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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    For professional turf managers who want to dial in on water use in tight areas, Toro has introduced its Thinwall Dripline Ideal system.
    The Thinwall system is designed for use as a subsurface drip irrigation source for those who prefer a flat, molded emitter inside an extruded, thin-walled tube.
    Initially designed for use in the agricultural market, dripline irrigation has morphed into a popular application for use in bunker faces and other tight areas in golf course turf.
    Features include: flat, molded emitter that is resistant to plugging even when used with poor-quality irrigation water; requires 120-mesh filtration to minimize clogging; is available in 10-, 13- and 15-mil wall thicknesses, and 5/8- and 7/8-inch internal diameters; is available in five emitter flow rates, including 0.16, 0.25, 0.30, 0.47 and 0.75 GPH, to accommodate various soil conditions and system flow requirements; an extruded tube constructed from ultra-high-strength materials; is compatible with all Toro Pro-Loc tape fittings.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Rossi, Wong, Vittum highlight NYSTA conference

    TurfNet contributor Frank Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University will be among the featured speakers at the New York State Turfgrass Association Adirondack Regional Conference.
    Scheduled for March 20 at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, the event will feature a full day of education for turfgrass managers in golf turf, athletic turf and lawn and landscape. 
    Joining Rossi will be Pat Vittum, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts, Frank Wong, Ph.D., of Bayer Environmental Science, Jenny Kao-Kniffin, Ph.D., and Brian Eshenaur of Cornell, Adam Moeller and Jim Skorulski of the USGA Green Section, and Cory Metler of Rain Bird.
    For more information, visit www.nysta.org.

    USGA regional conference set for Richmond, Va.

    With the Golf Industry Show in the rearview mirror, the USGA Green Section is offering a half-day crash course in turfgrass management.
    Scheduled for March 5 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, the regional conference will include five educational sessions.
    Scheduled speakers include Cale Bigelow, Ph.D., of Purdue University, Keith Happ and Darrin Bevard of the USGA Green Section, John Van Der Borght of the USGA and William Shonk of Princess Anne Country Club.
    For more information, visit www.usga.org.

    Dow AgroSciences adds new sales rep

    Mae Council has joined the Dow AgroSciences turf and ornamental team as a sales representative. She will replace Scott Potter, who is retiring after 40 years. 
    Based in Kansas City, Mo., Council will be responsible for sales efforts in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. 
    Council has been working with Dow AgroSciences since June 2012 as a T&O sales trainee in Indianapolis. 
    For more information, visit www.dowagro.com.
  • Wow factor

    By John Reitman, in News,

    It did not take very long for Dan Meersman to make an imprint at The Philadelphia Cricket Club.

    In less than four years at the Cricket, Meersman has, in the words of general manager Tim Muessle "single-handedly turned around a dying golf course."

    He also has taken training, education, professional development fiscal awareness to previously unseen heights. Not that any of that should be a surprise for someone who manages a 65-man crew, 45 holes of golf, 33 tennis courts (22 grass, nine clay, two indoor), two paddle tennis courts and a soccer field all spanning two campuses.

    For the manner in which he has gone above and beyond to serve golfing clientele, colleagues and employees, Dan Meersman has been named the winner of the 2012 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.

    The center of Meersman's management style is customer service, according to a former employee.

    "For him, it was all about producing the wow factor for members," said Henry "Skip" Heinz, who was the equipment manager at the Cricket from 2009-12. "On cold days, we used to make coffee in the shop and run it out to members who were playing golf.

    "He's the most detail-oriented person I know. If you worked for Dan and you were out and saw a piece of trash on the course, you picked it up. I've taken that philosophy with me to other places I've worked."

    The 13th annual award is presented to a superintendent who excels at one or more of the following: labor-management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course, dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.

    Meersman was selected by a panel of judges from a list of 10 finalists that also included Chad Decker of Hollytree Country Club, Tyler, Texas; Greg Gavelek of Longbow Golf Club, Mesa, Ariz.,; Rocco Greco, En-Joie Golf Course, Endicott, N.Y.; Matt Kregel, The Club at Strawberry Creek, Kenosha, Wis.; Chad Montgomery, Naples Heritage Golf and Country Club, Naples, Fla.; Andy Morris, Country Club of Peoria, Peoria Heights, Ill.; Rich Taylor, Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.; Dan Tolson, 3 Creek Ranch, Jackson, Wyo.; and Curtis Tyrrell of Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.
    Comprising the judging panel are Shawn Potter and Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta; Peter McCormick, Jon Kiger and John Reitman of TurfNet; last year's winner Paul Carter, CGCS, of The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn.; Cal Roth of the PGA Tour; Chris Hartwiger of the USGA Green Section; Tom Stine of Golf Datatech; Jon Scott of Nicklaus Design; Mike McCullough of the Monterey (Calif.) Regional Water Pollution Control Agency; Frank Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University; Tim Moraghan of Aspire Golf; Dave Wilber of Sierra Pacific Turf Supply; Larry Hirsh of Golf Property Analysts; and Bradley Klein, Ph.D., of Golfweek.
    Previous winners of the award include Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Tenn.), 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco (Calif.), 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club (Ga.), 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club (Ill.), 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club (Pa.), 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale (Conn.), 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club (Calif.), 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club (Fla.), 2004; Paul Voykin, Briawood Country Club (Ill.), 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club (Ontario), 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club (Mass), 2001; Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort (Nev.), 2000.
    Meersman comes from a long line of superintendents that include brother, Jason, of The Patterson Club in Fairfield, Conn., and father, Mike, of Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course in Kingman, Ariz, both of whom were on hand when he won the award. He also has a grandfather and uncle who were superintendents. With that sort of pedigree, Meersman also has become an accomplished inventor.

