Jump to content

From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    A recent study indicates exposure to some common pesticide products used on golf courses has minimal effect on those who come into comment with them. Much has been published and publicized about the dangers of chemicals used on golf courses. A newly published study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts has come down on the side of safe and responsible pesticide use and the minimal effect that newer, low-use-rate products have on those who come into contact with them.
    New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill in December that will eliminate the sale and use of neonicotinoids there by 2027. Several other states, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, have implemented partial or complete bans on neonics. Miami Beach as well as several cities in California, including Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Thousand Oaks are just a few of several nationwide that prohibit the use of glyphosate on city-owned property.
    What has been missing from virtually all of these decisions has been any supporting scientific research backing up claims of the dangers of these chemistries. Instead, all that seems to be needed to have many common chemical products banned from golf courses, parks, school yards or any other public landscape is a well-organized public relations campaign and baseless lawsuits.
    A recent University of Massachusetts study showed that four commonly used chemistries in turf did not present a risk to those who were exposed to them for a prolonged period shortly after application.
    In the study, eight volunteers played golf on a simulated course just one hour after four chemistries — cyfluthrin, chlorothalonil, MCPP-p and 2,4D — had been applied to the turf at the highest label rate. The players were outfitted, half in long pants and gloves and half in shorts, in specially designed cotton clothing and air samplers designed to pick up samples from the turf and particulates in the air. 

    Special clothing was used to help pick up evidence of any of the products tested. John M. Clark photo Although the study was conducted to examine golfer safety to prolonged exposure to pesticides, the extended proximity to turf applied only an hour earlier is certainly applicable for those in the maintenance side of golf.
    The study was conducted by the UMass team of Jeffery Doherty, Raymond Putnam, Barbara DeFlorio and John Clark. Results were published in the March 14 edition of Agricultural Science Technology, an American Chemical Society publication.
    After the volunteers finished playing golf, Clark et al measured pesticide residues on the dosimetry suits and air samplers and found that the hand and lower legs picked up the most residue while airborne residues contributed little to exposure. The test subjects also submitted urine samples, and the team found that the golfers' exposure indicated little risk to the four pesticides used in this study.
    The results were consistent with a similar study by Clark and others in 2008 that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
    The risk associated with cyfluthrin was much less in 2024 than other pesticides tested in the 2008 study, leading researchers to conclude that newer low-use products are safer than those they replaced.
  • A coastal South Carolina gem is getting a facelift.
    The Dye Designs Group has been hired to restore the Ocean Point course, a 1964 George Cobb design at Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort. Work on the project is scheduled to begin in June.
    The focus of the project is to modernize the classic Ocean Point layout and maximize the golfer experience while also retaining many of the features of Cobb's original design.
    To that end, the Dye Group drew upon many of Cobb's original design plans from multiple courses to draft the project. The project is the latest in several updates to the property since it was acquired last year by Seascape Hospitality Group.

    The Ocean Point course at Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort was originally designed by George Cobb, the architect behind the par-3 course at Augusta National Golf Club. Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort photo The Fripp Island project includes converting 200,000 square feet of coastal grasses to sand waste areas, a common theme not only in many of Cobb's original designs, but often used by the Dye Group, as well.
    Other aspects of the project include rebuilding and reshaping bunkers throughout the layout, regrading and leveling teeing areas and replacing concrete cart paths with crushed limestone for a rustic appearance and coastal appearance. The project also includes capital investment in new equipment.
    "These renovations will significantly enhance the overall golf experience for our members and guests to enjoy," said John Scappatura, the resort's chief operating officer. 
    The renovation plans were drafted by Cynthia Dye, Pete Dye's niece who has 45 years of experience in golf course design. Also involved in the project is Cynthia's son, Matthew McGarey, who brings more than 20 years of golf course design and construction experience to the drawing table.
  • Trilo's line of tow-behind blowers will be available under the Redexim badge. Redexim, the Dutch company that manufactures equipment for the turf industry is growing its roster of products for use by golf course superintendents.
    Redexim recently reached a distribution agreement with Trilo Smart Industries to become a distributor for the latter's blower products.
    Based in Amersfoot, Trilo is a manufacturer of mowers, vacuum sweepers, leaf blowers and verticutting unit marketed in almost 50 countries worldwide om the turf, sports field, race track, airport management, leaf removal, biomass removal and solid waste removal markets. 
    "This agreement with Redexim gives us full focus and power to keep developing, producing and marketing the best trailed vacuum machines in the world," said Christiaan Arends, CEO of Vanmac Group.
    Redexim will take over all sales, marketing, distribution and support efforts of Trilo blowers, and the latter will no longer offer such products under its badge.
    "The Trilo range of blowers is renowned for its performance and quality, making it a perfect fit for the Redexim portfolio," said Curtis Allen, Sales Manager for Redexim. "With our existing partners catering to customers in golf, sports turf, municipalities and similar sectors, incorporating these products into our range was a logical step forward."
    Also based in the Netherlands, Redexim is a manufacturer and distributor of products for the turf industry, including aerators, verticutters, seeders, topdressers, brushes and more.
  • Architect Tyler Rae has been picked to oversee developing a master plan and restoring 36-hole Detroit Golf Club.  There was a time when the layout at Detroit Golf Club was a model for moving surface water. For years, a system of ditches, gullies and drains that was built into the design by Donald Ross a century ago was a critically important feature of a nearly dead flat golf course with barely 5 feet of total elevation change.
