- Read more...
- 1,830 views
- Read more...
- 1,539 views
The folks at Monarch Dunes Golf Club in Nipomo, Calif., devised a great plan in an attempt to grow the game: simply remove the most common barriers people cite when they say they don't play, or don't play more. "We wanted to attract more golfers," said Holly McGinty, the club's director of marketing. "We have an 18-hole course and a par-3 course, and they weren't getting enough play." Last year, the club's 12-hole, par-3 Challenge Course received a bit of a makeover with new forward tees, less-punishing bunkers and optional 8-inch cups on each hole. Oh, and Monarch Dunes also will provide newcomers with a handful of clubs, balls, tees, as well as some personalized instruction, all for $10. "We wanted to take away every excuse," McGinty said "People told us that it took too long to play, was too intimidating and it cost too much. We took all that away." And people are coming. McGinty couldn't pinpoint an exact figure, but said the program has resulted in "hundreds" of new players and more-than-passing interest from other courses in the area who like what they see enough to consider implementing a similar program.
The program has meant some changes for the golf course, a 6-year-old Pate/Pascuzzo design that measures 1,377 yards from the forward tees and 1,858 yards from the back. Bunker lips have been removed to make it possible to put from greenside hazards, each green now has a regulation cup as well as an easier-to-hit 8-inch hole. Green surrounds are mowed at seven-sixteenths of an inch, and greens are kept at 0.140, and walking paths mowed into the turf point the way toward a round that course superintendent Tom Elliott says can be completed, even by newcomers, in about 90 minutes. "We're trying to simplify the game of golf," Elliott said. "We want new people to come out and play." The club also maintains the Old Course, a 6,800-yard 18-hole layout, which also was designed by the Sacramento-based team of Pate/Pascuzzo. With four tees and two cups (and two flags) on every hole, each ranging from 65 to 205 yards in length, the course is not only friendly for beginners, but continues to offer a challenge to more advanced players. The idea, Elliott said, first is just to get people to come to the course and play and eventually convert them into a serious golfer. So far, the plan appears to be working among those who've given the Challenge Course a try. "The 8-inch cup is a novelty," Elliott said. "What we're seeing is that people will try that one or two times, then start playing to the regulation cup." McGinty admits that the decision to rework an existing golf course and alter a business model made for some nervous moments. But it was a decision that had to be made. "Sure it did, but we're glad we did it," she said. "We still have the integrity of the golf course, but have made it easier for beginners. "This is not just about us and growing rounds here. This is about growing the industry, too."
- Read more...
- 3,320 views
- Jon Scott, Nicklaus Design
He recalled a quote by former GCSAA chief executive officer Steve Mona, now with the World Golf Foundation, that went something like this: "Superintendents need to change their image. They do not need someone else telling the members what they accomplished. If you want to make more, then you need to have a different persona." "That really resonated with me," said Shaffer, who went on to say if he were a younger superintendent he would develop the skills to become a general manager and would have a better golf game that the in-house PGA professional so he could play with and have an audience with members. "I would make every single member know that I was the man to run it all," he said. Like Shaffer, Jon Scott has been in the business for more than 40 years, including a total of 16 years with Nicklaus Design, 15 as a superintendent and almost 10 years with the PGA Tour's agronomy division. The golf boom brought with it, he said, a tiered employment structure that included the advent of the second assistant. With the boom officially over several years ago, Scott says he sees two emerging trends: fewer second assistants and tenured superintendents being pushed out the door and replaced by the first assistant for the sake of cutting costs. "Today, the median age of the superintendent keeps going down and so are wages and benefits," Scott said. "Fewer people are looking to enter the profession, and those that do are finding a return to the single assistant model. We have come full circle and perhaps settled into a more sustainable model for what being a superintendent is all about. The superintendent profession may have hit its high water mark some years ago." Given that reality, success in today's leaner economy, Scott says, will superintendents to do their jobs better than ever. "The new survival skills are going to be a willingness to be more personally hands-on with an emphasis on cross-training and multi-tasking," he said. "At all but the high-end courses, the days of the 20-person staff for 18 holes are coming to an end. Likewise, having the luxury of two assistants, two mechanics, a spray/fertilizer technician, a project foreman and even an administrative assistant is disappearing at many courses. Those jobs still exist, but they are done with fewer people having more diversified abilities. During my career (as a superintendent), I was at various times an electrician, mechanic, hydraulic engineer, plumber, carpenter, heavy- and light-equipment operator, landscaper, councilor, accountant, teacher, author, researcher, arborist, agronomist and finally just a plain laborer. When I would try to explain this to someone, their eyes would roll. It is just what we did. I am seeing a return to this philosophy in my consulting work today. I'm not sure whether to lament or embrace this regression, but it is the reality of the marketplace." Scott's observations reinforce the philosophy that the superintendent should work to develop the reputation of being the most valued person at any golf course. That means improving business and communications skills and being accepting of change. "If we're not moving forward that way we are stale. We have to continue to learn," Stromme said. "You have to develop these skills to thrive. It's about getting back to viewing challenges as opportunity, developing your business side and understanding that everything you do every day is about how you utilize your resources to maximize the experience for your guest."