    Shortly after he was hired in 2009, Meersman went to work on the bunkers of PCC's Militia Hill course, which suffered from subpar construction methods when the course was built in 2001-02, Muessle said. Meersman rebuilt the bunkers and installed liners that he developed and patented. Those permeable, porous asphalt liners have worked so well they were installed on the St. Martins course at PCC and will be used later this year when the club's original Tillinghast design goes under the knife immediately after the U.S. Open at crosstown Merion Golf Club.

    "He's a pretty unique guy. He's developed all his own processes and methods," said Muessle. "As a general manager, it's tough keeping up with him. By the time I know what he's doing, he's on to the next thing."

     "As a general manager, it's tough keeping up with him. By the time I know what he's doing, he's on to the next thing."
    Heinz, the 2004 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award winner while at Kalamazoo Country Club in Michigan, has had the fortune of working for many accomplished superintendents, including John Fulling at Kalamazoo, Lou Conzelman at Tiburon Golf Club in Florida and currently under Eric Greytok at Belfair Plantation in Bluffton, S.C. He remembers Meersman as a driven manager who never took "no" for an answer, but who also had an unbending dedication to his employees.

    "If you give your all to him, then he'll give his all to you," Heinz said. "But he could tell pretty early if you didn't have what it took to succeed. And if you didn't have it, then you usually didn't last long. Working for him was tough. It was like the difference between entering the Navy, or entering the Marines. I mean, that's how tough he is."
  • Presidential address

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Incoming GCSAA president Pat Finlen, CGCS at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, has headed the maintenance operation at the 45-hole Bay Area club since 2002. Last year, he worked with the USGA on the setup and conditioning of the club's Lakeside Course for the U.S. Open while managing a total reconstruction of the club's Ocean Course with architect Bill Love. Recently, he answered a few pointed questions from Golfweek's Bradley Klein, Ph.D.
    Question: Why take on the presidency of the GCSAA after a year like that?
    Answer: Actually, the timing is perfect for me, for the club and for the GCSAA. This will be my eighth year on the board, and that service has helped me become a better superintendent, a better manager and a better person. So I don't see it as time away; I see it as time invested.
    Q: What changes are your fellow superintendents making as you adjust to a tougher business climate?
    A: Many of the budget cuts actually started right after 9/11, so superintendents were better prepared for what hit the country in 2008. We're all getting better at managing labor, budgeting time, engaging in customer service. We're providing equal if not better course conditions for less money. Superintendents were accustomed to being left alone, so to speak, out on the golf course with our head down looking at turf. Now we're part of a team, part of a facility's financial success. Many are doing more with fewer inputs of water, pesticides and fertilizer through better management.
    Q: How much of that has been driven by ecology?
    A: Business and ecology go hand in hand. What better time to make environmental changes? To be sure, they are more widely accepted around the country now than a decade ago. The West Coast and the East Coast may have been at the forefront, but I tell my friends and colleagues in Kansas City, where I'm from, "It's coming your way." And GCSAA, which is based in Lawrence, Kansas, has been at the forefront in helping provide superintendents with the tools to be better managers and stewards of their courses.
    Q: What are superintendents today doing differently to explain this to golfers?
    A: There's a night-and-day difference from when I started in 1983. We used to rely upon the folks in the golf shop as our mouthpiece while we were out on the course. Now we spend more time communicating directly. The more we educate the golf shop, the more we educate golfers, the more we speak directly in the community, the better our message will get out there. Email is one thing; standing face-to-face with golfers on the first tee makes it more readily acceptable. And there's a lot more collaboration across the entire industry, such as with National Golf Day April 17 this year when we go out with the PGA of America and other stakeholders, including course owners and general managers, and make our case for a $70 billion golf industry that employs 2 million people here in the U.S. Recognition of superintendents has never been higher. On the recent CBS telecast of the Farmers Insurance Open, commentator Jim Nantz told a national audience that the GCSAA Golf Championship would be held at Torrey Pines the following week using the same fourth-round hole locations used this year. That's pretty cool.
  • Sign of the times

