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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    The Clutch, a new family-friendly 12-hole track by Beau Welling Design, will open in late 2023 at South Seas resort on Capitva Island near Fort Myers, Florida. The project is part of the rebuilding process underway at South Seas since of Hurricane Ian devastated the Southwest Florida coast in 2022.
    The course was designed by Beau Welling along with design associate Chase Webb.
    Welling, whose projects include restoration work at Stanford University Golf Course, Atlanta Country Club and PGA Frisco and working with Tiger Woods at Bluejack National, designed The Clutch to help improve stormwater management for the north end of the resort. To that end, the course can withstand as much as 20 inches of rain in a compressed time.
    Each hole was designed with multiple routes of play, offering players a unique alternative to the standard 18-hole experience.

    The Clutch is a Beau Welling design on Captiva Island. South Seas resort photo "We are extremely proud of the course that we have created at South Seas and look forward to unveiling The Clutch," Welling said in a news release. "The site is spectacular, and we were able to create a strategic and challenging, yet playable golf course that complements the beautiful surroundings with unobstructed water views on every hole. Working with South Seas, we were also able to create a unique and relaxed golf experience that promotes friends and families coming together through the game of golf to enjoy the stunning setting."
    The name The Clutch refers to a sea turtle nest, a common site on Florida beaches, and pays homage to the island's diverse wildlife population.
    "We're thrilled to introduce our guests to this new golf experience," said Shawn Farrell, GM at South Seas. "Our goal is to offer more than just a game – it's about enjoying the popular sport in the most beautiful setting imaginable."
  • With a history that started in painting and marking sports fields, GPS-guided auto steer technology from Traqnology is soon coming to mowing finely manicured turf.
    Powered by any connected iPad, Traqnology's auto steer system works on any piece of equipment that is controlled with a steering wheel.
    The system progressed from sports turf painting and marking into other agronomic practices such as aerifcation, overseeding, fraze mowing, root pruning, applying sand topdressing and more, and soon will be available on all turf mowers controlled with a steering wheel. 
    Traqnology's GPS-guided technology allows users to map boundaries of any turf surface, including fairways, greens and athletic fields, as well as around irrigation heads, valve boxes, drainage inlets, trees and bunkers.
    Maps can be saved on the Traqnology cloud or downloaded locally, and on-screen object obstruction detection prevents unwanted collisions and maximizes safety for the operator and others.
  • It has been nearly two centuries since the Farmington River Canal was used as a navigable waterway.
    The canal that once connected Northampton, Massachusetts with New Haven, Connecticut, was long ago converted to a rail line and later a series of trails. The canal, at least the part that goes through Farmington, Connecticut, was full again recently, when the area was hammered with 8 inches of rain in late September.
    Among the areas affected was the Country Club of Farmington, a 100-year-old Devereaux Emmet design near Hartford that serves as a floodplain.
    "I thought it might flood once every nine or 10 years, but this is the fourth time this year," said Farmington superintendent Scott Ramsay, CGCS. "This is unprecedented.
    "There are 90 holes of golf in my area that are in a floodplain. We are the only country club. We are a pressure-relief area for farmers in the area downstream. The water rose so quickly, it overwhelmed the golf course. Hopefully, we were able to help protect buildings and farms downstream."
    When the Farmington River, which is controlled with a series of dams, backs up, two creeks that run through the course overrun their banks and flood parts of the golf course.
    A few days later, the creeks were back in their banks, but low-lying areas still were holding water on Oct. 3.
    "The river doesn't crest on the golf course," Ramsay said. "It's the creeks and tributaries that back up.
    "Most of the creeks were back in their banks yesterday, but low-lying areas are still full of water. Half the course is still closed."
    The lowest areas on the golf course include the No. 6 fairway and area around the practice facility.
    Emmett designed the course with flooding in mind. Greens and tees are elevated to where they mostly are out of harm's way. 
    Historic flooding and landforms such as ditches where the canal once was located have combined to help make Farmington a great golf course.

    The Country Club of Farmington in central Connecticut lies in the Farmington River floodplain. CC Farmington photo "This is a cool piece of property, and a phenomenal use of a floodplain," Ramsay said. "Where the Farmington River Canal was is just grassy knolls and swales now, but you can still see it.
    "We have excellent soils and excellent topography for golf. Excellent topography for golf once the water recedes."
    The course also has original bunkers that Ramsay and his team spend a lot of time rebuilding every time the course floods.