- Read more...
- 2,576 views
FMC Professional Solutions has launched a new mobile tool that helps turf managers in the ongoing battle against broadleaf and grassy weeds and sedges.
The mobile tool, which can be accessed through a smartphone at www.fmcturfadvisor.com, includes a weed-identification tool, chemical solutions finder, contact information for FMC technical specialists and a distributor locator tool.
The weed-identification tool includes photographs and information on nearly 50 sedges and broadleaf and grassy weeds, including growth habits, detailed physical descriptions and ideal growing conditions for each.
The chemical solutions finder can be cross referenced by pest type, turf type and weed type and includes in-depth information on nearly 20 herbicides, insecticides, including information on specific pests, tank mixing and downloadable labels and material safety data sheets.
The tool also allows users to locate specific weed information from FMC technical staff located in their home state.
Users also can find local vendors by clicking on the ?Find and FMC Distributor? tab.
- Read more...
- 1,880 views
Criteria on which nominees are judged include: 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. Previous winners include Brian Sjögren of Corral de Tierra Country Club, Monterey, Calif. (2013); Kevin Bauer, Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Crest Hill, Ill. (2012); Jim Kilgallon, The Connecticut Golf Club, Easton, Conn. (2011); Herb Berg, Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club (2010); Doug Johnson, TPC at Las Colinas, Irving, Texas (2009); Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club (2007); Fred Peck, Fox Hollow and The Homestead, Lakewood, Colo. (2006); Jesus Olivas, Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, Marana, Ariz. (2005); Henry Heinz, Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club (2004); Eric Kulaas, Marriott Vinoy Renaissance Resort, St. Petersburg, Fla. (2003). No award was given in 2008. Three finalists and a winner will be chosen from a panel of judges and all will be profiled on TurfNet. The winner receives the Golden Wrench Award and an all-expense paid trip to Toro's headquarters in Bloomington, Minn. for a weeklong session at the Toro University Service Training Center. Click here to nominate your technician, and please provide specific examples of his or her achievements. The nomination deadline is April 30.
- Read more...
- 1,889 views
We like Williams, director of grounds at Stone Mountain Golf Club near Atlanta, not just because he's an innovator, because let's face it, all superintendents have to be innovators today to remain employed as greenkeepers. It's not because he's a good manager of people, or makes the most of modest resources. Those traits, too, are required of contemporary superintendents. It's not because of his emphasis on education, or his habits of setting and working to achieve goals. We like Anthony Williams for all of those reasons above and because of his willingness to share what he knows with others.
A masterful story-teller, Williams is a published author (Environmental Stewardship Toolkit: Wiley, 2012), speaks regularly at national and regional educational conferences, speaks on behalf of his profession to legislators, is a black belt in karate and, most importantly, might have missed his true calling as a motivational speaker.
Williams' latest project came on the heels of his 50th birthday, and includes setting 50 goals he would like to accomplish before he blows out 51 candles on his next cake. He's called the self-imposed challenge 50@50.
Williams has written each goal on an index card and keeps the lot in a box on his desk, or as he calls it "a bucket list with a deadline." In true form, it's not enough for Williams simply to attain these goals for his benefit; he wants to share it with others.
"It took some time and searching for the right mix of things and a system with a catchy title. I knew that I wanted to make some course adjustments at 50 and wanted to build off of some things that I had learned along the way. This seemed perfect and the box keeps the symbol of hope in my face several times a day."
So, why does he feel the need to share something that, like a New Year's resolution, could easily go unfulfilled?
Part of the answer is to inspire others to action. It's just what he does. It's a philosophy that Gandhi summed up by saying "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
"The most obvious answer is that it is harder to give up when others know your true aspirations and walking in truth and transparency is a bit liberating (and sometimes terrifying). There is also the knowledge that others have inspired me to reach for new ground all of my life so in payment of those who taught me the way I tend to try and leave a trail for the next ones who rise up and fly. I look at it as a three-step process: 1. sow good seeds, 2. nurture your networks and 3. launch your legacy.
The goals are diverse and include both personal and professional objectives, such as donate a day's pay to someone who "needs it more than I do", lose 50 pounds, win another karate tournament, donate to PBS, walk on the beach with his wife and complete Stone Mountain's $585,000 pump station project.