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Get used to it; evolving legislation regarding water use is the new reality for superintendents in many parts of the country, and on the horizon for everyone else.
    A revised version of water withdrawal regulations goes into effect in New York on April 1, according to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. The purpose of these regulations is to implement a permitting, registration and reporting program for water withdrawals equaling or exceeding a threshold volume of 100,000 gallons per day. They also implement New York's commitments under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
    For existing water withdrawal systems that are not exempt and that were above the threshold as of February 15, 2012, an initial permit process is provided which is less costly and time consuming than the standard permit process and provides additional time to comply depending on the capacity of the water withdrawal system. To take advantage of the initial permit process, existing withdrawals must have been reported by February 15, 2012.
    Here are some highlights of the new regulations as provided by the New York State Turfgrass Association:
    > Annual reports for 2012 should be submitted by March 31, 2013. In subsequent years the reporting date will be March 31.
    > Threshold before regulations kick in remains at the ability to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.
    > A $50 reporting fee is in effect until December 31, 2013; after that no fee is required.
    > Most permits will have a 10-year term, however shorter time frames can be used at DEC's discretion. In addition, DEC's review of annual reports may identify scenarios that may trigger the need for a permit modification or indicate possible permit violations. One scenario is systems that are approaching their permitted withdrawal limits.
    > As for water conservation measures, future annual reports will include an update on the progress and effectiveness of your water conservation measures. A manual and form for water conservation measures will be available on the DEC Web site.
    > Long Island wells are exempt from reporting requirements as well as additional permitting; they have pre-existing regulations.
    > Exempt from permitting are withdrawals that have received approval from the Delaware River Basin Commission or Susquehanna River Basin Commission but usage reporting is required.
    > Under Section 601.6 of the regulations, there are 11 actions which can no longer be taken without first having obtained a withdrawal permit. These actions include such things as changing the pumping specifications or increasing storage capacity
    > Facilities that reported water withdrawals by February 15, 2012 can apply for an initial permit. The schedule for obtaining an initial permit is:
    June 1, 2013 - ability to withdraw 100 million gallons/day (mgd) or more
    February 15, 2014 - greater than 10 mgd but less than 100 mgd
    February 15, 2015 - greater than 2 mgd but less than 10 mgd
    February 15, 2016 - greater than 0.5 mgd but less than 2 mgd
    February 15, 2017 - greater than 0.1 mgd but less than 0.5 mgd
    > Those facilities who did not report by February 15, 2012 need to get permitted by June 1, 2013 no matter what their numbers are. In these cases a complete permit application will be required which I tend to believe will be more involved than in applying for the "initial" permit. As soon as possible, facilities with this issue should contact Richard Kruzansky (518-402-8182) at the DEC Division of Water for help bringing a facility into compliance.
    > All pumping facilities will need totalizing flow meters which will need to be calibrated within the year prior to a permit application and calibrated at least once every 5 year thereafter.
    > Any well installed after April 1, 2013 will need equipment to measure and record water levels; calibration of this equipment every 5 years.
    > Ponds installed after April 1, 2013 need equipment to measure water levels and storage volumes.
    > There are record keeping and inspection requirements.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Crystal Green gets phosphorus relief in 3 states
    Environmental agencies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia have granted phosphorus exemptions to Crystal Green, a slow-release, renewable phosphorus fertilizer by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies.
    The exemptions allow golf course superintendents and sports turf managers to apply Crystal Green to turf where conventional phosphorus-containing products are otherwise restricted or banned.
    The company says that the phosphorus exemptions were granted because the components in Crystal Green are recovered from nutrient-rich water streams. The recovered phosphorus and nitrogen, together with magnesium are transformed into a fertilizer that is significantly higher in purity than its conventional counterparts.
    NYSTA has solution for GIS blues
    Didn't make it to the Golf Industry Show this year? No problem. Although the New York State Turfgrass Association can't bring San Diego weather to upstate New York, it is bringing the same style of education that was on display in Southern California for GIS.
    The one-day program is scheduled for Feb. 25 at the Millennium Hotel in Buffalo.
    Featured speakers include Rich Buckley, Ph.D., of Rutgers University, Adam Moeller of the USGA Green Section, Dale Getz of The Toro Co., and Dan Peck, Ph.D., of Grass Systems Entomology.
    Sessions are approved by the GCSAA and STMA.
    Bayer ES names new president for North America market
    Bayer Environmental Science named Gilles Galliou president of its North American Division.
    Galliou has more than 20 years of experience in global and U.S. agribusiness. He has worked with Bayer since 1990, most recently as Bayer's vice president of commercial operations.
    Galliou replaces Jacqueline Applegate, Ph.D., who took over the role of CEO of Bayer CropScience Australia/New Zealand.
  • Preparing for an event the magnitude of the Ryder Cup Matches is a tall order in and of itself. Doing so in the midst of two of the hottest summers in Chicago-area history compounds the challenges associated with such a task even more.
      Welcome to the life of Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS.   Tyrrell, director of golf course operations at Medinah Country Club, has spent nearly every waking moment preparing the club west of Chicago for last year's Ryder Cup since he accepted the job there almost five years ago.   For his efforts at preparing Medinah for its place on the world stage Tyrrell has been named one of 10 finalists for TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.   Other finalists for the award are: Chad Decker, Hollytree Country Club, Tyler, Texas; Greg Gavelek, Longbow Golf Club, Mesa, Ariz.; Rocco Greco, En-Joie Golf Course, Endicott, N.Y.; Matt Kregel, The Club at Strawberry Creek, Kenosha, Wis.; Dan Meersman, The Philadelphia Cricket Club; Chad Montgomery, Naples Heritage Golf and Country Club, Naples, Fla.; Andy Morris, Country Club of Peoria, Peoria Heights, Ill.; Rich Taylor, Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.; and Dan Tolson, 3 Creek Ranch, Jackson, Wyo.   The finalists were chosen from a list of 109 candidates nominated by their golfing members, owners and operators, assistants and club professionals by a panel of judges including Shawn Potter and Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta; Peter McCormick, Jon Kiger and John Reitman of TurfNet; last year's winner Paul Carter, CGCS, of The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn.; Cal Roth of the PGA Tour; Chris Hartwiger of the USGA Green Section; Tom Stine of Golf Datatech; Jon Scott of Nicklaus Design; Mike McCullough of the Monterey (Calif.) Regional Water Pollution Control Agency; Frank Rossi, Ph.D., of Cornell University; Tim Moraghan of Aspire Golf; Dave Wilber of Sierra Pacific Turf Supply; Larry Hirsh of Golf Property Analysts; and Bradley Klein, Ph.D., of Golfweek.   The winner of the award will be named Feb. 7 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.   Previous winners include: Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tenn. (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, Conn. (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside Calif. (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Fla. (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Ill. (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Mass. (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (2000).   Chad Decker - Hollytree Country Club, Tyler, TX
    Chad Decker faces challenges from one end of the spectrum to the other as superintendent at Hollytree Country Club in Tyler, Texas. For the past several summers, the course has been parched by summer drought and relentless heat.    The drought has limited the amount of water Decker can apply to the course from two wells on the property. Any more than 500,000 gallons daily, and the irrigation pond fed by the wells begins to recede.   "Once that runs down, you can never catch up," Decker said.    Built on swampland an hour's drive east of Dallas, Hollytree also is subject to flooding during spring and fall showers. Mudd Creek and a smaller tributary can inundate as many as 10 holes at Hollytree after a simple 2-inch rain. Water drains off the course in short order, but accompanying debris such as trash, silt, entire dumpsters and even portable toilets does not.   "This place floods like there is no tomorrow," he said. "That is my no. 1 battle."   Decker's challenges were compounded last July when his 2-year-old daughter, Hope, died suddenly after being diagnosed with leukemia.   Greg Gavelek - Longbow Golf Club, Mesa, Ariz
    The superintendent at Longbow Golf Club since 1998, Gavelek drew praise from owners who bought the property in 2001 from Boeing after the aircraft manufacturer inherited the course after buying its original owner McDonnell-Douglas.    Gavelek was on board for a unique renovation project that required moving all or part of 13 holes so the property could be redeveloped. The end result has been the ongoing transformation of what the new ownership group described as a so-so golf course into one of the finest conditioned layouts in the Phoenix area.   With up to 40,000 rounds annually, there is little time for upgrade projects, most of which are completed in-house. For example, a recent bunker upgrade meant that at one point all 57 bunkers were completely empty while Gavelek and his crew worked on all of them simultaneously.   While Gavelek has produced conditions that rival those found on private and resort courses in the Phoenix area, he done with a daily fee budget that leaves little room for anything extra.   "In a time when managing your budget is vital to the success of our golf course Greg has trimmed 20 percent off his labor budget and managed to cut 18 percent from his course expenses over the last five years," wrote Longbow GM Jay Larscheid. "Even with this we are still able to provide one of the best playing surfaces and overall experiences in the valley. Greg's crew is limited but they are well trained and act under Greg's leadership and direction. Greg is a tremendous role model for future superintendents on his team."   Rocco Greco - En-Joie Golf Course, Endicott, N.Y.
