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From the TurfNet NewsDesk


  • John Reitman
    Carol Rau, a human resources expert with Career Advantage Golf (left) shown here at last year's Women in Golf Event by Bayer, will be among the speakers at this year's virtual Green Start Academy. The application deadline for this year's virtual Green Start Academy has been extended to Sept. 8.
    The annual educational event for assistant golf course superintendents that is hosted jointly by John Deere and Bayer this year will comprise a series of virtual sessions that will kick off Oct. 14 with an opening general session. 
    The series will take place weekly over four weeks with 90-minute sessions every Wednesday at 3-4:30 p.m. The agenda is as follows:
    Oct 14: Jeff Havens (keynote speaker) – Leading in a Multigenerational Organization,
    Oct 21: Carol Rau – How to Stand Out as an Assistant When Applying for Jobs,
    Oct 28: Carlos Arraya – Leading Golf’s Multicultural Organizations,
    Nov 4: Carol Rau – Position Yourself for Success.
    Havens, a successful author, business growth expert and communication expert will provide participants with insights about how to become a better leader and guidance for successfully navigating the challenges they might face throughout their careers.
    Participants will be assigned to smaller mentorship groups with various golf industry leaders to further encourage meaningful conversation and deeper connections with other participants and facilitators. Dates for those sessions have not yet been confirmed. Mentors include:
    Carlos Arraya – Bellerive Country Club, St Louis,
    Dan Meersman – Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia,
    P.J. Salter – Riveria Country Club, Miami
    Bob Farren – Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Grant Murphy – Barrie Country Club, Barrie, Ontario.
    Lukus Harvey – Atlanta Athletic Club, Atlanta.
    Green Start Academy is open to assistant superintendents from the U.S. and Canada who want to advance their careers and build connections within the golf industry. Click here to apply.
  • In an attempt to further streamline operations of its turf division, Jacobsen will move all manufacturing of its turfcare products to its facility in the United Kingdom.
    The Ransomes/Jacobsen manufacturing center in Ipswich offers more flexibility and will lead to increased manufacturing efficiency, said Simon Rainger, vice president for turf operations for Jacobsen Specialized Vehicles since January. 
    This move will allow Jacobsen to focus its investments, skill and improvements in mower production on a single facility, and leverage existing resources and expertise at its Ipswich facility. The plant, which currently builds Jacobsen and Ransomes mowers, has been in operation for 187 years and is the oldest manufacturer of motorized lawn mowers in the world.
    "This is nothing new," Rainger said in a news conference, adding that manufacturing of some of Jacobsen's turf care products has been occurring in Ipswich for about 20 years, including as much as 50 percent in recent years.
    The company's facility in Augusta, Georgia had been home to Jacobsen's North American manufacturing operations since 2017.
    "As a consequence," said Rainger, shown at right, "we want Ipswich to be a center of excellence of manufacturing that it has built over 200 years of history."
    The move, while promoting increased efficiency will also help Jacobsen focus on customer service, which has plagued Jacobsen for years. Neither does the move represent a shift away from the U.S. market, Rainger said. 
    "North America is still our most important business sector," he said. 
    The changes to Jacobsen's operations were due at least in part to economic stresses that have resulted from the pandemic.
     "The business can't look the same coming out of Covid as it did going in," Rainger said. "We looked at what we did well and what we can improve upon. We looked at what we do habitually, and does that make sense moving forward."
    Jacobsen had moved its North American manufacturing operations to Augusta three years ago after 16 years in Charlotte. 
    "It's no secret," he said, "that Jacobsen has gone through various changes for the last few years, like the relocation from Charlotte, that were not received too well."
  • AWAITING A RETURN TO PLAY: Jon Pfeifer, Ben Wilson, Stephen Guillaumin and Alex Redd (left to right) have been busy keeping LSU's athletic fields in shape during the pandemic. Photos by John Reitman Nicholson Drive is to Baton Rouge what Rodeo Drive is to Beverly Hills.
