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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    "The most important job in golf." That's the label often given to golf course dogs.   Each year, superintendents list the reasons their dogs are so important in their quest to manage day-to-day golf course operations. They keep geese and other nuisance animals on the run, provide reliable companionship throughout the day and are effective at running PR interference against overzealous golfers. As one superintendent said of his dog: "My members think more of him than they do of me."    Every year since 2002, the TurfNet Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar has highlighted 14 golf course dogs for their tireless contributions to golf courses across the country and around the world. If this describes your golf course dog, then nominate your canine friend for a place in the 2015 TurfNet Superintendent's Best Friend Calendar, presented by Syngenta.   A panel of judges will select the 14 dogs for the calendar, including the cover and December 2014. Images should be taken horizontally at your camera's highest resolution setting. Also, try not to center your dog in the frame, as left or right orientation often can result in a more dramatic photograph. Nomination deadline is July 31. Each dog submitted will be included in our online gallery.
    Here are a few tips to increase the chances of your dog being selected: All dogs chosen must work or spend a significant amount of time at the golf course, photographs taken on a horizontal orientation rather than vertical work best, action photos are strongly encouraged, do not have your dog wear sunglasses or pose as if driving a motorized vehicle.   To nominate your dog, email HIGH-RESOLUTION photos to Laura Salinas (lsalinas@turnstilemediagroup.com) 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.   
  • More business, less agronomics. That phrase sums up in four words the changing nature of the job of a golf course superintendent. For many, however, business played a minor if non-existent role during the formal educational process.    Superintendents who are looking to expand their business knowledge can apply to attend the sixth annual Syngenta Business Institute.   Presented in partnership with Wake Forest University, the three-day event includes graduate-level business instruction from members of the MBA faculty from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business and focuses on management, budgeting and other fiscal matters, communications, delegating, negotiating and more.   "This truly is an eye-opening experience," said Matt Kregel of The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis. "Negotiating has been on of my weaknesses. The techniques we've heard about can be implemented as soon as we get home."   This year's event is scheduled for Dec. 8-11 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.   "This provides a chance to become a better professional," said Rob Williams of Stockton Golf and Country Club in California.   "The opportunity to come here and study business was an opportunity I didn't have before."   To be considered, applicants can apply online at greencastonline.com/SBI/. All applicants must include an essay on why they believe they should be selected to attend.   Application deadline is Aug. 19.
  • Since Calvin Coolidge occupied the White House, the University of Massachusetts has been pioneering turfgrass education.

    The same school that since 1927 has been operating its Turf Winter School program that provides turf managers with an intensive, seven-week education during the middle of winter is now offering a one-day turf disease-identification seminar.

    Scheduled for July 29 at the Joseph Troll Research Center in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, the Identification of Turf Damaging Diseases Workshop is a five-hour program focusing on the identification of turf disease pathogens common in the Northeast, including patch diseases, root diseases, stress diseases, dollar spot, snow molds, anthracnose, red thread and rusts.

    Led by UMass turf pathologist Geunhwa Jung, Ph.D., the program will include a lecture component as well as sessions on microscopic and field identification of common diseases. The program also will include information on IPM development and resistance management. A lecture-only option is available.

    The workshop is approved by GCSAA for education credits.

    Registration deadline is July 25.
  • The saying "less is more" never has been more true than when used to describe the new look at Pinehurst No. 2.
     
    As the finishing touches are applied to the 1907 Donald Ross gem in advance of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open that are scheduled to be contested over successive weeks, the course will be nothing like the No. 2 on which Michael Campbell won in 2005 or the late Payne Stewart in 1999.
     
    Prior to the 2010-12 Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw restoration, there were 1,150 irrigation heads spread across No. 2. Today, there are 450, only about 70 of which are in the fairways, says Bob Farren, CGCS, director of grounds and golf course maintenance at Pinehurst Resort.
     
    "We were fully irrigated before the project," Farren said when speaking about the Open and the restoration at an educational event last year in North Carolina. "In 2009, we receive 48 inches of rain per year, we irrigated (No. 2) with 50 to 55 million gallons of water. (In 2012) we used 12 million gallons."
     