    Perhaps no other superintendent's name has become as synonymous with flooding as Rocco Greco, superintendent at county-owned En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott, N.Y. Greco has become synonymous with flood recovery par excellence as well. Twice in 2011, En Joie was overrun by the Susquehanna River. It was the second (and third) major flooding event at En Joie since 2006.   The first flood event 2011 in mid-April resulted in lost turf in several low-lying areas just as Greco and his crew were preparing the course for the PGA Champions Tour Dick's Sporting Goods Open in early July. Round 2 hit in September 2011, when slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee settled in and dropped 10 inches of rain over the already-sopped area.   The devastation included lost turf on 14 greens and all but two tee complexes. Parts of the golf course were under as much as 18 feet of water and just about every bunker on the course was devoid of sand. Damage was so bad, the 2012 opening was delayed until the third week of June and that year's edition of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, which included the top 60 players on the Champions Tour money list, was delayed by a month.   As the course began to take shape, county and course personnel, golfing members and tournament officials couldn't believe the rapid rate of recovery that was a result of the hard work put in by Greco and his staff.   "Everyone was in awe on June 20 at the beauty and condition of the course from tee to green," wrote En-Joie Ladies Golf Association president Michele. "It truly was a miracle that this thing of beauty could arise from the mud, silt and devastation it endured. We owe it all to Rocco."   Matt Kregel - The Club at Strawberry Creek, Kenosha, Wis
    The past two summers have deprived Matt Kregel of one of life's simple pleasures: going home in the evening after a hard day at work at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.   With 90-plus-degree temperatures dominating each of the past two summers, Kregel spent a lot of evenings making sure the bentgrass didn't punch a clock and check out at 5 p.m., too.   "Leave in the afternoon, not come back until morning; that didn't happen," Kregel said. "At 5 or 6 in the afternoon, that is when the grass was checking out. That's when we had to get something down."   Kregel manages the A1 creeping bentgrass putting surfaces to discourage Poa annua, but the extreme dry heat was a bit much, even for the bentgrass, he said. He and his team spent a lot of time throughout the summer dragging hoses.   Members at Strawberry Creek call Kregel "a genius" and compare conditions at their course favorably to many of the country's premier tracks.   Dan Meersman - Philadelphia Cricket Club, PA
    As if managing 45 holes of golf wasn't enough, Dan Meersman, superintendent at The Philadelphia Cricket Club, also is responsible for conditions on 22 grass tennis courts, nine clay courts, two indoor courts, two paddle tennis courts and an athletic field.   That many surfaces require a large in-season staff that can number up to 65 people. And it's important to Meersman that he utilizes his labor resources as efficiently as possible. To that end, he has adopted a matrix program that allows him to track who is working on what and when they are doing it.   Meersman, who has been at Philadelphia Cricket Club since 2009, has been the host of an industry retreat that is designed to provide continuing education to staff and colleagues from other courses since his days at Victoria National Golf Club. Key staff, assistants and course superintendents, are required to volunteer at major events to gain valuable on-the-job experience only tournament prep can provide.    His dedication to professional development and continuing education is paying off for his staff. Since 2009, five former PCC assistants have ascended through the ranks to become head superintendents elsewhere.   Keeping PCC among the best properties in eastern Pennsylvania has meant constant tweaking to the courses there. The club's St. Martins Course, an 1895 Willie Tucker design that was the site of the U.S. Open in 1907 and 1910, was renovated in-house in 2011-12. His staff also completed a bunker renovation on the Militia Hill Course in 2010, and this year will begin a $7 million restoration of the Wissahickon Course, a 1920 A.W. Tillinghast classic.   Chad Montgomery - Naples Heritage Golf and Country Club, Naples, Fla
    During the past several years, the story of Naples Heritage Golf and Country Club in Florida has been something like a caterpillar emerging from its chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. The metamorphosis has occurred, members say, only since Chad Montgomery arrived as superintendent four years ago.   "Chad took over a golf course that had been stressed out for several years," wrote member Russell Forbes in nominating Montgomery for TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year Award. "After only two years of his care, the course is in the best shape of any course in southwest Florida."   "We could stand up to any inspection at any time and meet the highest standards required anywhere," wrote Allan Wilson, another member of the club. "(I have) played some of the finest courses in the U.S.A., and none are better taken care of than NHGCC."   Other members have used adjectives such as "marginal, below average and run down" to describe conditions on the course before Montgomery arrived. Since then, members have turned to using words such as "perfect, outstanding, excellent and sublime."   In his brief tenure at member-owned Naples Heritage, Montgomery has expanded and leveled teeing areas, expanded the practice area, revitalized the fairways through an intensive verticutting program and extensive repairs to the drainage system. As member Bob Powers wrote "His touch can be seen everywhere on our 550 acres."   Andy Morris - Country Club of Peoria, Peoria Heights, IL
    In what was yet another in a long line of increasingly hot summers, golf courses throughout much of the Midwest were melting in mid-2012. But by the looks of things at the Country Club of Peoria in Peoria Heights, Ill., it was just another average summer.   To say it was hot at Peoria over the summer would be an understatement. Daytime highs in excess of 90 degrees were recorded on 26 of 31 days in July and a monthly high of 104 was reached on two occasions more than two weeks apart. Despite the heat, conditions at Peoria were tournament ready all summer while other courses in the area wilted. And members took notice, with more than 30 submitting nominations of Andy Morris for Superintendent of the Year.   Championship conditions at Peoria were the result of a renovation plan implemented five years ago. That project included replacing a predominantly Poa stand with a variety of creeping bentgrasses: A1-A4 mix on greens, Pennlinks II cool-season grasses that are more tolerant to heat and traffic, a tree-management program to promote air movement throughout the course, new irrigation and drainage, strict water management and converting several acres of rough to unmanaged naturalized areas.   "This summer was perhaps a very trying test given the very high temperatures. Compared to other area courses, CCP has maintained excellent appearance and playing conditions were superb in spite of the heat," club member Richard Nitto wrote in his nomination of Morris. "Andy truly is a stand-out manager of the course and his people."   Rich Taylor - Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash
    Rich Taylor's Sahalee Country Club career began in 1984, and he has been superintendent at the course in Sammamish, Wash., since 1999 and was the host superintendent for the 2010 U.S. Senior Open. In nominating Taylor for Superintendent of the Year, USGA Green Section agronomist Larry Gilhuly wrote that Taylor is "the reason why Sahalee has been dramatically improved" over the last 20-plus years.   Some of the recent initiatives Taylor has been involved in include building new tees for the Tee It Forward player development initiative, construction of a new maintenance facility and a tree-removal play to promote air movement throughout the course. He even played an integral role in the planning of a new clubhouse-construction project.   Top-shelf clubs such as Sahalee emphasize championship conditions daily, a necessity for a club that prides itself on being a regular stop for USGA amateur events and the occasional pro event even in the face of shrinking budgets.   Former club president John Naye wrote in his nomination letter that the board of directors voted in 2012 to clip Taylor's operating budget by $100,000. Rather than grouse over what this might mean to turf operations, Taylor replied: "Just tell me the amount of reductions you want and we will find a way to get them and maintain the quality of the course."   Dan Tolson - 3 Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, Wyo
    Equally as impressive as Dan Tolson's work at managing the environmentally hyper sensitive 3 Creek Ranch in Jackson, Wyo., is the golf pedigree of the person who nominated him for superintendent of the year.   3 Creek Ranch member Clark Fownes MacKenzie is the son of Roland MacKenzie, a three-time member of the U.S. Walker Cup team, grandson of 1910 U.S. Amateur champion William Fownes Jr., and great-grandson of Henry Fownes, who designed a course near Pittsburgh you might have heard of Oakmont Country Club.   The Rees Jones design was built on 710 acres of rangeland situated between two national parks and is in the middle of an ecologically sensitive area that Tolson said is known as "the last contiguous area of ecologically pure land in the continental United States." With bear, elk, moose, otter and even wolves ranging through the property Tolson must go to great lenths to ensure the course exists in unison with the surrounding environment.   To ensure that the creek running through the course remains a viable habitat for cutthroat trout in the Snake River basin, Tolson, who has worked at 3 Creek Ranch since 2003 and has been superintendent since 2007, monitors water quality with monthly tests. According to the results of those tests, which are interpreted by an independent third party, water quality in the creek is better as it exits the course than it is when it enters the property, making the ranch a popular destination with fly fishermen as well as guide services.   Curtis Tyrrell - Medinah Country Club, Medinah, IL
    For years, superintendents have resented that their courses are compared to conditions produced annually at Augusta National. After last year's Ryder Cup Matches they'll have Curtis Tyrrell to blame if they ever hear the words "Medinah Syndrome."   Tyrrell, director of golf course operations at 54-hole Medinah Country Club near Chicago, is setting a new standard for daily conditioning. What makes his accomplishments all the more impressive is that he's doing it on a 600-acre museum where the hallowed No. 3 Course sees the equivalent of a shotgun start every day. Throw in the fact the Chicago area is coming off two years of some of the harshest summer conditions in recent past and what Tyrrell and his staff have done is nothing short of remarkable.   "It's a big job not only because of the history and prestige that a name like Medina carries, but in terms of property size, staff size and membership size - it's a very big job," wrote Course No. 1 superintendent Jim Wallace in nominating Tyrrell for TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year Award.    Tyrrell spent nearly every waking moment since he was hired at in 2008 getting No. 3 ready for the 2012 Ryder Cup. While Tyrrell and his staff were doing so, 90-plus-degree temperatures were recorded at Medinah on 45 days throughout the summer. That's about three times the historic average for the Chicago area. In the midst of these challenging conditions, Tyrrell and Co. were able to produce immaculate conditions on the heavily played Tom Bendelow classic.   "Curtis had Medinah shining on the world stage for the 2012 Ryder Cup," No. 3 superintendent Ross Laubscher wrote. "This after enduring two years of extreme weather conditions in the Chicago area. While preparing for the Ryder Cup, Curtis was also preparing for a full renovation of Medinah's No. 1 Course and also planning long-term solutions to update the infrastructure of Medinah's No. 2 Course."   The Monday after completion of the Ryder Cup, Tyrrell was the first person on the property, as a complete restoration of No. 1 was set to begin that day.   "It's a big job not only because of the history and prestige that a name like Medinah carries, but in terms of property size, staff size and membership size - it's a very big job," wrote Course No. 1 superintendent Jim Wallace.    "What I can also say as someone who has worked alongside Curtis for the past five years, is that without his leadership in the face of some really tough challenges, I seriously doubt that things would have turned out as well as they did. You can have the best team in the world but without the right leadership things can go awry very quickly."  