    Over time, thanks to things like cart paths and architectural changes in the modern era, those features became lost or partially obstructed. As a result, superintendent Sam Moynihan and his team lose a great deal of valuable time after almost every rain event.
    "In the 1910s, '20s, '30s and '40s, there were these large drainage ditches that moved surface water to get it off the playing surface and move it off property," Moynihan said. "With the addition of golf carts, they became filled in, and this created dams and embankments, which led to ponding and flooding."
    Reintroducing those land features is an integral part of a $16 million master plan and restoration of North and South courses at Detroit Golf Club by architect Tyler Rae that is scheduled for completion in 2026. Restoration of the North Course will begin after the 2025 Rocket Mortgage Classic, the PGA Tour event that debuted in 2019 at DGC, and will be completed in time for the 2026 tournament.
    Rain events that others might consider ho-hum are a big deal at Detroit and result in Moynihan's team spending a lot of time pumping water from one location to another until finally removing it from the golf course.
    "Our biggest challenge is drainage," Moynihan said. "Anytime it rains an inch to an inch-and-a-half in 24 hours, everything is flooded — fairways, bunkers. We spend a day or two with pumps moving water from one puddle to another puddle to finally moving it off the golf course. After this project is completed we will get those days back to focus on other things.
    "We will be able to get back on the golf course sooner for routine maintenance and improving the experience on the golf course for members and their guests."
    Other aspects of the project will include new subsurface drainage, state-of-the-art irrigation system, taking out a pond near the 14th hole and rebuilding pretty much everything from tee to green.

    Detroit Golf Club superintendent Sam Moynihan has a wealth of previous construction and project experience. "The members wanted to do a master plan because many of the features on the golf course were coming to their end of life," Moynihan said. 
    The irrigation system is from 1999, the greens were built to USGA specifications in 1988, the bunkers were redone in 2014 with no liners and perforated pipe in the floors and the drainage is 1920 clay tile.
    "The big focus is on drainage, surface and subsurface drainage," Moynihan said. "The members realized this was a unique opportunity to address the golf course features that were nearing the end of life and knock out greens, bunkers and tees and set up the club for success over the next 20 years."
    Rae was picked by the club's Special Projects Committee from a long list of prospective applicants after the club solicited RFPs. A student of Ross's work, Rae studied under Ron Prichard and Keith Foster and was brought aboard to design Spy Ring Golf Club, the nine-hole revamped version of the former Ross-designed Heatherwood Golf Club on Long Island.
    His renovation work of Seth Raynor's work at Lookout Mountain Club in Georgia was named the Golf Digest 2023 Renovation of the Year. Other highly regarded projects by Rae include the restoration of Wampanoag Country Club, another Ross design in Connecticut, and the Wakonda Club in Iowa.
    The project will also include removing trees and widening fairways that have narrowed over time. To that end, Rae and the club have an extensive array of vintage aerial photography of the club from its early days from both local sources and the Tufts Archives in Pinehurst from which to draw inspiration for the restoration.
    The property has a lot of old growth oaks that are as old as the club that are both strategic and have become favored by the club. It also has a lot of pines that have to be removed. A final tally of just how many trees must be removed will be clear after 
    Rae's arborist completes an inventory.
    "There are a lot of 100- to 150-year-old oaks that we want to save and highlight," Moynihan said. "There are a lot of nursery stock trees that don't have the same value."
    Early photography of the course yielded yet another discovery, the use of sand-flashed bunker faces that over time have been replaced with turf. Over time, those bunkers were moved to the typical locations — the outer edges of fairway landing areas and the sides of greens. They will be replaced with the historically accurate sand-flashed bunkers in fairways and in front of greens where they will become not only true hazards but visible from tees and fairways.

    As part of the Detroit Golf Club restoration, grass-faced bunkers will give way to more historically accurate sand-flashed hazards. "This way, from the tee golfers will be able to see the hazard and not just a mound," Moynihan said. "And they will be moved back to where they are an integral part of the golf course."
    At some point in DGC's history, a small pond, about a half-acre in size, was installed near No. 14. At only 3-4 feet in depth, it is not used for irrigation and actually impedes recovery efforts during rain events. Rae's plans include draining the pond and connecting the resulting depressed area to the array of drainage ditches.
    Moynihan's previous experience includes a lot of construction and project experience prepping under Paul Latshaw, CGCS and Chad Mark, CGCS at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio five years as assistant at Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Maryland, under superintendent Kyle Steidel, another Latshaw protege from Muirfield.
    "Every fall, we were always doing projects at Muirfield," he said. "Paul's goal every year was to add another mile of drainage."
    He was able to see some of Rae's work first hand after the renovation of Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, also in Owings Mills. 
    "That's another low-lying property with some drainage problems, and Tyler was able to get in there and amplify the experience for their members," he said. "That's the biggest thing here  is drainage. There's been erosion, sedimentation and shallowing up. We're going to do a lot of ditch work."
    There is a reason for much optimism at Detroit Golf Club. Since the Tour event debuted five years ago, initiation fees are way up, as is membership. Work on the 36 holes that Ross began designing in 2013 comes on the heels of a $9 million clubhouse renovation.
    "I think everybody here is really excited for the opportunity we have here," Moynihan said. "We have a chance to honor the history of Detroit Golf Club. The club itself has been around since 1899, and we want to make sure it is around for another 100 years."
  • The lineup of products available through STEC Equipment continues to grow.
