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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • Peter McCormick
    One of the "big splash" product introductions at GIS 2015 was Toro's Reelmaster 5010-H - "the industry's first fairway mower with a true hybrid drive system".
     
    The Toro introduction being no big secret, John Deere countered at the time with a GIS press release documenting "ten years of hybrid technology leadership and innovation".
     
    Always sensitive to marketing-speak buzzwords such as "industry's first", "best-in-class" and the like, and knowing that both Deere and Jacobsen have had "hybrid" mowers in their lineups for many years, these declarations started my "smoke-and-mirrors" meter twitching. OK, here we go, I thought. I had an inkling that further investigation would boil it down to a matter of semantics of definition.
     
    Just like a good accountant or statistician can make numbers tell any story they want, so it can be with sales and marketing (and certainly political) posturing.  A foundation of fact is wrapped with window dressing, spin, hype or whatever one wants to call it to give one product a leg up on another.
     
    I didn't make it to GIS this year (a victim of the weather and the Airline Gods, both powers greater than I) so I didn't have my usual opportunity to explore this up close and personal with the product managers. But after reviewing the "hybrid" product lineups from all of the Big Three, I'll admit to being a bit confused... and if I'm confused, no doubt many of you are too. I decided it would be best to do some research and make a few phone calls.
     
    First, let's haul out Webster's Collegiate (at least figuratively) for a moment.
     
    We all know that a hybrid in a biological sense is the offspring of two animals or plants of different breeds, varieties, species or genera. Of course there are F1s and F2s and other classes and subclasses of animal and plant hybrids, but in a general sense "from two comes one".
     

    Of course there are F1s and F2s and other classes and subclasses of animal and plant hybrids, but in a general sense "from two comes one"...
     
    Beyond biology, the term hybrid has been popularly adapted to many things that arise from or contain combinations of characteristics from two or more distinct items. 
     
    Relating this to turf equipment and using a very broad definition, it could be claimed that the first "hybrids" might date to the introduction of hydraulic reel drive (or in the case of Jacobsen, installing hydraulic motors directly on the rotary spindles of their early Turfcats) and then hydraulic wheel motors and hydrostatic transmissions... all this compared to direct mechanical drive systems utilizing geared transmissions, shafts and gearboxes, and I suppose even belts (think National 68 and 84, for those of you who can remember them). With the introduction of hydraulics, one machine had two power systems, or was a hybrid of mechanical and fluid power.
     
    I point this out simply to illustrate that definitions can be tweaked rather easily to suit one's needs.
     
    Most recently, hybrid has been associated with the automotive industry to denote a vehicle that utilizes both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric power sources with the implication of greater fuel economy and environmental responsibility.  This loose definition was popularized by Toyota with their Prius model.
     
    Let's assume for our purposes here that "hybrid" includes an electric component. Then we'll take a look at how the Big Three interpret and implement hybrid technology... and they are all different.
     
    Note that only Deere and Toro have fairway mowers that use hybrid technology (of any ilk) at this point.  Jacobsen's hybrids are limited to their Eclipse triplex and walk greensmowers, but we'll take a look at their technology because it is unique in the industry to date.
     
    First off, let's go back to 2005 when John Deere introduced the 2500E triplex greensmower with electric reel drive. The electric reel drive system, which has morphed over the years into their current E-Cut series of greens and fairway mowers, has obvious benefits of greater control (FOC), lower noise, improved fuel economy and the removal of many potential sources of hydraulic leaks.  Note that the power plant was and is still an ICE (gas or diesel), and the mowers still have hydraulic systems for traction, reel lift/lower, steering, etc. 
     

    The electric reel drive system... has obvious benefits of greater control (FOC), lower noise, improved fuel economy and the removal of many potential sources of hydraulic leaks.
     
    Regarding fuel economy, electrical systems and components are by nature more efficient and thus require less energy than hydraulic systems. Think of the heat given off by hydraulic systems as just one indication of energy inefficiency. Heat is really energy in transfer, and if we need hydraulic coolers and that type of thing to get rid of excess heat from hydraulic systems, it's a pretty good indication of energy not being put to good use.  So the better efficiency of electrical systems along with the ability in some cases to operate a mower at less than full throttle (which would otherwise be required to operate a hydraulic system at peak efficiency), hybrid mowers are more fuel-efficient than standard hydraulic units.
     
    Let's look at the methodology of driving the electric reel system, as it is different across the three colors as well.
     

    I spoke with Tracy Lanier, product manager for John Deere Golf, who explained that the current John Deere 2500E, 7500A and 8000A E-Cut models utilize a 48-volt, 180-amp alternator belt-driven off the engine to directly power the reel circuits (only) without an additional battery system. The alternator engages only when the reel drive is engaged, so no power is produced during transport, etc.
     
    Traditional electric components (starter, lights, gauges, etc) are powered by a regular 12v battery. So, in a nutshell, the engine drives an alternator which powers the reel circuits. No extra battery pack.
     
    Part of the benefit of this system, according to Lanier, is that in systems that utilize a battery pack, the battery begins to lose its power immediately when used, so the frequency of clip would change over time as the batteries drain while mowing. By driving an alternator directly off the engine and not relying on battery power, the frequency of clip at the start of the day and at the end of the day is exactly the same.
     
    So there you have it from the 'green' perspective.  One might counter that the above statement should perhaps be limited to battery-only systems, and even then regenerative braking would recharge the battery intermittently during the day so it's not a linear discharge all day long.
     
    Chris Fox, product manager for greensmowers and heavy duty utility vehicles at Jacobsen, filled me in on the technology they use on the Eclipse 322 triplex greensmowers, of which there are two: an all-electric (strictly battery-powered) and a hybrid.  There's that H-word again.
     
    All systems -- traction, reel drive, lift/lower and steering -- on both Eclipse 322 models are electric. 48-volt electric motors power each wheel. Reel lift/lower is done via electric linear actuator (think sprayer boom lift), and steering is variable ratio steer-by-wire.  All electric/electronic.  There is no hydraulic system at all on either of the Jacobsen machines.
     
    The Eclipse 322 Electric has no internal combustion engine (ICE).  The drivetrain, in fact, is borrowed from the EZGO RXV electric golf car and modified for this application ("leveraging the technology of our sister company", in marketing-speak).  It's a full plug-in system utilizing an on-board high frequency 48-v charger. Regenerative braking also helps to recharge the batteries during use.
     
    Rather than use a battery pack as the sole power source as the Eclipse 322 Electric does, the Hybrid incorporates an ICE (either a 13hp gas or diesel) to drive a generator (the combination of which -- engine plus generator -- is termed a genset). The genset provides primary power directly to the machine.
     