  • PBI-Gordon Corp. recently introduced an enhanced version of its online weed information resource, WeedAlert.com, for professional turf managers who need an additional tool for identifying and ultimately controlling weeds.   The site now features new detailed color photographs of 109 weeds and allows turf professionals to search and identify weeds by name, appearance or region.   Detailed information about each weed includes description, non-chemical cultural control practices, maps detailing a geographic range for each weed, information about optimal growing seasons (for the weeds), and control recommendations.   WeedAlert.com, which was introduced in 1998, now also features the Tech Advisor resource that allows site users to contact and interact with technical advisor experts who can help with specific turf weed control problems or questions concerning general turf weed control.
  • Dana Lonn of The Toro Co. was named the winner of the 2012 International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association Edwin Budding Award.   The sixth annual award, which is presented by Ransomes-Jacobsen, is named for Edwin Budding, who is credited with inventing the reel mower in 1832. It is given annually to someone who has made a significant contribution to the golf course equipment industry and who is dedicated to improving the industry and their facilities.   Lonn is managing director for Toro's Center for Advanced Turf Technology. The center was created in 1998 to develop innovative solutions to customer problems and environmentally friendly technologies for customers in the professional turf markets that include golf, sports turf, and grounds and landscape maintenance. Its mission is towork with customers, academic researchers and other industry experts to develop solutions that could emerge as breakthrough products and has been an industry leader in water management, alternative fuels and labor productivity.   Lonn has been an active participant in developing an array of commercial, residential and irrigation products and personally holds 10 patents as an inventor.   He will receive the award Feb. 6 at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.  
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Shaffer named an ELGA winner
    Matt Shaffer of Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., is among this year's winners of the GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf awards.   Shaffer was the winner in the National Private category for his efforts at conserving water and soils management at Merion, the site of this year's U.S. Open.   Other winners were Steve Tierney, superintendent at Golf Park Nuolen in Wangen, Switzerland, who was the overall winner; John Anderes III, CGCS at Queenstown Harbor Golf Course, Annapolis, Md. (national public category); and Joshua Kelley, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes, Orlando, Fla., (national resort category).   Tierney was recognized for a water-farming project in Switzerland, while Anderes was honored for his efforts at helping Queenstown Harbor achieve the distinction of using 100 percent renewable energy sources; and Kelley also manages 33 acres set aside for wildlife habitat at The Ritz in Orlando.   For more information, visit www.gcsaa.org.   Valent delivers SureGuard for weed control in Bermuda
    Just in time for this year's Golf Industry Show, Valent Professional has come out with SureGuard herbicide for summer weed control in Bermudagrass and landscape beds.   With the active ingredient flumioxazin, SureGuard is labeled for pre-emergent control of goosegrass, crabgrass and other broadleaf and grassy weeds in Bermudagrass.   Because SureGuard binds to the soil and has low water solubility, a single, late-winter application is all that is required.   SureGuard also delivers pre- and post-emergent control of Poa annua and annual broadleaf weeds such as chickweed, henbit and bittercress when applied in late fall to dormant Bermudagrass.   For more information, visit www.valentpro.com/sureguard.   Florida GCSA continues to support research, charitable causes
    The Florida GCSA and its 11 chapters donated a total of $163,566 to turf research and charitable organizations in 2012.   That total includes $25,000 raised through a golf tournament that was donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. During the past 25 years, the Florida GCSA has raised more than $350,000 for this cause alone.   Research projects funded by the Florida GCSA include studies into more sustainable turf varieties, chemical and fertilizer use efficiency, water use and conservation and wildlife conservation.   For more information, visit www.floridagcsa.com.
    Bayer settles on agronomist for tech rep position
    Derek Settle, Ph.D., recently was named a technical service representative for Bayer Environmental Science. Settle, director of turfgrass programs with the Chicago District Golf Association, will begin in his new position Feb. 1.   As part of the company's Green Solutions Team, Settle will be responsible for providing scientific expertise for customers in the Southwest and Southeast.   Founded in 2009, Bayer's Green Solutions Team provides scientific support and technical product training to regional sales teams, distributors and end-user customers.   For more information, visit www.backedbybayer.com.  
  • The Toro Co., has reached an agreement with GreensPerfection to manufacture and market a line of greens brushes for superintendents who appreciate the ability to mow and groom simultaneously.
    The brushes, developed by superintendent Rod Lingle, CGCS, will be compatible with Toros Greensmaster line of walk mowers and riding greens mowers..
    The brushes work with the rotating design, which Toro says causes less damage to the turf and provides more lift to the grass blades than traditional groomers. This results in healthier greens and superior putting surfaces. In addition to lifting leaf blades to a vertical position for a superior cut, it also throws sand and debris to the front of the mower instead of into the reel to help maintain reel sharpness. The brushes leave a dramatic striping pattern for enhanced aesthetics.
    "The new GreensPerfection brushes are an excellent addition to our greensmower line," said Helmut Ullrich, senior marketing manager for Toro greensmowers. "It's all about playability for our customers, and the GreensPerfection brushes offer a new management tool for superintendents."
    "Partnering with Toro just makes sense," adds Lingle. "Our brushes have been used with great success on greens, tees, fairways and approaches. Now, with Toro's manufacturing expertise and market reach, they will be available to many more golf courses that could benefit from the technology."
    GreensPerfection rotating brushes are currently available on all Toro Greensmaster mowers. Customers can choose different stiffness levels for use with cool-season and warm-season grasses to achieve the desired results on southern or northern grasses.
  • In his 18 years at Rockland Country Club, Matthew Ceplo, CGCS, has made environmental stewardship a way of life.
    He led Rockland through Audubon International certification in 2000, and has continued those efforts to promote the course in Sparkill, N.Y., as a wildlife-friendly environment.
    Ceplo's stewardship efforts have not gone unnoticed. Next month at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego he will receive the GCSAA President's Award for Environmental Stewardship.
    The annual award recognizes an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf that exemplifies the superintendents image as a steward of the land, according to GCSAA.
    Ceplo's stewardship outreach at Rockland includes an annual bird count on the property, and recently he completed the club's first-ever butterfly count with the help of local naturalist and butterfly expert John Lampkin. According to count results, at least 42 species of birds and 15 butterfly varieties call Rockland home at some time throughout the year.
    Ceplo also conducted a Monarch (butterfly) Tagging Day, in which 17 members of two local Girl Scout troops helped tag Monarch butterflies at Rockland as part of a University of Kansas butterfly-tracking study
    In September 2012 the club held its first fishing derby for children. The event, which was a tribute to Bill Moran, who played a key role in helping Ceplo with the Audubon International project, attracted 14 children who not only had fun catching fish, but also learned a thing or two about water quality management on golf courses in the process.
    Ceplo, who has worked at Rockland since 1995, is a 1980 graduate of the State University of New York, Delhi, where he earned an associates degree in horticulture.  He has been a TurfNet member since 1996.
    His path toward environmental stewardship has been accomplished at a slow and steady pace, and it's a trip that began several years ago when he attended an informative meeting conducted by Joe Alonzi at Westchester Country Club about the Audubon International program. 
    "You take one step at a time and before you know it you've gone somewhere," Ceplo said. 
    In 2011, he received the GSA New York Environmental Stewardship Award. Given annually by the Global Sports Alliance, the award recognizes an individual who demonstrates an exception commitment to protecting the environment in the management of a recreational or sports venue.
  • What started out two years ago as a trickle of educational videos Wendy Gelernter and Larry Stowell on YouTube has turned into an all-out media blitz that includes dozens of pieces of information designed to provide golf course superintendents with answers to a variety of turfgrass problems as well as tools to help them educate supervisors and golfing members about what they do on a daily basis and why.
    The latest video offering by Pace Turf entitled
    , explores why damage from nematodes can be worse in fresh sod even when sampling shows that the microscopic pests dont occur in large numbers. 
    In the video, Stowell refers to nematode damage in fresh A4 creeping bentgrass sod at Hacienda Country Club in La Habra Heights, Calif.
    After studying nematode counts and damage on the new sod, both at the golf course and while still at the supplier, Stowell determined that damage in new sod was pronounced even when root knot nematode counts were not severed because of the shorter roots in new sod.