    Unlike its West Coast cousin that caters to Hollywood celebrities, Nicholson Drive's attraction is not high-falutin retail outlets like Cartier, Prada and Versace.
    Make no mistake, Tiger Stadium, the 102,000-seat home to Louisiana State University's defending national champion football team, is the undisputed Tiffany & Co. of Nicholson Drive.
    Although the fate of this year's college football season is tenuous at best, it has been business as usual for LSU sports turf manager Jon Pfeifer and his crew since the pandemic shut down sports in Baton Rouge and everywhere else in mid-March. 
    "The grass doesn't stop growing," Pfeifer said. 
    LSU's football field was under renovation when the pandemic arrived, so there has been plenty of work there. And the baseball team was still playing across the street at Alex Box Stadium and the softball season was under way at Tiger Park. 
    Alex Box Stadium is a hub activity throughout the year. Besides college games, it is a hotspot for youth tournaments and special events, workouts by aspiring pros and campus visits by high-profile recruits at one of the country's premier college baseball programs.
    This year has been a lot of things, but typical is not one of them.
    "Typically, Alex Box Stadium is busy 11 months a year," Pfeifer said. "Between recruiting, showcases, camps, campouts and tournaments, they want the field to look top notch as much as possible."
    LSU's last game of the baseball season was a 4-1 win over South Alabama on March 11. The remainder of the season was canceled within a few days, and with it the outside events scheduled for Alex Box and the rest of LSU's athletic facilities.
    When the virus ended the baseball season right before a road trip to hated rival Mississippi, there were more questions than answers surrounding sports, and Pfeifer and his team continued to manage the baseball and softball fields to game-ready conditions amid rumors those seasons might restart.
    Pfeifer grows Celebration Bermudagrass at all of LSU's outdoor athletic facilities as well as at University Laboratory School, a nearby high school operated by LSU. It is a hearty turf that requires a lot of attention.
    "It's an aggressive grower," Pfeifer said. "We call it the thatch-master.
    "We kept everything at five-eighths (inch) and didn't vary from that. We had an unseasonably cool spring. Usually, by the first week of April, we're struggling to keep the ryegrass. This year, it's still here," he said in July. 
    "When you want to keep the rye, you can't. We didn't spray any of the ryegrass out, because we didn't know when they might be coming back or if they were coming back."
    It turns out that returning to play has taken much longer than anyone imagined back in March. Baseball and softball are scheduled to return to play in January, but whether that occurs is anyone's guess right now. And those special events? They're not happening either.
    It has been similarly quiet across Nicholson Drive at Tiger Stadium. Well, quiet for everyone except Pfeifer and the rest of his team. 

    SEASON ON THE BRINK: Will there be a return to play this year for college football, or is a long-distance look at LSU mascot Mike the Tiger (No. 7), the closest we'll get? The Celebration Bermudagrass field at Tiger Stadium was removed after last year's regular season finale, a 50-7 drubbing of Texas A&M. Installation of a new Celebration surface was completed in June, giving Pfeifer and his crew two months to grow-in a new field in anticipation of LSU's intrasquad scrimmage, scheduled for Friday.
    Staying busy and staying out of each other's way have been easy for Pfeifer's crew that includes Ben Wilson, Alex Redd and Stephen Guillaumin. Employees are screened daily for symptoms of the virus and when cleared are given a color-coded wristband. 
    Initially, the crew came in on staggered shifts, with each team working just a couple days per week. 
    "We did that for two weeks, then they told us it was going to be more long-term, so let's get some work done," Pfeifer said. "We worked a modified schedule. On Mondays, one of us would come in and start aerifying. On Tuesday, two guys would come in and mow and two more would hop on a tractor and a Pro Gator and pick up cores. We'd finish mowing on Friday. There were never more than two guys working together, and they were never really together. We did that for a month. Since May, we've done a staggered start with one group coming in at 5 (a.m.), one coming in at 6, one coming in at 7 and another at 8," Pfeifer said. "In between, disinfecting goes on, there is mandatory screening and everyone gets what I jokingly call the 'fast pass.'