    Unlike the Deere configuration, however, the Jacobsen hybrid also has a 48-v battery pack (albeit smaller than that on the all-electric unit) to supplement the genset power in heavy-demand situations.
     
    "If the unit needs power beyond what the genset can provide then it pulls from the batteries," Fox explained. "At this point the machine is using energy from both the battery and the genset.  The genset then charges the batteries when they are below a certain charge."
     
    The limiting factor with the all-electric system is range, or duration of use. Lead acid batteries can only power the unit for so long before the charge runs out, and when it's done, it's done. "We are looking for a lithium solution to further extend the runtime of the electric units," Fox said.
     

    All systems -- traction, reel drive, lift/lower and steering -- on both Eclipse 322 models are electric... There is no hydraulic system at all on either of the Jacobsen machines.
     
    So Deere uses an alternator, Jacobsen a generator.  What the difference? 
     
    A good resource for alternator and generator theory is here: http://www.rowand.net/Shop/Tech/AlternatorGeneratorTheory.htm. Not laying claim to being an electrical engineer, I'll simply paraphrase some of it below.
     
    Technically, the key difference between an alternator and a generator is what spins and what is fixed. On a generator windings of wire (the armature) spin inside a fixed magnetic field. On an alternator, a magnetic field is spun inside of windings of wire (the stator) to generate the electricity.
     
    In a generator, the current produced is directly proportional to the speed that the armature spins and to the strength of the magnetic field. If you spin it faster, it makes more and if you make the magnetic field stronger it makes more current. The speed of the spinning is controlled by the speed of the engine. A generator can only put out it's maximum rated current at or above some speed - at lower speeds the output drops off very quickly.
     
    An alternator can be "geared up" to spin at speeds higher than engine speed, while also reaching it's maximum output at lower engine speeds (so a car, for example, with an alternator is able to power all electrical components at idle speed) without relying on the battery.
     
    An alternator produces energy only when needed. A generator is working all the time. The Jacobsen units employ a bank of resistors to burn off excess electrical capacity when demand is low and the battery pack is fully charged.
     
    OK, enough electrical theory. On to the Toro hybrid fairway unit.
     
    I spoke with Steven Peterson, marketing manager for Reelmaster products for The Toro Company.
     
    "Our first challenge when designing a hybrid machine was to define what a hybrid is," Peterson explained. "We gravitated toward the Toyota definition, which includes two energy sources and an energy storage system."
     
    In the Toyota model, fuel economy and savings result from use of a smaller displacement engine and a battery storage system that switch off and on -- and in heavy load conditions combine -- to power the machine.
     
    Toro selected a 24.8 hp Kubota diesel engine (note that it's just under the 25 hp limit for Tier 4 emissions regulations), an inline motor-generator and a self-charging 48v battery pack to power the Reelmaster 5010-H.  By comparison, the John Deere 7500A E-Cut hybrid uses a 37.1 hp turbocharged diesel engine, and remember... no battery pack.
     
    Cutting units are driven by electric motors, as are those of the other two colors.  Traction drive and reel lift/lower are traditional hydraulic, like the Deere system.  Jake's traction and lift are electric.
     
    For the battery, Toro uses four 12-volt AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries rather than traditional flooded (spillable) lead acid batteries to make up the 48-volt system.  The AGM batteries are sealed and maintenance free, and are similar to those used in the automobile industry for start-stop hybrids (those where the engine shuts off at a stoplight, and then starts up again upon acceleration). They are designed for long life in a shallow discharge/frequent recharge scenario. Shallow discharge is like when you plug in your cell phone overnight when the battery isn't dead; deep discharge would be when a golf car battery goes dead out on the course and requires a full recharge.
     
    Let's look at the motor-generator for a second. A motor-generator can operate as either an electric motor or a generator, converting between electrical power and mechanical power. Thus, by changing polarity, it can switch back and forth to power the cutting units or add additional power to the traction system when needed.
     

    A motor-generator can operate as either an electric motor or a generator, converting between electrical power and mechanical power...
     
    Toro calls the patent-pending system they developed for this unit PowerMatch. Under normal load conditions the engine drives the hydraulic/traction system and the motor-generator provides the electrical current to power the cutting units. 
     
    When hilly terrain or heavy mowing conditions increase the load and require more power, PowerMatch calls for the battery pack to assist the motor-generator, taking some of the load of the cutting units away from the engine (which, of course is driving the motor-generator as well as the hydraulic system) -- thus leaving the engine with more available horsepower for the traction circuit. 
     
    In extreme conditions, when maximum power may be required for verticutting, scalping or climbing steep hills, the batteries take on the cutting unit load exclusively and send the reserve battery power back to the motor generator, which reverses polarity and becomes an electric motor. The mechanical power that results provides a boost for the diesel engine in powering the traction system.
     
    The net result, by sensing demand and allocating or re-apportioning power from the engine, motor-generator and battery pack between the reel drive and traction drive circuits, the 5010-H "consistently creates 40+ horsepower in peak mode," according to Peterson. 
     
    Toro also states an average of 20% fuel savings with this system, but Peterson added that field testing over the past three years has shown fuel savings much higher than that at the test courses.  "Conditions are different everywhere, so we have found it best to under-promise and over-deliver when we can in these situations," Peterson said.
     
    In review, the Deere system utilizes an internal combustion engine to drive an alternator to power the electric cutting units, and the hydraulic system to power the traction, steering and lift/lower circuits.  There is no battery pack, as the alternator produces current only when needed and is sufficient to power the electric reel circuit.
     
    Jacobsen has an all-electric (batteries being the only power source) drive system, or an internal combustion engine driving a generator to power the traction, steering, lift/lower and cutting unit drive.  The generator also recharges the 48-volt battery pack.
     
    Toro has a small-displacement diesel engine that powers a motor-generator, battery pack and hydraulic system. The motor-generator typically powers the cutting units, but the battery can kick in and do that while the motor-generator shifts to motor mode to produce mechanical power to assist the engine in high-demand situations.
     
    Regardless of the nuances of definition and product features, the take-home message should be that all hybrid systems from each of the manufacturers offer solid benefits of reduced fuel consumption, better control of cutting units, lower noise and fewer leak points... all good things.
     
