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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Leave it to a company from Michigan with a name from down under to take online record keeping over the top for superintendents.
      Michigan-based Sydney Solutions recently launched a Web-based version of its SPaRKS system for planning and monitoring pesticide and fertilizer use and costs.    An acronym for the Superintendents Planning and Record Keeping System, SPaRKS helps turf managers plan and track fertilizer and pesticide applications on one or multiple courses and share information with other users from any Web-enabled device, including PC, Mac, tablet or smart phone. The system also offers free data backup.   A conversion service is available for current users of the SPaRKS desktop system,   The system allows users to create fertilizer and pesticide budgets, offers cost comparison of alternative products and treatments, tracks purchasing and inventory, calculates major and minor nutrient requirements, generates worksheets for applicators and can be used to generate reports for record-keeping, compliance and green committee meetings.   The SPaRKS system also can be used to monitor worker safety information as well as equipment inventory.
  • Toledo Country Club is like a lot of golf courses throughout Ohio this spring in that there definitely is no shortage of water.
      A near-record 8.52 inches of rain fell in the Toledo area in June. According to the National Weather Service, that total was 36 percent more than the 6.26 inches that fell in the area during the same month a year ago and 248 percent more than June's historic average of 3.43 inches. The record for June was 9.77 inches of rain set in 1902, according to the NWS.   Dump that much rain on hard clay soils and the outcome is predictable. In fact, there was a day when Toledo CC superintendent might have a real cause for concern. Summers such as this are precisely why Tim Glorioso, CGCS, has spent much of the past 15 years installing new drainage at this 1897 Willie Park Jr. design.   "We've installed drainage on nearly every hole here," Glorioso said. "Prior to all of the drainage projects we've accomplished here, No. 2 would be under water. No. 12 would be under water. No. 15 would be under water. No. 13 would be under water.   "I've been meaning to document how much we've put in. It's been so much, I couldn't tell you how many feet we've put in."   The drainage systems installed by Glorioso have done the job.   Toledo's drainage, 18-24 inches worth, includes standard pipe and pea gravel and about 12 inches of coarse sand that Glorioso described as a cross between USGA sand and a choker layer.   After an additional 3 inches of rain during the first 10 days of July, Toledo is, for the most part, dry enough for play and dry enough to mow.   "Before, on a day like today, we'd be closed," Glorioso said.   His resurrection of this parkland-style course renovated and rebuilt by Hills & Forrest in 1997 almost never occurred for numerous reasons. First, turf management is a profession that Glorioso found by accident. Second, he nearly declined the job when it was offered to him.   A landscape architecture major at Ohio State, Glorioso spent the summer between his junior and senior years working for Mike McBride, then the superintendent at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.   Some 30 years later, McBride still remembers Glorioso, now 48 and the next president of the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation, as an atypical summer employee.   "Tim was a guy who was a good employee and asked quite a few questions regarding the turf world," McBride said. "I'd give him a hard time for leaving in the middle of the day, when actually he was heading to OSU for classes - I think.   "A good guy that you knew had some untapped potential."   His background in landscape architecture and experience at places like Muirfield were good enough that he landed a job as the assistant at Hillcrest Country Club near Pittsburgh. Six years later, he was named the superintendent. It was then that he figured he'd need more formal education in turf management and earned a degree through Penn State's two-year program.     "When I started working at Muirfield, I thought ?I really like this,' " Glorioso said. "I didn't realize then that every golf course wasn't like Muirfield. I thought they all were like that."   When he was offered the job at Toledo, Glorioso initially declined. The 125-acre property along the Maumee River had potential, but trees blocked the river and those clay soils had taken their toll on playing conditions.   Only when the club said it needed someone to breathe life back into the course and would give him the resources he needed to accomplish that, did he change his mind.   "When I got here, you wouldn't even know the river was there because there were so many trees," he said.   It's been a process of steady improvement ever since. He's taken out hundreds of trees and emerald ash borers have taken 128 others. Now the river not only is in view, but it offers views along the back nine where a pool, playground, a renovated amphitheater and short, uphill par 3 hole symbolize the pride the members have in their club. And the drainage improvements symbolize the pride Glorioso takes in providing great playing conditions for them.   "It's all about providing them with a good product," he said.   "They let me get the equipment I need, and they've let me put in a ton of drainage. The membership here has been great. They're very supportive. "
  • Doug Ayres began looking for ways to conserve water at Corral de Tierra Country Club long before California Gov. Jerry Brown told him he had to. In fact, he's been seeking ways to make every drop count since he arrived 10 years ago at the course in Corral de Tierra, California.
    Located just a few miles east of the Monterey Peninsula, Corral de Tierra is in an arid canyon where temperatures can exceed those on the coast by 20 or 30 degrees or more. Conserving water there was important even before the state became consumed by a record drought that caused Brown to implement 25 percent reductions statewide.
    Ayres, encapsulated his water-saving efforts in a 2:24 video that was named the winning entry in the Aquatrols-TurfNet Smart Water Management Video Challenge.
    "Smart water management is not a one-time, one-step, one-and-done program," Ayres says in his winning video. "It is an ongoing multifaceted commitment to use water wisely while providing the best-possible playing conditions."
    That's not always so easy nowadays in California, where the spigot hasn't quite been turned off, but the amount of water coming out of it isn't what it used to be.
    Runner-up in the contest sponsored by Aquatrols was Jim Alwine of Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego. Alwine's video highlighted a massive turf-reduction program that has helped save water while improving aesthetics. Third-place winner Matt Gourlay, CGCS, focused on the challenges he faces at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kansas, where wind is a major factor.
    Prizes include a slot on this year's TurfNet members' trip to Ireland, a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter with FPV HD video camera and a GoPro HERO4 camera.
    Ayres said providing a good product for his members at Corral de Tierra requires three things: infrastructure, good old-fashioned hard work and radically creative innovation.
    Saving water has been accomplished through several practices, including tweaking the irrigation system through improved head spacing, pump station upgrades, head replacement and the use of new and improved nozzles.
