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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    Harry Niemcyzk and Patricia Cobb in a 1985 issue of Weeds, Trees & Turf. Photo from Michigan State University Libraries The turf industry lost two legends during the holiday season. 
    Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D., a longtime entomologist at Ohio State, died December 16 at age 91. Don Waddington, who spent nearly 30 years as a professor of turfgrass management at Penn State, died on New Year’s Day. He was 89.
    A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Niemcyzk earned a doctorate degree from Michigan State in 1962 and two years later took a position at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, an arm of Ohio State. He spent the next 30 years there, and his self-published book Destructive Turf Insects (1981) became required reading for many turfgrass students across the country.
    An Air Force veteran, Niemczyk reached the rank of staff sergeant during the Korean War and served as a technical instructor. Niemczyk was an avid outdoorsman and particularly enjoyed bird watching and fishing the rivers and streams of Michigan. According to a 2012 newspaper article, Niemcyzk was so passionate about sharing his love for fishing that he was known by other anglers as Pierre Z. Guide. 
    He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Dolores. Survivors include Mark Niemczyk of Apple Creek, Ohio, Sharon Niemczyk of Portland, Oregon, Kathy Kruse of Wooster, and Lisa (wife of Kip) Nussbaum of Orrville, Ohio.
    Waddington was a native of Norristown, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Penn State, but struck out to Michigan State for a master’s degree and earned a doctorate at UMass in 1964. He made his way back to Pennsylvania a year later to begin a 26-year career at Penn State.
    His research focused on soil amendments and modification, nutrient availability and uptake, soil test calibration, nitrogen source evaluation, and surface characteristics of athletic fields, including methods to assess impact absorption properties and traction. He and colleague Jack Harper collaborated on studies related to the safety and playability of athletic field surfaces. 
    Waddington has published his research results in scientific journals as well as publications for turfgrass managers. He is co-author of the book Turfgrass Soil Fertility and Chemical Problems: Assessment and Management.
    During Waddington's Penn State tenure he taught more than 1,100 students in two-year turf management, four-year undergraduate and graduate programs. Courses included soil physical and chemical properties, fertility, and weed control. For two years after retirement he continued to advise graduate students and teach courses in the two-year program.
    He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Caroline, and brothers Harold and Samuel. He is survived by his children Mary Waddington of State College, Pennsylvania, James Waddington of Bradenton, Florida, Lauretta (Marcus) Mann of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Kathy (Richard) Lirette of Pace, Florida, David (Monica) Waddington of Springfield, Virginia, and Douglas Waddington of State College.
  • The most-read story on TurfNet in 2020 is Matt Henkel's ongoing battle with brain cancer. For better or worse (mostly worse), 2020 was a memorable year for golf. 
    Defined by years of declining interest, the game enjoyed a revival in most places in 2020. Although year-end statistics won’t be known until later into January, it’s safe to say year-over-year growth in 2020 has set many records. That’s the good.
    That renaissance was driven almost entirely by a global pandemic that for months literally drove a stake through the heart of many other activities and forms of entertainment. That’s the bad.
    We have compiled a list of the 10 most-read stories of the year on TurfNet. Some brought good news; some, not so much. Click on the headline to read the full text of each story.
    10. Jacobsen turfcare manufacturing moving exclusively to U.K.
    In an attempt to further streamline operations of its turf division, Jacobsen will move all manufacturing of its turfcare products to its facility in the United Kingdom. The Ransomes/Jacobsen manufacturing center in Ipswich offers more flexibility and will lead to increased manufacturing efficiency, the company said. 
    9. Yale Golf Course begins long road back to former glory
    First, Yale Golf Course lost its longtime superintendent, then its general manager then the course at the Ivy League school in New Haven, Connecticut, was closed in response to Covid. It was all downhill from there as conditions waned at the 100-year-old Seth Raynor classic.

    When it comes to doing more with less, few can match Matt Lean in Stuart, Florida. 8. Florida superintendent redefines low-budget success
    On the surface, Monterey Yacht and Country Club in Stuart, Florida, sounds like one of South Florida's premier golf clubs that can be found in a 10-minute radius. In reality, Monterey YCC is a modest, yet well-maintained nine-holer that redefines low-budget golf. Providing players at this 55-and-older community is superintendent Matt Lean, who has rewritten what it means to do more with less.
    7. Former superintendent goes all-in to help solve labor problems
    Finding solutions to some of golf's most pressing issues, like those related to labor, requires a unique way of thinking. Solving golf's labor issue, says former superintendent Tyler Bloom, is the result of a formula that includes matching the right applicant with the right job at the right golf course under the right superintendent. It's a process Bloom calls workforce development, and he is willing to stake his future on it.
    6. For Schwab, facilitating change in the workplace begins at home
    Creating a more diverse workplace in the golf industry is not part of a plan developed by a multi-association ad-hoc committee, nor is it a result of a bullet point plan on an academic's PowerPoint presentation. At least not at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Sharon, Ontario, where superintendent Leasha Schwab has created an inclusive workplace in which everyone is held to account by how they perform their job rather than how they look while doing it.
    5. Walter Montross, 66, career superintendent and Charter TurfNet Member
    A legend in the Mid-Atlantic for more than 40 years, Walter Montross died on Easter Sunday at age 66. A Maryland native who graduated from the University of Maryland in 1975, Montross started under Lee Dieter, CGCS, at Washington Golf & Country Club (Arlington, VA), then went to Springfield (VA) G&CC for 11 years, and in 1990 moved to Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA until he retired in 2011.
    4. Nicklaus says Muirfield's Mark is the right man for Tour's doubleheader
    When the PGA Tour returned to play in July, it did so at Jack Nicklaus's Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio where director of grounds operations Chad Mark and his team hosted two PGA Tour events in two weeks - The Workday Charity Open and The Memorial Tournament. "The back-to-back tournaments at Muirfield, if anyone was going to handle it, I think it's in the hands of the right person," Nicklaus said of Mark.

    Chase Best (left) and Jake Yonkers (right) first were connected through baseball. Their connection runs much deeper today. 3. Superintendent in need of a transplant gets a kidney from an unlikely source
    At age 10, Chase Best's kidneys functioned like those of a 50-year-old man. Today, his kidneys function at about 8 percent of normal capacity, leading to fatigue, lethargy and worse, like minimizing the body's ability to cleanse itself of impurities. His condition worsened over time, and he's been on a donor list for the past three years. Ultimately, he found a donor in  his former Pony League baseball coach, Jake Yonkers. He's been undergoing dialysis since Jan. 6. Friends started a gofundme page on behalf of the family to help raise money and awareness.
    2. Assistant has vision to introduce at-risk kids to careers in turf
    Chris McIntyre did not have a lot growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A part-time job at a golf course was an unlikely landing spot for an African American kid from the other side of the tracks. Today, McIntyre believes it is his responsibility to pay forward his good fortune and do for others what his former boss did for him.
    1. For superintendent and his family, one question remains: Why?
    Matt Henkel, general manager and superintendent at Prairie View Golf Club, a public forest preserve property in Byron, Illinois,, was diagnosed with brain cancer 12 years ago. After several surgeries and radiation treatments, he was cancer-free for four years until his annual check-up last fall when doctors discovered a grade 4 glioblastoma that has left the family feeling gut-punched, unsure of the future and asking "why".
  • Editor's note: There is a lot to say about 2020, but I can't really write what I want to and stay within the guidelines of journalistic ethics, so this watered down version will have to do. Suffice to say, “sayonara, 2020.”