    Thanks to a treasure trove of vintage photos, the course has been rolled back to look pretty much like it did in 1936 when Denny Shute won the PGA Championship, the first of many majors to be contested on No. 2.
     
    The restoration, which Farren says redefines minimalist architecture, also meant removing a lot of turf, especially in the roughs. That 5-inch stand of turf outside the fairways that has become synonymous with U.S. Opens, is gone. Those rough areas that have confounded golfers in past Open championships have been replaced by natural sand waste areas and native plants, including thousands of individual wiregrass plants transplanted from nearby woods. Otherwise, those natural areas pretty much have been left to recover on their own.
     
    In all, about 40 acres of turf have been peeled away, along with some 30 years of changes that have taken place during Farren's career at Pinehurst that began in 1982.
     
    "The key to taking away turf was we had to take away irrigation first," Farren said. "The common link to everything we had done all went back to water.
     
    "(Coore and Crenshaw) were sensitive to my emotional attachment to it because my body of work as a professional was going away. At the same time, I bought in 100 percent that what we were doing was the right thing to do. Part of the reason (No. 2) had changed over the years was us chasing the market and providing what clients and members wanted and were used to seeing in the 1980s and '90s. Turning it back in a lot of ways was as simple as turning off the water and removing 40 acres of grass."
     
    With the help of Kevin Stallings, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University, nearly four-dozen native plant species have been recorded in those natural areas alone.
     
    "When you take away the grass, what is going to grow back?" Farren said. "There is no fertilizer, no herbicides. The only thing we planted was wiregrass. Forty-six plants recovered naturally, and the plant life changes from month to month."
     
    That list includes plants such as morning glory, cactus and portulaca.
     
    "The only plants we have a zero tolerance for are nutsedge, goosegrass and large crabgrass," Farren said. "The others, we like to watch it and see what happens.
     
    "When they're succulent, weeds like henbit have a pretty little flower on it. It's not a weed until there are too many of them, or they are too mature."
     
    Those waste areas will present a U.S. Open venue the likes of which probably have not been seen for decades.
     
    "This is going to be much different than a normal event," Farren said, pointing to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club as an example. "At Merion, if you step 10 feet outside the rope, you have 5-inch grass and its been walked on so it's laying down. Here, if you go 10 feet outside the rope, it's going to be like a cattle crossing."
     
    This year will mark the first time the U.S. Open, scheduled for June 12-15, and U.S. Women's Open will have been played in successive weeks on the same course. Weather challenges or a 72-hole tie in the men's championship could threaten to undo years of meticulous planning.
     
    "It will either be historical, or hysterical. I'll let you know," Farren said. "I think it will be a mix of both. We are humbled the USGA has recognized our golf course as being a good test for this, and secondly, that the USGA has that much confidence in us to do this."
     
    Much of what makes events in the Carolinas sandhills run so smoothly, Farren said, is community support. With only about 30,000 people in the surrounding area, there isn't a large pool of people from which to draw for help, but the community supports such events here with vigor, to the tune of some 6,500 volunteers from throughout the area.
     
    "They have a strong golf DNA, and they are very involved in the community and give back," Farren said. 
     
    "We're in the middle of nowhere, but in the center of everything."
     
    Within days of the last putt dropping and signaling the end of the U.S. Women's Open, No. 2 will go under the knife again, this time replacing the A1/A4 bentgrass greens with Champion ultradwarf Bermudagrass.
     
    To help the Pinehurst staff prepare for Bermuda, No. 1 was regrassed with Champion in 2012 and Nos. 3 and 8 in 2013.
     
    "We're working on our game with that," Farren said. "For our business model, it's a huge step forward for us. When we have the next U.S. Open here, we'll have great greens in ultradwarf."
  • March might have finally brought the first real break from winter weather, but apparently it wasn't the early season window golfers were looking for.

    Although favorable weather conditions throughout the month gave golfers plenty of opportunity to play, they did not take advantage of those opportunities like they could have in many parts of the country, according to two industry reports.

