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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    Fire gutted the clubhouse at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photos courtesy of Bob McLean. The sight of players on the golf course is always a good sign for those with a vested economic interest in the well being of the game. But golfers on the tee never looked as good to superintendent Bob McLean as they did on Sunday, Dec. 8 when six groups showed up to play less than 24 hours after a fire destroyed the clubhouse at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
    "We are open for play if weather allows. The ashes were still smoldering and there were six groups out to play Sunday morning," McLean said. 
    "To be honest, it was a good sight to see people coming out and doing what we are here to do. The golf course wasn't affected by the fire, and we're still a golf club. That's what we are: we are a golfing club."
    The golf course itself as well as the maintenance facility and all equipment inside it were spared in the blaze, but the clubhouse was a total loss. Before local and state fire inspectors were able to complete their respective investigations into the cause of the blaze, the club already had brought in two construction trailers, one as an administrative office, the other as a makeshift golf shop.
    "There's nothing in there except a place to set up (point of sale)," McLean said. 
    "As far as our operations side of it, we're still full go. It could have been traumatic from an operations standpoint, but we're still full go. Now, it was traumatic for our members. We're discussing other plans on what else we can do as a gathering place for members.
    "We're trying to get some sense of normalcy and conduct business."
    Firefighters from four companies responded Saturday night when the fire broke out in the clubhouse at 7:38 on Dec. 7. McLean, who was home watching the NHL's Nashville Predators on TV, said he knew something was up somewhere in Bowling Green when heard numerous emergency outside his family room window. Several members of the club were at the Western Kentucky University-Arkansas basketball game at nearby Diddle Arena when they began receiving text messages and phone calls about the fire.
    "I got my vest and got there as quickly as I could," McLean said. "I was going to go inside and try to get our server.
    "The fire department wasn't letting me in, and everything had just been backed up onto the cloud."