     
    For further reference: 
     
    US EPA Fuel Economy and Hybrid Technology animation
     

     

     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Someone once said that dogs are the only things that love you more than they love themselves.
      It seems, in the golf business at least, that the feeling is mutual since dogs are fixtures on courses across the country. And why not? Dogs don't talk back, they're not late to work and they don't complain about green speeds.   More importantly, they keep geese and other nuisance critters on the run, provide reliable companionship throughout the day and are effective at running interference against overzealous golfers.   If this describes your golf course dog, then nominate your canine friend for a place in the 2016 TurfNet Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar, presented by Syngenta.   Since 2002, the TurfNet Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar, the original golf course dog calendar, has paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of golf course dogs. Later this summer, our judging panel will choose 14 golf course dogs to grace the pages of next year's calendar.   Here are a few tips when taking and submitting photographs of your dog:    Images should be taken horizontally at your camera's highest resolution setting (at least 4mb). Also, try not to center your dog in the frame, as left or right orientation often results in a more dramatic photograph. The best photos are those in which we can clearly see the dog's face.   Nomination deadline is July 31.   To nominate your dog, email HIGH-RESOLUTION photos to Anna Murray and be sure to include the dog's name, age and breed; photographer's name; owner's name, phone number, email address; and the name of the golf course where the owner and dog both work.
  • Recent research indicates that there might be more to reclaimed water than meets the eye, or nose, in this case.
     
    One of the greatest concerns with using so-called dirty water has been the contaminants it contains and how to ensure they do not persist in the soil profile over time.
     
    Besides recycling a precious resource, there might be other benefits to using reclaimed water, according to recent research out of the University of Florida. That research suggests that recycled water not only contains impurities that often must be flushed through the soil to prevent problems such as compaction and hydrophobicity, but also contains essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.
     
    Reclaimed water is defined as wastewater that has gone through at least secondary treatment. 
     
    "The main difference between (reclaimed water) that has received secondary treatment versus advanced treatment is the reduced level of nutrients and other chemicals remaining in water subjected to advanced treatment," wrote Jinghua Fan and George Hochmuth, who authored the study. "Water receiving advanced treatment typically has 25 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus and less soluble salts than contained in secondary treatments. Increasingly, the reclaimed water used for irrigation is from advanced wastewater treatment facilities."
     
    Among the benefits of using reclaimed water containing nitrogen, the researchers learned, is that it could potentially result in reduced nitrogen fertilizer inputs. To date, there is little research on the subject.
     
    "It is important to determine the optimum combinations of water and nutrient applications to support turfgrass production without impairing groundwater through losses of nutrients from the landscape," they wrote in their study published on the electronic journal HortTechnology.
     
    A University of Florida research team designed greenhouse experiments using Empire zoysiagrass, which is suitable for use on fairways from the Pacific Northwest, through the lower portion of the Midwest and into the Mid-Atlantic regions as well as all points south. The study also included St. Augustine grass, which is used in residential lawns throughout the Gulf Coast and Florida. 
     
    Treatments included irrigation with tap water (control), reclaimed water from a university wastewater treatment facility, irrigation with reclaimed water with additional nitrogen supplied from ammonium nitrate and a dry prilled fertilizer treatment.
     
    Based on visual turf quality and clipping yield, the study showed that turfgrass growth responded positively to nitrogen concentration in the irrigation water, but not to the same degree it did to the synthetic fertilizer treatment. The concentration of nitrogen in the non-amended wastewater was not sufficient for optimal turfgrass growth. Measurements showed no difference in turfgrass growth with the base level nitrogen in the delivered reclaimed water compared with tap water. The data showed that as more N was added to the base recycled water, turfgrass growth increased.
     
    Turf quality and clipping yield maximized when the total nitrogen concentration in the irrigation water was at least 5 mg per liter. Leaching of nitrogen was determined to be negligible with all treatments.
     
    The authors of the study ultimately concluded more research is needed, particularly outdoor field studies, to reinforce their findings.
  • Operation makeover