    According to Pellucid Corp., the number of hours acceptable for playing golf, termed Golf Playable Hours, increased by 2 percent in March compared with the same month in 2013. However, rounds played were down nationwide by 4.8 percent during that time, according to Golf Datatech's National Golf Rounds Played Report.

    Golf Playable Hours is an inventory of all the daylight hours in which one could play golf factored against climatic influences, such as wind, rain, snow and severe cold.

    Rounds played were down in 32 of 49 states in the study that does not include Alaska. The biggest loser was Connecticut where play was down by 70 percent, followed by Michigan (46 percent); New Jersey (40 percent); Massachusetts and Rhode Island (35 percent); Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania (34 percent); Washington (28 percent); New Mexico (22 percent); North Dakota and South Dakota (20 percent); Oregon (16 percent); Louisiana (14 percent); Texas and Virginia (13 percent); Idaho, Montana, North Carolina and Wyoming (11 percent).
    Public access facilities took it hardest, with a 5 percent reduction in rounds play, while play was off by 3 percent at private clubs, according to the report that includes data from 3,280 courses nationwide.

    Year-to-date rounds played are down by 4.5 percent.

    There was some good news in March, however, with rounds played taking a jump in 13 states. There were no results to post from four states, so the actual news about rounds played might be worse or better than reported.

    Missouri saw the greatest increase in rounds played (58 percent). Next were Kansas (up 47 percent); Indiana and Tennessee (35 percent); Colorado (30 percent); Nebraska (22 percent); and Iowa (19 percent).
  • Welcome change

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Editor's note: This is the first in a series of occasional articles in which TurfNet catches up with Superintendent of the Year, Chad Mark of The Kirtland Country Club in Willoughby, Ohio.
     
    There is a saying that "stuff" runs down hill. But at the Kirtland Country Club, delivering irrigation water over some 90 feet of elevation changes has meant flying in the face of physics. The recent installation of a new pump house now has Kirtland back in the good graces of Sir Isaac Newton.
     
    Located in the Chagrin River valley, Kirtland's layout is enhanced by glaciers that cut through the land long before Charles Hugh Alison designed the course in 1921. To that end, about 90 feet in elevation change separate the upper 10 holes and the lower eight. Getting water to where it is needed has meant pumping water uphill. Even with the help of a booster pump, the long trek up hill has resulted in a loss of about 40 pounds of pressure.
     
    The challenges associated with maintaining pressure also has meant that superintendent Chad Mark has not always been able to run some heads when he's wanted to and at times resulting in a high-pressure shutdown.
     
    "It is a unique and flawed system," said Mark, who earlier this year was named winner of TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
     
    Last year, Mark began installation of a new pump house that now sends water up the hill to an irrigation pond near Kirtland's third hole. Gravity does the rest as Mark now can get water where he needs it, when he needs it.
     
    He also is test driving new irrigation software in advance of installing a new system in 2015.
     
    The new pump house and irrigation system all are part of Kirtland's 10-year-old, board-approved master plan designed to help Mark maintain the course as closely as possible to the way Alison intended when he built it.
     
    That master plan also included a restoration led by Ron Force Design, expanding the greens back to their original contours and a tree-management project, all thanks to archival and aerial photography dating from 1929 to 1954. That plan also calls for some updating of the course, namely moving fairway bunkers to reflect enhancements made possible by changes in equipment technology.
     
    "The master plan is a blueprint for our future," Mark said. 
     
    "Our intent has been to go back (to the 1920s) as our guiding point. As a club, you either have a restoration philosophy, or a renovation philosophy. Ours is restoration. We are very much a club of tradition. Generations of families have been members here, and there is a high priority on preserving the past while looking toward the future. We have a classic design that no one wants to see modernized, other than strategic movement of bunkers to keep them in play.
  • Agrium Inc. has agreed to sell its turf and ornamental business to Koch Agronomic Services.   The deal includes assets, brands and product technologies of Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium's former Agrium Advanced Technologies business unit. That includes all rights to all of Agrium's controlled-release fertilizers, including the Polyon brand as well as production facilities in Sylacauga, Alabama, once owned by the Pursell family. The Pursell family sold its fertilizer business to Agrium in 2006.   Koch Agronomic Services, a division of Koch Fertilizers with headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, makes a full line of fertilizer products, including nitrogen stabilizer and slow-release nitrogen products for the turf and ornamental and agricultural markets.   The deal, worth $85 million, according to the Calgary Herald, is expected to close in the second quarter.
  • TurfNet picked up six awards, including five first-place honors, at this year's Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association annual Communication Awards contest.
     