    As news of the fire made its way around the Internet, McLean received an outpouring of support from colleagues and others throughout the industry, many of whom he didn't know. He also heard from Shelia Finney of the GCSAA and Paul Carter of Bear Trace at Harrison Bay near Chattanooga, Tennessee with offers of support. McLean said he would like to hear from others in the industry who have gone through similar situations and how they navigated through the challenges associated with the aftermath.
    "This industry really is like a fraternity," he said.
    The site of golfers on the course as the clubhouse remains were smoking in the background was symbolic of the strength of the club and the dedication of its members.
    The club was scheduled to hold its annual Christmas party on Dec. 15, complete with a visit from Santa for children and grandchildren of the club's members. Even a fire couldn't dampen the Christmas spirits at this club.
    Instead of just pizza, a visit from Santa and presents for the kids, the club's members are counting their blessings by holding a potluck in the cart barn. They have invited firefighters from the four departments that responded to the blaze - Bowling Green, Alvaton, Gott and Plano - will hold a toy drive to support their Toys for Tots drive.
    "We cleared out the cart barn, and some ladies came in with lights and they're going to decorate it," McLean said. 
    Within 48 hours, club leadership had met to discuss preliminary plans to rebuild the clubhouse. 
    "This isn't going to define us or keep us down," McLean said. "I've been here for 26 years. This is a great club with great members, and we're going to get through this. It's going to take some time, but we'll all come together and get through this. Hopefully, by this time next year we'll have a grand opening and a Christmas party."
  • New York stopped short of a full ban on a common golf course insecticide used to control caterpillars, but appears to moving in that direction.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 10 vetoed a bill from the state legislature calling for a ban on chlorpyrifos, a common tool in the fight to control armyworms. The governor went on to order the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to take steps toward developing its own ban, making New York the latest in a list of states to move toward banning the chemical after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided earlier this year against canceling its registration.
    The New York measure allows for a review process of the chemistry yet eliminates all aerial applications of the chemical in agricultural use and will ban all use of chlorpyrifos except as a spray on some fruit trees by mid-2021, effectively ending its availability to golf course superintendents in that state. All use of the chemistry, even in agriculture, will be banned some time after that depending on a plan yet to be developed by the DEC.
    The governor wrote in the veto: "While I do not agree that a pesticide should be banned by legislative decree, I agree that New York must lead the way by taking action to assure the public that all regulatory options are taken to limit exposure to chlorpyrifos. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently declined to revoke all food tolerance levels for chlorpyrifos on the basis that they did not have enough data to support revocation. However, EPA’s actions do not prevent New York from moving forward with its own review of this ingredient."
    "Therefore, I am directing the DEC to take immediate action based on the data available on chlorpyrifos exposure ban aerial spraying, and take further regulatory action to ban its use for all purposes except apple tree trunk spraying by July 2021 and banning all uses as soon as possible. DEC must recommend a course of action and initiate action so that such measures are in place on a timeframe faster than that contained in this bill."
    Opponents of chlorpyrifos say long-term exposure to the chemistry, which was patented by Dow in 1966, can cause neurological damage and claim that children are especially at risk. University research says it does not bind to the soil and is not commonly taken up by plants, but is a concern in runoff.
    A request to ban the chemical was submitted by at least a dozen public advocacy groups as well as the states of New York, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland and Vermont in 2007. The EPA initially decided against a ban two years ago, and reiterated those same sentiments in July. At least six of those states mentioned here now are involved in a lawsuit against the EPA challenging its decision to allow the continued use of chlorpyrifos.
    It was banned nationwide for use in the residential market a decade ago, but still is registered for professional use in 49 states. It is not registered for use in Alaska. Some states have initiated limited-use rules and lawmakers in Hawaii have enacted a statewide ban that will go into effect in 2022. 
  • Thanks to a combination of seashore paspalum that thrives in challenging conditions and filtering aquatic plants, water that is high in impurities has met its match at Vero Beach Country Club in Florida. At nearly 100 years old, Vero Beach Country Club is a classic-era golf course by definition, but the way in which it handles water is anything but old fashioned.
    Dealing with dirty water is a fact of life at many golf courses around Florida, including Vero Beach Country Club, which is a par-5 or so west of the Indian River, the brackish lagoon that is part of the Intracoastal Waterway system. A canal that drains much of Vero Beach cuts through the golf course as it connects agricultural land and residential neighborhoods to the river.
    At an elevation of just a few feet above sea level, this 1924 Herbert Strong design is prone to flooding throughout much of the year as tides back up through the canal. 
    "The main relief canal in the city runs along the golf course and into the river. Most of the area is at 2 feet elevation, which makes it a flood plain," said superintendent Shane Wright, CGCS. "We have many areas on the golf course below 2 feet. It's worst when the winds blow in and during the King Tides."
    Wright has tested water with at least 24,000 parts per million of dissolved salts. Sea water contains 35,000 ppm of dissolved salts, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
    The course has been growing seashore paspalum for more than two decades, which is longer than most, says Wright, who inherited the dirty water-friendly turf when he arrived at Vero Beach 15 years ago from BallenIsles Country Club, a 54-hole property in Palm Beach Gardens that from 1963-74 was the original PGA National Golf Club.
    "I thought working with paspalum would be enticing. They were one of the first courses around here to get it," said Wright, who celebrated his 15th year at Vero Beach on Dec. 4. "Growing Bermuda was always difficult here, so about 20 years ago, they started experimenting with paspalum from the University of Georgia."
    The course also pulls irrigation water directly from the canal that has direct ocean access through the river. The quality of the water varies depending on the season or even the time of day. The paspalum at Vero Beach is mostly SeaIsle 1 and SeaIsle 2000, and the recently rebuilt ninth hole was regrassed with Platinum TE. All of it handles all the impurities just like the water is straight from a bottle.
    "It's free, but it's high in bicarbonates," Wright said. "It can be clean or ocean level saltwater. The paspalum really handles the water. It's deep-rooted and it can handle a variety of pH's."
    Although the paspalum thrives on dirty water, Wright periodically tests the water in a half-dozen storage ponds on the property for impurities. His management program includes only occasional applications of gypsum and a regular regimen of venting and flushing the greens as needed.
    "That way, I can justify why I've added something to our nutrient or spray program," he said. "I've never been asked, but if I have the paperwork I can back up those decisions if anyone ever comes in."
    Introducing aquatics and aerators have helped clear up other issues with the surface water at Vero Beach. 
    "When I first got here, the lakes weren't planted. They were out of control with algae because of our poor water," Wright said. "The water was high in dissolved oxygen and the fish weren't doing well. 
    "I convinced the board to let me plant these out with native plants, which acts as a natural filtration system. That's really cleaned up our water."
    The rustic look the aquatics provides has been popular with members of the club that was founded on Old Florida citrus money when Calivin Coolidge occupied the White House.
    "The club is serious about protecting the environment," Wright said. "Aesthetically, the members love the look, but the function is less about aesthetics and more about maintenance."
  • Lindsey Hoffman, Ph.D., teaches a class during a recent UMass Winter School program. Long on a desire to learn, but short on time? No worries. Educational opportunities abound for aspiring turfgrass managers or those who just want to bone up on their skills in a non-traditional learning setting.
    Short courses at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Kentucky offer ongoing learning opportunities designed to meet the schedules of today’s working professionals. 
    The six-week UMass Winter School for Turf Managers is a compressed certificate program that covers all the concepts essential to maintaining high quality turf, with emphasis on environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility. This comprehensive, dynamic short course is ideal for experienced professionals associated with the management of golf courses, athletic fields, parks, municipal and private grounds, fine lawns and landscapes.
    Scheduled for Jan. 6-Feb. 14 at the UMass campus in Amherst, in an updated, time-efficient, six-week format, the UMass winter school is certificate program designed to help experienced turf professionals brush up on their skills or provide aspiring managers who can’t squeeze a traditional academic schedule into their calendar with the skills necessary to succeed.
    Classes meet 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon on Fridays to accommodate weekend commuters. Some area hotels offer special packages for UMass Winter School students.
    UMass Amherst faculty and guests instructors lead a combination of classroom, laboratory, group project and discussion activities. Close-knit classes offer an opportunity to learn from the experiences of fellow students and to form relationships that will last a lifetime.
     