    By John Reitman, in News,

    When the going got tough at Centennial Oaks Golf Club, it didn't take long for members there to show just how tough they were, too.
      Faced with declining membership, contracting banquet and tournament business and the threat of their club going the way of nearly net-800 golf courses that have permanently closed during most of the past decade, members at this club in Waverly, Iowa, decided it was time for some out-of-the-box thinking, according to a story in Cedar Valley Business Monthly.    Exit Centennial Oaks Golf Club and enter the newly revamped Prairie Links Golf and Event Center.   The club changed not only its name, but also the way it conducts business and is going out of its way to attract new members.   When the limited liability corporation that signed the checks at Waverly went belly up earlier this year, a group of members quickly got together, drafted a new business plan and presented it to the rest of the membership for an expedited approval. That plan includes the option of buying equity membership in the club and shifting voting rights from a few people in the LLC to all equity members.   Click here to read the rest of the story.   The new business model also includes a variety of other non-equity golf and social membership levels that help drive business and raise much-needed revenue.   It became evident that something needed to be done when membership dipped by a third from an all-time high of about 230 just five years ago.   As the club moves into the future to attract more members and changing demographics, some things that continue to fit the new business plan are not changing. Among the carryovers at Prairie Links are superintendent Ryan Deur and golf pro Adam Miller.   Strictly a private operation, Prairie Links is planning to open its doors to the general public next month, hoping to capitalize on the Masters craze to attract new business on the links as well as in the clubhouse dining room.
  • The task of trying to identify the most significant challenges facing golf course superintendents today is a lot like trying to choose a favorite Beatles song: there are so many, it's nearly impossible to choose just one.
      Unlike listening to John, Paul, George and Ringo belt out Let it Be and Hey, Jude, which is a good thing, picking from a list that includes anthracnose and the threat of becoming unemployed at age 50 isn't so positive.   Too few players, lack of job security, shrinking budgets and escalating player demands, labor issues, a world of uncertainty due to changing healthcare legislation, inherent soil conditions, increased disease pressure, weather concerns. The list goes on and on.   Walt Norley, Matt Shaffer and a group of their colleagues believe they have come up with a tool that will allow superintendents to collect data on some of these issues and use that to develop a plan that will help them to save time, reduce operating costs, improve playability and produce a stronger, healthier plant.   OnGolf is a cloud-based, data-analytics software program that aggregates key line-item data to help superintendents manage soil conditions, water use, fertilizer and pesticide use, labor and more as efficiently as possibly.   Founded by Norley, who brought golf UgMO (Advanced Sensor Technologies) and Shaffer, director of grounds at Merion Golf Club, OnGolf was derived from an existing ag-based platform known as OnFarm.   Based in California's San Joaquin Valley farming region, OnFarm is a cloud-based data-aggregation platform that has been helping growers increase yield and reduce the cost of production for three years. OnFarm has more than 1,000 clients large and small, the biggest being Anheuser-Busch. More than 1.3 million acres of agricultural land are under management with OnFarm since 2012.   The data analytics that OnGolf brings to the table is similar, Norley says, to that which is used by sports teams and was made popular by the 2011 baseball movie Moneyball, in which Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) taught Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) how to build a winning baseball team without spending like the New York Yankees.     The same concept, Norley says, can help superintendents maximize playing conditions and plant health with minimal inputs and labor. And, he says, the technology brings decision-making power to golf that is long overdue.   "How do you manage something without information? It's perplexing to the rest of the world how to manage something without information," Norley said. "Other markets have been using data analytics and data-aggregation decisions on cost efficiencies and revenue for years. This industry has been slow to adopt to data analytics."  
    Norley's UgMO technology, which was the talk of the GIS trade show floor in 2008 in Orlando, was developed to help superintendents reduce water use and save money while improving playing conditions. Like UgMO, OnGolf isn't about making superintendents spend more money, it's about doing more with less.   Due out as early as April, OnGolf's cloud-based system collects data from soil-monitoring technology and computerized irrigation systems, utilizes its own weather system and also can capture information such as fertilizer use, fungicide and pesticide inputs, and mowing schedules. That's when OnGolf really kicks into action as the service, as Norley says, "crunches the numbers" and provides key information delivered to a smartphone or tablet that is designed to help superintendents make decisions on agronomic programs that will maximize playability, produce healthier turf and provide more consistent conditions while minimizing water and chemical inputs, energy as well as financial resources.   "It's integrating information that is already out there and putting it into one location where it all talks to each other," said Shawn Emerson of Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona, and president of OnGolf's advisory board. "The beauty of it is that it tracks everything, but the superintendent can make his own decision on what to do with that information.   "It is a virtual consultant."   Although it utilizes the same basic technology that has made OnFarm a hit in the agriculture market, OnGolf owns the rights to its own technology. That said, superintendent users retain ownership of all data uploaded to the cloud.   Managing labor at six-course Desert Mountain used to be a challenge for Emerson before he started using OnGolf. The system has helped him reduce his managers' workweek from 55 to 50 hours. It has helped him save in other areas as well.   "We don't have to water as much as we used to. We don't have to flush our greens as much as we used to, and of course we don't have to amend our soils as much," he said.   "We are the Moneyball of golf. While Billy Beane started that, now everyone uses analytics."   The system also communicates with human resource management systems like ADP and Paychex to help reduce overtime.     Shaffer said the tool has proven invaluable in preparing monthly reports for membership.   "Those reports take me 20 minutes to write, but it would take me an-hour-and-a-half just to gather the information," he said.    Now all the information he needs is in one portal.   What a superintendent does with the data OnGolf spits out on the back end depends on their goals.   Part of what Shaffer wants to accomplish is to further minimize inputs without compromising playability so he can keep costs down at Merion. At Desert Mountain, where play often is highest when places like Merion are under snow, is to remain green while using as little water as possible. By aggregating data and establishing acceptable limits, both are able to accomplish different goals with the same system.   "Our fertilizer and chemical costs have stabilized the last three years because of this information. Water costs are going up, we can't control that, but our water use is going down," Emerson said.   "I'm using it because I can't outrun it."
  • If the rest of 2015 is anything like the first couple of months, it is going to be a banner year for the Atkinson Resort and Country Club.    Located in Atkinson, New Hampshire, the property recently was named the winner of the 2015 National Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association.   Presented at last month's Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, the award is based on four criteria: quality of the golf course, quality of ownership and management, outstanding contributions to the local community, significant contributions to the game of golf.   The privately owned, 420-acre club opened in 1996 with nine holes. The second nine opened two years later, and a par-3 layout debuted in 2009.    With 16 guest rooms and a practice facility that features 15,000 square feet of teeing ground, a 12,000-square-foot putting green, multiple bunkers and a 65-yard short-game hole, the property rolls out the red carpet to visitors. But it's the golf course that stands out at Atkinson.   First-year superintendent Eric Whitmore is judicious in his water use, and has data from soil moisture meters to back up his program. He uses air injection to disrupt compacted native soils beneath his bent/poa greens, and he has developed an aggressive tree-management program has introduced sunlight and airflow where once there was little.   "When I was the assistant the year before, I noticed that we were having a lot of trouble with controlling moisture on our greens. We have native soils that do not have the best drainage, so evaporation or infiltration was difficult," he said. "My past superintendents always drilled to me that you can put water down but can't take it up. I am always more on the dry side when it comes to my greens, so we had to develop a hole-specific moisture program that allowed us to manage how much water was being put on our greens. One of the ways we accomplished this was by using soil moisture probes that measured volumetric water content, and relied heavily on the use of hand watering of those specific spots."   The Air 2G2 by GT Air Inject has helped relieve soil compaction, promote better drainage and root growth.   The Air 2G2 is a self-propelled, hydrostatic drive three-probe air-injection machine that injects compressed air to depths of 7 to 10 inches and fractures compacted soil with no surface disruption. Air also is injected vertically, covering an area of up to 5 feet.   A graduate of the University of Maine, Whitmore credits his staff, namely assistant Andrew Koffman and equipment manager Dave Wallace, for helping to make him look good and helping the course look good in the eyes of the NGCOA.   "The soils at Atkinson also gave us a challenge with managing our micro/macro nutrient levels. With the utilization of several soil tests we were able to develop a specific fertility program just for our course," he said. "There were also several hundred trees and dense brush areas removed throughout the property to increase airflow and sunlight on the greens, tees, and fairways. Last but not least I had an outstanding management team and crew that took a great deal of pride in what they were doing, no matter what the task, each and every day. Without a great crew we would not have been able to accomplish this amazing award."    The property also is heavily involved in giving back to the community.   The club hosts a fundraiser tournament each year that benefits the local Boys and Girls Clubs, and Atkinson teaching professional Wayne Swanson doubles as head coach of the Timberlane Regional High School varsity golf team.   Other finalists for the award were Currahee Club in Toccoa, Georgia, Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, California, and The Legend at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, Michigan.
  • Each year, Syngenta brings together a group of about two dozen superintendents to North Carolina, not to sell them product, but to give them education through the Syngenta Business Institute.   The Syngenta Business Institute is an intensive four-day program designed to grow the professional knowledge of golf course superintendents and assist them with managing their courses. Through a partnership with the Wake Forest University School of Business, the program provides graduate school-level instruction in areas such as financial management, human resource management, negotiating, impact hiring and other leadership- and professional-development skills, and managing across generations and cultural divides.   Applications are being accepted for this year's event are being accepted through Aug. 18. This year's SBI is scheduled for Dec. 7-10 at the Graylyn International Conference Center on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.    Eric Frazier of Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, Virginia, a 2013 SBI attendee, found the program to be so useful, he had a difficult time pinning down what he found the most useful.   "After a week of education and networking, it is hard to decide what was the best part," Frazier said. "I think for me that would have to be the opportunity for open discussion that happened during the educational sessions."   Interested superintendents must complete an online application, which requires them to write a 250-word essay summarizing why they should be selected for the program. Syngenta selects 25 individuals to participate based on their essays, commitment to the industry and other factors. Travel, lodging and meals are included for all superintendent attendees.   For more information, click here.
  • UT Herbicide-Resistance Field Day set for April 7
     