    Even when he was alive, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve has never been must-see TV for me. In fact, it has been a long time since I've made it a point to celebrate New Year's. Turning another year older has never been all that appealing, so, in sort of a silent protest, I've been asleep by midnight more often than not during the past two decades. 
    Historically, I have approached New Year's resolutions with the same lack of enthusiasm.
    Exercise more, lose weight, find a new hobby, learn to play a musical instrument all have had their moments on the New Year's resolution list with mostly disappointing results. Other than fishing, I have never had much interest in any other hobbies, and I continue to struggle with weight as I sit and stare at the dusty piano in my living room. But this is 2020, and if this year has taught us anything, it is that everything is different now.
    A lot more people than usual probably will stay up - albeit at home and alone - to ring in the New Year. I don't really care about Jennifer Lopez or Miley Cyrus, or anyone else scheduled to perform on Rockin' Eve. I am more interested in staying awake so I can tell 2020 to kiss it - even if there is little evidence to suggest 2021 will be much better.
    For nine months we have been told to stay home for the safety of ourselves as well as one another. We have been assured by elected officials that “we are in this together” despite an unemployment rate that skyrocketed to 14.7 percent in April. 
    The virus has exposed every crack in every institution and every business in every country. Literally, nothing, other than big-box stores and delivery services, has been immune to the effects of the virus. Small businesses and large, schools, places of worship, sporting events, family gatherings, restaurants all are feeling the effects of the virus. As vaccines slowly trickle out, questions remain about their efficacy and side effects, and it is unclear if and when all aspects of the economy will fully reopen in every state.
    A few things, however, are crystal clear: We have far less control over the details of our daily lives than we knew, elected officials (in both parties) are, more often than not, incompetent as leaders and the collective state of our mental health is extremely fragile as is our society's ability to confront it and meet the needs of those most at risk.
    If ever there was a time for a New Year's resolution, this is it. As a matter of fact, there are easy-to-implement lifestyle changes that many of us have been practicing since spring.
    If anything good has come from the pandemic, it is that we have enjoyed more time with family and we have had a chance to take a long, hard look in the mirror to think about how we treat others. Perhaps it is because many feel so fragile and on edge with the unknowns that accompany a global pandemic, but most of the people in my circle have become much more kind and thoughtful in how they treat others - and it is appreciated. This does not include the anonymous and passive-aggressive world of social media, but the folks we talk to on the phone, communicate with via email, meet on Zoom or, on the rare occasion, see in person.
    Being kind, being happy and being hopeful are far easier and more effective than the alternatives, and they are lifestyle changes that I hope outlast the pandemic. Goodness knows we all need it.
    Sure, promises to eat better and exercise more will return again - tomorrow. Not to mention, I still have that piano in the living room. I just hope I don't break the stool before learning to play it.
  • CLICK HERE TO NOMINATE YOUR TECH

    Jamie Worsham (center) of Beard Equipment, a Baton Rouge John Deere distributor, and Ryan McCavitt (right), director of golf course operations at Bayou Oaks at City Park, congratulate 2020 Golden Wrench winner Evan Meldahl. The past year has been a challenge for just about everyone in the golf industry. This time a year ago, many courses were closed, and no one was quite sure when they would be reopened and what things would look like then. 
    By the time things reopened, many places had sent workers home and golfers began to descend on shorthanded golf courses in record numbers, resulting in added pressure and stress to superintendents and their teams, including equipment managers. 
    With more golfers on the course and shorter windows to conduct daily maintenance, technicians were asked to do more and more, often with fewer and fewer resources. 
    If you have an equipment manager who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the past year - and there must be a lot of deserving candidates since the implementation of Covid protocols - nominate him or her for the TurfNet 2021 Technician of the Year Award, sponsored by John Deere. The winner will receive the Golden Wrench Award along with their choice of a spot in a Deere training session in North Carolina or a chance to assist with equipment maintenance at next year’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Either will result in an equipment manager who is better trained and more motivated and will make your property better.
    CLICK HERE to submit a nomination.
    Nominees are considered by our panel of judges on the following criteria: crisis management; effective budgeting; environmental awareness; helping to further and promote the careers of colleagues and employees; interpersonal communications; inventory management and cost control; overall condition and dependability of rolling stock; shop safety; and work ethic.
    Deadline to submit a nomination is June 1.
    Previous winners include (2020) Evan Meldahl, Bayou Oaks at City Park, New Orleans, LA; (2019) Dan Dommer, Ozaukee Country Club, Mequon, WI; (2018) Terry Libbert, Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; (2017) Tony Nunes, Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, IL; (2016) Kris Bryan, Pikewood National Golf Club, Morgantown, WV; (2015) Robert Smith, Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, PA; (2014) Lee Medeiros, Timber Creek and Sierra Pines Golf Courses, Roseville, CA; (2013) Brian Sjögren, Corral de Tierra Country Club, Corral de Tierra, CA; (2012) Kevin Bauer, Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Crest Hill, IL; (2011) Jim Kilgallon, The Connecticut Golf Club, Easton, CT; (2010) Herb Berg, Oakmont (PA) Country Club; (2009) Doug Johnson, TPC at Las Colinas, Irving, TX; (2007) Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club; (2006) Fred Peck, Fox Hollow and The Homestead, Lakewood, CO; (2005) Jesus Olivas, Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, Marana, AZ; (2004) Henry Heinz, Kalamazoo (MI) Country Club; (2003) Eric Kulaas, Marriott Vinoy Renaissance Resort, Sarasota, FL.
  • 2020 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year nominees
    Todd Allen
    Waiehu GC, Waiehu, HI
    David Brooks
    Cleveland Country Club. Shelby, NC
    Michael Broome
    Hollywood GC, Deal, NJ
    Alan Brown
    Timaquana CC, Jacksonville, FL
    Justin Collett
    The Club at Osprey Cove, St. Marys, GA
    Joe Davis
    The Club at Brookstone, Anderson, SC
    Justin DePippo
    Bel Air CC, Los Angeles, CA
    Brent Doolittle
    Shady Oaks CC, Fort Worth
    Brent Downs
    Otter Creek GC, Columbus, IN
    Richard Duggan
    Milbrook GC, Greenwich, CT
    Richie Edwards
    Ft Walton Beach GC, Ft Walton Beach, FL
    Joey Franco
    Daniel Island GC, Daniel Island, SC
    Jon Jennings
    Shinnecock Hills GC, Southampton, NY
    Bobby Jewett
    Ryderbrook GC, Morrisville, VT
    Matt Lean
    Monterey Yacht & Country Club, Stuart, FL
    Scott LesChander
    Terrace Park CC, Milford, OH
    Augustin Lucio
    Coral Hospitality, Naples, FL
    Paul MacCormack
    Fox Meadow GC, Prince Edward Island
    Scott McBane
    Galloway National GC, Galloway, NJ
    Bob McLean
    Indian Hills CC, Bowling Green, KY
    Pat McMahon
    Blue Heron Pines GC, Atco, NJ
    Ed McSeaman
    Toms River CC, Toms River, NJ
    Eddie Mullins
    Stonecrest GC, Summerfield, FL
    Chris Ortmeier
    Champions Club, Houston
    Dustin Perdue
    Sage Valley GC, Graniteville, SC
    Steve Rabideau
    Winged Foot GC, Mamoroneck, NY
    Chris Reverie
    Allentown Municipal GC, Allentown, PA
    Chad Schie
    Union CC, Dover, OH
    Justin Sims
    Alotian Club, Roland, AR
    Brian Stiehler
    Highlands CC, Highlands, NC
    Steve Turner
    South Park GC, South Park, PA
    Anthony Williams
    TPC Las Colinas, Irving, TX
  • With the convention business feeling the brunt of a global pandemic, you're not alone if you've wondered how the rest of the turf industry might respond to a virtual education conference and trade show.