    Other innovations at Corral de Tierra include use of subsurface drip irrigation around bunkers for the past eight years, collecting and reusing runoff water, use of wetting agents and reductions in irrigated turf.

    For the past eight years, Ayres also has been using hydrophilic synthetic polymers that increase the soil's water-holding capacity.
    Synthetic, water-absorbing polymers (think baby diapers) represent old technology that has been around for decades and in use at Corral de Tierra for the past eight years.
    Initially, Ayres used them under sod and around bunkers during construction projects, broadcast them over wide areas and used an aerator to work them into the soil or injected them by hand. With the need to use them on a broader scale, they now are applied directly to the turf and worked into the soil through a spiking process, along with fertilizers and other additives, at a rate of 2 acres per hour.
    "The numbers don't lie," Ayres said. "A 50-percent reduction in irrigation in all of the areas that we have applied the polymers has been realized. The savings in electricity alone will pay for the application and the additives. This has proven to be the best way to reduce irrigation use and not only keep quality high, but improve it. Infrastructure, good old-fashioned hard work and radically creative innovation are all part of our smart water management program."



  • Rain Bird has expanded its web site to offer water-saving tips for golf course superintendents and others in California and throughout the country.
      In May, Rain Bird launched its 25 Ways to Save program in response to conservation efforts launched in drought-stricken California. State-mandated water-use restrictions went into effect June in an effort to reduce urban water use in California by 25 percent through June 2016. The Rain Bird program is an effort to help water users maintain healthy turf and landscapes while reducing outdoor water use by 25 percent or more.   The site contains information in 25 areas to keep any irrigation system operating at a high level of efficiency. Each section contains a combination of info data sheets, maintenance checklists and service information, and educational videos.  
    Available at 25ways.rainbird.com, these resources can be used anywhere and by anyone who wants to improve their irrigation efficiency.    Individual sections within the site are dedicated to maintenance audits, sprinkler height and level, database settings, weather station maintenance and pump station cycling, irrigation system audits, controlling water pressure, maximizing irrigation system performance, flow meters and the importance of regular maintenance checks.    Other subsections include information on adjusting run times, monitoring soil moisture levels, the importance of irrigating during low-light periods, how to choose the right irrigation system, the importance of not watering during windy conditions, how to create management zones and information on installing smart sensors and pumps.    Even more options include alternative water sources, reducing evaporation, aeration fountains, using drip irrigation for trees, turf selection, developing a drought-management plan, managing localized dry spot and where and when to use drip irrigation.   The site also contains information on rebate programs in California.
  • The world's best players likely won't be wearing plus-fours next June when the U.S. Open returns to Oakmont Country Club, but they wouldn't be out of place if they did.
      The removal of even more trees since the 2007 U.S. Open and 2010 U.S. Women's Open has the course looking and playing more like it did when iron industrialist Henry Fownes built a links-style course on a bluff along the Allegheny River upstream from Pittsburgh in 1903 than it has at any time in the last half century.   As the dust settles on this year's Open at Chambers Bay, Oakmont superintendent John Zimmers and his bunch are busily preparing for next June, when the pros will descend on Western Pennsylvania. And when they do, galleries at Oakmont will be able to see action on nearly every hole regardless of where they are standing. About the only barrier standing in the way of patrons will be their own height.   Sure, the fronts of some bunkers have been shaved down at the behest of the USGA's Mike Davis to funnel more balls into harm's way, but any architectural changes begin and end there. The real story for the 2016 U.S. Open is going to be open vistas and wind ? a lot of wind.   "We haven't really done anything architecturally since '07, so there are a lot of similarities," said the 44-year-old Zimmers, who has been superintendent at Oakmont since he was 28 years old. "But the views are going to be much different."   From a point east of Pennsylvania's Turnpike near the third green and fourth tee, it's possible to see virtually the entire golf course. From there, only Nos. 13 and 16, two par 3s near an irrigation pond on the north side of the property, are not within sight. It is possible to see just about the entire golf course from much of the back nine.   "You can stand on (No.) 7 and see people putting on (No.) 12," Zimmers said. "It's going to be fabulous for the gallery."   It wasn't always like that here.   During the run-up to the 2007 U.S. Open, Oakmont made headlines for an aggressive restoration plan that included the removal of some 5,000 trees across the property, a move that accomplished at least four goals: it improved turf health, improved spectator views for USGA championships, returned the course to what Fownes envisioned more than a century ago, and it opened the door to wind becoming a factor on a course already noted more than any other for its treachery.   Oakmont is a place with a history of surprises for golfers, so just when it seemed like there wasn't another tree there worth touching, Zimmers found some. He and his staff started taking down more trees immediately after the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. The project shifted into hyper mode last summer when a storm mangled a wooded area between the 11th and 12th holes.      Members noticed a difference right away, as cutting down some of the damaged trees improved views on what already had become an open golf course.   "We went in and removed some of those trees, and people were like 'Wow.' They could really see the difference," Zimmers said. "That allowed us to go in and say 'You know what? Let's finish this.' "   After clearing the area behind the 12th green, crews and contractors moved on and cleared out the hillsides along the turnpike and railroad tracks that divide the property. When all was said and done, an estimated 7,000 additional trees had come down.   Taking out trees is a controversial decision at almost any golf course. Removing some 12,000 of them at a place like Oakmont with its legacy of championship golf is not something that is done hastily.   