    The UT Turfgrass Weed Science team will be holding its third Herbicide Resistance Field Day on April 7 at Windyke Country Club in Memphis.   The goals of the event are to make turfgrass managers aware of the emerging problem of herbicide resistance evolving in turfgrass weeds, particularly annual bluegrass, and to educate turfgrass managers about the different herbicidal modes of action available for annual bluegrass control.   The event focuses on annual bluegrass control considering that there are more cases of herbicide resistance in annual bluegrass than any other weed species in managed turfgrass systems.   The program will include seminars on herbicide resistance by Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., and understanding herbicide mode of action by Scott Senseman, Ph.D., as well as plot tours.   Registration is open through March 31.   Toro releases new dripline
     
    Toro recently released its Neptune Flat Emitter Dripline in 8-mil and 18-mil wall thicknesses for both five-eighths-inch and seven-eighths-inch internal diameters, augmenting the existing 10-, 13- and 15-mil wall thickness line.    Neptune 8-mil is available in an 8-inch emitter spacing as well, for superior wetting patterns. With this expansion, Toro's Neptune can now economically serve a wider variety of applications that demand both thinner and thicker walled driplines, including bunker faces.   Neptune utilizes a flat, molded emitter inside an extruded, thin-walled tube that is constructed from premium-quality materials to maximize the tube's durability and performance. The molded emitter is highly resistant to plugging and requires only 120-mesh filtration. As a result of these features, Neptune is preferred in applications with challenging conditions, such as poor water quality and rocky, abrasive terrain.   Neptune is available in five different emitter flow rates, including 0.16, 0.25, 0.30, 0.47 and 0.75 GPH, and seven different emitter spacings, including 8-inch (on 8 mil), 12-inch, 14-inch, 16-inch, 18-inch, 20-inch and 24-inch, to accommodate a wide variety of soil conditions, system application rates and system flow requirements.   Schiller names new product manager
      Schiller Grounds Care recently named Steve Relaz as product manager for the Ryan and Steiner turf equipment.    Relaz will oversee new and existing product development for each brand at its production facility in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin.    Previously working at Sears Holdings, Inc. as a product and channel manager, Relaz brings a wealth of information on competitive products, new technologies, market analysis and customer purchasing trends to the Schiller team.
  • When Dave Schlagetter's divorce was finalized in April 2013, he thought he knew a lot about stress and its effects on the human body. When the mother of his three grown children was killed in a car crash a month later, he realized he didn't know as much as he had previously thought.   "I have a really good job; a great job. I have a great crew and the best membership anywhere. I have the least stressful job of anyone I know," said Schlagetter, who for 22 years has been superintendent at the Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois. "But my divorce was stressful, and the death of my ex-wife was really stressful."   Despite his active lifestyle that includes playing tennis and golf (and he usually walks when he plays) and riding his bicycle several days a week, Schlagetter suffered a heart attack five months after the death of his ex-wife. He never saw it coming until, thanks to his defibrillator and first-aid training, he one day recognized all the classic signs of impending cardiac arrest - in himself.   "I had taken the day off work and was taking a bike ride on a Sunday morning. I had all the classic symptoms of a heart attack: shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, nausea and I was sweating profusely," said Schlagetter. "I called 911, opened the front door so they could get in, and I laid down at the door, and I talked to the dispatcher until paramedics arrived. When they took me to the hospital, doctors found a 100-percent-blocked artery, put a stent in it, and it was opened in 90 minutes of me making the call.   "I thought I was in good condition. There was no indication that this was coming. I'm not overweight, I'm not a smoker, but my doctor says I drink too much. However, I've never met a doctor who said you don't drink enough."   The experience has since led to a series of life changes that Schlagetter is happy to share with anyone who will listen.   "A lot of guys our age, in their 50s, are having heart attacks, because of stress and not making healthy choices," he said.    "I tell my kids I love them a lot more often than I did before."  
    "I thought I was in good condition. There was no indication that this was coming. I'm not overweight, I'm not a smoker, but my doctor says I drink too much. However, I've never met a doctor who said you don't drink enough."
     