    "We came up with a good plan to get our work done and still operate under social distancing guidelines. We were really fortunate. The university wanted to make sure we were being smart, but still getting our work done. They left it up to use to build our own schedule."
    Amid a host of uncertainty, the crew has breathed a collective sigh of relief since being trusted to make its own work schedule during the pandemic.
    "The unknown has been nerve-racking," Wilson said. "We are so schedule-oriented, and not knowing what was coming, or when we'd have anything again was stressful. At the same time, we tried to take advantage of that time to do things we normally wouldn't have time to do."
    Although the football team gets a new field, the baseball team will be the beneficiary of some much needed agronomic work when practice begins in January. 
    The stadium opened in 2009, but the amount of activity that occurs each year does not give the grounds team much time to perform cultural practices needed. The result is a surface that doesn't train, or play, like it should.
    The extra time to work on the field has been one of few positives coming out of the pandemic.
    "Normally, we have three weeks out of the year when we can conduct any agronomic practices that we want to on that field," Pfeifer said. "Most years, we get to aerify one time. This year, we've hit it three times already. It is unheard of the year we've had.
    "There's years of build-up. It's not from neglect; we only get one chance per year to take out 10 percent of that field. The biggest advantage this year that players will notice is that soil amendment. We've aerated three times. We've estimated that each time that is 4 million holes. We're swapping out the old material for the new."
    The softball team will also notice a difference when they take the field early in 2021.
    "It's a slow process," Wilson said. "The softball field is new. We redid it two years ago with new drainage, but you can already notice some buildup and thatchiness. This year we've been able to get on there and be pretty aggressive with it. You have to stay on top of it. Celebration is an aggressive grower and it will sneak up on you pretty quickly if you don't stay on it."
    Soon enough, the crew here will be back to painting lines at Tiger Stadium as well as at University High. While it is unknown when they actually get to press the restart button, the downtime has not been for naught.
    "It has given us time," Redd said. "Time to erase the pallet and start over."
  • In July, TurfNet announced that this year's Carolinas GCSA Conference and Trade Show would be held as a virtual event in the fall in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Today, the association released more details about how the show will take place this fall.
     
    Participants can sit for as many or as few of 30 seminars - one a day for 30 days - this fall, starting Nov. 2. The two-hour classes start at 1 p.m. eastern, making the education accessible from everywhere.
     
    The Carolinas GCSA has invested in tailored software to make the attendee experience as smooth and seamless as possible. The vast majority of classes will be presented live and carry GCSAA education points and, in participating states, pesticide credits.
     
    In addition to first-class education, participants will also share in $30,000 worth of cash prizes.
     
    Registration opens later this month but already a growing list of GCSAA affiliated chapters are partnering to promote the event to their members and will receive a share of revenues as a result. Among states where chapters have already signed on as co-promoters are Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
     
    "We have created a platform with the potential for everyone to benefit, and the more people who participate the more benefit there will be for everyone," said Carolinas GCSA president, Brian Stiehler, CGCS, MG at Highlands Country Club in Highlands, North Carolina.
     
    "Clearly, we're not the only association that has been forced to cancel meetings and events. But members can't put their professional development on hold or wait until there is a vaccine to access the latest research and advancements. We're all living in an extraordinary time right now, which is why we are taking extraordinary steps to make the best of it."
     
    The Carolinas GCSA's annual Conference and Trade Show in Myrtle Beach is the largest regional event for golf course superintendents in the country. But the association canceled this year's in-person event in July after surveying members, exhibitors and educators this summer.
     
    "That was arguably the biggest and toughest decision in the history of our association," Stiehler says. "But out of that disappointment, we've come up with a Plan B that we believe has the potential to deliver an A-plus outcome, not just for our members but for superintendents and their chapters across the country and even overseas."