Most of the thousands of trees responsible for converting Oakmont from a links-style course to a parkland setting had been planted during the 1960s. Like them or not, they had become part of Oakmont's personality. The idea of removing them had both fans and detractors, and thus it has been a process that has taken years to accomplish.   "You have to start small. That's why it's taken such a long time," said Zimmers, who has been removing trees in increments since he started at Oakmont in 1999. "A majority of the people thought it would be really good, because you could see a little bit more, and some people have the foresight to be able to see that. But there were others who said 'I don't know if I'd do that. You're going to hear the turnpike more; you're going to see the (turnpike) sign.'  At the end of the day, everyone has embraced this. They realize that the turnpike is part of who we are here, and the railroad tracks are part of who we are."   Oakmont is well known for its tough-to-please members who like showing the USGA and the pros a thing or two every time they pass through Pittsburgh. They fancy lightning fast greens that can break your heart and conditions that can break your spirit. Whether it's for the U.S. Open or a member-guest, the higher the score, the more golfers here like it. The tree-removal project has been a hit with them, not only because of the views, but because the wind makes a grueling experience even more challenging.   "The wind is more of a factor now than it's ever been," Zimmers said. "The members like it because it makes the course harder, and it dries the course out faster, making it play faster."   Although the course arguably is more open than it has been in generations, it has been pinched in a bit, too.   Since he arrived 16 years ago, Zimmers has been gradually converting managed turf to non-irrigated naturalized areas. To date, he has converted about 80 acres to a mix of Chewings, hard and sheep fescues.   "People say 'hey, you need to let those areas go natural.' Natural areas, if you don't take care of them, turn into weeds," Zimmers said. "By converting to fescue from fine-cut turf, we still have fewer inputs, less maintenance and it looks fantastic."   At Oakmont, difficult conditions have always been about the greens, those famous Oakmont Poa greens.   The strain of Poa found at Oakmont is believed to grow only in Western Pennsylvania. Attempts to propagate it elsewhere have failed through the years. Each year, it takes a pounding from Mother Nature. And each year, it comes back as strong as ever to deliver a blow to golfers as subtle as a punch to the head.   "Keeping those greens going is our biggest challenge," Zimmers said. "People always say 'just seed it.' But we don't have anything to seed it with. You can put bentgrass down. That's fine as a filler, but it won't last long. It can't take a beating like our Western Pennsylvania Poa."   It can't deliver one like it either.
  • Harrell's acquires West Coast's Turfmaker
      Harrell's recently expanded its West Coast footprint with the acquisition of Turfmaker Inc.   A landscape supply company based in Chula Vista, California, Turfmaker serves golf courses, sports fields, sod farms, nurseries, schools and other commercial customers from San Diego to Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley.   Harrell's has been serving the horticulture market in California and the Pacific Northwest with Polyon controlled-release fertilizer, liquid nutritionals, soil wetting agents, and other agronomic products for nearly two years.   The acquisition brings a trio of seasoned sales representatives onto the Harrell's sales force of more than 110 people in the golf, horticulture, turf and landscape and specialty ag markets. Nick Spardy, George Peterson, and Bruce Wheeler will continue to serve Turfmaker customers in the area. Their combined 80 years of experience backed by the Harrell's operations and business teams generates a new level of quality and customer support to Turfmaker customers.        Deere reaffirms commitment to PGA Tour
      John Deere will continue as a title sponsor of professional golf through 2023 as a result of a seven-year extension by Deere and Co., the PGA Tour and the John Deere Classic. The agreement includes sponsorship of the John Deere Classic and multiple designations for John Deere in the Tour's Official Marketing Partner program.   According to James Field, president of Deere's Worldwide Agriculture and Turf Division, hundreds of community organizations have benefited from millions of dollars in contributions made through the John Deere Classic and the tournament has had substantial economic impact on the Quad City community where it is held.   Since the tournament began in 1971, more than $62 million has been raised for community and charitable organizations, including more than $6.3 million for 471 organizations in 2014.    John Deere became title sponsor of the tournament in 1998. As a result of the agreement, John Deere will celebrate 25 years as a PGA Tour title sponsor in 2022.     Deere retains its designation as Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier to the PGA Tour, Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier of the TPC Network, Official Landscape Product Supplier of the PGA Tour, and Official Golf Course Equipment Leasing Company. John Deere equipment is used at all Tour-owned TPC facilities. A recent study by Deere estimated the impact of the John Deere Classic is approximately $54 million annually to the Quad City area economy. This estimate includes money spent on travel, food, and lodging by visitors, the purchase of goods and services to support the tournament, and other purchasing that would not be needed if the tournament did not exist.    Steiner says it's never too early to think about snow removal
      Steiner, a maker of heavy-duty articulating tractors and attachments, has added a dual-stage snow blower to its winter attachment lineup.   Together with Steiner's 440 tractor, the SB648 professional snow blower is designed to blast through winter's toughest snow conditions. Built with cast iron and heavy-gauge steel, the snow blower is equipped with an 18-inch, four-blade impeller, sawtooth auger and 237-degree chute rotation for more snow-clearing performance.   The SB648's 48-inch-wide path moves snow up to 27 inches in depth, making it a solid choice for larger areas, like driveways, parking lots and wide walkways.    Other features include optional 52-inch extension wings, 10-gauge and 12-gauge steel construction, heavy-duty skid shoes and a cast iron gearbox.  
  • Handing out the Clean Corporate Citizen title isn't a task that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality takes lightly. After all, fewer than 150 businesses throughout the state have earned the designation. But it's a moniker that can be well worth the wait for any entity that earns it.