    A certificate of completion will be awarded to those who satisfactorily complete the program requirements. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission. 
    The Kentucky Certified Professional Turf Managers Level 2 Workshop is a three-day event scheduled for Jan. 8-10 offers advanced  instruction, labs and field work designed to supplement the Level 1 course. Completion of the Level 1 curriculum is not a prerequisite to registering for this program.
    A $225 registration fee includes tuition, all course work, a notebook filled with information from the instructors, lunch and a certificate of completion.
    The three-day event is limited to 30 people and will be conducted at the university’s E.S. Good Barn.
  • During a regional sports turf managers seminar hosted by the late Darien Daily in 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, University of Tennessee turf pathologist Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., infamously quipped that he was pretty good at growing grass, but really excelled at killing it. 
    Such is the life of a turf pathologist - finding what kills turf and identifying steps and products to ultimately stop that from happening on test plots so turf managers can prevent the same from occurring in real world situations.
    For his work at helping superintendents, sports turf managers and lawn care operators find solutions to disease challenges in turf, Horvath recently was named the recipient of the Dr. Tom Samples Turf Professional of the Year award.
    For the past decade, Horvath has been a turf pathologist at the University of Tennessee. He will receive the award January 7 at the Tennessee Turfgrass Association Conference and Show in Murfreesboro.
    His research efforts focus mainly on management and control of turfgrass diseases and the response of turfgrasses under biotic and abiotic stress.
    The award is named in honor of Tom Samples, Ph.D., professor and turfgrass extension specialist at the University of Tennessee since 1985, the same year he earned a doctorate degree from Oklahoma State University. It is presented annually to someone who has made significant contributions to the turfgrass industry.
    Previous recipients are: 2018, Bill Blackburn; 2017, Roger Frazier; 2016, Doug Ward; 2015, Paul Carter, CGCS; 2014, Greg Breeden; 2013, Joe Hill; 201; 2, Bobby Winstead; 2011, Dan Stump; 2010, James Brosnan, Ph.D.; 2009, Al Davis; 2008, Shelia Finney; 2007, Rodney Lingle; 2006, Alan Windham, Ph.D; 2005, Lynn and Cindy Ray; 2004, John Sorochan, Ph.D.; 2003, Jeff Rumph; 2000, David Green; 1999, Bob Campbell; 1998, Larry Shore; 1997, Andy Brennan; 1996Joe Kennedy; 1995, Jim Thomas; 1994, Dick Horton; 1993, Tom Samples, Ph.D.; 199; 2, David Stone; 1991, Lloyd Callahan, Ph.D.
  • Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis won the 2018 Superintendent of the Year Award. If you are thankful for a great golf course superintendent this holiday season, nominate that person for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. 
    Since 2000, the Superintendent of the Year award has recognized dozens of nominees, like 2018 winner Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity. If this sounds like your golf course superintendent, or someone you know, nominate him (or her) for this year's award.
    Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors or colleagues, even by mothers and wives. The nomination deadline is Dec. 13.
    The winner, who is selected by a panel of judges from throughout the golf industry, will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, and will receive a trip for two on next year's TurfNet members golf trip, courtesy of Syngenta.
    Nominees are judged on their ability to excel 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. 

    2013 Superintendent of the Year Chad Mark. To nominate a deserving superintendent for this year's award, visit the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award nomination page. For more information, email John Reitman.
    Previous winners of the award include Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 2018; Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf & Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2017; Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 2016; Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas, 2015; Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Country Club, 2014, Highlands, North Carolina; Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, Ohio, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tennessee, 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, California, 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Illinois, 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, California, 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida, 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Illinois, 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club, LaSalle, Ontario, 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort, Las Vegas, 2000.
  • TurfNet polled a few of our friends recently to see what they are thankful for this holiday season. Replies run the gamut from personal to professional. Here is what they had to say.
    Pat Finlen
    Winchester Country Club, Meadow Vista, CA
    I am thankful for my Family, friends, good health and a new job.