    Jon Kiger, Randy Wilson and Kevin Ross, CGCS each won a first place award in the photography/video category, and John Reitman won two first place awards in the writing contest. Hector Velasquez won second place in the photography/video category.
     
    Results of the contest were announced May 8 during the association's annual meeting in New Orleans.
     
    Wilson's winning entry was for Best Use of Editorial or Opinion in Video/DVD for "October News, Tips and Emails." Kiger won for Best Instructional Video/DVD for "Aerial Reconnaissance," which documented aerial drone use by Thomas Bastis, CGCS, at The California Golf Club of San Francisco. Ross captured first place for Best Long Video/DVD for "Cart Path Renovation," and Velasquez received a merit award in the category of Best Instructional Video/DVD for "Mower Winterization."
     
    In the writing category, Reitman won first place in Writing for Web Site, Original Content with "Meet New Norm," which dealt with the changing face of the Golf Industry Show, and "Powell's Service to Turf Industry Spanned 6 Decades," which was a tribute to A.J. Powell, Ph.D., the University of Kentucky turf extension specialist who died in 2013.
     
    In its 25th year, the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association is a 200-plus member association comprising editorial, advertising and marketing professionals who work in the green industry.
  • The influx of new chemistries in the turf and ornamental market that has occurred during the past two decades has provided turf managers with an invaluable arsenal of products to help keep insects, weeds and disease in check. Those same chemistries also have made it more difficult to keep the sprayers used to deliver them clean and free of clogs and obstructions.

    Until now.
     
    Precision Laboratories recently launched its Erase spray system cleaner designed for use in commercial turf spraying units.

    Developed using a proprietary blend of emulsifiers, alkalinity builders and surfactants, Erase emulsifies residue that can become trapped in spray lines and can be incompatible with other products used in the same tank.

    Incompatibility can degrade other products or even cause cross contamination and ultimately can cause phytotoxicity in the turfgrass plant. Erase virtually eliminates the threat of contamination and phytotoxicity.
  • When it comes to educating tomorrow's superintendents today, Jacobsen is all business.

    Each year, the Charlotte, N.C.-based arm of Textron awards more than a dozen scholarships to college students and through its Future Turf Managers program provides valuable education in the field for assistant superintendents.

    In keeping with its focus on supporting aspiring superintendents, Jacobsen is supporting a blog written by recent Ohio State University graduate Peter Braun during his internship at Mount Juliet Golf Club in Kilkenny, Ireland, under superintendent Aidan O'Hara.

    "In addition to the hosting our long-standing Future Turf Manager's program in the U.S. and the UK, and the cross-sharing of students and knowledge it offers, we provide numerous scholarships to college and university turf programs around the world," said Glenn King, marketing communications manager for Jacobsen. "So when we heard about this cross-continental educational opportunity offered by TurfNet, offering our sponsorship was the natural thing to do."

    Braun and O'Hara two had a chance to meet in person at this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, which paved the way for the Ohio State senior to secure a position at Mount Juliet.

    "He clearly demonstrated a determination and ambition to both learn and succeed in the golf course management profession," O'Hara said. "We have no doubt that he will be a great asset to our team, similar to previous high-caliber interns sent over to us from TurfNet."

    A native of Cambridge, New York, Braun graduated from Ohio State on May 4. He already has held summer internships at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, and Vineyard Golf Club on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Braun says he plans to work in New Zealand when his commitment at Mount Juliet expires in October.

    Braun is the third intern to be placed at Mount Juliet through TurfNet.