    After reaching an agreement with Earth & Turf, STEC is the newest dealer of the company's topdressers and spreaders.
    Based in Kirkwood, Pennsylvania, Earth & Turf manufactures a line of tow-behind and self-propelled topdressers as well as drop spreaders for golf and sports turf, agriculture, residential and professional landscape operations.
    Tow-behind topdressers range in size from the Truflow 36D with a volume of 10 cubic feet to the larger Multispread 320 with a 1 cubic yard capacity.
    The Truflow 24D self-propelled topdresser can can a 3-cubic-foot load, while the MultiSpread 415 box can handle a 1-cubic-foot load.

    Designed for larger areas, the tow-behind topdressers are ideal for golf courses and athletic fields and are available in either ground drive or hydraulic drive.
    Self-propelled topdressers feature an onboard gasoline engine designed to power and drive the machine and are suited for spreading wet or dry material.
    Dri-Flo drop spreaders are designed to effectively spread fine flowable materials, including lime, seed and granular fertilizers.
    STEC is a South Carolina-based manufacturer of tillers, brushes, verticutters and more and a distributor of products for the turf, agriculture and construction industries, whose branded partners include Airter, Earth & Turf, Giant Loaders, GKB Machines, Landmaster, Kioti, Rotadairon, Seppi Machines, Sidekick USA, Trench It, Trilo and VGR Topchanger.
  • If knowledge is power, then the Syngenta Business Institute has been helping superintendents become stronger leaders for more than a decade.
    Applications are being accepted for the 13th edition of SBI, the four-day event held along with the Wake Forest University Executive Education program. Scheduled for Dec. 3-6, SBI provides superintendents with graduate-level business instruction in the following areas:
    financial management human resource management negotiating managing across generations and cultural divides impact hiring and other leadership- and professional-development skills. Held on the Wake Forest campus at the Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, SBI is tailored to provide superintendents with the leadership skills they might not get in turf school, says Sherry Moss, Ph.D., professor of organizational studies at the Wake Forest University School of Business and a longtime SBI instructor.
    "How do we get employees to do what we need them to do?" Moss said during a past event. 
    "Everybody who is promoted into a management position needs this kind of training that we are going to talk about. But unfortunately a lot of people don't get it, and a lot of people learn it through the school of hard knocks."

    The Syngenta Business Institute offers instruction in financial management, human resource management, negotiating, managing across generations and cultural divides, impact hiring and more. File photo The curriculum teaches attendees how to look more closely at their own management style and at how previously held beliefs might not always be the best way to get the most from employees.
    John Ballard, CGCS at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, site of this year's PGA Championship, came to that conclusion when he attended SBI while at the University of Louisville Golf Club.
    "I think I learned more about my own leadership style," Ballard said. "I'm one of those people who it's my way or the highway. I learned that it's ok for people to be different, and there are different ways to manage."
    Class size for SBI is limited to maximize participation. Attendees must be a current GreenTrust 365 participant and employed in the United States as a superintendent, director of agronomy or similar position to be eligible.
    Application deadline is Aug. 19. Click here to apply.
  • When it comes to go-getters, there is Joe Frey, and then there is everyone else.
    The 63-year-old Frey is the founder and owner of UGATE, the Akron, New York-based family-owned-and-operated purveyor of used turf equipment.
    The business has helped Frey (left), a lifelong entrepreneur and man of faith, not only build a successful business, but also provides him the opportunity and flexibility to share his good fortune by giving back through Christian ministry.
    A commercial commuter pilot when he was 19, Frey has been his own boss in a variety of business ventures for more than 40 years. Frey's business ventures include buying and reselling everything from mowers, seeders and aerifiers to purchasing and peddling antiques door to door.
    "Dad is a killer buying and selling stuff," said son Jason, who quit his own HVAC business to run the office and day-to-today of the UGATE operation. "He is definitely Type A (personality). He's super driven. I thought I'd be just like him. I'm not him. No one is."
    The business has become a real family affair. Frey's daughter Allison keeps the company's books, and his other daughter Anna, and her husband Ben Kupferman run UGATE West in Oregon.
    Frey also is a former golf course owner who lost nearly everything in the industry's boom and bust more than a decade ago. It was shortly thereafter that Frey, a man of deep faith, found his literal calling.
    "I owned four golf courses at one time, plus some other businesses. Golf was just something I was doing on the side," Joe Frey said. 
    "I had too much going on. I couldn't manage it all. I realized golf was not the best business to be in. I took a huge financial fall about 10 years ago. It humbled me."
    As a golf course owner, there came a time when Frey needed to replace used to manage the courses he owned. Soon after, the idea for a new person was born.

    UGATE founder and owner Joe Frey (right) and son-in-law Ben Kupferman at the UGATE West facility in Oregon. Photo courtesy of Jason Frey "I couldn't afford new equipment. I did some research and came across some guys selling used equipment. I wasn't doing too good financially at the time. I already had experience buying and selling things, and I thought I could buy and sell turf equipment and make enough money to survive. I found a solution to earning a living after losing almost everything.
    "Looking back, I will never go into the golf course business again. I had a lot of businesses, and I couldn't manage it all. My greed and pride was greater than my ability to manage it all."
    For many small businesses, the Covid pandemic and subsequent challenges that followed presented some pretty tall, if not insurmountable hurdles.
    For UGATE, the family-owned purveyor of used turf equipment, the timing could not have been better.