      One of the most recent to earn the title is the University of Michigan Golf Course.   Built by Alister MacKenzie in 1931, the course sits on the southern edge of the 3,000-plus acre campus and directly across the street from 100,000-seat Michigan Stadium. It is ranked No. 11 on Golfweek's list of Best Campus Golf Courses. It's one of just two courses statewide to earn the title, the other being the university's Radrick Farms course, which earned C3 status in 2014.   According to the DEQ, the honor is reserved for "regulated establishments that have demonstrated environmental stewardship and a strong environmental ethic through their operations in Michigan."   "Gaining C3 certification at the U-M Blue Course is a result of the hard work and commitment to environmental stewardship of Scott Rockov, superintendent, and his entire team," said Corbin Todd, director of the University of Michigan Golf Courses in a news release.      C3 is a voluntary program that recognizes environmental stewardship at Michigan facilities. Candidates demonstrate active pollution prevention initiatives, a consistent record of compliance with state and federal environmental requirements, and must have a facility-specific Environmental Management System (EMS). The UM Golf Course EMS was initiated with help from e-par USA.   Each EMS must meet the following criteria for a corporate entity to be eligible for the C3 program: identification of environmental impacts, self-initiated compliance audits, public communication, environmental training for employees, a clear statement on the company's commitment to environmental excellence and continual improvement.   "The e-par EMS set us up for success to achieve the C3 certification," Rockov said in a release. "Environmental stewardship at the golf course extends from the commitment of Michigan Athletics and the entire University of Michigan to protecting our natural resources for generations to come."   According to the DEQ, admittance into the Clean Corporate Citizen program is much more than just a title. Those who earn the designation based on their performance in environmental management, pollution prevention and environmental compliance, are eligible for benefits including expedited permit reviews and fewer monitoring and reporting requirements. The goal of the voluntary program is to raise corporate awareness for environmental issues and rewarding participants in the program to help promote participation.   Other corporate entities to earn the C3 status include automotive parts and assembly plants, chemical plants, federal installations, metal finishing, nature gas industry, paper production, power utilities, printing and research and development.
  • For many superintendents in California, recent government-mandated water-use restrictions present a new set of challenges. For others who have made a habit of conserving water in recent years, like Justin Mandon at Pasatiempo Golf Club, reducing consumption by exponential amounts has become the rule, not the exception.
      Mandon is in his third season as superintendent at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, and for the past two, he has been operating under city-mandated Stage 3 restrictions that have meant the amount of water available to the course has been cut by 50 percent.   When restrictions of 50 percent were announced by the City of Santa Cruz in spring 2014, developing a strategy for maintaining playability while conforming to these cutbacks became top priority not only for Mandon, but the rest of the club's management team as well.   About 30 acres of irrigated turf already had been replaced by native grasses during a 2009 restoration, so there wasn't a lot of area on the perimeter that could be converted out of managed turf. And a new irrigation system that went in the ground during that project meant water already was being distributed at peak efficiency.   Finding a way to be in compliance while not compromising the integrity of this 1929 Alister MacKenzie design required a team effort that included general manager Scott Hoyt and head golf professional Ken Woods. They proved invaluable to the process because they viewed the course from a player's perspective and provided the ability to approach membership as a united front.   "Ken has a better ideas of where shots are going to land throughout the course, and so does Scott," Mandon said. "Me, I'm just trying to save water."   The plan eventually included turning off water to the practice range as well as the first 30 to 40 yards in front of each forward tee.   "Working on this together was the only way we could do it. We all recognized that," Mandon said. "We had some heated and deep conversations on the golf course. We got it all out of our systems before going to the board. From those disagreements came a plan, and we're all taking responsibility for it. We went to the board as a team and told them what we were going to do. They were very supportive of our decision."   Mandated restrictions statewide stem from an April 1 directive by Gov. Jerry Brown, who ordered the state's 400-plus urban water districts to cut use statewide by 25 percent through June 2016. His order was implemented by the California Water Resources Control Board, which directed each of the state's 411 urban water providers to reduce usage by 8 percent to 36 percent (based on 2013 usage data). How much each district was required to save was based on location and prior consumption. Each district has been granted a wide berth as to how it meets its specific reduction quota.   The Marin Municipal Water District north of San Francisco is required to curb its water consumption by 20 percent.   Meadow Club director of grounds David Sexton and superintendent Sean Tully have been stingy in how they distribute water for years, so members at the course in Fairfax, a 1927 MacKenzie design and his first in the United States, likely won't notice much of a difference moving forward.   "We've been looking for ways to conserve water since David first got here more than 30 years ago," Tully said. "It has only gotten easier with all of the tools we have available today - irrigation system upgrades, wetting agents, and moisture meters have been integral in our water use reductions.   "We are part of the community, and we're already good stewards of the environment and we're going to continue to do that. We are part of the solution, not part of the problem."   To that end, Tully takes soil-moisture readings three days a week and uses the data to map areas on greens that are too dry, or too wet.  
    We are part of the community, and we're already good stewards of the environment and we're going to continue to do that. We are part of the solution, not part of the problem."