    Anthony Williams, CGCS at Stone Mountain Golf Club in Georgia had a similar series of life-altering experiences last year when he suffered unimaginable tragedy within a span of nine weeks.    Last Aug. 7, Terry McWaters, Williams' stepbrother, went missing. Williams' family hired a private detective to take up the search, with no luck. A week later, an Atlanta road maintenance crew spotted a car off the highway in the trees not far from the golf course at Stone Mountain. Inside was McWaters, who, according to the coroner, had died of a heart attack while behind the wheel.   More than six weeks later, on Sept. 22, Williams was set to speak at the Sustainability in Golf conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina, when wife Phyllis suffered a heart attack in the couple's hotel room and was rushed to a local hospital. When Williams considered foregoing the conference, his wife, long since hardened by the sacrifices a superintendent's wife, had one message for him: "Get your (expletive deleted) together, and do what we came here for you to do. I'm good. The doctors are great. Don't be a sissy."   With no reading between the lines needed, Williams spoke at the conference then returned to the hospital.   "That gave us some normalcy," Williams said.   That return to normal life, however, was short-lived.   Three weeks later, with his wife in and out of doctors' offices during her recovery, Williams himself fell ill at the golf course. His equipment manager and longtime friend Jim Stuart summoned an ambulance. The two have worked together for 29 years.   "We've had that deal for all of those 29 years: If it gets bad, make the call and stay with me," Williams said. "He's leading, 1-0."   After being transported to a local hospital in suburban Atlanta, Williams was flown by helicopter later that day to a downtown hospital where he underwent emergency open-heart surgery to repair an enlarged valve.   "It came down to a matter of minutes or hours, not days," Williams said.   "My heart was broken. My wife needed me, and there I was with a 10-inch gash in my chest and on a breathing machine. Phyllis is the loving wife who always puts me back together when I'm broken. But now, I saw her life flash before my eyes."   The ordeal meant several weeks away from work, and leaving assistant Matt Park in charge at a 36-hole facility that theoretically is open 12 months a year.   In a case of early second childhood, the couple soon found themselves relying on then-28-year-old son Luke, who chauffeured to doctors' offices and confiscated cell phones to make sure they stayed calm and on the road to recovery. He even accompanied his father to last month's Golf Industry Show more or less as a babysitter.   Already a sought-after motivational speaker and author on career and personal development, Williams, like Schlagetter, wants to share his message and experiences with anyone who will listen. And each has said their experiences have helped them stop and smell the roses a little more than before.   "I don't know how many days, months, years we have left together as a family. I know this, though, we almost didn't have any," Williams said. "It's easy to become complacent and drift day to day, week to week and status-quo your way through life. But you don't get that time back.   "After something like this happens, first you're thankful to be alive, but then you remember you still have obligations, and you have to get your mind back into the game quickly. We both agreed not to make any drastic, life-altering decisions until we were physically back to make sure we were not overreacting. Usually, you have a spouse to lean on when you go through something like this, but when we both went down 18 days apart, it changes all that."   Both Williams and Schlagetter found a return to work, albeit a gradual one, to be an effective part of their respective therapy programs.   "Considering my wife and I almost died, did I really want to get back into the grind? That was the question I had to ask myself. And my answer was yes," Williams said. "Everyone has to search through that for themselves."   Returning to work also was good therapy for Schlagetter.   "This might seem counterintuitive, but I appreciate my job more now than ever," Schlagetter said. "The way the club supported me through 2013 for everything I went through was incredible.    "Job support was always there, but I never needed it like I did in 2013. I can't say enough good things about my employer and the people there."   Schlagetter always believed that because he was active he could eat anything he wanted. He has since learned that is not the case. He also has learned through his rehab process that all exercise is not created equally.   "Through cardio rehab, I learned the right way to exercise for heart health," he said. "I was exercising all wrong. I was exercising to an anaerobic state. I learned the best exercise for the heart is aerobic, rather than anaerobic."   Therapy also has included wholesale changes to his diet, switching from his intake of pub food to more heart-healthy choices like fruits, vegetables and fresh fish.   "In general, I'm making choices that have helped me live a better life every day," Schlagetter said.   "It's not a hard transition to make, but it requires a little more planning. Sometimes it means putting a protein bar in the car, so I don't have to stop and get a burger, or looking through an entire menu and making better choices. They're there. Restaurants have found there s big money in selling salads for 12 bucks a pop."  
  • If there is a business in desperate need of a mulligan, golf is it.
     
    Just how much people in this business want that second shot at hitting the fairway becomes abundantly clear each year at the Golf Industry Show. It doesn't matter what year it is, or the location; as soon as the show floor opens on Wednesday morning, vendors and attendees all want to know: "What have you heard about attendance?"
     
    There is no question that the 2015 edition of the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio seemed busy. There was the regular bustle, particularly in the morning on the first day, and a maddening show floor layout that made it impossible to go in a straight line for very long led to the usual pedestrian traffic jams.
     
    The comments swirling around the floor of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center sounded positive enough: "It seems crowded" and "I don't think we'll ever be what we used to be, but I think we're on the way back," were just a couple.
     
    Looks can be deceiving.
     
    According to the GCSAA, 12,400 people, including 5,600 qualified buyers, attended this year's show in San Antonio. A total of 551 exhibitors rented 182,000 square feet of exhibit space. 
     
    What do those numbers mean? Across the board, they are down compared with last year's show in Orlando and darned near every show before that. In fact, they represent the latest in a downward trend that has become all too familiar in the golf business. This year's overall attendance was 13 percent below last year's mark of 14,147. Thirteen percent. That's a lot. Qualified buyers were down by 19 percent compared with 6,845 last year. That's really a lot. There also were more exhibitors (561) who paid for more booth space (184,200) last year.
     
    Though attendance was down only about 6 percent when compared with the San Diego show two years ago, a quick look back to 2008 reveals how far the show has fallen.
     
    Granted, comparing attendance to the old mega-shows is apples-to-oranges. The Club Managers Association of America was part of the show then (CMAA dumped the GIS model and returned to its own World Conference schedule in 2011), and no one expects GIS to return to its pre-recession form. Still, those shows help provide some sobering perspective. 
     
    The 2008 show in Orlando was the biggie. It attracted 25,737 attendees, 10,553 qualified buyers and 965 exhibitors. Booth space was 300,900 square feet. For those who like statistics, attendance this year was 48 percent of that year's total. That's right, this year's show in San Antonio attracted fewer than half the number of people who were at GIS seven years ago.
     
    Numbers tell a lot about any business.
     
    For too many years, the numbers most pertinent to those in the golf business have been: How many courses closed last year? How many opened? How many new golfers came into the game? How many left? 
     
    And they have told a less-than-positive story. 
     
    Numbers reveal a lot about quantity, but they're not so good at measuring quality. And the one good thing about the Golf Industry Show is that every year it manages to attract those who are serious about conducting business.
     