    "Here's what I think happened, and this is important because a lot of superintendents are resurfacing greens using sod, and there is s risk of problems if existing nematode numbers are elevated, and they dont even need to be excessively high," Stowell said in the video. 
    Shorter roots associated with new, immature sod are more likely to be attacked and infested with nematodes, Stowell said.
    "The observation that existing moderate nematode populations can cause establishment problems is important as more courses want to take advantage of newer bentgrass varieties."
    Stowell suggests fumigating the area first before regressing.
    Even in the face of limited availability of methyl bromide, there are realistic fumigation options, such as Basimid G, that can wipe out insect, weed and disease pests, Stowell said.
    Pace Turf, the turf management consulting firm in San Diego, now offers nearly 60 videos on its YouTube page. All are designed for superintendents to share with managers, green chairman or at committee meetings. Viewers also can link to them the blog page or club homepage.
  • Team TurfNet skated to a 1-1-2 record in its 14th appearance at the Golf Course Hockey Challenge event held Jan 15/16 at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
    The Golf Course Hockey Challenge, now in its 19th year, is the brainchild of TurfNet member Scott Dodson, CGCS (Park Country Club of Buffalo) and should-be-a-TurfNet-member John Taylor of the Grand Niagara Resort, Port Robinson, Ontario.  Each of the twelve teams of hockey playing golf course superintendents, assistants and suppliers plays four games over the two days.
    TurfNet started off with a 3-3 tie against a strong Ontario team before losing to an even stronger team from Southwest Ontario, 5-3.  Sore muscles were treated with plenty of beer later that afternoon at a hospitality suite sponsored by Turf Care Products, the local Toro distributor.