      His pump station sends him text messages four times per day telling him how much water is being used and when. If water use increases, he knows right away, like in 2014 when he adopted new hose nozzles for hand-watering in hopes of cutting water use even more. Instead, he noticed he was using more water, not less, so he went back to using the old nozzles.   "If you're not paying attention, the numbers can get out of whack real fast," Tully said.    This year, he's been removing heads throughout the course and drying down areas to reduce water use even more.    Using less water has a trickle down effect that means additional savings elsewhere. Less water means less disease pressure, fewer pesticide and fertilizer apps and mowing less frequently.   "We are drier, firmer and faster. That means we're spraying less," he said. "I've gotten away from spraying preventively. With the climate here, I can get away with that. Not everyone can."   Native grasses that Tully thought had been squeezed out through the years gradually have taken advantage of the arid conditions and have begun to reclaim areas where they once thrived.   "We had a lot of non-native grasses that had overgrown the perennial stuff in our naturalized areas. We thought we'd lost the perennial grasses," he said. "Now, the non-native grasses are gone and the perennials are coming back gangbusters.   "We still have some non-native grasses, they're just not as prolific. It's a work in progress."     About 30 miles east of Oakland in Pleasanton, Steve Agin began reducing water use at Ruby Hill Golf Club long before the governor told him he had to, and long before the Zone 7 water district implemented mandatory reductions of 24 percent.   When the state asked for voluntary cutbacks last year, Agin curbed usage by 23 percent by reducing irrigation in the club's 14-acre practice range and in the roughs. That made compliance with this year's mandatory cuts much more palatable. This year, he's met his requirement by continuing to dry down the roughs and reducing irrigation on the practice range by 80 percent. There, he waters targets only, which he says is more cost effective than applying colorants every four to five weeks. His plan has been embraced by the club's administration, including director of golf Nigel Rouse, a native of Manchester, England, who says the new look makes him homesick.   "He liked the look and the playability," Agin said. "He said it reminded him of England."   Even homeowners in the Ruby Hill community, who also were ordered to cut water use, came to Agin seeking advice on how to maintain some semblance of a lawn without incurring fines or surcharges for exceeding their quota.   "We have to do this while trying to retain members and attract new ones," Agin said. "It's tough.   "Homeowners have embraced it more than I thought they would, and that has helped us get over the hump. It makes it easier to handle when you have that support."   The City of Santa Cruz has been a pioneer in how to use less water.   Directed by the Water Resources Control Board to cut its use by 8 percent, the city is requiring its customers to be far more judicious in their water use. Unlike other water districts that are using 2013 as a benchmark for determining cutbacks, Santa Cruz is basing its reductions on real-time data. Mandon says that provides him with much more accurate information when determining how much water he can use. It also requires much more detailed reporting on his part.   The city receives an average of nearly 32 inches of rain per year, so there is no shortage of water, compared with nearby cities like San Jose that receive half that amount. For Santa Cruz, much of which is on the western slope of a mountain, the challenge has been catching and keeping rainfall for a city growing at a steady clip of nearly 4 percent per year.   "Santa Cruz has just gotten bigger and bigger. Water is pumped from the San Lorenzo River into just one reservoir," Mandon said. "We've had almost 30 inches of rain in the past year. It's about not having enough storage capacity, not about enough water."   Each April 15, the city announces what restrictions, if any, it will enact to get through the summer. Those restrictions go into effect May 1 and remain in place through at least Nov. 1. The baseline on which those restrictions are established is the result of a complex formula that determines how many gallons of water are needed daily to irrigate an area based on acreage, a landscape (turf) coefficient, daily ET and precipitation. That number, theoretically, can change daily. And although it means Mandon is able to irrigate off real-time data and real-time needs, it also means he has to monitor his use daily to avoid real-time penalties.   "It's great that it's based on current conditions, but the hard part is the work involved," Mandon said. "We can't wait for six weeks and get a bill and see where we are then. You're fined $66,000 for every million gallons you're over budget.   "I put all our data into an Excel document and compare it to meter readings. By season's end last year, we were within 1 to 1.5 percent."   Navigating through restrictions requires walking a fine line between golfer expectations and the negative PR golf receives from outside the industry. There already are many detractors of the game who believe the game symbolizes a waste of water resources. The drought has brought out more of them. For facilities in California, success might be reserved for those who can educate people on both sides of the issue.   "It's frustrating for superintendents and golfers," Mandon said. "We have to change their perception of what a golf course should look like."   This is part of a multi-part series on golf and water in California.
  • For superintendents who have to grow grass in tough-to-grow places, Profile Products has released its ProGanics Biotic Soil Media.
      Designed as a topsoil alternative, ProGanics accelerates the development of depleted soils and substrates containing low amounts of organic matter, low nutrients levels and limited biological activity. With abundant levels of organic matter and soil-building components, ProGanics is formulated to modify soil chemistry and initiate growth.   ProGanics is a combination of thermally refined bark and wood fibers with a proprietary blend of biopolymers, biochar, seaweed extract, humic acid, endomycorrhizae and other beneficial constituents that work together to improve growing conditions in the soil profile.   ProGanics also is designed to optimize water retention.   It is ideal for use on steep slopes where topsoil placement might not be practical. It provides a nearly erosion free surface when used with Profile's ProMatrix and Flexterra products.   The product Web site contains information on case studies, product brochures (in English and Spanish), datasheets, application guides, tools to calculate how much product is needed and a savings calculator.
  • NovaSource, a business unit of Tessenderlo Kerley Inc. (TKI), is voluntarily recalling all of its turf fungicide formulation product marketed under the brand names of ArmorTech ALT 70 by United Turf Alliance, LLC (UTA) and Viceroy 70DF by United Phosphorus Inc. (UPI).
      On June 17, TKI recalled 2013 production batches of the turf fungicide formulation with batch codes that begin with the number 6 (e.g., 6101701). The manufacturer found evidence of contamination from the herbicide sulfometuron methyl in the turf fungicide formulation following laboratory investigation and testing.   The updated recall now includes all products of any batch number of either brand in the marketplace.   "We have reason to believe that the problem goes beyond the 6-series production batches, and out of an abundance of caution are recalling all turf product in the market," said David Cassidy, TKI group vice president. "We are working diligently with a team of experts to provide on-site turf management suggestions for mitigating turf injury, and internally we are examining all production practices to identify and resolve the problem."   As with the original recall, TKI asks that ALT 70 and Viceroy 70DF users take the following steps immediately: do not use or apply ALT 70 or Viceroy 70DF; return product to the point of sale or to the product distributors for full credit, including reimbursement of costs associated with the return.   ALT 70 and Viceroy are post-patent systemic fungicides manufactured by NovaSource TKI. Each contains the active ingredient O-ethyl phosphonate (aluminum tris) and is labeled for control of anthracnose, Pythium and Phytophthora. Sales of both products were stopped June 5 after reports of damaged turf began to pop up on multiple golf courses throughout the Northeast.   For more information about the recall and tips on improving turfgrass recovery, visit alt70info.com.