    Farmington is in the midst of a restoration led by architect Matt Dusenberry. For reference, Dusenberry is using Emmett's original 1921 plans as well as aerial photos from 1934 to restore the course to its original design and playability.
    "It's starting to look like a heathland golf course. It never was a parkland golf course, and it was never a links-style course."
    The project also includes tree removal, improving drainage and expanding greens contours to their original specs. 
    "We're getting the footprint back," Ramsay said. "We're going to wrap up this fall. Then I look forward to restoring the bunkers — and defending them from inclement weather."
    In the long term, Ramsay would like to move more of the golf course out of the flood zone, but that will include getting an OK from local and state officials since and likely will also mean converting at least an equal amount of acreage to floodplain use since handling floodwater is the course's purpose.
    "There are methods we could use to defend the golf course from the weather, like raising some fairways and diverting water elsewhere," Ramsey said. "It would be a big project, but I think we could raise fairways a quarter-acre here and there."
  • NGF names new president
    The National Golf Foundation named long-time employee Greg Nathan as its new president and chief operating officer. Nathan, who has worked at NGF since 2007, will take over for Joe Beditz. 
    Beditz has served as president and chief executive officer since 1989, and will continue to serve as CEO.
    Beditz, 71, first joined NGF in 1984 as the research director, and has groomed Nathan to take over the nonprofit think tank.

    NGF photo Central Turf, Corteva reach distribution deal
    Central Turf & Irrigation Supply, a distributor of irrigation and landscape supplies with dozens of outlets across North America, is now a distributor of Corteva Agriscience products.
    Corteva Agriscience, formed from a merging of Dow, DuPont and Pioneer, offers a portfolio of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and seed treatments that protect turf against weeds, disease and insects.
    Central Turf has more than 60 outlets in the U.S. and Canada.
    Ryan turf equipment rebranded as Bobcat
    Doosan Bobcat's Ryan turf renovation equipment will rebrand under the Bobcat name.
    Ryan equipment joined the Doosan Bobcat portfolio in 2020, following the acquisition of Bob-Cat Mowers and the Steiner and Ryan brands of grounds maintenance equipment from Schiller Grounds Care. 
    Ryan has produced turf renovation equipment for more than 75 years and has a product lineup including aerators, sod cutters, dethatchers, power rakes, overseeders and other specialty products.
  • The Turfgrass Information File includes more than 300,000 print and digital files, including scores of material from TurfNet dating back years. The Turfgrass Information File database is widely known as a repository of articles published on turfgrass management. The TGIF database was previously accessible only via paid subscription. Now, the Michigan State University Libraries' Turfgrass Information Center is making the Turfgrass Information File database publicly available. The database is a cooperative project of the Turfgrass Information Center and the USGA.
    The release of the publicly accessible TGIF database coincides with the 40-year anniversary of the partnership between the USGA and the MSU Libraries. The database initiative began in 1983, with the goal of providing those in the business of turfgrass management expedient access to contemporary literature and ultimately expanding to published and unpublished materials. The USGA provided the initial investment to fund this project, with the first record being entered into the TGIF database on Sept. 10, 1984. Today there are more than 300,000 documents on file.
    "The development of what would become the Turfgrass Information File was a specific goal of the USGA Green Section's original research committee, and the MSU Libraries has done an exceptional job advancing it," said Cole Thompson, USGA director of turfgrass and environmental research. "Today, TGIF has become the go-to database for people interested in turfgrass literature. I can't imagine life without it, which reinforces both its status and how visionary the original development effort was. Allowing public access of TGIF advances our original goals, and the USGA is appreciative to collaborate with MSU Libraries on the effort."
    The MSU faculty and staff are proud to play a role in helping bring such a wide range of information in an open-access format to those who need it, said Trey Rogers, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State. 
    "The TGIF database has been a tremendous resource for anyone in the turf industry, and certainly a source of pride for me and my colleagues during my 35 plus years on the MSU Turf faculty," Rogers said. "To watch this vision of Peter Cookingham and others take shape and become the quintessential source for all turf information has been both amazing and gratifying. Open access will only enhance the reputation of the TIC at MSU, and we could not be happier."
    The TGIF database indexes material from a wide variety of sources including government agencies, universities, professional organizations and private publishers. Materials include articles from peer-reviewed publications, technical reports and conference proceedings, trade and professional publications, local professional newsletters, popular magazines, monographs, academic works, fact sheets and brochures, images, software and web documents. The majority of the database uses English-language materials, but it does include non-English resources. As of August 2023, the database comprised 323,469 records, 67 percent of which link to the full text of the item, according to Elisabeth Mabie, head of the Turfgrass Information Center.