    "I am excited to be interning at Mount Juliet and blogging for TurfNet," Braun said. "As I intern in Ireland I am looking forward to seeing different management approaches to golf course maintenance and meeting many new people."
  • It's safe to say the University of Georgia has recovered the investment it has made into its plant breeding facilities in Tifton. It is there that Brian Schwartz, Ph.D., still works in the same south Georgia greenhouse in which Glenn Burton developed Tifway 419 Bermudagrass in the 1950s.
      That soon will change.   The Georgia state legislature recently approved a bond sale that will fund an $11.5 million upgrade of the university's turfgrass research and teaching facilities in Tifton as well as the university's extension station in Griffin and at the main campus in Athens.   "This will help bring our facilities well into the 21st century," said professor and extension specialist Clint Waltz, Ph.D., who, along with most of the university's turf faculty and staff, works out of the Griffin campus.   "This will really be a game-changer."   The Griffin extension station will receive about $9.5 million of the allotment and will help fund construction of a new 24,000-square-foot turf research and education center with labs, classrooms, offices and meeting facilities for turf researchers to help instruct students as well as golf course superintendents, sports turf managers and lawn care professionals from around the state. It also will fund construction of a greenhouse for breeding and a headhouse.   The Tifton breeding facility at the university's Coastal Plain Research Center will get a new greenhouse as well as a two-story facility with a state-of-the-art headhouse, critical for greenhouse prep work, conference facilities and offices.   In Athens, a portion of the money will help build an 8-acre research plot area for work conducted by professor Gerald Henry, Ph.D., and his students, as well as a new classroom facility and laboratory.   Contract work will begin once the bonds have sold. Although there is no official timetable for the project until the money becomes available, sale of the bonds could come as early as this fall, with groundbreaking taking place in 2015, Waltz said.   "Realistically, we hope we are ready to move in some time in the next two or three years," he said.   The need for updated facilities started about a year ago when university officials sought input from industry partners about the program's future, Waltz said. Industry leaders, including those from the Georgia Urban Ag Council, toured the facilities and agreed. They also helped take the message to legislators, who also showed how they felt about the state of the facilities by voting to make the necessary funds available.   "We want to continue to be a resource for the turf industry in Georgia," Waltz said. "It would be difficult to do this, as well as attract students and faculty without an infusion of investment into our resources."
  • For years, Florida Gateway College has had a reputation for turning out highly skilled golf course superintendents, turf managers and equipment technicians.

    Now, the two-year college in Lake City, Florida is taking the next step in turf education by offering an online horticulture certificate program.

    The 18-credit program includes six three-credit courses designed specifically for working turfgrass professionals.

    Online courses at the school formerly called Lake City Community College, include: principles of plant growth, soils and fertilizers, agricultural chemistry, landscape plants, golf and landscape irrigation, turfgrass for golf and landscape.

    To register, a student must apply through www.fgc.edu and send an application to the school?s admission office. All applicants must be a high school graduate or have earned a GED. Transcripts also must be sent to the college.

    The program is offered at the beginning of the fall, spring and summer terms.