    "It was just a coincidence that we were in the right spot at the right time," said Joe Frey.
    "During Covid, we were selling to dealers across the country. They were calling us, and we were selling them truckloads of equipment because they had no used inventory."
    A man of deep faith, Frey said launching UGATE was his calling. The success of the business and the nature of its flexibility allows Frey to give back to others by preaching the gospel to locals in Africa, something he has been doing since 2011.
    "There was a time when I was the lowest of the low, and my life was on a dark path," Frey said. "Everything I worked for was falling apart. That led me to humble myself before God."
    In those early days of spreading the gospel, Frey spent as much as three months at a time in Africa. Today, he spends a day to a day-and-a-half on a plane every two months to preach the gospel for up to 10 days to locals in some of the most underdeveloped areas in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The accommodations are spartan, usually consisting of a mud hut with a thatched roof, but the desire for salvation, he says, is strong.
    "I go into the deep, deep parts of Africa. I go into some areas where these people have never seen a white man before. They are hungry for the gospel," Frey said. "I need to be over there more."
    Frey plans to spend another year-and-a-half involved in the day-to-day operations of UGATE before devoting more time to his calling. He will remain active in the business doing all the buying, which he says he can do from anywhere. 
    "I had dreams and visions of going to Africa," he said. "That's when I knew what I was created for.
    "My life is not for this world. We're just passing through."
     
  • A video released by a Los Angeles-area golf pro recently brought two factors to light surrounding the city's municipal golf operation - preferred tee times are being sold on the black market, and there is a serious lack of accessible and affordable daily fee options throughout the country's largest golf market.
    With a population of nearly 4 million, Los Angeles is the country's second-largest city, but thanks to a 12-month playing season it is easily the nation's largest golf market. Despite the demand, LA has few affordable public-access golf options, an inventory that includes a municipal lineup of seven 18-hole, three nine-hole and two par-3 facilities and just a handful of overpriced daily-fee courses, some of which have green fees that exceed $200. 
    Green fees at the city's municipal courses range from about $10 to $50 depending on day of the week and time of day. That's if you can get a tee time.
    Residents have complained to city officials for the past several years that prime tee times are gobbled up by third-party providers who resell them at a markup of $40 to $50, thus preventing many LA residents from accessing publicly owned utilities.
    The issue of brokered tee times on publicly owned golf courses went largely ignored by city officials until a recently released video by Dave Fink, a Southern California teaching pro, that alleges all the best tee times are being sold primarily to the city's Korean population through a series of bots owned by Korean entities.
    When tee times appear on the city's reservation system all of the most sought-after times are gone in a matter of seconds.
    Many of the tee times are brokered through the Korean-owned Kakao.chat mobile app. There are others, but no one seems to know how many. Those inside the Southern California golf market say the problem of bots gobbling up tee times was exposed when members of LA's Korean golf community, who recognize the problem, outed the brokers to local media.
    "I have no idea how many (brokers) there are," said Craig Kessler, government relations director for the Southern California Golf Association. "They're difficult to find. They've only been exposed because people in the Korean golf community have exposed them."
    Representatives of the Kakao app have not responded to requests for comment.
    The controversy has shed light on a larger issue in an area where public golf is mostly unpopular with elected officials. Most recently, proposed legislation that would have provided financial incentives to California municipalities to convert publicly owned golf courses into high-density housing died in committee.

    Securing tee times at Los Angeles municipal golf courses, including Los Feliz (above), has been the subject of controversy. "This is not a Korean problem. This is an accessibility problem," Kessler said. 
    "There used to be many daily fee courses in Los Angeles. Now, there aren't any. Well, there are a few, but they are not affordable."
    Part of the problem for golf in California, where affordable housing and land both are in short supply, has been messaging. The city's professional sports teams that play on turf, including the Dodgers, Rams, Chargers and Galaxy, reinvest back into the community and they make sure the residents of LA know about it. Golf does not do the same.
    "You don't hear people saying the same thing about soccer fields that they say about golf courses," Kessler said.
    City officials are now listening, and the public spoke out loudly at a recent Los Angeles Golf Commission meeting.
    "I attended the golf commission meeting, and I was impressed with the people who attended. They made their opinions known," Kessler said. "It is clear to elected officials here now that golf courses are important to people here. They care and the golf courses are packed. If I'm an office holder, I wouldn't mess with these people."
    Kessler said other large cities are seeing similar challenges to accessible and affordable public golf. 
    "(Assembly Bill) 1910 showed that if you go after public golf courses there is nowhere to play golf. That is the story in urban America," Kessler said. 
    "Accessibility to public golf in population centers is a reflection of local politics. Leadership is not invested in it, because they don't understand it. That's a problem for golf, because how do you grow a game if there is nowhere to go?"
    With or without brokers, the city's municipal golf courses are always busy, with as many as 90,000 to 100,000 rounds per course per year, according to the SCGA.
    If the brokers disappeared overnight, it would still be difficult to get one of the coveted prime tee times.
  • The Equip Expo is considered the landscape industry equivalent of the GCSAA Conference and Show. But that does not mean the show that the annual show that is within a day's drive of about 70 percent of the nation's populous cannot be useful to golf course superintendents, as well.
    Registration is now open for Equip Expo, that is held each autumn in Louisville, Kentucky, and often provides an early glimpse into what is coming to the turf industry. Case in point was the huge number of robotic mowers that were on display at last year's show.