  • An oldie, but a goodie: TurfNet's Jon Kiger, John Reitman and Peter McCormick never see each other much outside of the Golf Industry Show. We see each other far less often now.  
    Few things can test faith like a long-distance relationship. One party is here; the other is there. What could go wrong? 
    Either absence makes the heart grow fonder, or it makes them grow apart. 
    For the past several months, it feels like this business has been one, big long-distance relationship. One that none of us wanted. One that has been forced upon us - with no end in sight. 
    This trial separation we all find ourselves in does not have to be in vain. Some good can come of it. Although being apart stinks now, it is giving us, all of us, an opportunity to reexamine our own little corner of this business and make changes to our operations so we not only can thrive in the future, but simply survive. Doing things the same old way "just because that's how we've always done it" is a surefire path to failure now, 
    The virus also has afforded us time to appreciate friends and others with whom we have built meaningful relationships.
    Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder.
    Superintendents still have their crews, the infrequent visit from a distributor and maybe an occasional "safety meeting" with colleagues, but for the rest of us, including academia, media and vendors whose products fill your shops, face-to-face interaction is almost non-existent. That is tough in a business propped up as one that is about relationships first. 
    I've never really looked at myself as a people person, but I certainly have never considered myself a "no people" person, either.
    For nearly half a year, our interactions have been limited almost entirely to phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or some other virtual intermediary we've since grown weary of. Travel bans in industry and academia ensure that these relationships will be strained for some time to come.
    We are promised every day that the Covid-19 era won't last forever; that we won't always have to wear a mask, or stay 6 feet away from those outside our nuclear families, but I'm beginning to have my doubts. 
    Doctors and politicians feed us conflicting information daily. We are told to trust the science, but, by the very definition of science none exists with this virus. Not yet anyway. Studies surrounding the virus are planned and completed in weeks, not years. They are pushed through peer-review and publication without the replication required to qualify as real science, yet are peddled as absolutes.
    What is absolute about the virus, what we know to be true is that it has exposed every crack in our society and every weakness in our economy, and this business will never be the same. Those entities already weakened or at-risk before the virus might not survive this snapshot in history. Even still, much will change for those that do survive. 
    Whenever in-person conferences, trade shows, field days and other events resume, who will attend them? Some will, but some won't. And for those who do, what will they find when they get there? The easy answer is "less." 
    Attendance at the state, regional and national events already has been in decline. And the Zoom era is proving, as much as we might not like it, that we are able to get by on less than before. Those controlling budgets and spending will decide how much of our in-person relationship we will resume, but returning to a schedule of educational and industry events that require boarding a plane is not coming back any time soon for a lot of us.
    A recent poll by Golf Course Industry magazine asked superintendents what they will miss most with no in-person GIS in 2021. The choices were networking (45.3 percent), after-hours events (44.6), seeing new products (6.4) and education (3.7). While the poll is not scientific, it is revealing to learn that 89.9 percent of those responding said the activities they will miss most have nothing at all to do with the show or the conference portions of GIS.
    Vendors foot much of the bill at the Golf Industry Show to help support education for superintendents. They also want access to you, the superintendent. When only 6 percent of those in a poll say that more than anything they are going to miss walking the show floor, how much access are they getting? With field day attendance down, how much access to superintendents are they getting? Probably not nearly as much as they'd like. Superintendents in turn counter by bemoaning a lack of buzz-generating new products that will help them do their jobs more efficiently and an educational component in need of a renovation that would make Donald Ross blush.
    As stressful to the psyche and damaging to the economy as the pandemic era has been, it also represents an opportunity for change on many levels. In a post-Covid environment, will sponsors continue to fund industry events if they don't get the access they want with superintendents with buying power? 
    Some will, but likely at a reduced level. Some likely will never return. Event planners better listen and find a solution that provides value to everyone
    Education at industry events is not exempt. In-class curriculum at all levels is changing to include some sort of virtual component, and the last several months have presented the academic community in turf with an opportunity to up its game, too. Virtual events have introduced new ways to present information and allow people to reach a much larger audience at a fraction of the cost associated with travel. Will some sort of hybrid event supplant traditional education that, according to the poll above, might need a refresher course anyway?