TurfNet will provide periodic updates to ensure Williams fail in his task, although anyone who knows him realizes there is little chance of that.
- Read more...
- 1,758 views
- Read more...
- 5,090 views
The second assistant at Lahontan Golf Club in Truckee, Calif., Andrews is undergoing rehabilitation therapy at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., after a snowboarding accident last month left him paralyzed from the neck down. Andrews, 25, fractured his C6 vertebrae March 15 while snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada at the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in Truckee. He was admitted March 26 to Craig Hospital, a Denver-area facility that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries and is ranked seventh in the U.S. News and World Report list of best rehabilitation hospitals. Andrews immediately began the rehabilitation phase of his recovery. According to Lahontan superintendent Michael Cornette, Andrews, who is in his final year of studies in the Penn State turf program, has regained minimal range of motion in his upper arms and has graduated to operating the joystick on a motorized wheelchair and also has regained some minor feeling in his legs, but he still faces a long rehabilitative process. A native of Santa Rosa, Calif., Andrews is in his final year of studies in Penn State's turf management program. He is facing significant medical bills, and friends are asking for help. A fund has been established to raise $50,000 to help Andrews defray some of the expenses associated with his rehabilitation. Nearly $40,000 has been raised so far, but Andrews still needs help and is facing weeks of therapy. "He has slowly gotten some movement back in his upper arms and has vibrations in his legs from time to time," Cornette said. "This is why proper rehab is critical at this time. Hope is there and he is working hard to change his status."
- Read more...
- 4,318 views
Along with one of the country's leading turfgrass management programs offered at both the main campus in Columbus and the university's Agricultural Technical Institute established 45 years ago in Wooster, Ohio State also offers short course and other in-person sessions such as an August field day, two-day Spring Tee Off and works with the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation to present several days of education at the annual OTF Conference and Show each December.
The school also recognizes the value of non-traditional education and to that end is a pioneer in e-learning, taking part in the Great Lake School of Turf initiative developed by the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin as well as offering online certificate programs for golf and sports turf management.
Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., has taken e-learning to the next level by making available several books he has authored or co-authored in iBook format through Apple.
Some of the offerings made available by Danneberger include:
Golf Course Management
Golf Course Management: Advanced
Winter Injury, which he co-authored with Karolina Ruzickova Hofferova.
The downloadable books are free and available for iPad only.
- Read more...
- 2,026 views
"He asked me what he needed to do to get better because at some point he wanted my job," Alonzi said. "Dave wasn't the first or the last person to say that. A lot of guys would've liked to have had my job.
"I told him that he was too young and that he should get a master's degree."
Dudones took Alonzi's advice to heart. He went back to school and earned a master's degree at Cornell University under Frank Rossi, Ph.D., and spent more than two decades in the industry paying his dues, including a return to Westchester from 2002-04 to serve as Alonzi's assistant. And that all paid off as Dudones, 39, recently fulfilled his goal of succeeding his former boss as director of grounds at the storied club outside New York City.
Dudones returned to Westchester on Jan. 1 (the hire was made official last fall) after a 20-year career that includes nine years as superintendent at North Jersey Country Club and prepping under Shawn Emerson at Desert Mountain and Don Szymkowicz at Engineers Country Club.
"It is my dream job," Dudones said. "When I came here in 1997, I told him Joe I wanted his job.
"This place is on a whole other level."
Straddling the villages of Harrison and Rye, Westchester is on the top shelf of golf course superintendent jobs. It boasts 36 holes designed by Walter Travis, a nine-hole executive course, and a history that rivals just about any other club in the country. It was a PGA Tour site for more than 30 years, and past members include names like Johnny Carson and Jackie Gleason.
But Westchester is about more than championship golf. Much more.
With a hotel, an Olympic-sized saltwater pool, squash and tennis facilities, more than 6 miles of roads and a beach club located 5 miles away from the main clubhouse, Westchester is more like a small city. Managing just a piece of that small city can be overwhelming.
"The grounds are huge. There is a lot of peripheral stuff that doesn't include the golf courses," Alonzi said.
"This job isn't for everybody. Some can do 45 holes, but there is also a hotel, beach club and miles of road. There were a lot more people who didn't want this job than wanted it. It's not for everybody. You have to be willing to put family second to be successful. And you have to have a wife who can be a mother and father to your kids while they're growing up, because you can't be there. If that is something you accept, great. If you can't, the job is not for you."
In fact, the job is so unique that Alonzi is hanging around throughout the year on an as-needed basis to help Dudones learn the ropes, not of maintaining Westchester's turf, but of managing a piece of such a massive property.
"With the size of this property, he's a great sounding board for me," Dudones said. "For me not to consider him a valuable asset would be foolish."