    "For turfgrass professionals who cannot regularly visit a research library, access to full-text turfgrass research and other pertinent turf literature can be a challenge," Mabie said. "However, these are often the individuals who utilize these materials the most. With two-thirds of TGIF database records linking to the full-text of the item, this means many thousands of records link directly to content, saving valuable time and effort that would otherwise be spent locating physical copies for personal use."
  • Cutler Robinson, CGCS
    As a superintendent, Cutler Robinson was all too familiar with trying to schedule fertilizer applications based on weather that had already occurred. He thought there had to be a better way. Then the idea hit him: Applications might be more effective leading to a healthier plant if he somehow could tap future forecasts as a basis for product applications.
    After three years of development, the result is Predict-N7, an app-driven platform from Roanoke, Virginia-based Predictive Agronomics that utilizes thousands of data points, including site-specific weather information to match nitrogen management with products offering the proper amount of phytohormones and metabolites.
    Robinson, who graduated from Virginia Tech's turfgrass management program and also earned a master's degree in plant physiology in Blacksburg, described Predict-N7 as a math-driven, science-driven and site-specific weather data-driven tool that combines future forecast data with specific input from the superintendent to produce unique management based on the probability of conditions that are likely to occur rather than those that have already happened.
    "It incorporates seven-day forecasts before they occur, not Growing Degree Days after they occur," Robinson said.
    "It doesn't tell superintendents what to do. They tell it what they want, and it makes recommendations."

    One of the first signs that Predict-N7 is working, according to Cutler Robinson, is finer leaf blade in the grass plant (right). Predictive Agronomics photo For example, relying on plant growth regulators to slow growth of putting green turf can increase reliance on nitrogen, Thompson said. 
    "Give the plant more N than it needs, there is more accumulation of organic matter, which is where disease is born," he said. "This model tells you the right amount of N for the right amount of growth between spraying intervals."
    In a testimonial on Robinson's web site, Mike Nowicki, director of agronomy at Victoria National Golf Club in Indiana said Predict-N7 has worked for him on different turf types and different soils.
    "I've used the Predict-N7 model on two different golf courses, one with A4 and USGA construction, the other with Triple 7 and California construction," Nowicki wrote. "In each case, the Predict-N7 has helped me provide elite putting surfaces that withstand high heat, humidity, and traffic at very fast putting speeds."
    Two years of Beta testing during R&D and real-world use by superintendents have shown, Robinson said, that Predict-N7 can result in aerifying less often because less organic matter is created at the surface level.
    Matthew Wharton, CGCS at Idle Hour Country Club in Lexington, Kentucky said he was just beginning to look at Predict-N7 for use at Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte when he changed jobs.
    "I too have been searching for a way to break the PGR addiction," Wharton said. "Before the season started, I uprooted and took the position in Kentucky, and immediately began the steps to put the model in place at my new facility. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to compare results this year to years past as I would have, had I remained at my previous facility. But I do believe the model is working based on turf performance this season, and I am excited to see how things perform next season."

    Cutler Robinson says more precise nitrogen applications at the right time can help reduce accumulation of organic matter. Predictive Agronomics photo Developed with business partners Chris and Cindy Appel, Predict-N7 can be used to help manage bentgrass, Pos annual, and ultradwarf Bermudagrasses, including TifEagle, Champion and Mini Verde.
    Incorporating thousands of data points including weather and other inputs such as soil tests into the equation along with other data, such as the types of results a superintendent is trying to produce will not only help determine how much N to spray, it can also recommend other nutrients the plant needs at a specific time. It also means that multiple properties within close proximity of one another could have vastly different spray programs because of differences like soil make up, micro climates, turf type and more.
    "When you incorporate everything into the algorithm then add in what the superintendent sees on his golf course, you can have two golf courses a mile apart and they will have two different spray models," Robinson said. "You could even have two different models on the same golf course. Every property is going to have a different model," Robinson said.
    "What if we sprayed exactly what the plant needs every time the superintendent fills the spray tank? That's pretty exciting." 
    With 24 years as a superintendent under his belt, Robinson knows all about managing turf under difficult circumstances. His last stop before giving up being a superintendent to focus on Predict-N7 was at Bayville Golf Club in Virginia Beach, where he says he was the first superintendent to get A4 bentgrass in 1995.