    Whatever the future holds for this industry when it comes to education and showcasing new products, one thing is almost certain: Nothing will be the same again, and we likely will continue to see much less of each other, at least in person.
    That's the way it goes in a long-distance relationship.
  • All hands on deck: Online for the OTF-Ohio State virtual field day this week were: top row from left, Dave Gardner, Ph.D., Joe Rimelspach and Pam Sherratt; middle row from left, Ed Nangle, Ph.D., Zane Raudenbush, Ph.D., and Karl Danneberger, Ph.D.; bottom row from left, Todd Hicks and Dave Shetlar, Ph.D. From grade school classrooms to college campuses and everywhere in between, education has been turned upside as a new school year begins.
    Some schools are wide open, some are offering classes only online, some are somewhere in between. And that's just for kindergarteners who only show up at school for finger painting, recess and an afternoon nap.
    Education for working professionals also is compromised in the Covid-19 era as university turf programs revamp the field day experience. Formats for delivery of information are as varied as the content. Some have canceled field day events outright and others have developed a virtual replacement, some are a combination of live and recorded and at least one has been, for now, replaced by an ongoing series of discussions presented once a month. 
    One thing many researchers presenting data in a virtual format agree upon is that despite the need to go online at least in the short term, there is no substitute for a live field day, because you can't touch, smell or feel through a cell phone or computer.
    "No, you can't," said Todd Hicks, program specialist in the turfgrass pathology department at Ohio State University. 
    "We still have a lot of good material to present," said Jay McCurdy, Ph.D., associate professor at Mississippi State University. "It's up to our stakeholders to make sure it is energetic and informative."
    Despite the best of intentions, that can be easier said than done.
    "I think we're all a little 'webinared out,' " said Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee.
    Two hybrid field days this week took different paths in hopes of achieving the same end - to provide professional turf managers in their respective communities with updates on current research trials and what presenters hope is timely information on current conditions. And more are on the way.
    Every other year, the University of Connecticut attracts as many as 80 superintendents to the campus in Storrs for a golf-specific field day, said John Inguagiato, Ph.D., assistant professor of turfgrass pathology.
    This year, about 100 people logged in for a virtual event that included a combination of pre-recorded videos and live presentations from university researchers.
    Inguagiato was not sure how that would go over with viewers, but said the virtual experience allows for use of some visual aides. And because the virtual field day can potentially expand reach in-person field days in the future might also include some sort of virtual experience.
    "Based on some of the feedback I received, some people found it easier to follow along, and hopefully they were able to get more out of it," Inguagiato said. "We were able to use photos, drone imagery and graphs that help people understand the science, and there is something to be said for that."
    The Ohio Turfgrass Foundation field day at Ohio State also was an online event this week.
    This year's event included a series of eight pre-recorded videos on topics like weed control, disease management, billbug research, tips for sports turf managers and PGR use in bluegrass fairways. Attendees who registered in advance were given online access to the videos and had the opportunity to submit questions by email that OSU's research team responded to in a live Q&A session with Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Dave Gardner, Ph.D., Dave Shetlar, Ph.D., Pam Sherratt, Hicks and Joe Rimelspach from the main campus in Columbus and Ed Nangle, Ph.D., and Zane Raudenbush, Ph.D., from OSU-ATI in Wooster.
    Attendees also could submit questions on other real-world problems not covered in the videos.
    Among the challenges for Rimelspach and Hicks from OSU's turf pathology department was to record information in July and hope it remained relevant several weeks later in a summer dominated by mild weather early, hot and humid conditions in July and hot, dry weather into August.
    Two months ago, superintendents throughout Ohio were reporting prolonged periods of brown patch. But lately, dollar spot, not brown patch, has been the biggest problem throughout much of the state.
    "We stood out on the plots and talked about what we were seeing at the time," Hicks said. "Here's what we're seeing, and here's what's working. Dollar spot was not a problem then.