    Team TurfNet faces off against Plant Science.
    Day Two saw Team TurfNet charge out of the gate with a 5-4 victory over Plant Science, and then face off against Ontario again in the final game.  That ended in another tie, this time 2-2.
    In addition to the usual smattering of Americans (including the perennial contenders, Team Michigan) among the Canadians in the series, a contingent of seven players flew in from Colorado for this years event.  They were organized by Mark Krick, CGCS of The Homestead, Lakewood, CO, and included Michael Miner of Red Sky Ranch, Wolcott, CO.  Both are TurfNet members.

    Scott Dodson, CGCS and Dave Gourlay, CGCS.
    Making their first appearance at the tourney were David Gourlay, CGCS and Matt Gourlay, CGCS, of Colbert Hills Golf Club, Manhattan, Kansas.  Dave played in the over-40 division while son Matt played for Team Ontario.
    Also moving up to the "senior" division this year was TurfNet member Jim Flett of Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club, Port Carling, Ontario.  Jim had played for the ultra-competitive Northern Ontario team for years, but time marches on.
    Playing on Team TurfNet this year were Ken Lallier, CGCS (The Quechee Club, Vermont), Tom Morris, CGCS-retired (Vermont), Steve Rudich (Seeton Turf Warehouse, Pennsylvania), Joe Kinlin (Bay Lea Golf Course, New Jersey), Joe Scioscia (Somerset Hills Golf Club, New Jersey), Jim and Jerry Gernander (Kwiniaska Golf Club, Vermont), Jim Pollio (retired supt, Arizona), Adam Engle (Lake Shore Yacht and Country Club, New York) and Trevor Clark and Bobby Sloan of Cardinal Golf Club, Kettleby, Ontario. 
    Both Lallier and Morris have played all fourteen years for Team TurfNet.  Peter McCormick is the coach.