    Anthony Williams
    Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving, TX
    I have so much to be thankful for it was a great year, tough at times but very successful. Here are a few things that I am thankful for.
    Family and friends,
    My incredible team at Four Seasons Dallas.
    Health (lost 66 ponds and counting).
    Our new home in Lewisville, Texas.
    Our club maxed out our golf membership at 750 and we now have a waiting list.
    Our TPC Superintendent, Cortland Winkle earned his CGCS.
    We promoted long time assistant Landon Lindsay to GCS of our Cottonwood Valley member course.
    The Bentgrass greens survived another Texas summer.
    I was elected vice-president of the North Texas GCSA.
    WE are doing another TurfNet Jumpstart webinar in 2020.
    We put a few more Karate trophies on the shelf.
    Finished a 1.5 million dollar (flood-related) renovation on both courses.
    I was truly blessed this year and could go on and on, example we just got $817,350 worth of new equipment from our new owners, it arrives in December.
    Randy Wilson
    Rockbottum Country Club, Clayton, GA
    I am thankful for my family, both blood and TurfNet, I am deeply thankful for being born an American and raised first military, then golf . . . and I am grateful to still be alive, no matter how many stupid things I've done.
    Jim Husting
    Woodbridge Golf and Country Club (retired), Woodbridge, CA
    Thankful for my family and my health.
    Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D.
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
    I am thankful for a job that pays my bills, allows me to work outside, and to interact with some pretty great people. Also, I am truly blessed to have an amazing and healthy family.
    Tony Nysse
    Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my wife. Time after time, we thank our staff, memberships and/or assistants (rightfully so) but if it wasn't for my wife, understanding that I love what I do and being understanding of some of the craziness our jobs entail & taking care of my beautiful daughter, the enjoyment of this job would not be what it is.
    Thom Nikolai, Ph.D.
    Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
    I am blessed and thankful for my family & friends as well as a career that has allowed me to interact with so many thoughtful & pleasant individuals. 
    Dick Gray
    PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL
    On a personal level, I'm thankful for those people who have passed who believed in me; I'm thankful for those living who  believe in me, and on a general level, I'm thankful for mitochondria,the Kreb's cycle, chloroplasts and photosynthesis.. Amen.
    Bryan Unruh, Ph.D.
    University of Florida, Jay, FL
    Thankful for colleagues who have a passion for what they do! It makes the team so much better. 
    Thankful for technology which allows increased opportunity to share the results from our work. 
    Jim Brosnan, Ph.D.
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
    I’m very thankful for having support to pursue my work in the turf industry - both from my family at home and my team of staff and students at UT. 
    Rick Tegtmeier
    Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA
    I am very thankful for the long term, committed employees that work their jobs tiredlessly and are always here. Obviously being able to have a holiday and all of our family is close to share it with Sherry and me. I really appreciate my friends and colleagues in the turf business who you can turn if you need help or a kind word.
    Beth Guertal, Ph.D.
    Auburn University, Auburn, AL
    The health and love of my family.
    Beautiful sunny days standing on a sward of Turfgrass.
    Canned cranberry sauce.
     
  • Twenty-nine years ago, the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas was $1.12, Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise" opened 1990 as the No. 1 song on Billboard's Top 100, "Dances With Wolves" won an Academy Award for Best Picture and Nick Faldo won the second of his three Masters championships.
    The year was 1990, and it was the same year that newly minted University of Kentucky professor Paul Vincelli, Ph.D., first published what has become one of the turf industry's most important works.
    Entitled "Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases" and known throughout the industry as Vincelli's "Fungicide Guide" or simply "PPA-1", the guide has grown into the industry's authoritative voice on fungicide efficacy.
    Recently, the 2020 version of PPA-1 was released, but it no longer is a solo effort by Vincelli.
    Bruce Clarke, Ph.D., of Rutgers University got involved three years ago when he added information on combination products. Paul Koch, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, also is a co-author this year, contributing data on gray snow mold and making the tool available as a mobile app.
    "It's taken on a life of its own, and I'm glad for that," Vincelli said. "I contributed minimally to this version. Bruce and Paul did the heavy lifting."
    Vincelli has welcomed the extra help as his interests expand into other areas, including sustainable agriculture. Recently, he was named a Fellow with the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program, which is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    "Bruce and Paul have taken it and run with it," Vincelli said. 
    "Bruce has made a lot of great updates to it the past couple of years."
    Vincelli has known Clark since the former was working toward a master's degree and the latter on his doctorate at Rutgers. Vincelli went on to earn a Ph.D., from Cornell before landing at the University of Wyoming for a two-year stint from 1988-90.
    "I have known Dr. Vincelli since graduate school and felt for a long time that his PPA-1 publication was one of the best turf fungicide recommendation booklets in the country," Clarke said. "When Paul indicated in 2016 that he was getting more involved in other areas of science and had less time to commit to turf, I offered to co-author the publication."
    The 34-page document organizes fungicides by disease and active ingredient, and offers information on FRAC Code, efficacy and spray intervals, risk of resistance and commercial product names.
    There are several other fungicide guides available today, including Koch's own guide at Wisconsin. Connecting that tool with Vincelli's PPA-1 was key to him getting involved.
    "The online web page that I have actually uses the exact same ratings as this publication," Koch said. "And I became involved with Bruce and Paul after asking if I could those ratings in my web page."
    Vincelli was happy to get the help that has allowed one of the industry's leading resources to remain viable.
    "I'm really glad my colleagues have grabbed this project and ran with it," Vincelli said. 
    "I'm excited to see where it goes."
  • A bench unveiled outside the maintenance shop near the 14th tee at Lassing Pointe Golf Course highlights a quote from late superintendent Jerry Coldiron: “Every day is an opportunity to enjoy life, reflect, think, love and to pay it forward.” When it comes to putting the needs of others ahead of your own, some just speak it, while others embrace it, and it becomes part of who they are.
    If the turnout at a memorial service two years after his unexpected death is any indication, Jerry Coldiron made a real and lasting impact on the lives of many. On a raw Nov. 16 morning, about 200 people showed up for a memorial service at Lassing Pointe Golf Course, a county-owned facility in Union, Kentucky where Coldiron worked for 15 years.
    "My dad would have loved this dedication; not because of what it honors, but because everyone is together," Coldiron's son Josh told the crowd.
    "We couldn't have had a more fitting memorial. My guess is most of you have stories of a time when my dad opened his heart to you, talked you through a difficult time, lent you a helping hand, made you laugh. . . . As a family, we want to challenge everybody here in honor of my dad to do something nice for somebody today."
    Jack Jump remembers just how much Coldiron meant to him. Way back in 1993, Jump had just given his two-week notice at an auto-repair shop where he worked as a mechanic to become the first equipment technician at Lassing Pointe when he suffered a back injury that required surgery followed by three months of recovery. 
    At the time, Jump remembers thinking he had talked his way out of not one job, but two. Jump, who retired from the Boone County Parks and Recreation Department three years ago, was wrong.
    "I gave the guy I was working for my notice. I was always an engine guy, and I blew out a disc putting a motor back in a van," Jump said. "Jerry held my job for me for three months until I had surgery and could come back. You don't meet many guys who just hire you and hold your job because you have to take three months off, but he did that for me. He was a good man."