    "That didn't start until probably a week after we recorded."
    When the University of Tennessee decided in the spring to cancel its annual field day held each September at the East Tennessee Research and Education Center, it was replaced with Turfgrass Tuesdays, a live webinar series held the first week of each month. 
    Subjects to date have included Poa control, sports field management, Blue Muda and zoysiagrass for golf turf and sports field applications. Topics still on tap are disease control and herbicide programs.
    "When we decided not to have a field day, we decided to do this instead," said UT's Brosnan, professor of weed science. 
    "Our sole focus has been on a new digital learning series."
    After considering several options, Tennessee settled on a live webinar platform. The format has been a hit with turf managers, with an average of about 130 logging in for each session, Brosnan said.
    "At a field day, you get to see plots, interact with people doing research and ask questions," Brosnan said. "If we did pre-recorded videos, we'd lose that interaction. That's why we went the webinar route. I don't know if it is a long-term solution, but it was the best solution in April."
    When Mississippi State University conducts its virtual version of a turfgrass field day on Sept. 17, it will include a mix of pre-recorded videos and live presentations in a webinar-type format.
    "I can say from an extension perspective that we are very good at in-person events," said MSU's McCurdy.
    "We're not like some other schools, we have not been charged with delivering material in other ways. We are trying to catch up."
    Although field days might have lost some of the personal touch in a virtual format, it is only temporary. Or is it? Like everything else during the past several months, field day education (at some, not all universities) likely will look a little different in a post-Covid era - whenever that is. An online component that can attract viewers from far away, is relatively cheap to produce and can allow for on-demand viewing, undoubtedly will be part of future curriculum, just like it is becoming in the classroom.
    Don't worry, for those who miss the in-person experience, you'll be able to get back out there on those plots soon enough.
    "I think there is webinar fatigue out there, and it's going to get worse when all the shows are out there online," Brosnan said. "So, what do you do in 2021? I think there is some digital growth area out there for programming, but what that grows into, I'm not sure yet."
  • The real news regarding the Golf Industry Show is not that the 2021 conference will take place as a virtual experience. What will be significant is what the show looks like whenever it resumes as an in-person event.
    After all, the show must go on.
    No one should have been surprised when the GCSAA announced on Aug. 12 that next year's show would take place as an online event. It really was the only choice facing the association as trade shows and conferences around the world went down like flights on an airport departure board during a blizzard. The question never was "if" an announcement was forthcoming regarding GIS, but "when."
    Exhibiting at the trade show is an expensive proposition for companies that spend boatloads of money to fund education for turfgrass professionals in exchange for a few minutes of facetime with customers and the goodwill that comes with supporting your association. No doubt there are many looking for an excuse to pull out of the show for good, and Covid-19 might have provided it.
    Time will tell.
    Years ago, the former head of marketing for a company that exhibits at GIS confided that the only thing preventing him from pulling out support and ceasing to exhibit was that he figured others would join in the exodus and he did not want his legacy to be "that guy who helped killed the Golf Industry Show."
    It is completely plausible to believe that several vendors will look at the cost associated with exhibiting and weigh it against the return on their investment and the economic hardship associated with the virus that likely will last for years, and opt out of GIS.
    It also is reasonable to believe that many employers of superintendents might take such events out of future budgets, especially when they see how you somehow were able to provide great conditions and firm, fast greens without attending GIS in person.
    If you went to this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, I hope you enjoyed it, because some might never have a chance to go again, at least for a very long time.
    In-person attendance at GIS for the past several years has been in the range of 11,000-13,000 people. Will that many return to San Diego in 2022, or Orlando in 2023, or whenever and wherever an in-person version of the show resumes? Will that many return ever? Will budgets allow it? Or, will the in-person show become like so many things we've learned to live without since March - expendable?
    When the show returns as an in-person event - and it will - it will be different. It probably will be smaller. Booth space, which has been shrinking noticeably for the past few years, too will continue to decline. Perhaps an in-person version of the show no longer is an annual event, but instead is held every other year.