    In the meantime, this still is an industry in need of a mulligan. Even more clear is that it appears we're in for a long wait.
  • The name Jay Morrish is attached to some of the country's most notable modern-era golf courses, including two PGA Tour stops and another built just for one of Hollywood's rich and famous.
      Morrish died March 2. He was 78.   Morrish began his career with some of the great architects in the business before eventually setting out on his on.   Upon graduation from Colorado State University, where he earned a degree in landscape and turf management, Morrish soon joined the construction team on the Robert Trent Jones-designed Spyglass Hill course in Pebble Beach, California, which is part of the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am circuit. He continued to work as construction superintendent on Jones' courses until joining Desmond Muirhead as a designer in 1967.   Morrish then went to work as a designer with Jack Nicklaus in 1972. After 10 years, he went off on his own with PGA Tour player Tom Weiskopf. Their 12-year partnership generated some two dozen high-profile courses, including Loch Lomond in Scotland.   In the mid 1990s Morrish went completely on his own and designed many new golf courses including Tehama for Clint Eastwood in Carmel, California; Stone Canyon, Tuscon, Arizona and Pine Dunes, Frankston, Texas.   Other notable designs from Morrish include: TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona; TPC Las Colinas, Irving, Texas, home of the Tour's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship; Troon Golf and Country Club, Scottsdale, Arizona; and Forest Highlands, Flagstaff, Arizona. He was also active around the world, designing courses in Spain, Canada, Australia, and Japan.   Survivors include his wife, Louise; son, Carter; daughter, Kim (Brian Coder); and grandchildren, Megan and Spencer Coder.  
  • When it comes to managing golf courses, Fred Gehrisch, CGCS, sees the big picture, but it's the little things he does that attract so much attention.   "Fred Gehrisch not only knows how to grow grass and manage a crew and a budget, but is also very attuned to the club members, and probably is the staff member who does the best job of seeing that members have reason to be proud of the club," said Charles Sausman, a member at Highlands Falls Country Club in Highlands, North Carolina, where Gehrisch has been superintendent 16 years.   Whether it is maintaining the golf course, taking on a civic-improvement project or picking up random trash on the property, doing whatever it takes to improve the customer experience for members has become Gehrisch's trademark.   "We all get dirty here," Gehrisch said. "There's no such thing as 'it's not my job' here. Picking up a wrapper on the floor is just as much my responsibility as someone who works in the clubhouse."   On Feb. 26, Gehrisch was named the winner of the 2014 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.   He was chosen by a panel of judges from a field of 10 finalists that included Nelson Caron of The Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, Georgia, the late Paul Colleran of Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Washington, Jorge Croda of Southern Oaks Golf Club in Burleson, Texas, Jim Ferrin of Timber Creek and Sierra Pines Golf Courses in Roseville, California, Mark Hoban of Rivermont Country Club in John's Creek, Georgia, Joel Kachmarek of Tacoma (Washington) Country and Golf Club, Paul Latshaw of Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Jim Roney of Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Eric Wygant of Shannopin Country Club in Pittsburgh.  
    Throughout his career, Gehrisch, 45, has undertaken several civic-improvement projects that help improve quality of life for residents of Highlands and portray the club in a positive public light. Recently, he won the praises of his members for helping spearhead a project to convert an otherwise forgotten meeting room in the clubhouse into a museum dedicated to the history of the club and architect of the golf course, the late Joe Lee.   The project culminated with a golf tournament in Lee's honor and a celebration that included a host of dignitaries including Lee's widow. The Joe Lee room includes photographs, trophies and other memorabilia that walk members through the history of the 50-plus-year-old club and connect some long-forgotten dots.   For many years, Gehrisch, a graduate of Ohio State University, has had a love for tackling projects outside the normal realm of his superintendent duties, and has been fortunate to have a membership that understands his passion.  
    Highlands is an upscale mountain community in western North Carolina, and many of the club's members maintain second homes there. Among the area's more well-heeled residents, they also have a knack for volunteer work and giving back to the community, and appreciate the same from Gehrisch.   To that end, Gehrisch has planted trees throughout Highlands for the city, cleared a downtown lot to make room for a municipal park, managed hemlocks for the town's land trust, repaired its hiking trails, cleared debris so a local animal shelter could expand its operations, cuts firewood for the town to distribute to needy families, builds doghouses for a local charity.   "Part of the job here is to promote the image of the club," Gehrisch said. "In a small town, little things can go a long way, especially our community projects."  
  • At a time when many are concerned with growing the game of golf, John Rourke, superintendent of Button Hole Golf Course in Providence, Rhode Island, has become part of the solution.

    Button Hole, a not-for-profit nine-hole golf course and driving range, was founded in 1999 with a simple vision: expose the game to underprivileged children and grow the game by catering to all walks of life.

    "Button Hole was created as a means of expanding the game of golf by giving inner city youths, individuals with disabilities and people with no golf skills the opportunity to play the game. We even have scholarship programs to help those who are less fortunate," explains Rourke. "There are approximately 25,000 disadvantaged children living within just three miles of Button Hole."

    Rourke has only been at Button Hole since last April, but is no stranger to the turf industry. After beginning school at Bryant College as an accounting major, he quickly realized he was unhappy with his career path. He decided to take a semester off and ended up spending that time working at a golf course.

    During the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory that used buttons as shoe fasteners was located on a river that now flows near the golf course. Many buttons were swept down this river and were collected in a natural swimming hole that was appropriately dubbed "Button Hole."

    Once he learned that colleges actually offered degrees in what he was doing, he transferred to the University of Rhode Island where he completed his turfgrass degree. Rourke then completed his internships at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island and Poquoy Brook Golf Course in Lakeville, Massachusetts. He then spent five years working at The Agawam Hunt Club as the Assistant Superintendent in East Providence, Rhode Island.

    As you can imagine, Rourke's job as superintendent of Button Hole is drastically different than his other experiences in the turf industry. However, despite the adjustment, Rourke has never been happier.

    "The atmosphere at Button Hole is much better than at other courses I've worked at. Everyone is always smiling and it's like a breath of fresh air," says Rourke. "On the turf maintenance side of things, my priorities are much different than they used to be. For instance, green speed is never a concern. It's about giving people a pleasurable playing experience, especially since for most people, it's their first time playing the game."