    For more information, email John Piersol or call him at 386-754-4225, or email the admissions office.
  • The USGA takes pride in having its finger on the pulse of golfers. Its representatives are very good at creating conditions that can confound even the world's best players, and they also believe they know what the rest of us want in a golf course. And by the looks of things, they don't believe enough people are providing what the majority of golfers, or potential golfers are seeking.   According to USGA research, the median handicap for men is about 15 and for women, that number is 27. Only 13 percent of men with a USGA handicap sport an index of below 7, and only 11 percent of women play below a 16. Clearly, the conditions that the USGA creates for its many national championships do not apply for most of the rest of us, and it's why the USGA is not coming to a course near you to offer advice on how to set up for the next scramble or member-guest event.   "Eighty-seven percent of men have a handicap greater than 7. They're not going to playing in the U.S. Open, folks. They're not," USGA Green Section agronomist Chris Hartwiger said of the average golfer during the during this year's Green Section Education Conference during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Florida. "I'm right on the border of that group, and I'm not going to be playing in the U.S. Open any time soon, so we need to be thinking more about who your best customers are, and not preparation for the 13 percent that are single digits or plus handicaps."   If an industry that is shedding about 1 million players per year, according to National Golf Foundation research, is interested in stopping the bleeding, individual facilities, especially at the daily fee level, must do something to attract new players and reinvigorate those who have left the game.   But what?   Part of that solution, Hartwiger says, is improving pace of play and presenting a golf course and teeing options that promote faster play.    Hartwiger cites USGA research that says the average male player drives the ball about 200 yards, and the maximum length of a par 4 reachable in two shots for that average player is 370 yards. For women, the average drive is 150 yards with a maximum par 4 reachable in two shots being about 280 yards.    The USGA has a portion of its Web site dedicated to improving pace of play, including tips to help both players and employees of the golf facility to identify ways to move golfers around the course faster.   "The golf experience needs to be enjoyable. Fast and friendly equals fun," Hartwiger said. "How are we going to provide a fun experience for a diversity of players we would like to attract to our golf facility and want to come back again?   "If we can provide a fast pace of play plus a friendly experience, we have a good chance that is going to equal a very fun day at the golf course."   For the superintendent, factors to consider include ensuring proper signage is located throughout the course, and other factors such as rough height of cut, green speed and fairway width all line up with customer skill level.   "All these things added together can really make a difference on how quickly people move through the golf course," USGA executive director Mike Davis says on an association video aimed at tackling pace of play issues.   For daily fee courses hoping to attract high-handicap players, women and juniors, creating a fun and inviting atmosphere begins with proper tee placement, course set-up and the attitude of the employees in the golf shop and on the course. Hartwiger cites National Golf Foundation research that indicates women, overall, are intimidated by men and an unwelcoming golf course staff.   Research indicates that although women still earn about 20 percent less than male counterparts, they earn more than men in many large metropolitan areas. And those women also are, on average, attracted to golf more for its social opportunities rather than as an avenue to unleash their competitiveness. So, if a woman, a newcomer or infrequent player, or anyone other than a scratch player, does not feel welcome as they are plunking down their money, they struggle on a difficult course set-up and spend five hours doing it, chances are they won't come back.   "Eighty-nine percent of the women who play your golf course, on average, are going to have an index greater than 16," Hartwiger said. "There are lots of things we can draw from that, but I want you to think who your best female customers are and are you addressing what a friendly and good golf course is for them.   "There are tremendous strides that can be made here at every facility to make it more friendly to this group," Hartwiger said. "The data is out there. They are telling you ?help me out here. I'm interested in this game, but there are some things that make it unfriendly.' "   The NGF released a report this week that shows that 40 percent of new golfers each year are women, yet only a fraction of them stick with it, as evidenced by the fact that women comprise only about 20 percent of the U.S. golfer population. That percentage has been stagnant since 1991, according NGF. In other countries such as Germany, South Korea and Switzerland, women make up almost 40 percent of the golfer population because governing bodies and the industry overall cater to women and their needs.   "Remember, fast plus friendly equals fun," Hartwiger said. "And if we aren't doing a good job on the friendly part, the equation isn't going to add up."
  • During the past decade, much ado has been made about folks fleeing golf for a variety of reasons.    Cost, difficulty and time constraints all are among the barriers to the game people most often cite as to why they no longer play, or no longer play as much. Other family commitments, namely the infiltration of youth sports leagues that never seem to take time off, also have helped curb participation in golf. Instead of playing golf on Saturday morning, dad now is helping shuttle kids to soccer, softball, baseball and football games.   A massive new sports complex north of Atlanta might have an answer for golf: if you can?t beat the youth sports craze, then join it.   Located a half-hour north of Atlanta in Emerson, Georgia, the LakePointe Sporting Community is a 1,300-acre mixed-used site that will combine sports fields and venues for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities with retail shopping and a residential community. The park, which is opening in piecemeal fashion throughout the spring and is scheduled to be fully operational by early June, also will include the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy. The 30-acre learning center will include a nine-hole, par-3 course, practice center, and professional instruction for golfers of all ages and coaching for those who are more than weekend hackers.   Although the learning center, as well as a sister property in Myrtle Beach, likely will be a home away from home for the Norman-coached Chinese national golf team in the run up to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, the new facility in the north Georgia mountains is not just aimed at aspiring professionals.   Like its South Carolina cousin, the new facility will target instruction to players ranging from beginners to professionals, with an emphasis on helping to grow the game, Norman says.   "I have seen first-hand how the game of golf can change a person's life, and I want to be able to give back experiences and advice to help grow the game," Norman said in a news release.   The training center also will include indoor hitting bays, classrooms for in-depth instruction and online education, a lighted range and the roomy Norman-designed par-3 layout are being designed to accommodate high-handicap players.   As it continues to open throughout the year,  LakePointe eventually will include 16 regulation-size baseball fields; a dozen softball and junior baseball fields; another field to accommodate baseball players with special needs; 14 multipurpose fields for soccer and lacrosse built by Shaw Sports Turf; wake park; regulation track and field complex; sand and grass outdoor volleyball facilities;  and indoor multi-purpose facilities for activities such as basketball, cheering and volleyball.   Norman?s West Palm Beach, Florida-based company did not return calls on when the project will open, but if the facility in Georgia is anything like the company?s first academy property in South Carolina, it too will be tailored to help grow the game as well as meet the needs of accomplished players.   The Myrtle Beach academy opened in 2012 and includes junior camps, an adult golf school, full-time golf academy (including accommodations), instruction for tour-level players and a program designed specifically for players making the transition from high school to competitive collegiate golf. It also offers 52,000 square feet of bunkers and practice greens, 100,000 square feet of practice tees.
  • In the 30-plus years he has been a golf course superintendent, Ken Mangum, CGCS, has given back to his industry as a speaker, mentor, consultant and pioneer. Now, that same industry is giving back to Mangum.
     