    From left, Jared, Josh and Jake Coldiron and their mother, Susan, receive a commemorative Boone County, Kentucky flag and proclamation honoring Jerry Coldiron. A superintendent in his native Kentucky for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2007, Coldiron died Nov. 22, 2017, at age 60.
    Born in nearby Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Coldiron spent his whole life in Boone County where he and Susan, his wife of 36 years, raised three sons, Josh, Jake and Jared. 
    He graduated in 1979 from Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture and turfgrass management. He spent his entire greenkeeping career with Boone County Parks and Recreation, where he was a superintendent at Boone Links and Lassing Pointe.
    After retirement, the couple relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, where he started a second career in sales for Hector Turf, a Toro distributor in Deerfield Beach.  
    The Nov. 16 celebration including unveiling a bench inscribed with an original Jerry Coldiron quote: "Every day is an opportunity to enjoy life, reflect, think, love and to pay it forward."
    The crowd included family members, friends, former colleagues, other superintendents and even a local celebrity. 
    Jim Scott was a radio personality in nearby Cincinnati from 1968 until his retirement in 2015, first at WSAI, and later WLW, a 50,000-watt powerhouse that can be heard in 38 states - before the advent of iHeartRadio. Scott often played Boone Links and he and Coldiron became fast friends. They shared a common interest - a love for Jimmy Buffet - and often attended concerts together. Their friendship lasted long past retirement.
    "He heard me on the radio, and we became fast friends," Scott said. "We went to Jimmy Buffet concerts together. I've known the whole family for years, and when he went to Florida we stayed in touch. I loved him."
    Coldiron's widow, Susan, was touched by the turnout, but not shocked that so many wanted to pay respects to her husband two years after his death.
    "Jerry was special," she said. "He somehow managed to stay in touch with everyone here through his social media. I don't know how he did it."

    Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore officially proclaims Nov. 16 as "Jerry Coldiron Day" in Boone County, Kentucky. Among his colleagues who showed up was Mark Wilson, the former superintendent at Valhalla, in Louisville, site of the PGA Championship in 1996, 2000 and 2014 and the 2008 Ryder Cup Matches.
    Wilson credits Coldiron for helping form his management style.
    "Jerry was ahead of the curve on people management and motivation," Wilson said. "He was the first one who sold me on the idea of going to Dale Carnegie training, and he was always telling me about books to read on management.
    "Jerry just had a way of communicating and staying in touch with people. Even when he retired, I always got a call from him, usually on a Saturday morning while he was sitting on the beach."
    A longtime TurfNet member, Coldiron embodied the true TurfNet spirit of sharing, caring, compassion and camaraderie. After Coldiron's death, TurfNet established the Coldiron Positivity Awards that recognize individuals within the golf turf industry who live lives of positivity, caring, sharing and compassion for others... or who are experiencing personal hardship due to illness, natural events or job loss... or who do something special for the natural world.
    Inaugural recipients named at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio were: Mike Morales of the Buccaneer Golf Club in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; John and Peggy Colo, Jupiter Hills Golf Club, Tequesta, Florida; Adam and Erin Engle, Lake Shore Yacht and Golf Club, Cicero, New York; and John and Nick Paquette, Indian Hills Country Club, Northport, New York.
    The 2019 awards were presented recently to Tenia Workman, executive director of the Georgia GCSA, and posthumously to Tom Morris, CGCS, 20-year member of the TurfNet hockey team who passed away at age 61 shortly in February 2018.
  • Rocky Dreibrodt, left, and Alan Corbin, right, of Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply present Brad Owen, CGCS at Augusta National Golf Club (center) with the Georgia GCSA Superintendent of the Year Award. Tiger Woods was not the only victor in April when he won his fifth Masters championship at Augusta National Golf Club.
    Brad Owen, superintendent at Augusta, recently was named recipient of the Georgia GCSA Superintendent of the Year Award.
    "Starting with the Augusta National Women's Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, culminating in Tiger Woods' historic fifth Masters title," Marsh Benson, former senior director of golf course and grounds at Augusta, said in a news release. "This year's Masters preparations and conditioning were the best I have ever seen." Not surprisingly then, the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association recently named Owen their Superintendent of the Year.
     