    Time will tell.
    The virus has become one of those snapshots in time - like the recession of 2008 - at which we can point and say "this is when things changed." The virus has provided us with a chance to prioritize, and that is a good thing.
    Rewind the clock to mid-March when this madness began. The country's psyche was unraveling at a rapid pace. Governors began issuing stay-at-home mandates. Remember when staying home for two weeks except for trips to the grocery seemed like an impossibility? Who then could have imagined getting along without the spectacle of March Madness, a 162-game baseball season, dining out, trips to the mall or a vacation at the beach?
    Covid-19 has been a relentless foe that we have come to realize is everywhere all at once, waiting to strike anyone who lets down their guard. Millions have it worldwide, hundreds of thousands have died from it or complications associated with it. This invisible enemy has crushed economies around the world, and people in every corner of the planet are suffering from stress and mental health issues brought on by economic uncertainty. As many as 30 million Americans still are out of work due to the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and states are struggling to keep up with jobless claims.
    The virus also has afforded us a chance to re-examine what is important - and what is not. Things we took for granted, like meals and activities with the family, have taken on increased importance. Events and activities we once thought we could not live without, no longer seem so important. 
    Covid-19 will not last forever, although sometimes it feel as if it will. And when it is behind us, things will not be as they once were. The world is forever changed. How will these changes affect GIS?
    Time will tell.
  • Click the image to listen to GCSAA president John Fulling explain more about a virtual Golf Industry Show. The worst-kept secret in the turf business was leaked Wednesday when the GCSAA announced via video that next year's Golf Industry Show would be held in a virtual format.
    Originally scheduled for the first week of February in Las Vegas, the show now will take place in offices and homes across the country and around the world.
    "This was not an easy decision to make," GCSAA president John Fulling, CGCS, said in the video announcement. "We considered global health concerns, travel bans, restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing requirements, adjustments other shows were making and the state of the economy. We listened to members, engaged exhibitors and consulted our industry partners, and it became clear a virtual event would afford the best opportunity to offer you a safe and quality GIS experience."
    Tabbed "Your Space. Your Place. All in One Place." the online show will include education, informational videos and downloads on new products as well virtual networking opportunities in what the GCSAA promises will be an engaging platform.
    "Don't worry," Fulling said in the video, "this won't be a week of video calls."
    The decision has been met with understanding, if not disappointment.
    "We fully support  their decision and continue to support GCSAA as a gold level sponsor and look forward to GIS in this new virtual format," said Tripp Trotter, head of marketing for Syngenta turf and ornamental. "We believe this will be a great opportunity to engage across the industry virtually with many of our customers and are excited to showcase many of our new products,  which we are in the process of launching now for the early order period."
    Scott Ramsay, CGCS at The Country Club of Farmington in Connecticut, does not attend the show every year. He often can be found when the show rotates through Orlando and its middle-America destination. He was looking forward to attending the event in Las Vegas, but understands why he cannot.
    "The only decision that made sense," Ramsay said. "But I am old school and need the interpersonal touch. That's my first impression. 
    "I have missed too many shows and was looking forward to being in a position to go this year. Canceling the trip today to The Masters, also."

    The 2021 Golf Industry Show will bring a new meaning to a virtual trade show experience. Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa, has been attending the GIS and its previous iterations since 1980 with few interruptions. Like Ramsay, he also had his bags all but packed for Vegas.
    When asked if he would have attended the show had it gone on in person, Tegtmeier didn't hesitate in his response.
    "Yes!" he said adamantly. "I would have flown, and I would have flown with a mask on. I would have had no qualms about that at all."
    To Tegtmeier, the show is about in-person education and networking.
    "I always get something out of it. It's my time to listen to researchers talk about new products and chemicals and their trials. I hate to try anything new on the golf course until I see data I know I can trust."