    Director of golf courses and grounds at Atlanta Athletic Club where he has worked since 1988, Mangum recently was elected into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. He is the third golf course superintendent to receive the honor, and will join Palmer Maples Jr. and Mark Esoda when he is inducted in January.
     
    Mangum is a regular speaker national and regional conferences and industry events, serves on industry committees and has mentored several assistants who have gone on to become head superintendents.
     
    Other inductees in the class of 2015 are Ray Cutright, director of golf at Idle Hour Club in Macon; Gene McClure, a lifelong contributor to the game and volunteer who worked closely with the Georgia State Golf Association and the USGA; and Carter Mize, an accomplished amateur player.
     
    The group will be inducted Jan. 17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.
     
    A native of Anniston, Ala., Mangum graduated in 1975 from the Lake City (Florida) Community College School of Golf Course Operations. He served as assistant superintendent at Mystery Valley Golf Course in Atlanta from 1976 to 1978 when he returned to Alabama to become superintendent at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
     
    Mangum then served as golf course superintendent at Idle Hour Club in Macon, Ga., from 1981 to 1988. It was during that At Idle Hour that Mangum was credited with installing the first computerized irrigation system east of the Mississippi River.
     
    In 1988, Mangum moved on to the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek. There he has been the host superintendent of several national championships, including the 1990 U.S. Women's Open Championship, 2001 PGA Championship, 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, 2011 PGA Championship, and the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship later this summer. He was project manager for six major golf course renovations and designed and built the par 3 course in 1993. He also developed a management program that has produced many successful superintendents around the country.
     
    Mangum served on the GCSAA board of directors from 1996 to 2001 and was president of the Georgia chapter in 1987. He is a current member of the Rain Bird Irrigation Select Superintendent Advisory Board and the USGA Green Section Committee. In 2004, Mangum was appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame board of directors where he served until 2009. Mangum has served as an instructor at the John Deere/Bayer Green Start Academy since it began in 2006.
     
    Mangum was inducted into the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association Hall of Fame in 2013, and was the recipient of the USGA's Fred Grainger Award and the GCSAA Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award that same year. He was named Georgia Superintendent of the Year in 2002 and the Georgia Turf Professional of the Year in 1996.
     