    More than 700 turf managers participated in Conference Comes to You, a virtual educational event presented in November by the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association.
    The event offered 30 two-hour educational seminars and was open to members of the Carolinas GCSA as well those from 35 regional chapters and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.
    A total of 727 turf managers bought nearly 2,200 "seats" in the monthlong educational series, which outpaced the previous in-person record of 1,379. Last year's in-person Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show attracted a record-high 2,020 attendees. Still, this year's total is nothing to sneeze considering the dichotomy of the newness of bringing an entire educational conference online in a year when many also happen to be suffering from Zoom fatigue.
    In July, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of that three-day event historically held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the association crafted a slate of 30 unique two-hour seminars over 30 days in its place. Close to 2,200 seminar seats were sold, easily eclipsing the record of 1,379 at the traditional conference.
     
    "Most importantly, we delivered on our mission statement despite the pandemic," Carolinas GCSA executive director Tim Kreger said. "Our association exists, first and foremost, to provide educational opportunities for the continual advancement of the profession of the golf course superintendent in the Carolinas. We're proud we were able to deliver."
    Nearly 40 vendor partners stepped forward with financial support for the virtual conference. The 35 participating regional chapters as well as BIGGA received a share of each seminar fee paid for by their members.
     
    "That kind of support from industry partners and our allied chapters speaks volumes for the credibility the Carolinas GCSA has developed over decades," says president, Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG from Highlands Country Club in Highlands, NC. "Conference Comes to You was an untried idea in the middle of extremely uncertain times, yet our partners stepped right up. The board is extremely proud of our staff for developing the concept then bringing together all the elements to make it a reality."
    Participating chapters included: Alabama, Calusa, Central Florida, Central Ohio, Connecticut, Eastern Shore, Everglades, Florida, Florida West Coast, Georgia, Gulf Coast, Hawaii, Heart of America, Hi-Lo Desert, Louisiana-Mississippi, Met GCSA, Miami Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Minnesota, New England, New Jersey, North Florida, Northern California, Palm Beach, Rdige, Rocky Mountain, Seven Rivers, South Florida, Southern California, Southern Nevada, Suncoast, Tennessee, Treasure Coast, Wisconsin and Virginia.
  • Paul MacCormack
    Fox Meadow Golf Course, Stratford, Prince Edward Island
    Simplicity - We glimpsed how much fun less can be this season. Let's make it stick.
    Sustainability - This pandemic offered us a view of what we need to make the game truly sustainable. 
    Fun - The game needs to just be more fun . . . period. 
    Connection - Value our ability to connect with others and never take it for granted.
    Kindness - Don't have time for pettiness and meaningless debates. Just be kind. 
    Leasha Schwab
    Pheasant Run Golf Club, Sharon, Ontario
    Living wages for people starting out in the industry (ex. spray techs, AIT, second assistants, in some cases even assistants are very underpaid).
    More in-depth learning opportunities. I feel we constantly review the same things in education. 
    People from clubs with lower budgets sitting on boards, winning awards, etc. 
    The public gaining an understanding about how valuable the greenspace of golf courses is.
    More inclusive memberships, golf can be expensive to get into and it would be beneficial to have more flexibility for people just starting out. 
    Matthew Gourlay
    Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas
    Robotic mowers.
    Continued enthusiasm with play ... rounds up 50 million nationwide in 2020 vs. 2019.
    Capital improvements for the course, maintenance facility, equipment, etc.
    Understanding from members/golfers of the stresses of maintaining a golf course.
    More Christmas wishes?
    Laurie Bland
    Miami Springs Golf Course, Miami Springs, Florida
    I wish great health and well-being of all my family, staff, patrons, vendors and the public in general.
    I wish that everyone gets to enjoy peace and balance into the new year in beyond, not just in their work life but their personal life too.
    I hope that one day (in the near future) we will get to redo this historic golf course and celebrate its great history with the world. 
    I hope that the general public knows that golf courses here in Miami and around the world provide so much, not only the physical well-being but also the mental well-being. We must protect them!
    I’m excited to see golf taking off again, seeing more new faces that are coming out to enjoy this great game. I hope more folks consider us in the municipal/public realm in the future.
    Steven Neuliep
    Etowah Valley Golf Club and Lodge, Etowah, North Carolina
    Good mental and physical health for staff and golfers.
    Better work life balance for management level employees.
    Golfer expectations better matching resources provided by the facility.
    Continued innovations of products required to properly maintain a golf course (Ex. chemical control products, g.c. supplies and equipment advances).
    Get turf professionals to gravitate toward non-agronomic/ scientific educational offerings. Things like: financial management, personnel management, retirement planning and mental and physical health education!! Taking these will make us all more well rounded and also allow us to be better at our profession.
    John Kaminski
    Penn State University
    Confirmation this month that I'm 2.5 years cancer free so I can get back to playing more golf as I did in 2020.
    COVID Vaccine shots - ready to get back to teaching and traveling and visiting my students on their golf course internships in 2021.
    Golf outings to continue to go up post COVID. COVID was actually good for much of golf and I hope this trend continues after we get back to "normal".
    Economy to remain strong and improve. So golf projects and restorations continue to expand.
    Courses to continue to recognize the shortage of qualified labor. We seem to be seeing an uptick in requests for information and applications as superintendents are once again recommending this as a good career for people. The future looks really good for young people wanting to go to school for turfgrass science.
    Anthony Williams
    TPC Four Seasons, Irving, Texas
    That the boom in golf rounds played in 2020 would translate directly into bigger maintenance budgets in 2021.
    For superintendents and their staffs to come out of the shadows and walk in the light of the game they make possible. Teach and tell everyone (start with the person in the mirror) the realities of how golf operations really work and how tough it is to craft great playing conditions with limited resources at every level of the industry. However, don’t forget to tell how great it is when it all comes together!
    For all of the organizations that sponsor events and education for the golf industry to feel like they got more than their money’s worth this year and continue to invest in the human assets that will steward golf today and in the future. That would be truly visionary and help heal many of 2020’s wounds.   
    For everyone to reach their next level of aspiration. Where ever you are in this great industry, be it an intern/apprentice, irrigation/spray tech, equipment manager, assistant superintendent, superintendent or director of agronomy no matter the position; I wish that you reach your next level of opportunity this Christmas. If we are all growing it will be difficult for our industry to fail so help someone move forward.
    That everyone who is fighting a personal battle no matter the foe (depression, finances, faith, substances, weight, health, grief etc.) will find some measure of peace. Give the gift of kindness to yourself and others this Christmas.  
    Mike Fidanza
    Penn State University
    Time to read those turf articles we've been meaning to get to, or better yet, read a good book outside of turf.
    Time to watch those TurfNET webinars we've been meaning to get to.
    Time to teach and mentor our younger members of the industry.
    More time to spend with family and friends to clear our minds and alleviate stress.
    We should all make the time to visit Damon DiGiorgio and Pinki at Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic!
    Nate McKinniss
    Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
    Safety/health - that employees remain free of any accident or illness.