    Click here to read the rest of the story.
  • Golf is a game built on tradition: 18 holes, sportsmanship and etiquette, self-reporting rules violations, green jackets and claret jugs. It's also a game traditionally dominated by men - on the course and in the maintenance building. Although women continue to make strides in breaking down gender walls in golf turf maintenance, they still have a long way to go.
      A group of current and future superintendents say that although they make the same professional and personal sacrifices as their male counterparts, they've had to go above and beyond to earn the same level of respect from their colleagues. Still, none of them have second-guessed their career choice for a millisecond.   "There are males out there that are very respectful and treat me as an equal, whereas there are others that treat women as second-class citizens and can't wait for them to be replaced by a male counterpart," said Monica Lalinde, superintendent at Smyrna Municipal Golf Course in Tennessee.   "I knew it was a male dominated field but I did not care, it was what I wanted to do and I was going to fight for it."   The GCSAA says it has 101 women members, 31 of whom are Class A members and another 21 with Superintendent Member status.   A 1984 graduate of the Ohio State turf program and a former Buckeye golfer, Sherri Brogan, CGCS, has been in the golf business since 1986 and a head superintendent in the six-course Columbus municipal golf system since 1989. She has been superintendent at the city's Champions Golf Course since 1992, and GCSAA certification in 1998.   As an OSU student in the 1980s, it didn't take Brogan long to realize she'd chosen a major dominated by men. And she figured making a name for herself might not be easy. Like her male colleagues, Brogan, 53, has worked hard to get where she is today. Maybe, she admits, she's had to work a little harder, not that she's complaining, mind you.   "Did I know what I was getting into? To some extent yes. To the full extent? No. I've had to work a lot harder to get the same respect that a lot of my male counterparts, who I'm around every day, have gotten," Brogan said.   "When I was working my way up I continually had to prove myself. It didn't matter how good the golf course looked, I knew people were thinking ?Someone must have been helping her.' "   Would she have chosen a different career path if she'd known then what she knows now? Don't bet on it, because Brogan doesn't just think she's as good as any other superintendent in the business who happens to be a man. She knows she is.   "There are some superintendents who don't accept it, and there are some who are great friends who I know I can call and they'll help me any time," she said.   "I've been doing this so long, I don't really care. I can do as good a job as any of them. I love what I do, and I can't wait to get here to the course every day."   Arin Hawkins is head superintendent at Raymond Memorial Golf Course, also in the Columbus municipal family.   He knows when he needs to make a call to get advice from a colleague, he can count on Brogan, and vice-, Hawkins said.   "When you look at her qualifications, she's got it all," Hawkins said. "She's a senior member of our golf division, and she's certified. That's a rigorous process.   "We both look to each other if we have problems or issues. She's the first person I go to. We lean on each other heavily."   Like Brogan, Lalinde's days in golf began as a player. As a near-scratch golfer when she was a youngster, she thought she would make a living wielding a putter, not a soil moisture meter.   Lalinde saw her plans for a life as a professional golfer dashed by back pain when she was 18. She loved the game too much to walk away from it, so she chose a career in turf management instead.   A native of Colombia, Lalinde has been in the business for parts of four decades. At age 55, she's been a head superintendent for 21 years, including the past 14 at Smyrna Municipal Golf Course in Tennessee. She knew the field was one dominated by men when she graduated from Walters State Community College in Morristown, but that did not deter her then, or now.   "The biggest challenge was getting a chance to show what you could do and that you could do it," Lalinde said. "There was also the misconception that the job was too physical for a woman. You do not have to be Superman to do it, however, you cannot be afraid of physical labor and adapting your abilities to the demands of the job. The job is not too much to handle; it is demanding but not impossible."   Like her male colleagues, Lalinde has spent years putting in long hours on the golf course, often placing her job ahead of her family. Her dedication to her job cost her a marriage.   "The hours that you put in during the golfing season are long, and it is very easy to lose yourself in your job and forget that your family needs your time too," she said.   "The demands of the job are hard on families and you have to have a good support system, or your family will suffer. A strong support system is a necessity that I did not have.    "I can only speak for myself, but I lived in a state of chaos trying to be good at my job and trying to be a good wife and mother. I was never at peace either at home or at work. I am an overachiever and a perfectionist and tried to give 110 percent at both, and ended up with a divorce on one hand and a career and my daughter on the other. Families need you year round, not just during your slow time at work."   Carmen Kozak knew she too was entering a field dominated by men when she turned a summer job on a golf course into a career path. Initially studying business at Red Deer College in Alberta, Kozak eventually switched gears and earned a degree in turfgrass studies at nearby Olds College. At age 26, she's completing her first year as foreman at Riverbend Golf and Recreation Area as she completes her studies at Olds College in Alberta. Last year, Kozak was the first woman to win Toro's Future Superintendent of the Year Award, an honor bestowed each year in concert with the Canadian Golf Course Superintendents Association.   Her reasons for pursuing a career as a head superintendent sound pretty familiar.   "At first it was just a summer job, but I absolutely loved it," Kozak said. "Every season that I returned to the links I just kept falling in love with it more and more. The people, continual change of pace, as well as the physical nature of the job made me excited every day. I had the opportunity to work for and alongside some amazing people who showed their passion for both this industry and their job every day. The fact that I woke up every single day with a smile on my face, and not to mention the excitement of what the day was going to hold for me made it a pretty easy decision to pursue this career."   Even upon entering the business in the 21st century, Kozak quickly learned that as a woman she was in the minority. She says a lifetime spent in youth sports has helped her make the transition.   "Although at the time it seemed odd to be primarily working with males, it didn't deter my decision to continue working on a golf course," Kozak said. "I have had a lot of male influences in my life from my own father, hockey coaches, and swim coaches. For me it wasn't much different than how I was raised. I honestly believe that this helped make it an easy transition and allowed me to be very comfortable early on."   Like her more experienced female colleagues, Kozak still finds herself having to prove she knows the business and not just the jargon. She's also learned it's not just in the maintenance department where women suffer from stereotypes, it's throughout rest of the industry as well.   "One of the biggest challenges, not just for myself but many women face within this industry is proving ourselves," she said. "Proving that we can do the work, proving that we can have just as much knowledge, and proving that we want to be taken seriously on the job. The last thing I ever imagined myself doing prior to turf school or when I was first starting on a golf course was being able to talk irrigation or to discuss sprayer operation and calibration; basically anything that a stereotypical women wouldn't understand just because they are a women. Now I have the education and practical experience to that talk shop. We need to prove that we understand all aspects of the industry, including the game of golf, and we are not there just for the cute clothes."   Aretha Franklin said it best: "All I want is a little respect . . ."
  • Whether you're heading to San Antonio, or giving this year's Golf Industry Show a pass, Pellucid Corp. and Edgehill Golf Advisors are offering a can't-miss opportunity during this year's show.
     
    Each year during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Pellucid's Jim Koppenhaver and Stuart Lindsay of Edgehill present their annual State of the Industry report. Unlike some entities in the golf business, Koppenhaver and Lindsay peel off the gloves to give a very frank view of the good and bad facing the golf business. This year, they are bringing their unabashed look at the golf industry to San Antonio - sort of - in two streaming live events.
     
    GIS attendees, or those who have elected to stay home, can watch and listen from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday and again from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday. Space is limited.
     
    Click here to register for Wednesday's event.
     
    Click here to register for Thursday's event.
     
    The report will provide updates on course closures and new course construction, how many courses must close (or how many golfers must be gained) for the industry to be healthy, rounds played, number of golfers lost in the past year and golfer demographics - who is playing and who is not, revenue and pricing, online payment systems and more.
     
    The information isn't for the faint of heart, but it is key for those who want the straight skinny on what is happening in the golf business, and not the industry cheerleader version. Neither session is approved for GCSAA education credit, but attendees will become instant graduates of the school of hard knocks. And they will be better for it.
  • Are you curious to learn what's new this year at the Golf Industry Show, but San Antonio is not in your plans this year? Or, perhaps you're heading to Texas, but you just can't get around to everything you want to see in two days. Don't worry, either way TurfNet has you covered.

    Again this year, TurfNet will bring you the latest information on new products and services straight from the trade show floor - and beyond - through the TurfNet GIS Blog.

    With items grouped by category, we'll provide the latest on new machinery; irrigation products; fungicides, fertilizers and pesticides; tech gadgets; seed; supplies and soft goods; fun stuff; giveaways; and more.

    Coverage will begin next week, with information on new products and other news trickling out daily.
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