    "This program is driven by science and data and what the superintendent sees on his golf course," Robinson said. "Not blanket calendar-driven treatment."
  • The Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Laboratory plays a key role in research and education at North Carolina State University. NCSU photo The Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Laboratory at North Carolina State University recently was the beneficiary of a gift from the estate of an alumnus.
    Steven Womble, right, was a 1971 NC State graduate who spent 40 years as a superintendent at various courses throughout North Carolina. Womble died in 2021. Womble was active in the Carolinas GCSA and the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina and was an avid supporter of the NC State turfgrass program. 
    There are numerous possibilities on how this gift will benefit the program, such as an equipment service center to maintain specialized equipment and provide students with hands-on learning.
    "This idea would have an ongoing impact in keeping with the spirit of Steve's gift," turfgrass professor and extension specialist Grady Miller said in a news release. "It's challenging to raise money for capital improvements and we've outgrown our current structure several fold. This would be a nice asset to add to an important university unit."
    By all accounts, Womble led a very eventful life. Aside from a long career in golf maintenance, which began in 1965 when he was still a high school student in Durham. He was the construction superintendent at Croasdaile Country Club in his hometown, was a medic in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and played drums in a band. 
    He eventually retired from the business after a long career at Wildwood Green Golf Course in Raleigh. 
    Throughout his career, Womble was a lifelong NC State football fan and regularly attended Wolfpack games.
    Throughout his career, Womble was a member of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendent Association, an engaged participant with the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina and a strong proponent of the university's turfgrass program. 

    The Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Laboratory encompasses 20 acres of research and breeding plots. NCSU photo When he encountered challenges on the golf course he sought the assistance of researchers at his alma mater.
    "Steve was a great alumnus and a big NC State fan," extension specialist Fred Yelverton said in a news release. "I remember walking the course at Wildwood Green with him several times. He was proud of our turf program and worked closely with us to improve his courses."
    For six years, Womble was superintendent at the six-hole par-three course at NC State's University Club.
    Chip Watson is the General Manager of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and worked with Womble for over 15 years. 
    "Steve was the best I have ever seen at 'fact gathering' and studying a situation," said Chip Watson, general manager at NC State's Lonnie Poole Golf Course in the release. "He wanted to make sure he wasn't making a mistake! He took his job very seriously and was extremely dependable."
    The 20-acre turfgrass research center is located on NC State's 1,500-acre suburban field research complex and plays a key role in the university's research and extension efforts. It is funded mostly through turfgrass research and from vendor-supported projects. It is home to thousands of research plots and breeding nurseries.  
    "NC State's turfgrass program encompasses all facets: breeding, management, pest management, soil microbiology, irrigation and more. We are unique in the intersection of cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses. Few other programs can match the diversity of NC State. And it's all at work at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Lab."
  • A Georgia golf course superintendent is out of a job after his role in a murder-for-hire scheme more than a decade ago was uncovered.
    Until Sept. 26, Jim Watkins had been a contracted, non-employee superintendent of municipal Rincon Golf Course near Savannah. The city terminated his contract on Sept. 26 after a resident informed officials during a recent city council meeting of Watkins' role in trying to hire a hitman to murder his brother more than a decade ago in Florida.
    In a series of events that seems straight out of a Rockbottum CC script, Watkins was arrested in Fort Lauderdale in 2011 after making arrangements to have his brother murdered over a dispute over their parents' multi-million dollar estate, according to court records. 
    Instead of hiring a hitman, Watkins, now 72 according to court records, unknowingly made his deal with an undercover policeman, according to records. He was convicted in 2014, served a prison sentence and remains on probation until 2030.

    The City of Rincon, Georgia parted ways with a superintendent hired on a contract basis after the city became aware of his criminal past. Rincon GC photo When informed of Watkins' past, Rincon officials said the city does not routinely conduct background checks on contract workers. 
    "We have taken swift and immediate action to address the city's liability as soon as we were able to confirm the allegations regarding the background of Mr. Watkins," City Manager Jonathan Lynn said on the city's X (Twitter) account.
    The city is revisiting its policy on conducting background checks on contract workers. According to the City of Rincon X page: "The city is working to finalize their updated policy on background checks for anyone associated with the city."
    There are no federal laws that prevent hiring a candidate because of a criminal record, however, laws differ at the state level. 
    According to state law in Georgia, under 35-3-34(3)(b), "employers that obtain criminal history records and decide not to hire them must inform the applicants about the origin of the information, its contents, and how it affected the decision not to hire them."