  • Eye on the future

    By John Reitman, in News,

    As head of the University of Tennessee turfgrass weed science research and extension program, Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., visits his fair share of golf courses, and he's continually inspired by the examples of innovation he sees on them. But it's always "what's next" that intrigues him when he visits The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.   "To me, what's most impressive is that they are continually looking for ways to improve and ways to advance," Brosnan said during an Earth Day celebration at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay on April 22.   The course near Chattanooga is one of nine state park golf facilities that comprise the Tennessee Golf Trail, and the facility and its superintendent, Paul Carter, CGCS, have developed a reputation for being a leader in environmental stewardship.   The Earth Day festivities marked (roughly) the one-year anniversary of when the golf course, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, began using a new Jacobsen equipment fleet comprised almost exclusively of electric and hybrid technology.   One year later, Carter is able to quantify the impact of electric technology on his budget and the environment, which at Harrison Bay go hand-in-hand.   "Getting the equipment here, and this might sound selfish, was all about what can we accomplish here," Carter said. "Up to that point, all we had were estimates of what we could accomplish. Now, we can take these numbers to other courses. We hope people will look at us as a blueprint of what they can and should do."   Using the fleet of 18 pieces of electric equipment that includes seven Jacobsen mowers, five Toro MDE Workman vehicles, two TruTurf greensrollers, a pair of Smithco Super Star bunker rakes and two Club Car Carryall II vehicles, has led to a savings of more than 9,000 gallons in fuel (at about $2.35-$2.45 per gallon) and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 180,000 pounds, according to Carter.   Converting to electric power is about more than saving money, it also is about taking that next step toward sustainability, which is important to Carter and his supervisor, Harrison Bay head pro Robin Boyer.   "One of the things with electric equipment is that it is more expensive, and you have to ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it for return on investment, or is it for the environment?" Carter said. "That's one of the reasons we were successful in getting the grant and the equipment here is because so much of what we do is based on how we are impacting the environment."   The new equipment also has helped Carter reduce equipment maintenance expenses by more than $30,000, virtually eliminate the threat of hydraulic and oil leaks, and reduce the noise associated with maintaining a golf course that doubles as a wildlife sanctuary.   That such accomplishments were achieved at a state-owned golf course rather than a private club has provided the rest of the industry with a blueprint for success."   "Robin and Paul have teamed together to set the benchmark for what we think can be a unique experience in a golf course environment," said park district deputy commissioner Brock Hill.   UT's Brosnan agreed.   "What the group here has done is an example to the whole industry," Brosnan said. "From electric mowing equipment with Jacobsen to the eagle project to taking areas out of play and out of mowed turf and what that is like in terms of water savings and savings of total resources, it's a great example of how to maximize resource savings on a golf course while also providing optimal playing conditions for the end user. It's important to communicate this as an example to other golf courses, not only in Tennessee, but beyond Tennessee."   TurfNet's 2011 Superintendent of the Year, Carter also was named the public and overall winner of the Environmental Leaders in Golf Award from Golf Digest and the GCSAA for his efforts at promoting wildlife and sustainability at Harrison Bay. Those efforts include installation of 45 nesting boxes used by bluebirds and wrens, nesting boxes for wood ducks, reduced managed acreage on the golf course and overseeing the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam project that has brought the parenting skills of bald eagles to viewers around the world since 2011.   While he has packed a lifetime of stewardship into a 22-year career, Carter always has an eye cast on the future.   Through Carter's efforts, Harrison Bay in April became certified by the Golf Environment Organization. Based in Scotland, GEO is dedicated to providing a credible and accessible system of sustainability standards, support programs, recognition and capacity building for the golf industry.   He currently is working toward converting gas-powered fairway and rough units to propane or bio-diesel and eventually wants to install solar panels to harness electric power.   Carter's vision is what makes Harrison Bay and Jacobsen such good partners for sustainability projects, said the latter's president, David Withers.   "We have a company mantra that says ?my performance today is not good enough for tomorrow,' " Withers said.    "I think it is really important that golf lives up to its environmental credentials. It's good that we are as good as we are, but I think we should always be striving to improve."   And, Brosnan said, tell others outside the industry what is taking place.   "I think it's great that we have a conversation about environmental sustainability and turf management in the golf industry," he said. "We need to have more of these conversations beyond Earth Day, and to continue to communicate as an industry about what we do to manage turfgrass for golf courses when it comes to preserving the environment."
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