  • Japan OKs Aquatrols technology
      Aquatrols has received patent protection in Japan for its groundbreaking seed-enhancement technology.   This is the first patent issued in what is expected to be global intellectual property protection for the Seed Enhancement Technology, according to Aquatrols.   In replicated trials worldwide, Aquatrols Seed Enhancement Technology has shown to significantly improve seed establishment under deficit irrigation conditions and aid seed germination in water repellent soils. The technology is expected to have widespread applications in the turfgrass, agricultural, and native seed markets.   Toro enhances drip irrigation software
      Toro has released an upgrade to its AquaFlow drip irrigation design software. This latest version includes a search feature that helps users identify and select the desired Toro tape or dripline model faster and easier. Users also now have the ability to search for product models by flow rate.   The upgrade also includes an updated database with improved flow exponent X and flow coefficient K values for Toro's Neptune flat emitter dripline product line.    AquaFlow design software is available to all registered users online or downloaded onto a computer from driptips.toro.com. Any previous versions of AquaFlow 4.0 must be uninstalled prior to downloading a new version, and any existing designs should be backed up before uninstalling.       Bernhard reaches deal with Ohio distributor
      Bernhard and Co., manufacturer of Bernhard Grinders, has partnered with Ohio-based distributor Shearer Equipment.   A full-line John Deere dealer, Shearer will educate golf courses and sports facilities across northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia about the benefits of Bernhard's products, including the Express Dual and Anglemaster.    Founded in Wooster in 1937, Shearer employs more than 160 team members at seven locations throughout Ohio.   Bernhard's Express Dual reel grinder sharpens without requiring disassembly of the mower. Its membrane touch control panel, speed loading system and automatic traverse were designed to improve turnaround time and workshop safety. The unique auto relief eliminates the need for lapping.   The Anglemaster bedknife grinder emphasizes speed and accuracy, and an independent end-feed, a single-point advance and central-grind position are designed to maximize ease of use.   Bayer appoints Applegate to head Environmental Science
      Effective July 1, longtime Bayer executive Jacqueline Applegate, Ph.D., will become Head of Environmental Science, the non-agricultural business operations unit of Bayer CropScience.    Applegate, who will be based at the Bayer Environmental Science headquarters in Lyon, France, succeeds Gunnar Riemann, Ph.D., who left the company to pursue other career opportunities. In her new role, Applegate will also be a member of the Bayer CropScience executive committee.   During her 23-year-career at Bayer, Applegate, 49, has held several management positions with Environmental Science, most notably president of its North America business from 2010 to 2012. She first joined Environmental Science as head of global portfolio management and became president of Bayer Advanced Consumer Lawn and Garden USA in 2007.   Until recently, Applegate was senior Bayer representative and Bayer CropScience country head Australia and New Zealand. She began her career with Bayer in 1992 as process development chemist in product supply, and later was named head of global project management in 2002.   Applegate is a graduate of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from Iowa State University, and then an MBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City.  
  • Peter Braun knows being the best golf course superintendent he can be requires a broad spectrum of experience. To that end, he set out last year on a whirlwind tour working on three golf courses on three continents before settling in as a newly anointed intern at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
      Part of Braun's tour included blogging about his experiences as an intern at Mount Juliet Golf Club in Kilkenny, Ireland. A native of Cambridge, New York and graduate of Ohio State via SUNY Cobleskill, Braun was the third intern placed by TurfNet at Mount Juliet, and the third to share his experiences in his blog presented by Jacobsen.   Following his internship at Mount Juliet, Braun followed with another internship at The Hills Golf Club in New Zealand and volunteered on the crew for this year's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. He was placed in New Zealand through The Ohio Program, an international internship program at OSU.   "By the end of my second-to-last semester of college, I started to think about what I had done during my time in school," Braun said. "One experience was missing for me: to experience different cultures. By utilizing TurfNet and The Ohio Program I was able to achieve this goal. Seeing how golf courses in Ireland and New Zealand are run gave me more perspective on turf maintenance here in the States. From small things such as less bunker maintenance to larger problems like quality sand availability I realized these are still golf courses where grass is mowed and the course is set up for play each day."   TurfNet's involvement in placing interns on golf courses in Ireland began in 2012 with Cam Cooper. A SUNY Delhi graduate from Manlius, New York, Cooper now is the head superintendent at The Ridge Golf Club, a nine-holer in Syracuse. He is in his third season at The Ridge and is recently married to the former Rachel Huber.   The internship program associated with TurfNet and Jacobsen not only prepares tomorrow's greenkeepers for a career in turf management, but also helps give them valuable international experience that will help them off the golf course.    "The golf course work was a big part of the experience, but not the whole package," Braun said. "In Ireland and New Zealand, I traveled around exploring the country, went to agricultural shows, and saw lots of history. I ran a few races, biked around, and went hiking. My trip overseas opened my eyes to the differences in countries and cultures, but each having their own beauty and uniqueness. The golf course work was a big part of the experience, but not the whole package."     The blog started quite by accident. Cooper contacted TurfNet's Jon Kiger in December 2011 for help finding a  job or internship for summer 2012 after he noticed various activities in Ireland on the site. Mount Juliet superintendent Aidan O'Hara brought Cooper aboard, and the blog materialized as a way to showcase the differences in cultural practices in other parts of the world.   Carson Letot has been extremely busy since interning at Mount Juliet in 2013.    He has earned a bachelor's degree in crop and soil sciences and another in environmental studies, both from Michigan State. Before heading into the real world, he is completing an internship at the university's Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, and was chosen partly because of his work abroad in association with Jacobsen and TurfNet.   Since blogging, Letot has turned his focus away from the golf course for a planned career as an educator.   "Not only was my summer in Ireland at Mount Juliet the best summer of my life, but it was also a great experience to be in partnership with TurfNet. The blog entries that I completed taught me to document experiences so that I could later properly reflect on what I learned and what I enjoyed," Letot said. The lessons learned that summer are still with me today, and I believe that they will pay large dividends down the road as I embark in a career as a teacher the fields of biology, agriculture and environmental sciences."     Two more bloggers, both from the University of Nebraska, have taken up the mantle this year.   Jeff Lenihan is working for Campey Turf Care Systems, a supplier of turf management equipment based in Cheshire, England. Lenihan previously interned with the Columbus Crew, an MLS franchise in Ohio.   Eric Bruening is spending the summer as an intern at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare, Ireland. He is on pace to graduate in December, upon which he hopes to return to Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska. Ohio State's O'Keeffe assisted both students with placements as well as the process of securing visas.   In his new role at Hazeltine, Braun is part of a group brought in to help head superintendent Chris Tritabaugh prepare the Twin Cities-area course for the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches.   "Here I am part of an intern group that is given lots of responsibility and educational material," he said. "Currently we have started a weekly management program where each week one intern gets to lead a crew of 6-10 workers to get the bunkers mowed and raked, irrigation heads and trees trimmed, as well as other small projects. I am excited to see what is in store for course leading up to the 2016 Ryder Cup matches."