    Timely rains - to minimize the long summertime dry spells while refraining from excessive moisture.
    Budget increases - especially for smaller clubs with high golfer demands.
    Growing interest in turf from younger generations and women, too.
    Work hard, live harder - that people can spend more quality time with family and friends; in addition, enjoying their interests and hobbies more often.
  • CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION FOR TURFNET SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR
     

    Tripp Trotter, head of marketing for Syngenta turf and ornamental, and 2019 Superintendent of the Year Matt DiMase.
    Deadline to submit a nomination for this year's award is December 31.
    With all the challenges facing golf course superintendents this year, Covid, labor issues, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and golfers, lots and lots of golfers, we fully expect to bursting with nominations for this year's TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    After all, superintendents always are called on to do things that to others might seem impossible. Take last year's winner, Matt DiMase, for example.
    With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on The Bahamas just last summer, DiMase didn't give much thought to leaving. 
    The superintendent at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, DiMase could have ridden out the storm with his wife and kids in the safety of the family home in Ocala, Florida.
    But he didn't.
    DiMase rode out the storm, brought the devastated golf course back from the dead and played a key role in a humanitarian effort to help members of the club, his employees and members of his Bahamian community. His selflessness earned him the honor of being named the recipient of the 20th annual TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta. 
    "For us, this is a job, but for our members, this club is their investment," DiMase said when he received the award at the last Golf Industry Show from Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke. "I told my team we can stay and protect their property, or we can abandon ship and who knows what will happen. . . . I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay because of the people."
    Nominations for DiMase's successor are now being accepted. Although it's hard to imagine anyone going through a more trying experience than what DiMase faced in 2019, there has been much about 2020 that has been hard to believe.
    A panel of judges will select five finalists and ultimately the winner from the list of nominees. In a year that will be defined by a global crisis and one in which people starved for outdoor recreation have flocked to courses around the country, the nominations should be plentiful.
    Criteria on which nominees are judged include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.
    CLICK HERE to submit a nomination. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 31. This year's winner will receive a Sonos Cinematic Surround Sound Audio System and Weatherproof Outdoor Sound System courtesy of Syngenta.
    You can nominate a colleague, supervisor, employee or heck, even nominate yourself.
    Previous winners include: Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas (2019); Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013), Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  • For more than a decade, TurfNet has been the leader in online education for professional turf managers. 
    Thanks to our longtime partner Brandt, TurfNet has been producing more than 20 webinars annually since 2008. Topics range from career development to stress management caused by a global pandemic, and from weed, disease and pest management to the latest in turf management research topics presented by the industries leading scientists.
    Our most recent webinar, Managing Covid-19-related stress by Paul MacCormack, Jodie Cunningham, Carlos Arraya and Anthony Williams, closed the book on our 13th season of TurfNet University Webinars. We produced 21 seminars this year, bringing our 13-year total to nearly 300 webcasts that have been viewed thousands of times.
    All webinars, including the live version and the recorded archives, are free for everyone.
    Topics this year have included Nematode management, Disease control in the summer of 2020, Tips on attracting and retaining employees, Managing annual bluegrass weevil, Update on the University of Nebraska GDD model and a two-part series on stress management as it relates to the pandemic of 2020.
    The 14th season of TurfNet University webinars kicks off on January 6 when Anthony Williams of TPC Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, delivers his career- and personal-development presentation entitled Jumpstart your career in 2021.
    His annual presentation includes how to establish realistic standards and how to go about working toward achieving them. He also talks about how to market yourself, from self-promotion and public relations strategies in your current position to resume-writing and other career advice tips designed to help you realize your next opportunity. 
    Particular emphasis will be placed on a look back at 2020, what we've learned and how lessons learned from a global pandemic in 2021 and beyond.
  • Above, Andrew Green (left) and Sam Green have a passion for helping grow the game by combining unique architectural experiences and solutions to help golf course superintendents. maximize playing conditions. Below right, Sam (left) and Andrew get ready to tee off. Photos courtesy of Andrew Green Spend just a few minutes talking with Sam and Andrew Green, and it's not readily apparent that they are related, much less brothers. Sam has a slow drawl that gives away his residence of Wilmington, North Carolina. Accentless Andrew, a resident of Bel Air, Maryland, sounds like he could be from Anytown, U.S.A.
    Sons of a Roanoke, Virginia-area dairy farmer and graduates of Virginia Tech, the Green brothers do share a love for the game of golf, and although they approach the industry from different sides, they also have in common a drive to make the game better for those who play it and more inviting for those who yet do not.
    Andrew, 43, is a renowned golf course architect who prepped with McDonald and Sons, and whose resume as principal of Green Golf and Turf includes work at such historic layouts as Oak Hill, Congressional, Scioto and Inverness.
    A former superintendent, Sam, 49, is a partner in Aqua Aid Solutions, which provides a variety of solutions and products to help superintendents improve soil and plant health.
    "We both have a passion for the dirt and the earth," Andrew said. "I didn't have 1,000 acres to farm. I found golf as an opportunity to connect to the earth."
    His passion is creating unique golf experiences for scratch players and novices alike.
    "There are a lot of places for golfers to spend their money," Andrew said. "I want to offer them a one-of-a-kind golf experience. That is the value in connecting with your history and uniqueness, so people can be connected and feel like they are part of something that is not mass produced."
    Older brother Sam originally had plans to become a pediatrician when he enrolled at West Virginia University. When he realized a career as a doctor was not in the cards, he enrolled at Virginia Tech with an eye on a career as a professional turf manager.
    He worked managing the athletic fields at Tech and later prepped in Hilton Head at Harbor Town under Joe Vuknic, who recommended a turn working for one of the biggest names in the business.
    "Joe told me that if I was going to go anywhere in this business, I would have to work for Paul Latshaw," Sam said. "I went to work on his crew in 1994 at Congressional, and I became his assistant in 1995 when John Zimmers left. I stayed on as his assistant through the 1997 U.S. Open."
    While Andrew's work has drawn widespread acclaim throughout the industry, his older brother remains one of his biggest fans.
    "During his time with Chip McDonald, he learned everything there is to do on a golf course," Sam said. "He can get on a bulldozer, a Sand Pro or hold a shovel. You name it, he's done it.
    "He's learned to shape from the ground up. He's worked his ass off. To graduate with two degrees to the success he's had, if it has anything to do with building a golf course, he's done it. The vision he has in his mind, it's unlike anything I've ever seen. And I'm not saying that as his brother, but as someone with 30 years in this industry."
    Whether it is designing or redesigning golf courses, or providing plant and soil health solutions for superintendents, the Greens are common in their desire to help provide a memorable golf experience for scratch and novice players alike.
    Andrew draws on technology to help recapture pieces of the past in restoring some of the country's greatest layouts.
    "Architecture combines my love for golf and the ability to create things in the dirt with the technology piece," he said. "I love the way technology allows us to do work we've never done before - surveying greens, laser technology, drones, computers and balancing that; it's one reason I love what I'm doing."
    Currently restoring Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, Green achieved creating that uniqueness two hours away in Toledo, where his restoration of Inverness Club has drawn rave reviews and was named by Golfweek as the top renovation of 2018. The Donald Ross classic was the site of the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2019 and next year will be the site of the Solheim Cup.
    "When working on old courses, I surround myself with digital images, articles, club history, aerials and drawings," he said. "Inverness is one of the most enjoyable projects I've worked on - finding the best solution for the modern game while keeping Donald Ross's intent. There were so many tools available to get that information. Technology allows us to get the information we need while also protecting history and making places better."