    The conference also offers educational opportunities that can be of value to turf managers, including superintendents, and can serve as a convenient Plan B for those who are unable to travel coast-to-coast.
    Show organizers recently released its lineup of education sessions for this year's show that is scheduled for Oct. 15-18 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
    Education and workshop session topics scheduled for October include:
    Recruiting and retaining employees Developing crew leaders into better managers Pesticide management and application Irrigation repair, installation and design Outdoor lighting design and installation Tree and shrub pruning and plant health New industry technology The Drone Zone will provide sessions specifically targeting drone usage in landscapes that include:
    Aircraft registration Creating three-dimensional models with drones Creating an FAA-approved drone plan Getting airspace approval All you need to know about licensing Using drones for photography and marketing Equip Expo’s new Certification Center will provide continuing education units (CEUs) for:
    Turfgrass cultural practices Turfgrass nutrient management Weed management in turfgrass Interpreting pesticide labels in the turfgrass industry Some class registrations are an additional cost to registration for Equip Exposition, which is currently $25. The registration fee will increase to $30 on June 1.
  • When Terry Bonar, CGCS, was named the recipient of the 2009 USGA Green Section Award, Stan Zontek, the late USGA agronomist, recounted the first time they had met. He described Bonar, the longtime superintendent at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, as the first greenkeeper he had met who practiced a "holistic" approach to managing the entire golf course. And Zontek visited a lot of golf courses and met many superintendents during his 41-year career with the USGA.
    "That was a most unusual and groundbreaking concept in those days," Zontek said at the time in the USGA Green Section Record. "Terry provided the golfers with smooth, true putting and consistent greens, high quality and closely cut tees, high quality bentgrass fairways, and roughs that were the best anywhere. The roughs were grass . . . not weeds and not infested with pests and diseases, and they were not a forgotten part of the golf course property. That was novel thinking at the time. It is much more common and accepted as a standard.today, The result- a renowned championship venue maintained to the highest standards."
    Bonar, who worked at Canterbury from 1963 until his retirement in 2010, died March 19 in The Villages, Florida. A native of Steubenville, Ohio, he was 83. Survivors include wife Margaret; daughter Kerri; stepdaughters Gayle Siebert and Cheryl Martin and many grandchildren.
    David Webner, superintendent at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River, Ohio, knew Bonar for more than 40 years, and remembers his friend, colleague and former boss as a greenkeeper without compare.
    "His assistants had to know where everybody was all the time on the golf course," Webner said. "That was his big thing, and you had to know what they were going to be doing next 20 minutes before they started doing it.
    "He taught me everything I know about the efficiency of a golf course operation."
    Webner, who spoke with Bonar by phone regularly even after the latter's retirement more than a decade ago, also remembers him as a man of uncompromised integrity at work and in life.
    "Integrity and honesty were everything with him," Webner said. "If you screw something up, take the blame and move on."
    Bonar was the assistant at Canterbury for 18 years under Bill Burdick, his classmate at Penn State, and was named head superintendent in 1984. The only interruption in his tenure at Canterbury was from 1963 to 1967 when he served in the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant in security services.
    During Bonar's time at Canterbury, the course was the site of the 1979 U.S. Amateur and the 1996 U.S. Senior Open. In recognizing Bonar's accomplishments the Green Section cited his efficient use of water and work mentoring employees. He spawned the careers of dozens of superintendents and assistants and was a pioneer in the use of lightweight mowers to maximize turf health and playability.

    Terry Bonar, CGCS, spent 47 years at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, including 26 as head superintendent. Bonar was a native of Steubenville, Ohio, who excelled on the golf course as a high school player. Among his amateur accomplishments during his prep days at Steubenville was a match play win over some guy named Jack Nicklaus.
    Fellow Green Section Award winner Frank Dobie (2022), who spent almost his entire 60-year career at Sharon Golf Club, was part of that Penn State class that included Bonar and Burdick, and said he learned a lot from his contemporary.
    "We were working on getting our green speeds consistent, and I remembered Terry's greens at Canterbury," Dobie said. "I asked what he maintained them at, and he told me 11 (on the Stimpmeter). From that point on, 11 was our target green speed."
    Most of all, Dobie remembers Bonar as a cherished friend.
    "A more down-to-earth person I've never met," Dobie said. "He was a good friend who didn't have to service the relationship. It didn't matter how long it had been, when you saw him he was able to pick right up where you left off."
  • Thanks to the turf team at North Carolina State University, managing turf just got a little easier.
    The NC State Turf Extension staff recently made available the 2024 edition of Pest Control for Professional Turfgrass Managers.
    The ever-growing, 90-page guide includes a wide variety of information on insect, disease and weed control options in cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. The guide can be accessed online for free, and hard copies are available for $10 each. There is a 25 percent discount for orders of five or more.