    Team TurfNet 2013.  From left front, Steve Rudich, Joe Kinlin, Joe Scioscia, Ken Lallier and Jerry Gernander.
    Rear left, Trevor Clark, Bobby Sloan, Tom Morris, Adam Engle, Jim Pollio and Jim Gernander.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Architect/consultant launches app to measure water, energy use
    Staples Golf Resource Group, a golf course consulting firm headed by president Andy Staples, recently launched a mobile energy and water savings calculator designed specifically for golf course development.
    The Energy Snapshot for Golf allows users to analyze energy and water use and costs. The tool then calculates potential cost savings. Staples, also a golf course architect, developed the tool after years of research.
    Matching those calculations with the golf course's energy and water costs, the tool is then able to provide an estimate of annual dollar savings and carbon emissions reductions.  A series of savings tips and a 90-day action plan are also provided.
    E-Z-GO names new marketing director
    E-Z-GO recently named Gary Johnson as its director for golf marketing and strategy.
    Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in the golf business including the last seven as product manager for E-Z-GO's golf and turf vehicle product lines.
    In his new role, Johnson's responsibilities will include product management, new product development, market research, marketing communications, and development of new go-to-market strategies in the golf industry.
    NGCOA names Course of the Year finalists
    The National Golf Course Owners Association has nominated a handful of courses for its 2013 Course of the Year Award.
    Finalists for the award are Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, Calif., Redstone Golf Club (Tournament Course) in Humble, Texas, Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kan., and The Old Course at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
    The award recognizes member-owned courses that excel in course quality, ownership and management, contributions to the community and contribution to the game. The Course of the Year winner, which will be announced Feb. 6 at the NGCOA Annual Conference in San Diego, will come from a group of modern-era courses that are distinguished in each area. The NGCOA conference is held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show.
  • Just in time for this years Golf Industry Show, Jacobsen has rolled out its new LF510 fairway mower that combines the coverage of a five-way gang mower with simplified operating features.
    Powered by a Tier IV-compliant Kubota diesel engine, the LF510 features a 100-inch cutting width through five of Jacobsens seven-blade TrueSet cutting units introduced last year for faster bedknife to reel adjustment. Some of the features of the new LF510 include .
    The LF510 has a top forward speed of 8 mph and can go up to 4 mph in reverse.
    Weighing just 2,818 pounds (for the four-wheel drive version), the LF510 delivers just 10 psi of operating ground pressure. A slightly lighter two-wheel drive version also is available.
    The LF510 will be available by spring and will be on display in Jacobsens booth at the Golf Industry Show, scheduled for Feb. 6-7 in San Diego.
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