  • Hexagon- and circular-shaped earthen mounds are visible at Mound Builders Country Club in Newark, Ohio. Mound Builders CC photo Time could be running out for a golf course that has operated for more than a century on the site of an ancient earthworks complex.
    Since 1910, Mound Builders Country Club, a Thomas Bendelow design in Newark, Ohio, has operated on the site of the ancient Octagon Earthworks, part of the Hopewell Earthworks complex on several locations throughout central and southern Ohio. 
    Unlike the other earthwork compounds in Ohio that are believed to be ancient tribal burial sites, the Octagon and Great Circle complex at Mound Builders was erected more than 2,000 years ago by the Hopewell tribe to align with the moon during certain lunar phases. It is thought to be the oldest manmade earthworks complex in the world.
    The land where the club is located is owned by the Ohio History Connection, a state-funded entity that leases the property to the club. The lease agreement was to run through 2078, but the Ohio Supreme Court voted 6-1 last year to clear the way for the OHC to end the lease early. OHC wants to acquire the property through eminent domain and make the Octagon complex accessible to the public, like the other mounds throughout Ohio.
    Steps to make the area around the Hexagon mound complex accessible to the public intensified this week after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization decided to recognize the entire Hopewell earthworks, which includes eight total sites, to be included on the World Heritage List.
    UNESCO's World Heritage List is a collection of 1,200 locations around the world, including 25 in the United States, deemed to be of outstanding universal value that includes places like the Great Wall, the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids of Giza, Babylon, Pompeii and Jerusalem.
    A sticking point between the club and the OHC has been compensation for the club so it could relocate elsewhere. According to reports, the OHC has on more than one occasion offered the club between $1 million and $2 million as a buyout of sorts. Club administrators have been on record saying it would cost as much as $25 million for the club to relocate.
    According to reports, a jury will decide the amount of the buyout.
    The Hopewell earthworks, including the Octagon and Great Circle at Mound Builders CC, were nominated by the U.S. Department of the Interior for inclusion on the UNESCO list last year.
  • After trying hopelessly to provide consistently great putting conditions year over year, the owner of a nine-hole golf course in Florida finally threw in the towel.
    Ben Best, owner of Suncoast Golf Center, installed artificial turf on all nine greens and the practice green at the nine-holer in Sarasota that he has owned for eight years. Installation began last October and was completed in January.
    Although he says it is cheaper to maintain synthetic greens, Best, who also is Suncoast's superintendent, said cost was not the driving force behind the decision to convert to carpet.
    "The biggest reason was consistency," Best said. "I got tired of looking people in the eye and telling them 'Yes, I know the greens are not good right now.' I got tired of saying it."
    Suncoast opened in 1997. When Best bought it nine years ago, he said there was as much bare dirt on the putting surfaces as there was grass. 
    "I took it from a diamond in the rough and turned the greens into something that were as good as any in the area," Best said. 
    "To call it a diamond in the rough when I bought it is giving it more credit than it deserves. The greens were 50 percent dirt and the practice range was all sand. The golf balls had no dimples left. They were that old. They were not one type, one brand or even one color. They had everything out there."
    Each year since he bought the course, Best babied the greens throughout the year, but it never seemed to be enough. To replicate the same conditions he produced during the summer offseason, Best eventually turned to overseeding in the fall. That was great during the winter, but often caused problems throughout the late spring and summer.
    "These are just old pop-up greens where the (native) soil was pushed up and boom, there's a green," he said. "The overseed looked good in winter, but the transition killed the greens. We had black mold, the overseed wouldn't die, we had nematodes."
    Even after Best stopped overseeding, his challenges of replicating winter conditions throughout the summer continued.
    "For four years, the overseed would come back on its own every winter," he said. "We'd bring the greens back every year, and every year they'd die.
    "It was hard to get our greens where we wanted them to be, and it was impossible to keep them there."

    Suncoast Golf Center has artificial turf on all of its greens. Suncoast Golf Center photo Best hired a nearby superintendent to consult on a best course of action, before finally settling on synthetic greens.
    "We were aerifying a green a week, verticutting," Best said.
    "I was spending $9,000 every month just on maintaining greens. That's a lot of money. I looked at digging them up and putting in USGA greens. Artificial turf costs less. It's not cheap either, and there is still maintenance involved, but I don't have to worry about consistency."
    Through his 40-year career in construction, Best already had installed many synthetic backyard putting greens, so the concept was one with which he already was familiar.