    Those who play Inverness would agree.
    "We put a long-term plan in place. We wanted to return Inverness to the Donald Ross golf course that it was intended to be," said Inverness green committee chairman Matt Douglas. "We stayed steadfast in that mission, and we made the membership aware of that, and they embraced that. I can tell you that our membership is absolutely blown away by the strides we have made."
    Sam believes his role with Aqua Aid and his drive to help provide superintendents with some of the tools they need to be successful and Andrew's vision for creating unique layouts that appreciate the game's past while embracing its future are inexorably linked in helping grow the game.
    "There is so much pressure on turf managers around the world on a daily basis," Sam said. "There are so many data points: moisture levels, tissue testing, sunlight data. You better be able to deliver a piece of research, or you're going to get passed by. Turf managers are getting younger, and they are data driven.
    "If Andrew can build it and get it dialed in, then the person managing it can get it dialed in for their members."
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Central Texas GCSA benefits from Lebanon campaign
    LebanonTurf, a provider of innovative and high-performance plant nutrition for the golf and landscaping industries, announced its 2020 Emerald Isle Solutions campaign grand-prize winner, an Air Force agronomist from Texas. Justin Wheeler was selected and will be donating the $5,000 to his Central Texas Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association.
    The campaign, launched at the 2020 Golf Industry Show, highlighted its Emerald Isle Solutions True Foliar Technology and aimed to show an increased commitment to customers and maintenance crews in the turf industry by giving away a $500 Amazon gift card each month, plus a $5,000 grand prize donation to one winner's local GCSAA or STMA chapter.
    As a part of the campaign, LebanonTurf announced a new, permanent lower price point for Emerald Isle Solutions—further elevating the product's value and giving superintendents and turf managers more freedom in managing their budgets.

    Toro upgrades Lynx system
    Toro Irrigation has expanded the cloud-based features in its Lynx Central Control System.
    New rendering schemes for the customized interactive course map add course management detail. Every sprinkler on the course is represented by a symbol and color that displays each sprinkler's location and its current status, and to which Precip Management Group it belongs. Superintendents can review irrigation rates and ensure that the water hitting the ground matches the infiltration rate of that area of the course.
    A patent-pending feature provides superintendents with a graphic display of the irrigation plan as programmed.
    The latest version also streamlines the relocation of sprinklers on the interactive map after adjustments have been made, eliminating the need to manually enter the changes and resynchronize the interactive map. With two clicks on the cloud-based Lynx Map application, the updates can be synchronized in about five seconds.
    Lynx provides a hybrid backup system, which means that the database is backed up both locally and in the cloud. Subscribers to Toro's exclusive National Support Network (NSN) who need new hardware will receive it with the backup already loaded, allowing them to put it to work instantly rather than having to take the time to load the backup themselves.
    SePRO names new T&O director
    SePRO has named John Wendorf as  director of its turf and ornamental team.
    Wendorf, who has nearly 30 years of industry experience, will focus on elevating SePRO's pace of innovation, with a strong emphasis on technical efficacy, operational efficiencies and social and environmental responsibility. While developing future-focused strategies for growth will be central to Wendorf's role with SePRO, building a strong, thriving team will be of equal importance. 
    Wendorf earned his bachelor of science in horticulture from the University of Wisconsin and a master's' of business administration from Texas A&M. He has been a member of the communications committee for RISE since 2017 and is also a current member of the FFA's National Floriculture Committee.
  • "Some say life will beat you down, break your heart, steal your crown."
    Learning to Fly - Tom Petty

    The older I get, the more philosophical I become about life. That's pretty easy to understand, I suppose. With each passing year, we become a little more gray around the edges, get a step or two slower and aches and pains become increasingly prevalent, all serving as constant reminders of our own mortality. And by the looks of my monthly insurance premiums, my healthcare provider is in complete agreement.
    Many of us, as we age, have read too many of our contemporaries' obituaries, and just about all of us probably have a handful of deceased friends and acquaintances who live on in perpetuity in our social media contacts feeds. Throw in a global pandemic that has revealed every crack in our culture and our psyche and it is hard not to step back and take stock of what really is important in life and what is not. 
    In fact, stopping to smell the proverbial roses is a journey I have been on long before any of us ever had heard of Coronavirus.
    I try to find joy in the simple things, like time with family and friends, flowers in the yard, the sound of rain and the changing colors in fall. Their supply is temporary and finite.
    Our supply of friends, too, has its limits.
    In the last four years, a good friend from high school as well as a former college roommate both have died. Each has helped remind me - long before Covid - that we can take nothing for granted.
    I had a small but close group of great friends in college. In the years following, we all went our separate ways. Marriage, kids and jobs took each of us off on a different tangent. That all changed in 2014 when our group of five suddenly became 20 percent smaller.
    The death of a close friend was a jolt. There was, however, something positive that came from this tragedy. Although we all still have our own lives - all in different states - we have become much closer and appreciate each other's friendship more as we close in on 60 than we did at 20. We chat via text almost every day. We talk about everything - our families, current events, sports and our common love for Kentucky bourbon.
    Besides family, their relationship 
    In more than 30 years as a journalist, I've met a lot of people, many of whom have faced personal tragedies of unfathomable magnitude. It is impossible not to be moved by the story of 7-year-old Griffin Engle who died of cancer in 2014 and how his parents, Erin and Adam have turned their loss into a mission to help others.
    Then there is the story of Matt Henkel, who is battling terminal brain cancer and has the courage to publicly share his journey and how is making the best of his time with his family.
    The challenges we all face have been placed under a microscope during Covid. Everyone I know is some combination of scared, frustrated, pissed and depressed.  Many lives have been turned upside down due to health concerns from the virus, job loss (their own or that of a spouse or partner) and economic uncertainty, educational concerns, separation anxiety and more.
    Like everything in life, the challenges brought on by Covid are only temporary, though it does not always feel that way. Rest assured that soon enough, Covid will be gone, but so will the things we hold most dear in life, so spend your time on those instead. 
    Life will beat you down only as much as you allow it.
  • Jim Snow's 35-year career with the USGA was dedicated to the future of turfgrass management. Jim Snow never was the loudest voice in the room, but his leadership and vision for the future of golf turf management spoke volumes throughout a USGA Green Section career that spanned 35 years.
    Snow died Nov. 25, just five days before the centennial anniversary of the USGA Green Section, where he worked from 1976 to 2011, including 21 years as its national director. He was 68.
    "Jim Snow was a quiet and unassuming man who led with vision as to where golf agronomy and maintenance needed to be," said Kim Erusha, Ph.D., who spent 29 years at the Green Section, including nine as managing director before retiring in 2019." He was steadfast in his support of identifying long-range issues, organizing the research to fully understand the problems and developing solutions to move the industry ahead."
    A native of Ithaca, New York, Snow earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Cornell University. 
    During his tenure with the Green Section, the USGA took over development and manufacturing of the Stimpmeter, initiated the Turfgrass Research Program to development turfgrass varieties that are easier to maintain and require fewer inputs, worked with Michigan State to develop the Turfgrass Information File, partnered on initiatives with groups that include Audubon International and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, updated its recommendations for putting green construction and introduced the TruFirm device to measure putting green firmness.