    Contributions from Terri Billeisen; Rick Brandenburg; Lee Butler; Travis Gannon; Kurt Getsinger; Jim Kerns; Grady Miller; Fred Yelverton; Robert Richardson include chapters on the following topics:
    Commercial Turf Insect Control Chemical Weed Control in Lawns and Turf Herbicide Modes of Action for Hay Crops, Pastures, Lawns and Turf Tolerance of Established Cool-Season Turfgrasses to Preemergence Herbicides for Control of Annual Weedy Grasses Tolerance of Established Warm-Season Turfgrasses to Preemergence Herbicides for Control of Annual Weedy Grasses Tolerance of Turfgrasses to Postemergence Herbicides for Broadleaf Weed Control Tolerance of Turfgrasses to Postemergence Herbicides for Control of Grass or Broadleaf Weeds Susceptibility of Broadleaf Weeds to Postemergence Turf Herbicides Trade Names for Selected Postemergence Broadleaf Herbicides Annual Grassy Weed Control Ratings for Turf Herbicides Turfgrass Disease Control Nematicides for Turf Growth Regulators for Turfgrasses Aquatic Weed Control Integrated Pest Management: The Sensible Approach to Turf Care Each pest management section includes a glossary of currently available insecticides, herbicides (including a section on aquatic weed control), fungicides and nematicides grouped by pest, then cross-referenced by active ingredient. Each section also includes trade names of each chemistry, label rates and recommendations for the various formulations of each and relevant special instructions.
    The herbicides and weed-control chapter also includes a chart on susceptibility of each weed to specific pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. The chapter dedicated to plant growth regulators is grouped by warm-season and cool-season turfgrasses, active ingredient and trade name, along with application rates and precautionary remarks.
    The guide also includes a directory, along with contact information, for NCSU's entire turf team.
  • For his work in investigating weed control in managed turf, John Peppers, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher at Virginia Tech, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Musser International Turfgrass Foundation Award of Excellence.
    The award is given to outstanding doctoral candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrated overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.
    Peppers (right), who earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Auburn University, completed his doctoral work in plant pathology, physiology and weed science at Virginia Tech. His doctoral research focused on programs to control annual bluegrass, crabgrass and goosegrass control on and near golf course putting greens.
    After being named the recipient of the award, he thanked his professors at Auburn and Virginia Tech, Scott McElroy, Ph.D., of Auburn, and Shawn Askew, Ph.D., respectively.
    "I am extremely honored to receive the Musser Award of Excellence," Peppers said. "I have long admired many of the previous winners as these are some of the biggest names in turfgrass research. I am humbled to be mentioned among such as prestigious group. This achievement would not have been possible without the constant support of my wife Cynthia, my family, my fellow graduate students, and Drs. Shawn Askew and Scott McElroy."
    Peppers has published 14 peer-reviewed research papers from his master's and doctoral projects and has five more in draft or under review on the topic of turfgrass weed science. He has authored more than 50 scientific abstracts and has given approximately 60 presentations on his work. He plans to focus his career on providing practical, research-based solutions for turfgrass managers.
    The foundation is named in honor of H. Burton Musser, who led the turfgrass management research and teaching program at Penn State University for three decades. It was founded by Joseph M. Duich, Ph.D., Warren A. Bidwell, Eberhard R. Steiniger, Albert W. Wilson II and Fred V. Grau, Ph.D., with the idea of supporting exceptional students destined to become the leaders of the turfgrass industry.
    The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership, and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from universities including Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.
    Previous recipients include 2023 - Wendell Hutchens, North Carolina State; 2022 - Devon Carroll, Tennessee; Travis Russell, Penn State; 2021 - Cameron Stephens, NCSU; 2020 - Garrett Heineck, Minnesota; 2019 - Phillip Vines, Rutgers; 2018 - Patrick Burgess, Rutgers; 2017 - Matthew Jeffries, NCSU; David Jespersen, Rutgers; 2016 - Lisa Beirn Rutgers; 2015 - Mattew Elmore, Texas A&M; Joseph Roberts, Maryland; 2014 - James McCurdy, Mississippi State; 2013 - Emily Merewitz, Rutgers; 2010 - James Rutledge, Purdue; 2009 - Jo Anne Crouch, Rutgers; 2008 - Adam Hixson, NCSU; 2007 - Aaron Patton, Purdue; 2006 - Kurt Steinke, Wisconsin; Sara Thompson, NCSU; 2005 - John Kaminski, Maryland; 2003 - Eric Watkins, Rutgers; 2002 - Lane Treadway, Georgia; 2001 - Stacy Bonos, Rutgers; 2000 - Matthew Fagerness, NCSU; 1999 - William Von Sigler, Purdue; 1998 - Andrew McNitt, Penn State; 1997 - Rob Golembiewski, Ohio State; 1996 - Daniel Dalthrop, Cornell; 1995 - Paul Johnson, Minnesota; 1994 - Jennifer Johnson-Cicalese, Nebraska; 1991 - Grady Miller, Auburn; Eric Miltner, Michigan State; Karen Plumely, Rutgers; 1992 - Richard Davis, Purdue; Jeff Klingenberg, Nebraska; Zach Reicher, Purdue; 1991 - James Bond, Tennessee; 1990 - Phil Allen, Minnesota; Meoldee Fraser, Rutgers; Virginia Lehman, Texas A&M; 1989 - Andrew Ralowicz, Arizona; Gwen Stahnke, Nebraska.
  • As golf course superintendents continue on the path toward sustainability, two practices that go hand-in-hand — beekeeping and converting out-of-play areas to naturalized plots — are becoming increasingly mainstream in the realm of golf course maintenance.
    Beekeeping helps protect an important, yet invasive, species, and creating naturalized areas provide them, as well as native pollinators, with a food source.
    There is much to learn before taking the plunge into beekeeping. Considerations include expense, time and educating golfers.
    "If someone is really interested in honey bees and wants to be a beekeeper, I encourage them to think about why they want to do that," said Elise Bernstein, outreach coordinator and researcher with the Spivak Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota. "One beekeeper is not going to save the honey bees. It's time-intensive and it's expensive, as well."