    He hired golf course builder Justin Carlton, who also has experience in synthetic turf installation including construction of an artificial turf putting green at Old Palm in Palm Beach Gardens, to do the shaping.
    The carpet is stretched and tucked and tacked so it holds contours like real grass. Unlike athletic fields that are packed with crumb rubber, Suncoast's greens are dressed with real sand.
    The trueness that superintendents achieve with natural grass is not there with the synthetic surface, but the consistency is.
    "There is some bounce and it plays like a new green that is only 25 percent broken in," Best said. "If you hit the ball with some spin, you can really do some things. If you hit it low, it's going to take off the back of the green.
    "My advice to people is hit it high and you'll be fine."
    And what do Suncoast's customers think, most like it, but Best knows that with synthetic turf, just like natural grass, you can't please all the people all the time.
    "Ninety percent love it. They love the consistency," Best said. "They know that today it will play the same as it did yesterday, and tomorrow it will play the same as it did today."
  • The newest mulcher attachment from Diamond Mowers can handle rough jobs. For turfgrass managers who have to clear difficult-to-reach places out of play, Diamond Mowers offers its line of disc mulchers and brush cutters, including its newest addition, the Disc Mulcher Belt Drive Pro X.
    The Disc Mulcher Belt Drive Pro X is available in two widths - 48 inches and 60 inches and will cut down nearly anything in its path without slowing down.
    The BD Pro has multiple hydraulic motor options. The 48-inch model is available with a gear motor, while the 60-inch version is available with a gear motor, piston motor and a belt drive.
    It can handle brush and trees up to 14 inches in diameter.
    The attachment offers 50 percent more low-end torque than Diamond's previous models. As a result, the belt drive accelerates quicker, recovers quicker and cuts through vegetation faster, resulting in improved efficiency of at least 20 percent compared with previous offerings.
    The deck includes improvements like tie-downs to make transporting the unit easier and an on-board tool box for commonly used tools.
  • Grief affects people in different ways. There are different levels, and, of course, different stages ranging from anger to recovery and everywhere in between. All reveal something about us.
    The death of a parent might hit differently than that of a child, spouse or even sibling. Although the loss of a parent is no doubt a source of sadness, parents preceding their children in death is the natural order of things. It is what is supposed to happen. Parents are not built to bury their children, and similarly, it is not natural when a spouse or partner passes too young or unexpectedly.
    Sept. 14 marked six months since Susan, my wife of 29 years, died after a five-year battle with a rare disease known as multiple system atrophy. Anyone interested in reading more on that disease or her experience can click here. 
    I am normally a private person. The only personal public ramblings I can recall in the past several years are the notice about my wife's passing referenced above, and when our daughter, Lauren, graduated from college last December. 
    Both were life-changing events: one good, one not so good.
    When a spouse dies, you become awash in regret and guilt, over words said — and unsaid. Or at least I was. Things that you wanted to do together now will never happen. Shared goals now will go unfilled. You yearn for one more day, one more chance to touch, hold or hug that person. One more chance to express your feelings for them, to right a wrong, say you're sorry, hear their voice or laughter, or simply say "I love you." Suffice to say, I never thought it was possible to miss someone so much.
    The weight can be crushing, and falling into a hole of depression after a death is very easy. Some days it feels impossible to go on. Some days it feels like you do not want to. It's hard to get to sleep at night and even harder to awaken the next day
    Climbing back out of this hole is not easy. It is not impossible, but you have to work at it, and you will probably need help.

    Happier times: Sipping on oversized daiquiris during Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 2000. Most are familiar with some version of the seven stages of grief that includes a variation of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, reconstruction and acceptance. The path from beginning to end is not always so linear, making it possible to reside in multiple stages simultaneously.
    For six months, I have been bogged down mostly in the anger stage. I wanted answers to tough questions; questions about how something like this could happen to someone who, at 62, still had so much more life left to live. How could this happen to someone who was always the first to answer the call when others were in need? 
    It has taken this long to realize that I have been asking questions for which there are no answers. 
    I could say I came to that realization on my own, but that would be untrue. I could not have made this journey without my daughter and my closest friends.
    When it comes to friends, I feel that I have been blessed more than most. I have many good friends, but a small circle of very close friends, most of whom I have known for more than 40 years, and all of whom have listened to me rant or whine more in the past six months than anyone should have to. Their level of interaction has run the course from just listening, to consoling to telling me to remove my head from my ass.