    "In the 1980s and 1990s, Jim was instrumental in guiding the USGA into supporting environmental research and supporting the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program," said Chris Hartwiger, director of course consulting services for the Green Section. "Both of these initiatives now have worldwide impact and have influenced many, either directly or indirectly.
    As golf went through the 1990s boom period, the need to fully update the USGA Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction was evident, according to Erusha. In response, Snow, working with Jim Moore, gathered the collaborative support of Norm Hummel, Ph.D., and developed working partnerships across key industry groups from around the world. The methods underwent a comprehensive, intensive review and were thoroughly researched, vetted and updated for release in 2004. 
    "Jim will be remembered as an intelligent, thoughtful individual who gave his best to his career," Erusha said. "As his staff, we always knew he had our best interests at heart. He had a knack for creating a great working environment. He allowed this widely-divergent bunch of spirited individuals to do their jobs while guiding us with just the right amount of overarching goals and bumper guards."
  • We all know 2020 has been different. People are struggling with mental issues, separation anxiety, loneliness, stress related to job security and financial uncertainty as wealth as physical health stress related to the virus. It's always interesting to hear what people are thankful for, but since this year has been unlike any other, we thought it might be especially insightful to know what is on people's minds this year, so we asked some of our friends to share what they are thankful for this year.
    FYI, we figured "family" would be everyone's first response, so we asked them not to use that. 
    Joe Wachter
    Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis
    Grateful that the membership who stepped up this season and supported the golf course and club when normal operations were curtailed significantly.
    For our staff with a number of Covid positive cases which was concerning to the staff but they came to work and had the place in great condition all season.
    Grateful that the election is over!!!!!!!!!!
    Always grateful for TurfNet and its community of members.
    Grateful for streaming services that kept my attention when there wasn’t much to do but work and go home.
    Tony Nysse
    Mountain Lake, Lake Wales, Florida
    Health: The Health of my family. Thus far, myself & my family have been fortunate to remain healthy through the pandemic. From day #1, my wife (who was in the medical field before being a full-time mom) changed the daily routines for herself & our daughter. She has gone through hoops to keep her safe & busy. We have also worn out our Amazon account during the same time period.
    Membership: A patient, supportive & understanding membership. Our membership has adapted & accepted new protocols to remain safe. While some of the “traditions” that we have here are on ice for the time being, everyone’s main focus has been to continue to provide an enjoyable atmosphere where they feel safe in every activity they partake in.
    Staff: A staff that has also had to make similar adjustments while dealing with the loss of a team member to Covid. Not only has the staff had to make adjustments because of the work around them, we have also made numerous adjustments throughout the course, have made strides to promote a safe, warm & accepting culture while trying to give everyone a sense of normalcy from the outside world.
    Peer groups, communication: Via zoom, twitter, email, text, trade publications & social media; we have not skipped a beat as a profession. Turf professionals continue to adapt, adjust & aid in advice, offering successful examples & thinking outside the box. We have shown that we can actually advance our profession during a pandemic. That says a lot of turf professionals & our profession, in general.
    Faith: Changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic may present uncertainties on paper. My faith in God to guide me into a new position during the onset of a world pandemic was just that-faith. He opened doors & placed people into my life along the way to make the transition much easier than it could have been.

    Carlton Henry, John Zimmers and Ryan Kaczor (left to right) of Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. John Zimmers
    Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
    I am very thankful and grateful for my loving wonderful supportive wife. 
    I am also very thankful for my health and family and friend’s health, the great working environment that I am in, and the ability to try and do something positive for myself and others every day.
    Carlton Henry
    Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
    Being healthy in a time where everyone’s health is at risk, so that I can continue to do what I love.
    My dad for being a great role model of honesty and hard work and always giving great advice.
    The entire grounds staff at Inverness Club, for working hard with great commitment and positivity during a challenging year.
    My dog Max, for always putting a smile on everyone’s face, never talking politics and for watching over Inverness.
    The Golf Industry, which allows me to do what I love every day.
    Ryan Kaczor
    Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
    I am thankful for finding a positive each day during this crazy year, having a wonderful job surrounded by caring people, working in an outdoor environment with a beautiful view, having a healthy and supportive family and most importantly Mother Nature for providing me job security.
    Kevin Frank
    Michigan State University
    Girlfriend: Self explanatory.
    Dogs: Daily companionship in an isolated pandemic world.
    Job: Grateful to be employed and adapting to educating in a virtual world.
    Golf: When everything else seemed banned, I could still play golf and see my friends.
    House: Whether completing projects inside or out, keeps me busy.
    Tony Girardi
    Rockrimmon Country Club, Stamford, Connecticut
    Employed: Incredibly grateful to be fully employed right through 2020. Our club has been very responsible during Covid and allowed all our staffs to be employed since day one.
    Kids: Have three kids in college and all are great kids, lead clean lives, great group of friends and do very well in their academics.
    Summer 2020: Since we had a scaled down golf calendar at work (only club champ event) it allowed me to take virtually every weekend off. That hasn’t happened in 30-plus years of employment.
    Membership: After 26-years at RCC, I have to keep pinching myself to have an incredibly supportive membership.
    Wife: Last but not least, going to celebrate our 25-year anniversary in spring 2021.
    Brandon Horvath
    University of Tennessee
    Golf: Get outside, exercise, spend time with friends in an easy to social distance activity. 
    My son being in school: He has really blossomed this year and is grateful for being able to be in person rather than stuck online.
    My students: I’ve enjoyed having them face-to-face in class and they appreciate it too. I think we underestimate how important social contact is for us. 
    My job: It allows me to provide for my family, and while we made adjustments, I’ve stayed employed, and that’s not true of so many others.
    My grill: I’ve really gotten into cooking (I was into it before, but this heightened my desire to cook), and got serious about weight loss at the beginning of the pandemic. I love making healthy, flavorful meals for me and my family, and I’m down 50 pounds since the pandemic. Making lemonade out of lemons.
    Jim Brosnan
    University of Tennessee
    My wife: She’s the biggest luxury in my life and that was never more true than in 2020. I spent big portions of the spring stressing over pandemic related questions: Would my team be able to conduct our research this summer? How would we do it under COVID protocol? Would there be funding available to keep my employees paid? What about my students that had their degree programs active? What about the events that were planned? While I was swimming in my own pool of anxiety, she stepped up to outright lead our family. Not only did she make sure we had all the supplies needed to continue living as normal, she also jumped right into being a defacto 2nd grade teacher when my daughter’s school went online and did not miss a beat. All the while she was a rock for both my daughter and me as we adjusted to the new normal.
    My team: I’m blessed to have a great team to work with at UT and they demonstrated incredible resolve in 2020. From Zoom meetings, to sanitizing mowers, to laboratory exercises in masks, they’ve handled everything that 2020 has thrown their way and have not missed a beat. I’m proud of what we accomplished this year and will leave 2020 excited for what the future holds. The “pause” in normal activities imparted by COVID has allowed time for reflection on what we’ve been doing, as well as strategizing how we can best improve in the future.
    My job: Given the scope of economic contraction that’s occurred in 2020 (and is likely to continue), I’ve never been more thankful for my job at UT and that they’ve been supportive of creative approaches to conduct work in these unique circumstances.
    The industry: I’m thankful that I work in an industry like turfgrass that’s been able to offer so many an escape from the stress and anxiety of 2020. We’ve seen not only increased rounds in the golf industry, but an overall increased appreciation for urban greenspace and the benefits of spending time in nature. I’m hopeful this will continue in 2021 and beyond.