    There are 20,000 species of bees found worldwide, including 4,000 found in the U.S., most of which are prolific pollinators. Ironically, the honey bees that are common across the country actually are native to Europe, not North America. Populations of managed honeybee colonies, which can average 60,000 bees per colony during summer, decline by 30 percent to 50 percent each winter.
    There is not much known about wild bee colonies and how they fare over the winter.
    "Loss rates of managed colonies depend on the year and the weather," said Reed Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University. There are more wild colonies than we know. We don't know much about them. It is hard to know what their status is."
    Golf courses make better habitat for bees than what most backyard hobbyists can offer, but they need more than just space, says Bernstein. 
    "Golf course superintendents have access to so much acreage. They can create awesome habitat for bees," she said. 
    "If honey bees don't have access to ample food supplies, they're not going to do well. We can support honey bees and native bees with lots of native plantings."
    In their search for food, bees have a foraging range of about 3 miles, so even with naturalized areas on the golf course, bees will spend much of their time off site. Conversely, the golf course likely becomes a forage site for bees from elsewhere, be it wild bees or someone else's managed colonies.
    Both populations need food supplies throughout the year, not just through the golf season.
    "Fall forage is a problem for bees. There just aren't a lot of fall-blooming plants," Johnson said. 
    "Bees are as lazy as anything else. If a food source is close, they'll take whatever is closest first."
    Some fall-blooming forage options that bees prefer include some of the asters that flower in autumn, goldenrod and the bees' favorite food source - white clover.
    Clover can be found among the plantings in naturalized areas on Highlands Falls Country Club in the mountains of North Carolina, where superintendent Josh Cantrell and his predecessor, general manager Fred Gehrisch, CGCS, have been managing bee colonies for about nine years. 
    Since then, the bees, which are kept near the 14th green have become a PR success story, the importance of which cannot be overstated given what some think about golf.

    Josh Cantrell is raising eight bee colonies at Highlands Falls Country Club in North Carolina top right and above. Photos courtesy of Josh Cantrell "They're thriving here on a golf course. We're not killing them," Cantrell said. 
    "The first year, we started with two hives just to see how it goes. We got enough honey to sell at the pro shop. Now, the members love it."
    That operation has grown to eight colonies, or upwards of a half-million bees through the middle of summer. The honey harvest now totals about 7 gallons annually. 
    "That's a lot of 8-ounce bottles," Cantrell said. "And it's all gone in about two days."
    Cantrell's job does not stop there. Keeping bees is a 12-month-a-year job to ensure they have enough food over winter and are managed to control the invasive varroa mite parasite that is among the threats to honey bee populations in North America.
    "We also have to feed them through the winter because they stay outside," he said. "We give them sugar water, clean the hives and treat the bees for mites."
    Cantrell admitted there was a brief period of bees and keepers getting acclimated to one another.
    "It's a ridiculous amount of bees," Cantrell said laughing. "It was kind of intimidating at first when we would check on the queen and pull the frames out. If it was early in the morning or on a calm day they are usually pretty relaxed. If it's windy, or there is a change in the barometric pressure, they can get pretty agitated."
    Bernstein reminds those interested in beekeeping that native bee species should warrant consideration when planting pollinator-friendly plants and flowers.
    Bumble bees can be important pollinators of tomatoes, and Bernstein points to two native species — the rusty patch and yellow banded bumble bee — that have experienced significant population decline about 25 years ago.
    "We don't know exactly what caused the decline," she said. "We suspect it was caused by a virus or disease."
    Disease also is a concern for managed honey bee colonies, as well, she said, and too many bees in one area can be a bad thing, says Bernstein.
    "Managed bees and native bees can compete for resources," she said. "And a lot of colonies in one area can cause the spread of disease.
    "Do things to support bees. Plant flowers to create habitat and food sources."

     
  • The Industry Pro line of heavy duty utility vehicles includes both gasoline- and battery-powered models. For more than 20 years, STEC Equipment has been synonymous with many of the types of equipment upon which turf managers rely on a daily basis. There is a new addition to that lineup that includes tractors and equipment for dethatching, fraise mowing, seeding, blowing, top dressing and more. 
    Thanks to an agreement with Landmaster, the STEC portfolio now includes that company's Industry Pro line of heavy duty gas-powered and electric utility vehicles built to tackle the toughest jobs.
    The Industry Pro line includes the Pro 5 and Pro 7 series that are powered by a 627cc, V-twin Vanguard engine with electronic fuel injection. The Pro E series is powered by a lithium battery that delivers up to 8 hours of run time on a single charge. Both the gas- and battery-powered versions have a maximum speed of up to 24 mph.
    Standard features on most models in all series are 4-wheel disc brakes; 3-point seatbelts; certified rollover protection system; back-up alarm; horn; roof-mounted strobe light; tail lights; electronic power steering; heavy duty tires, bumpers and shocks; can carry loads of up to 1,000 pounds and have a towing capability of 1,750 pounds.
    STEC is a South Carolina-based manufacturer of tillers, brushes, verticutters and more and a distributor of products for the turf, agriculture and construction industries, whose branded partners include Airter, Giant Loaders, GKB Machines, Landmaster, Kioti, Rotadairon, Seppi Machines, Sidekick USA, Trench It, Trilo and VGR Topchanger.