  • Of all the challenging tasks asked of Robert Smith at Merion Golf Club, and there have been many, the most difficult has been achieving nearly impossible heights of cut for the 2013 U.S. Open.
    Before the start of the third round in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Matt Shaffer, the club's director of golf course operations, asked Smith if it was possible to cut any lower for the tournament's final two rounds. Smith, Merion's equipment manager for the past seven years, answered in the affirmative. But even Shaffer didn't know, until after the tournament, what Smith was able to coax out of those mowers.
    "We were cutting at 0.075 (inches) on the weekend. If you read in any book, that height of cut is nearly impossible," said Smith. "It took me two years to figure out the correct angles, how thick the bedknife should be, what attitude I should run the bedknife. I've never been that deep into a mower before. I had notes, upon notes, upon notes. Even Matt didn't know for sure our height of cut by the weekend.
    "Achieving those heights of cut is the hardest thing I've done at Merion, but I'd do it all again tomorrow. The science behind it, that is what is so rewarding."
    It's also one more reason why, at Merion, Smith is known as "Maestro of the Mowers." It also is just one reason why Smith was named the recipient of the 2015 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award, presented by The Toro Co.
    A graduate of Penn State's now defunct turfgrass equipment maintenance program, Smith started as an equipment operator at Merion for four years before taking over
    as equipment manager. Since then, he has gained a reputation for teaching and training upcoming mechanics and as an expert fabricator.
    As the winner, Smith receives the Golden Wrench Award and a spot in one of Toro's Service Training University.
    He was chosen by a panel of judges from a field of three finalists, including Rex Schad of Jimmie Austin Golf Club at the University of Oklahoma and James Sanders of Mirror Lake Golf Club in Villa Rica, Georgia.
    Candidates are judged on the following criteria: crisis management; effective budgeting; environmental awareness; helping to further and promote the careers of colleagues and employees; interpersonal communications; inventory management and cost control; overall condition and dependability of rolling stock; shop safety; and work ethic.
    One of Smith's more infamous fabrications involved modifying a brand new 22-inch walk mowing unit by outfitting it with an 18-inch deck to achieve a lower height of cut.
    "When I told him I wanted him to do it, he said ?I think I can do that,' " Shaffer said. "I told him that I didn't think he understood me. I wasn't asking if he could do; I wanted it done."
    Smith is intent on giving back to an industry that has provided him with so much. He has started a training program that teaches those with mechanical aptitude to be golf course equipment managers.
    At any given time, Smith has one entry level mechanic just entering his program, and one nearing completion of training. Trainees begin by mowing greens and raking bunkers for part of the day and stay in the program for two to three years before graduating. One of his trainees will "graduate" this fall and already has three job offers.
    Current or past trainees include former golf course superintendents and even college students majoring in engineering. Graduates have gone on to work as equipment managers at such places as Saucon Valley Country Club.
    Curriculum includes a lot of on-the-job training, formal on-site classes and enrolling them in training academies sponsored by Toro, John Deere and Jacobsen.
    "I love teaching. There's not a day that goes by that I don't learn something from them," Smith said. "Plus it keeps my mind sharp as well.
    "I don't do it to benefit myself. I do it to benefit others. Anyone who knows me, I'm a big giver. In fact, my wife gets mad at me for it sometimes. I'm in a position to give, and Matt and Merion are in a position to let me do that."
  • Platte River acquires Profile
    Platte River Equity has acquired Profile Products.
    A private equity firm, Platte River Equity plans to grow the Profile Products brand both organically and through subsequent acquisitions.
    Profile Products will continue to operate with the same management team, 200-plus-employee workforce and existing locations in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Conover, North Carolina, Blue Mountain, Mississippi, and Limestone, Tennessee.
    During the past six decades, Profile has developed innovative erosion and sediment control products, turf establishment products, and complementary solutions designed to minimize soil loss and accelerate seed germination for private and civil construction, energy, mining, landfill, agriculture, horticulture, sports fields, golf courses, and retail lawn and garden applications. Its products are sold in 75 countries on six continents.
    The transaction closed on May 21. Financial details were not disclosed.

    Syngenta names new territory managers
    Syngenta has named Adam Garr and Chris Threadgill as new territory managers for its turf and ornamental segment.
    A former golf course superintendent, Garr will be responsible for sales efforts in the lower part of Michigan. He has more than 16 years of experience in the turf industry, including the past 6 as superintendent at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Michigan.
    Threadgill, has nearly 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry, including prior posts with The Scotts Co. and Valent U.S.A. Corp.
    Five students receive Garske grants
    Kelsi Stieler, Brooks Leftwich, Alexis Gomez, Dalton Trout and Heidi Kastenholz were named recipients of the 2015 Joseph S. Garske Collegiate Grants.
    Established in honor of Par Aide company founder Joseph S. Garske, the Garske grant program is funded by the golf course accessory company and administered by the GCSAA's Environmental Institute for Golf.
    The program helps children and stepchildren of GCSAA members fund their education at an accredited college or trade school with one-time, one-year grants, awarded to five winners. Grants are based on community service, leadership, academic performance and a written essay.
    Stieler (Fresno State, $2,500) is the daughter of Michael F. Stieler of Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon, California. Leftwich (University of Tennessee, $2,000) is the son of retired superintendent Michael C. Leftwich. Gomez (Texas Tech University, $1,500) of Summit Rock Over Horseshoe Bay Golf Course in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. Trout (Penn State, $1,000) is the son of David L. Trout of Azalea Sands Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Kastenholz (Butler University, $500) is the daughter of Mark Kastenholz of Tipton (Indiana) Golf Course.