    Owen, who has been at August for 39 years, received his award in early November during the Georgia GCSA annual awards banquet at Jekyll Island Resort. The award is presented in partnership with Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply.
     
    Owen started in golf course maintenance in the mountains of western North Carolina and moved to Augusta National 39 years ago, working under Paul Latshaw, CGCS and then Billy Fuller. When Benson arrived in 1989, he said he "inherited" Owen "pretrained" as a third assistant.
     
    "I had the pleasure of working and sharing experiences with Brad through those many years," Benson said. "Maybe one of my biggest challenges was just making sure I didn't screw him up! Brad's agronomic knowledge and experience, as well as his professionalism and leadership, have always been of the highest standards."
     
    Other awards presented during the meeting included the Distinguished Service Award, which was presented to Greg Burleson, CGCS, Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, North Carolina; and the Assistant Superintendent of the Year, given to Clint Connard from Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta.
  • Covers can help protect turf from the threats of winter. Photo by Kevin Frank The question of whether to cover putting greens is a conversation usually reserved for January or February. Once in a while, it might be the subject of water cooler conversation in December. But November? Never.
    OK, so with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie not on the dinner menu for another couple of weeks, chances are that you are probably a long way from needing greens covers. However, a recent bout of colder-than-average weather throughout much of the country is a reminder that it is time to begin thinking about them. If you have them, is it worth the hassle to drag them out, and remove them and drag them out again who knows how many times? If you don't have them, are they worth the expense?
    How cold has it been in parts of the country in mid-November? Churchill Downs in Louisville, site of the Kentucky Derby each May, historically is open for live racing throughout November. Temperatures for that time of year usually are about 60 during the day and 40 overnight, according to the National Weather Service. The track closed Nov. 13 when the high temperature was just 37 and the morning low dropped to a record 16 degrees. It was only the 22nd time in the track's 150-year history that activities were canceled due to cold.
    Covers can protect greens from ice, extreme cold and wind damage. However, they also are expensive and require a lot of room to store, and deploying and removing them is a labor-intensive process.
    Warm-season and cool-season greens have different tolerance levels to such conditions. Even cool-season grasses have different needs throughout winter. Some varieties of creeping bentgrass can survive three or four months under ice cover, while annual bluegrass typically needs relief from ice cover after about 30 days.
    Warm-season grasses susceptibility to freezing temperatures can be measured in days, even when covered.
    During the winter of 2017-18, dozens of the 100 or so golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area were affected by extreme cold. Many suffered varying levels of damage, from a few spots to complete loss of turf over entire putting greens, forcing several to close in the summer of 2018 to make repairs.
    According to the USGA, permeable covers prevent wind damage and promote early spring green up while providing minimal protection from ice cover. Impermeable covers provide the same protection, but come with some drawbacks, as well.
    Kevin Frank, Ph.D., of Michigan State is one of the country's foremost experts on preparing golf courses for winter. He says permeable covers not only allow in some moisture and air and can help promote spring green up, they also can help accelerate recovery from winter damage during cold spring conditions and can offer protection from desiccation on greens where snow is removed.
    Permeable covers, Frank says, do not offer protection from ice cover.
    Impermeable covers, on the other hand, offer protection from ice cover and crown hydration injury. Their success is increasingly tied to use of a second insulator that helps create pockets of air between the turf and the cover, such as foam, an insulating blanket or even bubble wrap.
    Frank recently presented a TurfNet webinar on preventing winter damage on annual bluegrass putting greens. Part of that presentation was devoted to use of covers.
    In the transition zone, where many golf courses have made the switch from bentgrass to Bermuda, the relationship between greens and covers is completely different.
    Research conducted from 2015 from 2017 at the University of Arkansas established thresholds for exposure of ultradwarf Bermudagrasses to cold temperatures, allowing superintendents to minimize the threat of winter damage and improving spring green up.
    Conducted by current University of Arkansas doctoral student Eric DeBoer when he was working toward a master's degree in Fayetteville, tested Champion, TifEagle and MiniVerde using covers at 25 degrees, 22 degrees, 18 degrees and 15 degrees Fahrenheit. TifEagle and MiniVerde proved to be more cold tolerant than Champion. The research showed that Bermudagrass greens covered when temperatures reached 15 degrees survived throughout the winter with improved spring green up. Covered greens even survived two days of extreme cold temperatures where overnight lows dropped to 0 degrees on consecutive nights.
    That information could have been helpful along the South Carolina coast two years ago when Bruce Martin, Ph.D., then the turf pathologist with Clemson University, called the damage he witnessed in Myrtle Beach the worst he's seen in that area at any time in his career.
    Just like on cold season turf, damage to Bermuda likewise can be lessened by using two layers of protection, such as a cover placed atop a blanket of pine straw or a layer of pool noodles that can help promote airflow.
  • Jerry Coldiron, left, with Rick Tegtmeier of Des Moines Golf and Country Club at the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando. It has been almost two years since the TurfNet community and the turfgrass world were shocked to learn of the death of Jerry Coldiron Jr., CGCS.
    A superintendent in his native Kentucky for nearly 30 years before retiring to Florida in 2007 and starting a second career in sales for Hector Turf of Deerfield Beach, Coldiron died Nov. 22, 2017, at age 60.
    Coldiron will be remembered during a memorial celebration at Lassing Pointe Golf Course in Union, Kentucky, where he once was superintendent.  
    A native of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Coldiron graduated in 1979 from Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture and turfgrass management. He spent his entire greenkeeping career with Boone County Parks & Recreation, where he was a superintendent at Boone Links and Lassing Pointe golf courses.