Dudones also has restructured the turf management team to reflect the changing role of the superintendent in today's economy, naming seven-year Westchester veteran Joe Gikis as assistant director and construction superintendent. Doug Vanderlee, who has been at Westchester for four years, is superintendent of the South Course, and Addison Barden came with Dudones from North Jersey to fill the role of West Course superintendent.
"We're not just growing grass anymore. This is full-time management," Dudones said. "You have to spread the wealth with your management staff. And you have to trust the people around you, you have to bring in the right people, hire the right people and train them the way you want it done or you won't be around long."
After 22 years, Alonzi has seen a lot come and go at Westchester, but insists he only will help when needed.
"When I first got here, there basically was an old irrigation system and nothing else underground except phone lines for the (PGA Tour) tournament," Alonzi said. "I've watched everything go into the ground. I know where the drains are. I'm only there if he needs me. I'm really looking forward to kicking back and relaxing."
Alonzi said he isn't sure what life holds for him next, but he's more than ready for a change.
"I'm still committed to Westchester this year" he said. "But I think after 40 years of being a superintendent and another seven or eight as an assistant, I'm ready to do something else that doesn't involve waking up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning, and that does include Saturdays and Sunday off. I might even take a summer vacation. I've never had one in my life."
- Read more...
- 5,629 views
Although the nearly 84 inches of snow that fell in the Detroit area this year ranks second all-time to the 93.6 inches that fell in 1881, it was more than enough to bring golf in the area to a standstill.
According to Golf Datatech, year-over-year rounds played were down 4.6 percent nationwide in February, but that statistic doesn?t quite tell the whole story. Michigan was one of seven states nationwide, joining Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, where weather was so bad throughout the month that there were no measurable statistics on play available. In other words, it was too cold and too snowy throughout all six of those states that no one was able to play anywhere.
For the year, play is down 4.1 across the country compared with the first two months of 2013.
In February, rounds played were down by double-digits in six of eight geographic regions. The only areas in which rounds played were on the rise were in the Southeast and the drought-stricken mountain west.
Play was up in six states, with New Mexico (up 23 percent), Arizona (10 percent) and Georgia (10 percent) leading the way. Conversely, the Golf Datatech survey of 2,990 private and daily fee courses, shows that play was down in 43 states (the survey does not include Alaska), including losses in double-digits in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
Besides the seven states where no measureable rounds occurred, the biggest losses in February occurred in Pennsylvania (down 91 percent), Iowa (down 80 percent) and New York (down 71 percent).
- Read more...
- 1,569 views
The threat of winter injury was so severe that 372 people recently tuned in to a Webinar on the topic that was conducted by Kevin Frank, Ph.D., of Michigan State, Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska and Frank Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University.
Grigg Brothers, who co-sponsored the online seminar along with Aquatrols, also has developed a checklist of advice on recovering from winter damage.
Grigg Brothers' agronomic team recommends the following:
Where injury is severe, close the greens (or at least the damaged portion) and direct play to temporary greens. Traffic will compromise recovery significantly and delay restoring acceptable playing quality. In fact, playing on a green under recovery could double or triple recovery time.
Raise the height of cut and equip mowers with smooth out-front rollers to reduce stress and wear injury to existing/new plants. Smooth rollers make the mowers much less aggressive than grooved or spiral rollers. Mow as infrequently as possible.
An application of black or other dark-colored topdressing sand at a rate of 200 to 400 pounds per 1,000 square feet could help warm the soil for seed germination and an increased rate of growth.
Permeable turf covers can also be used to stimulate soil warmth and accelerate growth. Be sure to monitor disease pressure under covers.
Grigg Brothers also recommends developing a fertilization program that includes applications every seven days to promote recovery.
- Read more...
- 3,792 views
- Read more...
- 5,436 views
- Read more...
- 2,180 views
Debbie Balicki won't ever forget the first time she met her future husband. She was at a party thrown by a pro football player in the Florida Panhandle in the early 1980s, and she decided to approach a tall, handsome man with a mustache standing next to the bar. "Are you the bartender?" she asked. "No," he answered. "Well, think you could fix me a drink anyway?" she asked with a smile. Later that evening, after she had departed early, retreating to a quieter beach spot down the road, the two would meet up again. They talked. They laughed. They played some backgammon. And when she got home that night, she remembers thinking to herself, "That's the nicest man I've ever met." Lots of people would say those very same words about her husband of 32-plus years, Golfweek senior writer Ron Balicki. He simply was the nicest, kindest man one ever could meet. At his home in the woods in Mount Ida, Ark., on Tuesday morning, Balicki passed away after a valiant eight-month battle with cancer. He would have turned 66 on April 6. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING
- Read more...
- 1,728 views