013); Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  • Carlos Arraya's successor to the Superintendent of the Year award will be announced on Jan. 30 in the Syngenta booth next month at the Golf Industry Show. A virtual reality experience, health and skin cancer screenings, a 5K run, a women in turf panel and the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award are a few of the things Syngenta will have on tap next month at the Golf Industry Show.
    During the show scheduled for Jan. 25-30 in Orlando, Florida, Syngenta will provide GIS attendees with opportunities for networking, prioritizing their personal health and learning about innovative solutions for defending their turf. 
    Visitors to the Syngenta Booth (#2628) can experience a unique look at the science behind the company’s Action-branded solutions through virtual reality. The experience will allow visitors to the Syngenta booth to see how acibenzolar-s-methyl, the plant defense activator in Daconil Action, Heritage Action and Secure Action fungicides, helps protect turf from stress. They also will be entered for a chance to win one of six sets of Sonos One Bluetooth speakers.
    During the show, Syngenta will introduce two new fungicides and also will support numerous events, including the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award presentation, the Ladies Leading Turf panel discussion and more. 
    Additionally, as part of Condition. Perform. Recover. from Syngenta, which focuses on turf health and superintendents’ personal health, attendees can receive free wellness check ups at the Mobile Wellness Unit in Booth #2607 and free skin cancer screenings at the GIS Wellness Pavilion. Online registration is also open for the annual Health in Action 5K fun run. 
    “Through our Experience the Action virtual reality, we’re excited to show superintendents an in-depth look at how the Action family of products helps manage turf stress,” said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager at Syngenta. “But we also know their jobs come with their own stresses, so we hope attendees take a moment to focus on themselves with our free health checkups and skin cancer screenings.”

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

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