  • As the face of the University of Massachusetts turfgrass program for 40 years, Joseph Troll always placed the needs of students first. And that is why when it came time to place them as interns, he often suggested they take positions far from home. He knew the experience would be one that paid dividends far into the future.
      "Often times, he'd take students and pull them aside in their first year and council them on where they were going for internships, and how important that decision was on the rest of your career," said Steve Curry, superintendent at Torrington Country Club in Goshen, Connecticut. "He brought me into his office one day and told me ?I'd hate to see you stay close to home and your mommy. I'd rather see you experience something far away from home.' He made the call for me to Cherry Hills in Denver, and it was the best experience in my career."  
    Troll, who retired from UMass in 1985, but never stepped away from serving the university, died June 14 at his home in Summerfield, Florida. He was 95.   A native of Patterson, New Jersey, Troll earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Rhode Island and masters and doctorate degrees from UMass.    A veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II, he is remembered by former students for bringing a little bit of the military to the classroom, but only because he expected much from his students and wanted them to share his high standards.   "If he had an 8 a.m. class, at 8 he locked the door, and if you were late, you missed class," said UMass professor of entomology Pat Vittum, Ph.D. "Because he served in the Navy, he did not suffer fools lightly. He had high expectations, and his students had to show up and do the work. At the time, I don't think any of them particularly loved him for that, but later on they did."   Troll took over the UMass turf program in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 1957, including the Winter School for Greenkeepers, which predecessor Lawrence Dickinson founded in 1927 and today is the country's oldest formal curriculum for turf managers. During his tenure at UMass, he founded the Massachusetts Lawn and Turf Council Conference, known locally as the Mass Turf Conference, which eventually morphed into the larger New England Regional Turf Foundation. He was the recipient of the USGA Green Section Award in 1991 and was inducted into the Western Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.    "I still remember my first class with Joe," said UMass alum and retired superintendent Ted Horton. "Once we got past the Navy stories, we were all carefully informed that "it takes three things to grow grass - drainage, drainage and drainage. Not too many years later I found that to be not completely accurate.  All it seemed to take was a crack in the sidewalk."   After his retirement in 1985, he remained active in fundraising activities for the university, including raising money to start the turfgrass research center in South Deerfield that bears his name. Those fundraising efforts to build the Joseph Troll Turf Research Center resulted in the creation of a turfgrass alumni group and an annual fundraiser tournament honoring its namesake.   "Joe Troll was a great teacher and mentor to young superintendents and frankly to old, has-been superintendents as well," Horton said. "He was always accessible and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was more like a friend than a professor and kept in touch with his students for years after graduation. For decades, he was at the forefront of turf research and turfgrass management teaching and it is fitting that the turf research station at UMass Amherst is named after him."   Throughout his career, Troll worked tirelessly on behalf of his students to place them at golf courses throughout the country and around the world.   "He did that better than anyone," Vittum said. "If someone was suited for Winged Foot, he made sure that person made it to Winged Foot. It was almost as if he had his own headhunting firm."   The quality of education taking place at UMass under his watch often resulted in golf course managers around the country calling him looking to fill vacancies.   "Once he started that, he'd have greens chairmen calling him to request a Stockbridge student. That really snowballed," said Roy Mackintosh, a retired superintendent who graduated from UMass in 1964. "He placed superintendents all over the world. It was a who's who of golf courses where he placed students."   UMass alumni working locally often were called up to host field trips for Troll's classes.   Always at Troll's side throughout his career was wife Lonnie, who helped him with research projects, running turf conferences or organizing his notes.   "They had a great connection," Mackintosh said. "She was always there by his side at conferences and running his research programs. She was My Gal, Friday. She did everything to back him up. They were quite a team."
  • For the past decade, John Deere Golf and Bayer Environmental Science have helped prepare the next generation of superintendents by bringing them together with some of the golf industry's most accomplished turf professionals at the annual Green Start Academy.
      Online applications for the 10th annual event are being accepted through July 12.    This year marks the 10th annual Green Start Academy, a professional development initiative presented by John Deere Golf and Bayer Environmental Science that includes educational sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities for assistant superintendents from the United States and Canada.    Scheduled for Oct. 7-9, this year's event will be held at the Bayer Development and Training Center in Clayton, North Carolina, and the John Deere Turf Care factory in nearby Fuquay-Varina. Attendees will meet with fellow professionals and gain valuable insights from top industry leaders. Attendance is limited to just 50 assistant superintendents, who will receive an all-expense-paid trip to attend the event.   "Since 2005, Green Start Academy has provided assistant superintendents with the tools to advance their careers and highlight their commitment to ongoing professional development," said Ren Wilkes, marketing manager for John Deere Golf. "Through programs like Green Start Academy, John Deere can help support the ongoing success of promising assistant superintendents who represent the future of the golf industry."   Assistant superintendents interested in attending should complete the online application, which also includes submitting a resume and cover letter by July 12.   "It has been exciting to witness the evolution of GSA over the years, but one constant remains true," said David Wells, golf business manager for the Bayer turf and ornamentals business. "The high quality applicants ? all committed to the game of golf and to advancing their careers ? continue to inspire Bayer's ongoing commitment to elevate and equip the next generation of leaders to succeed and grow the industry."     Consideration is given to all applicants, representing every type of club and course. An independent panel of golf industry experts will select the 50 highest-ranked applicants. Those who are selected to attend will be notified by mid-August. Individuals who are not selected will have the opportunity to take advantage of a professional resume review and critique.    The 2015 GSA judging panel includes: Chris Condon, Tetherow Golf Club; Jeff Corcoran, Oak Hill Country Club; Chris Dew, The National Golf Club of Canada; Bob Farren, CGCS, Pinehurst Resort; Pat Finlen, CGCS, The Olympic Club; Lukus Harvey, Atlanta Athletic Club; Bryan Stromme, Billy Casper Golf; Billy Weeks, Duke University Golf Club.
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