    All points of view have been necessary and welcomed during this journey, and all have helped play a role in my own recovery.
    I am hardly qualified to offer advice to anyone on anything. In fact, the past 61 years have shown I'm not very good at taking it, either. But I have learned a thing or two in the past six months. 
    One will never be whole again after going through something like this. There will always be a void, and no sense will come of it. That leaves two options — get stuck in the quicksand and never escape, or learn to live with the uncertainties of life and move on. Focus on what you had. You learn quickly that there were many more than you'd ever realized. Just as important, you learn the bad times no longer are of significance.
    One of these paths you can travel alone. The other requires you to enlist the help of family and friends. Surround yourself with them, especially the ones who tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
  • For turf managers struggling with many common yet hard-to-control turf diseases, Corteva Agriscience is set to launch its Floxcor fungicide.
    With the active ingredient fluoxastrobin, Floxcor is a FRAC 11 strobilurin fungicide approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to control 28 foliar, stem and root diseases, including anthracnose, brown patch, fairy ring, leaf spot, pythium blight and snow mold. It also is approved for control of dollar spot in light to moderate pressure conditions.
    An effective tank mix partner, Floxcor is labeled for use on golf course turf, in greenhouses and nurseries, on residential lawns and landscapes.
    "Floxcor specialty fungicide is a great addition to our growing portfolio of disease management solutions that will serve as the base for our future products for the Turf & Ornamental market," said Jay Young, Corteva Agriscience Turf & Ornamental Category Lead. "Corteva is committed to providing a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to our customers and has been focusing its energy and resources into research and development to expand its Turf & Ornamental offerings in the coming years.""
    Floxcor works by inhibiting spore germination and mycelial growth by interfering with the respiration process of the plant-pathogenic fungi. It moves quickly into the plant interior and spreads through the plant’s vascular system, including the xylem, becoming rain-fast 15 minutes after an application. The plant roots absorb the active ingredient, which is then transported via the xylem, to impede fungal growth and prevent new infections. 
    Floxcor specialty fungicide will be available in the United States late this year.
  • Previously only available online, the line of Spray Caddie Golf Cup Covers is now available through Mattison Turf Works, a Hillsboro, Oregon-based distributor of golf course turf management solutions.
    Constructed of recycled plastic, the Spray Caddie Golf Cup Covers keep cups clean, help protect golfers from direct contact with chemicals, help prevent cup staining and prevent topdressing sand from infiltrating cups. 
    Developed by Rob Roberts, an assistant superintendent and spray tech in Washington, Spray Caddie Golf Cup Cover is a flat, round cover that, when placed over the golf hole, shields the inside of the cup from liquid overspray. Metal tabs on the cup cover attract a magnetic wand that allows for no-touch use of the cup cover and prevent transfer of chemicals to gloves, hands, spray rig steering wheels or cell phones. The covers can be used with any spray application, including colorants, fertilizers, plant growth regulators, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and sand topdressing.
    "Spray Caddie provides a great contact-free cup cover while spraying. It's easy to use and can be stored on the roll bar of the sprayer," said Andrew Mattison, president of Mattison Turf Works and a former superintendent. "I wish I had Spray Caddie when I was a superintendent." 
    The Spray Caddie Golf Cup Coveris manufactured by Back Nine Boys LLC.
  • Imagine a fugitive attempting to flee police in a stolen golf course utility vehicle with a trail of squad cars — and a helicopter — in pursuit. 
    This isn't a script for an upcoming Randy Wilson video on TurfNet, but it was the scene Aug. 28 in Lincoln, Nebraska, when a fugitive allegedly crashed multiple vehicles while attempting to flee police after breaking parole. The suspect, Nick Roberts, was spotted by police parked in an alley in a stolen late model Chevrolet pickup, which he eventually crashed into a tree when a chase ensued.
    Members of Lincoln's Parole Task Force attempted to pin the vehicle in the alley, but Roberts managed to escape. The truck eventually was found near Jim Ager Golf Course, where police say Roberts crashed into a tree, then went onto the golf course where he made off on a Toro Workman, complete with a retrofit GPS spray rig courtesy of Frost Inc.
    As the chase continued, a police helicopter joined in before the suspect allegedly drove the rig into a Nebraska State Police vehicle 2 miles from Ager, a nine-hole municipal facility on Lincoln's southeast side.
    Ager superintendent Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., was away from the golf course when the excitement happened, but knew something was amiss when he received back-to-back phone calls from a member of his crew and Lincoln County parks employee.