    My age: I’m thankful this pandemic happened when I was an adult. I really feel for the kids who have been affected by the pandemic. It has to be terribly strange to go to school online (particularly in grades K-12) or wear masks all day and interact socially within physical distancing protocols. I also feel for the young adults starting off in their careers and trying to forge their path. The uncertainty of this year has to make that even more difficult than normal.
    Last but not least, I’m thankful Zoom has an off button. Ha ha.

    Joe Rimelspach (left) and Todd Hicks of Ohio State University. Joe Rimelspach
    Ohio State University
    Thankful for a healthy new granddaughter, Grace Maire, born in Mexico. Hope to see her for the first time at Christmas.
    Thankful for a job (a livelihood) and one I can work from home through this Covid-19 times. Thankful I am not on the streets or a burden to family and or the public.
    Thankful for a very special golf outing this fall on a beautiful day with my two brothers and my dad (Bill) who is 92! Dad almost birded a par 3 hole. He still loves to play the game even with bad shoulders, knees and back. What a gift that day was.
    Thankful for my wife who is my best friend, encourager and companion!
    Thankful for a loving God the Father, Jesus my Savior from death and sin, and the power to live life on this earth to the fullest by the Holy Spirit.
    Todd Hicks
    Ohio State University
    My job: I am fortunate enough to really like what I do - and get paid for it.
    The ability to still do my job through our current Covid-19 problems: Many people are not able to work or have had their work severely hurt by Covid-19 restrictions.
    Industry and turf managers support: I am very thankful for all the support our program gets from the turf industry and the people who grow and manage turf in our area.
    My family and friends: The older I get, the more I measure my success at being a good person, OK maybe just decent person, is by the friends and family who continue to support me in work and life.
    Karl Danneberger
    Ohio State University
    Front Line Workers: I am thankful for the doctors, nurses and hospital staff who have saved lives during the coronavirus pandemic including mine.
    Steve Cook
    Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Illinois
    My health: I’m still able to get in the mountains or on my bike and do the physical things I love.
    That I have had positive role models in my life: Between my parents, my friends and coworkers I have people around me that exhibit positive attributes that I can learn from.
    My future self: The lessons of my past remind me that my best life is in front of me.
    That my parents gave me the love of reading: It’s my number one favorite hobby, and my eyesight is till good enough to enjoy it!
    I’m grateful I recognize there is something greater than me. I’m constantly reminded that whatever hardships I think I have they are only temporary.
    Bruce Williams
    Brandt Consolidated
    I am thankful for my health and as you get older you cherish how important it is.
    I am thankful for my friends. I have and continue to make many friends in the industry.
    I am thankful to be an American. Land of the free and home of the brave.
    I am thankful for my education, not only in the classroom but in real life.
    I am thankful for the many mentors I have had in my life and career. Without them I wouldn't be the person I am today.

    Rick Tegtmeier (left) and TurfNet founder Peter McCormick. Rick Tegtmeier
    Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa
    My wife: I have a woman who has supported and accepted this crazy career for 35+ years and never complains, it is huge when you have that kind of support.
    My club: To work for a club that has been very proactive and careful in this Covid world. Didn’t agree with it at first but really appreciate the education I received on it all.
    Our staff: To work with such a dedicated group of young professionals that come in everyday to face new challenges and conquer them without complaints.
    My mentors and what they taught me: This was the year that you had to draw from all of your experiences to try and develop new ways to do things or re-invent old ideas. I had a few people who have taught me and drove in some values that were very hard to understand back then but can be appreciated now. 
    Social media: I learn so much from others and it is great to learn new ideas and try new things because people share their experiences. There are a lot of things that are bad with social media but that is one of the good things.
    Dan Meersman
    Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia
    Our team members, because they have proven to be respectful of each other's health, and caring for members in continuing to perform their jobs at a high level.
    Our membership, because they ensured our employees are cared for and "made whole" from a compensation standpoint throughout every stage of the pandemic.
    Our club volunteer leaders, because of the amount of time they have dedicated to club-decisions this year.
    Simply being in the golf industry, because it is one of the few professionals that has maintained some sense of normalcy.
    That golf is bringing friends and families together more than ever this year, because that will persist long after the pandemic.
    That The Masters was able to be played in November, because seriously, who can live without it? 
    Sean Reehoorn
    Aldarra Golf Club, Sammamish, Washington
    I’m thankful for golf: Who knew in a pandemic it would provide a safe place for employment and easy access to a fantastic outdoor space?
    I’m thankful for friends that you can just have an honest conversation with about bad days.
    I’m thankful for technology: Zoom, podcasts, Netflix have made staying connected to friends and family easier and provide lots of good distractions.
    I’m thankful for working on myself: I’ve spent the last few years seeing a professional working on me and without, I think 2020 would have been more difficult and more stressful.
  • When Tom Watschke, Ph.D., (right) talked, people listened. The turf world lost a giant in the field of academia and research late last week with the passing of Tom Watschke.
    A native of Charles City, Iowa, Watschke was 76.
    He was remembered by colleagues and former students as a great teacher and research scientist who was devoted to his students and his trade. 
    "Tom was an outstanding turfgrass scientist and educator; he was also a good friend and colleague" said Al Turgeon, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Penn State. "He will certainly be missed by so many who benefitted from their association with him. I am deeply saddened by his loss."
    Darin Bevard earned a master's degree at Penn State in 1994 before starting a 23-year career with the USGA Green Section, where he is director of championship agronomy. 
    "I will first remember him for the friendship that we developed over the years after I departed Penn State," Bevard said. "We had a lot of fun fishing and solving the world's problems over a couple of beers. Second, I will remember the huge impact that he had on my life and my career. He was one of my primary mentors. Perhaps he saw potential in me that I did not, or at least had the wherewithal to get me to realize it."
    Watschke earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Iowa State University and his master's degree and doctorate from Virginia Tech. He joined Penn State's turfgrass program in 1970.
    Throughout his career at Penn State, Tom coordinated the undergraduate turfgrass program and advised all the students majoring in turfgrass science. In addition to resident instruction and research, he taught several online courses through PSU's World Campus.
    Watschke's research centered on plant growth regulators and herbicides. Some of his most important work focused on the positive influence of turfgrass on mitigating the movement of fertilizers and pesticides in waterways.
    He is part of a team who have placed countless graduates into the field of professional turf management.
    Many of Watschke's former students and colleagues took to social media to remember their friend and mentor.
    Leah Brilman, Ph.D., of DLF Pickseed wrote: "Dr. Watschke was a kind person but more than anything a dedicated teacher. Success of many PSU alums is probably due to him."
    Said Kevin Hicks, regional agronomist for EarthWorks: "He could be so intimidating in class, but you always knew he wanted you to learn. I had the opportunity (to) reconnect w/him years later when he reached out to me at the CDA Resort. He brought his son & grandson for a tour. Totally different person outside of the class. RIP Doc."
    Terry Laurent, former superintendent at Saucon Valley and co-owner of Cross Creek Golf Club in Decatur, Indiana said: "So sad to hear this! Great teacher, mentor and friend ... loved his classes! RIP And prayers for the family!" 
    He also was remembered for loyalty to friends and family and his sense of humor.
    "One of the funniest things that I remember was advice that he gave me during my time in graduate school," Bevard said. "I remember him walking out onto my research plots and saying 'Hey, Bevard, come here, I need to tell you something.' He proceeded to tell me that the liver is an organ not a muscle. Thus I did not need to 'exercise' it every day. I laugh about that to this day when I think of Tom. He was just a great individual and enjoyed teaching so many of us about turfgrass and life at a time when most of us could use a little education on both."