    After retirement, Coldiron and his wife, Susan, relocated to Boca Raton when he embarked on the second phase of his career. The couple were married for 36 years and together had three sons, Josh, Jake and Jared.
    He was a past president of the Greater Cincinnati GCSA and the Kentucky Turf Council. In 1988, his alma mater named him the EKU Horticulture Alumnus of the Year.
    A longtime TurfNet member, Coldiron embodied the true TurfNet spirit of sharing, caring, compassion and camaraderie. After Coldiron's death, TurfNet established the Coldiron Positivity Awards that recognize individuals within the golf turf industry who live lives of positivity, caring, sharing and compassion for others... or who are experiencing personal hardship due to illness, natural events or job loss... or who do something special for the natural world.
    Inaugural recipients named at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio were: Mike Morales of the Buccaneer Golf Club in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; John and Peggy Colo, Jupiter Hills Golf Club, Tequesta, Florida; Adam and Erin Engle, Lake Shore Yacht and Golf Club, Cicero, New York; and John and Nick Paquette, Indian Hills Country Club, Northport, New York.
    The 2019 awards were presented recently to Tenia Workman, executive director of the Georgia GCSA, and posthumously to Tom Morris, CGCS, 20-year member of the TurfNet hockey team who passed away at age 61 shortly after Jerry, in February 2017.
  • Members of the We Are Golf group prepare to help manage the grounds at some of the most popular monuments inWashington, D.C., last April. Photo by @KSErusha The amalgamation of groups and individuals from throughout golf industry who have been making forays into Washington, D.C., during the past several years is making an impact.
    The National Park Service will present its group award for "Outstanding Volunteer Service" to the We Are Golf coalition for their work in National Golf Day's Community Service Project on April 30.
    In April, the coalition participated in the third-annual community service project, which was coordinated by Michael Stachowicz, turfgrass specialist for the National Park Service and a former golf course superintendent, and was part of the 12th annual National Golf Day. More than 200 participants helped lay sod, rake, edge, over seed, aerate, mow, mulch, plant flowers and prune shrubs across 18 projects along the National Mall, including at the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the U.S. Capitol.
    Under the banner of We Are Golf, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, this year's National Golf Day also resulted in 244 meetings with members of Congress from 41 states to discuss the game’s $84 billion economy that employs 2 million people and annually contributes almost $4 billion charitable organizations nationwide.
     
    We Are Golf includes representatives from the World Golf Foundation, U.S. Golf Association, Club Managers Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America, The First Tee, PGA Tour, Ladies Professional Golf Association, National Alliance for Accessible Golf, Sports and Fitness Industry Association, GCSAA and more.
    The 2020 Community Service Project on the National Mall is scheduled for May 5.
  • Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, right, presents Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club with the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. When he came upon a fork in the road that would change the course of his life regardless of which path he chose, Carlos Arraya turned tragedy into triumph.
    That tragedy, the death of his son, Isaih, in a car accident in 2016, was the impetus for some honest introspection and sobering changes to the way he manages his life and his team as the 2018 PGA Championship loomed at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
    As a result, Arraya, was named last year's TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, presented by Syngenta.
    "Losing my son gave me a new perspective," Arraya told TurfNet upon receiving the award at this year’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego. "Tragedies really awaken people, or they make them go down a road they can't come back from."
    Today's golf course superintendent must wear many hats to provide the best possible playing conditions for the club's golf clientele with the resources at hand.  
    To do that, he (or she) must be a self-disciplined, multi-tasking agronomist in charge of managing the clubs most valuable asset; a multi-lingual personnel manager; babysitter; therapist; accountant; electrician; politician; hydraulics expert; ditch digger; plumber; arborist; environmentalist; integrated pest management specialist; turfgrass pathologist; entomologist; irrigation expert; and mechanic. One only need look to the abundant seminars and educational programs for superintendents that focus on topics besides agronomy for proof of the evolving role of the golf course superintendent.
    Since 2000, the Superintendent of the Year award has recognized dozens of nominees for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity. If this sounds like your golf course superintendent, or someone you know, nominate him (or her) for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award.

    Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors or colleagues, even by mothers and wives. The nomination deadline is Dec. 13.
    The winner, who is selected by a panel of judges from throughout the golf industry, will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, and will receive a trip for two on next year's TurfNet members golf trip, courtesy of Syngenta.
    Nominees are judged on their ability to excel 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. 
    To nominate a deserving superintendent for this year's award, visit the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award nomination page. For more information, email John Reitman.
    Previous winners of the award include Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 2018; Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf & Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2017; Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 2016; Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas, 2015; Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Country Club, 2014, Highlands, North Carolina; Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, Ohio, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tennessee, 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, California, 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Illinois, 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, California, 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida, 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Illinois, 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club, LaSalle, Ontario, 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort, Las Vegas, 2000.
  • Fueled by hot, dry winds and little rain the past several months, the Getty Fire burns recently near Mountaingate Country Club in Los Angeles. Photo by KTLA Two years removed from one of the worst droughts in history in California, a month without rain and wildfires demanding time on TV news throughout parts of the state, some might believe another prolonged dry spell is in the offing. 
    That would be a mistake, say two of California's foremost authorities on water and golf and how the two mesh.
    "What the weather is like in November doesn't preface anything," said Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, and one of the state's leading water experts. "Some of the wettest years here, El Nino years, have been preceded by dry Novembers and Decembers.
    "You want to start paying attention in January, February and March. That is the rainy season here. Those 13 weeks are the gold standard."
    According to the National Weather Service, about 14 inches of rain has fallen in the Los Angeles area. That's about 3 inches more than the historic average. 
    The area has received less than an inch since June. That includes no rain throughout Los Angeles County, where the average rainfall for the month ranges from one-half inch to an inch throughout the county that covers 4,700 square miles.
    "Is this a sign of the next drought? Nothing is predictable here in November," said Mike Huck, an irrigation consultant and an expert on California golf's water issues. "In fact, this is the most cool and mild summer I can recall, and I've lived here since the late ‘80s. 
    "The superintendents I've talked to have said this is the best summer they've ever had."
    About one-fifth of the state, all a corridor hugging California's southwestern border with Nevada and Arizona, have been officially labeled as abnormally dry or in moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
    The dry conditions throughout southern California and on the state's eastern edge are not cause for alarm, Kessler said. 
    "Why aren't we concerned that there was zero rain in October? It's often zero," Kessler said. "Those other areas are high in the mountains where it is normally snowing now. Early snows often melt, and that precipitation is lost. What we need are the late snows in January and February when it's too cold for it to melt."
    That snow in the higher elevations throughout the winter provides much of the water needed for California's 39 million residents through a storage and delivery system of reservoirs and aqueducts known as the State Water Project.
    According to the California Department of Water Resources, 10 of the state's 12 major reservoirs are at 51 percent to 84 percent of capacity. The other two are at 41 percent and 45 percent of capacity.
    "Those early snows are often followed by warm air, then it melts and we lose the ability to capture it," said Huck, a former golf course superintendent and USGA Green Section agronomist and the recipient of this year's USGA Green Section Award. "Snow during the winter is our slow-release water source."
    So then what's with all those wildfires?
    Blame it partly on nearly 14 inches of rain falling throughout the area during last winter's rainy season that brought a flush of new growth, followed by six months of virtually no rain and regularly occurring hot and dry Santa Ana winds that fan the flames, says Kessler. 
    "Last year was very wet, so there was a lot of growth, a lot of brush. Then there was a long dry season, and no rain in October, which is the normal course of business this time of year," Kessler said. 
    "A lot of that growth dried up. When you have low humidity and high winds, it's like a tinderbox."
  • Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, right, presents Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club with the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. When he came upon a fork in the road that would change the course of his life regardless of which path he chose, Carlos Arraya turned tragedy into triumph.
    That tragedy, the death of his son, Isaih, in a car accident in 2016, was the impetus for some honest introspection and sobering changes to the way he manages his life and his team as the 2018 PGA Championship loomed at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
    As a result, Arraya, was named last year's TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, presented by Syngenta.
    "Losing my son gave me a new perspective," Arraya told TurfNet upon receiving the award at this year’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego. "Tragedies really awaken people, or they make them go down a road they can't come back from."
    Today's golf course superintendent must wear many hats to provide the best possible playing conditions for the club's golf clientele with the resources at hand.  
    To do that, he (or she) must be a self-disciplined, multi-tasking agronomist in charge of managing the clubs most valuable asset; a multi-lingual personnel manager; babysitter; therapist; accountant; electrician; politician; hydraulics expert; ditch digger; plumber; arborist; environmentalist; integrated pest management specialist; turfgrass pathologist; entomologist; irrigation expert; and mechanic. One only need look to the abundant seminars and educational programs for superintendents that focus on topics besides agronomy for proof of the evolving role of the golf course superintendent.
    Since 2000, the Superintendent of the Year award has recognized dozens of nominees for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity. If this sounds like your golf course superintendent, or someone you know, nominate him (or her) for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award.

    Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors or colleagues, even by mothers and wives. The nomination deadline is Nov. 30.
    The winner, who is selected by a panel of judges from throughout the golf industry, will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, and will receive a trip for two on the 2019 TurfNet members golf trip, courtesy of Syngenta.
    Nominees are judged on their ability to excel 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. 
    To nominate a deserving superintendent for this year's award, visit the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award nomination page. For more information, email John Reitman.
    Previous winners of the award include Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 2018; Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf & Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2017; Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 2016; Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas, 2015; Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Country Club, 2014, Highlands, North Carolina; Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, Ohio, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tennessee, 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, California, 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Illinois, 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, California, 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida, 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Illinois, 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club, LaSalle, Ontario, 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort, Las Vegas, 2000.
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