    A utility vehicle laden with a spray tank and boom is not a good getaway vehicle. All photos by Dustin Horton "We're next to a public road and a park and there is no fence, so (non-golfers) come onto the property all the time," Kreuser said.
    Passers-by up to no good routinely help themselves to all kinds of things, and often vandalize the course, but this was the first time Kreuser remembered anyone making off with a mechanized vehicle.
    "We've had people steal wallets. A student working here had a backpack stolen," Kreuser said. "They've taken flags and tee markets, and blown up cups that peeled back like an Acme explosive from a Looney-Tunes cartoon.
    "It's public golf at a public park. Nothing surprises me anymore. We have dog walkers on the golf course, and M-80s on the greens on the Fourth of July. We also have some great neighbors who keep an eye out and call me when they see something is wrong." 
    Police informed Kreuser that they thought the vehicle might be totaled, but after scrounging for parts and making some adjustments to the Workman's suspension, the vehicle was right as rain in no time.
    "We thought it was totaled," Kreuser said. "Some of the wheels were destroyed, the boom was bent and the suspension was damaged. But with some new wheels and tweaking the suspension, it's as good as new.
    "The damage could have been much worse. Fortunately a head-on collision with state police squad car doesn't do much damage to a vehicle that can only go 19 miles an hour with a spray tank on the back and no suspension."
    The Workman wasn't just any spray vehicle, however. It had been used to test data in Kreuser's next data release for his revolutionary Greenkeeper app that helps golf course superintendents manage spray schedules.
    He had just completed rounding up integrated GPS spray data and had passed it along to superintendents in the field for further real-world Beta testing when the vehicle was stolen.
    "It figures it was stolen the last day we were using it for testing," Kreuser said. "We've been writing software for six months and testing it. Had we not finished, this could have been much more damaging.
    "In the end, it was just another problem we had to find a solution for."
    Roberts was charged with multiple offenses, including theft, fleeing police, resisting arrest, assault on an officer, driving on a suspended license and criminal mischief.
  • The roller coaster ride that has defined the golf business for nearly two decades appears to give Pinehurst Resort a miss.
    The golf resort in the North Carolina Sandhills, where the famed No. 2 course is preparing to host its fourth U.S. Open next year, will open its 10 layout in just more than six months.
    Pinehurst No. 10 will open next April 3, the resort recently announced. Construction on the Tom Doak-designed No. 10 course began in January. It will be the first new design to open at Pinehurst since the Tom Fazio-designed No. 8 course opened in 1996. Pinehurst No. 9, designed by Jack Nicklaus, opened in 1988 as the National Golf Club and was bought by Pinehurst and rebranded No. 9 in 2014.
    "(W)e're grateful for all of the major championships and historic moments that have come before," said Pinehurst Resort chief executive officer Bob Dedman Jr. in a news release from Pinehurst. "We're delighted to have a date to begin presenting this incredible design by Tom Doak to our guests. April 3 will not only be another great day in Pinehurst's history, but for our future as well."

    Pinehurst No. 10 is scheduled to open next April. Pinehurst Resort photo In No. 10, Doak sought to take advantage of the natural landscape and native plantings including wiregrass, extensive sandscape, longleaf pines and, of course, the naturally rolling terrain. Midway through the course, though, Doak takes advantage of rugged dunes carved out by mining operations more than 100 years ago. The result is more than 75 feet of elevation change throughout the course.
    "No. 10 starts out fairly gentle, then it starts going into the old quarry works where it gets downright crazy for a little bit, then the course gets up on the hill and there's a beautiful, sweeping view," Doak said in the Pinehurst release. "All of the holes coming in are challenging, even when you move down into the gentler terrain. It's a dramatic golf course; more than I originally thought."
    Pinehurst was founded on 5,500 acres by James Walker Tufts of Boston in 1895 and opened the Holly Inn on the property later that year. The Inn still stands today. Pinehurst No. 1 opened in 1897. The famed No. 2 course that was designed by Donald Ross, opened in 1907. No. 2 has been the host course to the U.S. Open in 1999, 2005 and 2014 and is scheduled to host the tournament next year. It also was the site of the PGA Championship in 1936 and the 1951 Ryder Cup Matches.
    "We're excited to show off Tom Doak's masterful interpretation of Pinehurst golf," said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley said in the release. "From the initial routing of Pinehurst No. 10 to the shaping and design process, Doak and his associates excelled in all regards. Our very high expectations were exceeded, and we can't wait for everyone to see it."
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