    Survivors include his wife, Christa, and daughters, Katelyn and Madison, son, Jon (Kim) Watschke, brothers, Doug (Ginny) Watschke and Gary (Nancy) Watschke, sister, Colleen (Bruce) Copper, stepmother, Bette Gullickson, grandchildren Micah, Sierra and Sawyer, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
    To honor Watschke's legacy, his family has arranged for donations in his honor to be made to Penn State's Turfgrass Program in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Inverness Club green committee chairman Matt Douglas, Zach Nicoludis of the USGA Green Section, Inverness superintendent John Zimmers and past president Jerry Lemieux (left to right) mark the 100-year anniversary of the Green Section. Below right, Lemieux discusses the history of the club and the Green Section and how they are intertwined. It is doubtful that E.J. Marshall could foresee the long-range impact of his decision when the Inverness Club's green committee chairman sought help for an undiagnosed issue on the greens in advance of the 1920 U.S. Open.
    About two months before the Open, Marshall and greenkeeper William J. Rockefeller, a distant cousin to Standard Oil magnate J.D. Rockefeller, began noticing brown patches of dead or dying turn on the greens at the course in Toledo, Ohio, that architect Donald Ross called one of his favorites.
    It was to be the first of four U.S. Opens held at the course that Ross began redesigning in 1916, and with the likes of such seasoned pros as Harry Vardon and Ted Ray on their way, everything had to be just right. Marshall called in experts from the U.S. Golf Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for help. That collection of agronomists assembled to help revive the greens for the 1920 Open eventually led to the formation of the USGA Green Section on Nov. 30 of that year. Since then, the Green Section has played a key role in turfgrass research, education, course consulting services and supporting agronomic decision making for championship events.
    Recently, members of the club marked the centennial of the Green Section and the role Inverness played in helping found it. As part of the celebration, the membership at Inverness presented current superintendent John Zimmers with a plaque to commemorate the club's place in the annals of agronomic research. That plaque now hangs in the turf maintenance facility at Inverness that is named in Marshall's honor.
    "As he looked for information on turfgrass, he really didn't find much and ended up approaching the USGA and the USDA," said Inverness past president Jerry Lemieux. "We have a whole bunch of minutes and correspondence back and forth between Marshall and those organizations, and out of that was formed 100 years ago at the end of this month the USGA Green Section that for the last 100 years has made strides and supported turf research. If you play golf anywhere in the world, you've been touched by the USGA Green Section. We thought the anniversary was an appropriate time to dedicate this building as the E.J. Marshall Green Department Office Building."
    As a leader in the formation of the Green Section, Inverness enjoys a history of firsts.
    The 1920 was Vardon's last, but it was the first for the great Bobby Jones, who later founded Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters Tournament. It also was the first for Gene Sarazen and Tommy Armour. Inverness also is where an amateur named Jack Nicklaus played in his first U.S. Open in 1957. Nicklaus went 80-80—160 and missed the cut before eventually going on to win four U.S. Open championships and 14 other major titles throughout his career.
    "A lot of firsts have happened here," said Lemieux, who has served as a rules official in more than 60 USGA events. 
    "The genesis of the Green Section that means so much to so many people around the world started here. Think of the worldwide impact it has and all of it out of frustration from a guy losing his greens ahead of the U.S. Open and trying to figure out what to do."

    Bobby Jones, right, waits while eventual winner Ted Ray putts on the 18th hole of Inverness Club during the 1920 U.S. Open. Photo from Inverness Club Until 1920, competing pros were not allowed access to a club's locker room facilities. That changed with the first Open played at Inverness. To show their appreciation, the competitors presented the club with a grandfather cathedral clock that still marks time at Inverness today. That air of welcome is a legacy that remains a bedrock on which Inverness rests today. 
    "The way I view it, we are a club for the people," said Inverness green committee chairman Matt Douglas. "We appreciate the game of golf and respect the history and tradition. We know who we are, and we know what an asset we have out there. 
    "We enjoy playing here day in and day out. That being said, we enjoy hosting people here. It is a privilege to host people here and show off what we think is one of the top national golf courses. We as a club embrace the USGA Green Section, and we are honored to be called the home for it."
    Much about the game has changed since 1920, and the Green Section has been there every step of the way, helping educate superintendents on changing conditions and turf management protocols.
    "For me, this is quite an honor," said Zimmers. "When you think about the Green Section, people miss a lot of things. It's not just about turf; it's about water quality, it's about proper drainage, it's about tree removal, it's about sun and shade and different varieties of grass. It has changed so much over the years.
    "It has changed how golf is viewed and our responsibilities for inputs and fertilizers and chemistries, and their relationships with our suppliers who give us better and safer products, the research with universities. Their influence is felt all over the country and all over the world."
    Throughout its 100-plus year history, Inverness has been the site of four U.S. Open Championships (1920, 1931, 1957, 1979) and two PGA Championships (1986, 1993).
    The club, named for the town in Scotland of the same name, will be on the big stage again in 2021 when it is the host site of the Solheim Cup.
    The influence of the Green Section is evident still today at Inverness, where architect Andrew Green completed a restoration in 2017 that brought back many of Ross's design elements that had been lost through the years. 
    The restoration coupled with Zimmers' reputation for being tournament ready every day has made the revival project a smash hit with members.
    "We put a long-term plan in place. We wanted to return Inverness to the Donald Ross golf course that it was intended to be," Douglas said. "We stayed steadfast in that mission, and we made the membership aware of that, and they embraced that. I can tell you that our membership is absolutely blown away by the strides we have made."
    Everything was put to the test in June when the LPGA asked to host a tournament at Inverness in late July that ran concurrently with the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows in nearby Sylvania. The goal of the LPGA, which had been on site regularly because of the upcoming Solheim Cup, was to create a bubble in the early days of the pandemic to limit contact and exposure for its players by kicking off its season with two tournaments in the same market. That gave Zimmers, assistants Carlton Henry and Ryan Kaczor and the rest of the team just six weeks to go from zero to 60.
    "They came and knocked on the door, and we were ready," Douglas said. "A lot of that is because of JZ and who he is and the crew he has developed here, and a lot of that is because of the USGA Green Section."
    By most accounts, the event went off without a hitch. In fact, the only one who knit picked it in anyway was Zimmers.
    "Tournaments are all different, and this one was new for me," he said. "I've been blessed to be part of a lot of tournaments, but this was my first LPGA event, so it was new getting used to how they do things. 
    "The good thing is it's exposure, but with exposure, you put yourself out there for everyone to see. That week we had record heat, and we were just working through the mental stress of Covid. The play was delayed when a fog bowl rolled in out of nowhere and just sat on the golf course. We had a good week, but the weather was tough."
    Deep down, the LPGA knew if there was a place within shouting distance of Highland Meadows that could be ready for the LPGA field and a TV audience at the drop of a hat, it was Inverness.
    "Logistically, that is not easy to get a golf course ready that quickly," said Green Section agronomist Zach Nicoludis. "If you were going to ask me to give you five superintendents who at the drop of a hat could host a PGA Tour event, LPGA event or a USGA championship, I'm pretty sure John's name would be on that list every time."
    Being ready for anybody and everybody all the time is just part of being a golf course "for the people."
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