    The line of Industry Pro commercial utility vehicles are built and shipped from Landmaster's manufacturing facility in Columbia City, Indiana.
  • The Toro Dingo TX 1000 can handle a variety of tasks thanks to an array of varied attachments. For turf managers who need a compact utility loader that can perform a wide range of tasks, Toro recently introduced the Dingo TX 1000 Turbo.
    A refreshed version of the TX 1000, the new Dingo comes in both narrow-track (6 inches) and wide-track (9 inches) versions and is powered by a Tier 4-compliant Yanmar turbo diesel engine that churns out 24.7 horsepower and provides more torque than previous models while also reducing vibration.
    With attachments such as standard and high-volume buckets, adjustable forks, grapple bucket, grapple rake, high-torque auger and high-torque trencher, the Dingo is engineered for a variety of tasks.
    With an operating capacity of 1,000 pounds, the unit features a vertical lift arm that keeps the load closer to the machine to allow operators to lift more weight without compromising stability and increases the reach to 81 inches to make dumping more efficient.
    Toro's traction- control system includes a digital display for ease of operation by the user, and hydraulic flow is controlled through an auxiliary foot pedal, freeing the operator's hands to control speed and attachment usage.
    A larger hydraulic filter means longer maintenance intervals, saving both time and money.
  • Devon Carroll gains firsthand experience in the field while working toward her doctorate degree in 2020 at the University of Tennessee. Photo via Twitter It would have been understandable if Leah Brilman, Ph.D., felt like an outsider the first time she attended a meeting of the Crop Science Society of America more than 40 years ago.
    "I was dumb and stupid and decided I was going to do what I was passionate about doing," Brilman, director of product management and technical services at DLF-Pickseed, said of her career in turf. "When I attended the C5 meeting for the first time, I was the only woman in the room.
    "I will say, there were a few men who were inappropriate, but the vast majority were accepting and professional. At some point, I knew I had to work with people and accepted that I was in a male-dominated industry."
    The turf industry has become a much more inviting environment for women since that CSSA meeting in the early 1980s.
    Devon Carroll, Ph.D., chief of staff for Envu, has bachelor's and master's degrees from Penn State and a doctorate from Tennessee. Her introduction into the game came as a golfer in high school and part-time jobs in the clubhouse. She was inspired to pursue a career in turf by a cousin who was a superintendent.
    She was unaware there were so few women in turf when she enrolled at Penn State a decade ago.
    "When I made the decision to pursue a degree in turfgrass science I wasn't aware of the gender dominance in the industry," Carroll said. "It was mentioned on my undergraduate campus tour that there were few women, but I didn't appreciate what that meant until my first few weeks on campus as the only female in my program. It was certainly overwhelming to attend classes, turf club meetings and conferences as the lone woman in the room."
    In the back of her mind, Carroll knew she might one day change majors, but not because she was outnumbered in the classroom. She thought that never having worked on a golf course might set her back compared with her classmates.
    "When I chose turfgrass science as a major, I knew it might not stick since I didn't have prior experience working in golf course maintenance," she said. "Within my first few turf classes though, I was hooked and have never looked back. There have certainly been some challenges in my career related to my gender, but I have great mentors and tremendous support from the injury to keep on going."
    Those who have come before Carroll certainly have seen a lot.
    "There were times I couldn't go on certain golf courses because the club was male only," Brilman said. "Even as a woman working with the superintendent I couldn't go on the golf course on certain days."

    Superintendents Renee Geyer, left, and Carey Hofner are hard at work at The Sentry PGA Tour event in Hawaii. Photo from Kimberly Gard via Twitter Brilman says it is incumbent on people like herself, who are veterans in the business, to be a resource for the younger generation so they feel welcome and do not become disenfranchised. 
    "It is important for those of us to make sure those coming behind us have contacts and know people," she said. "And we will continue doing that to make sure things are OK and that they have someone they can talk to. It does make a difference."
    Indeed it does.
    Networking and educational events for women in turf have been more common since the 2015 GCSAA show in San Antonio. Syngenta's Ladies Leading Turf is undergoing a metamorphosis to make it more inclusive to people of all backgrounds for next year. 
    The event helped give rise to a grassroots movement to increase the visibility and profile of female agronomists on a worldwide scale beginning with the 2021 U.S. Women's Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco when superintendent Troy Flanagan had a revelation to host several dozen female superintendents as part of his volunteer crew.
    Flanagan turned to longtime friend Kimberly Gard, territory manager for Syngenta, to help make it happen.
    "I immediately thought it was a brilliant idea," Gard said. "I wasn't aware that anyone had tried to do anything like that before. I thought it sounded amazing, and I wanted to be part of that."
    That event helped put the work of female superintendents on the forefront for the world to see, and has subsequently helped launch several similar opportunities, including similar tournament experiences and other events geared specifically for women, like the GCSAA's Women's Leadership Academy.
    "We asked ourselves, how do we expand this?" Gard said. "How do we make it bigger?"
    Carroll says there is a direct link between women working on a golf course and playing on them.
    "I believe the 'see it, be it' mentality is one of the strongest tools we can use to attract more women to the industry," she said. "I didn't meet another female in turfgrass management until I was a year into my studies. It was truly inspiring to see what she had accomplished and I envisioned myself with a similar career trajectory. It is unfortunate I had to have such a long gap before I could make this connection. I'm really pleased that seeing and meeting women is much more accessible today for those entering the turf industry."
×
×
  • Create New...