    The online education will be conducted live. For those unable to attend live sessions or who want to watch one again, they also will be available on-demand, but interaction with the presenter is lost.
    "I'm the guy who goes to an all-day, eight-hour session and asks a lot of questions all day long," Tegtmeier said. "I don't like a 20-minute Zoom call, let alone an hour-long talk online.
    "This virtual thing is great, but for me, education is a two-way street. If I can't ask questions, what good is it?"
    Getting to GIS either on the West Coast or East Coast, or somewhere in between is no small feat for Matt DiMase, superintendent at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in The Bahamas. Despite the challenges often associated with international travel, during a health crisis no less, DiMase, was looking forward to the 2021 show. He also understands why he won't be able to attend.
    "I was hopeful GIS was going to happen, but at the same time I also knew in the back of my mind we have many persons in the industry who travel from all over the world, so, I was not surprised," DiMase said. "I also knew it wasn't an easy decision but it was the right decision in my mind.  
    "Given everything going on, yes, I would have attended. I'm not discrediting the virus, or what's going on, but I also believe it is up to each person to do their part and be safe and smart."
    Two years ago, Carlos Arraya, CGCS at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, was named TurfNet's Superintendent of the Year. Today, he is the club's assistant general manager. He believes there are opportunities for long-term change in the switch to a virtual format. Namely, he would like to see more education focused on helping superintendents promote their business acumen. 
    Earlier this year, rather than send senior members of his greens staff to GIS in Orlando, he sent them to the Club Managers Association of America conference, where, as first-time attendees, they received free education focused on improving their management and leadership skills.
    "From my perspective, it had become a little antiquated and needed to be refreshed," Arraya said. "I think this is going to separate those who really want education and those who look at this primarily as a social function.
    "The CMAA was a better platform for business and leadership. I told my guys, 'I'm not sending you to a wetting agent class, I want you to learn how to be better leaders and build a team."
    The cost savings realized by not traveling to next year's GIS (the fate of next year's CMAA conference has not yet been decided) will allow Arraya to focus more resources on educating his team and completing his certification through CMAA.
    "Education is a value proposition," he said. "It's not only what you have, but it's also about how you go there. It's about value; it's about information, education and communication."
    DiMase is all-in for GIS education this year, even if it is not in person.
    "I'll look at the schedule and see what classes are being offered and sign up for ones that pertain to me," he said. "As long as Internet is good on the island, which it hasn't been for the past 11 months, I'll take advantage.
    "I have taken classes every year, and I love not only the classes themselves but I look forward to the the people I meet in them. I even thought about possibly teaching a class in hurricane preparedness or disaster management, but that will maybe wait until 2022."
    Although the primary functions of the GIS are education, professional development and conducting business with industry partners, the significance of the social component cannot be ignored. The virtual event promises opportunities for personal networking, but in an industry that prides itself on being about relationships, nothing takes the place of face-to-face interaction.
    For many, GIS represents the only time throughout the year that friendships forged through a fraternal vocation are renewed in person. And that makes Tegtmeier sad.
    "I've been going to this show since 1980, and to not see my friends is going to be tough," he said. "I've already had people call and say: 'We're not going to get a chance to see each other. What are we going to do?' "
    His answer was simple.
    "I don't know."
  • SBI, a management and leadership conference held each year by Syngenta and Wake Forest University's School of Business, will go on as an online event this year. This year's Syngenta Business Institute program will be hosted virtually, Dec. 7-11. 
    "After much discussion, and with the health and safety of our customers in mind, we are excited to announce we will continue with the Syngenta Business Institute this year, but instead of in person, we are going virtual," said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta. "This is not a decision we made lightly. We are committed to providing education and we are continuing to work closely with the staff at Wake Forest University to provide eight hours of quality higher education. This is the perfect hybrid of live teaching that will challenge and engage superintendents online."
    The 2020 program will be held via Zoom, beginning with an introductory social networking session on Monday evening. Educational courses will then be hosted in two-hour sessions Tuesday through Friday. Faculty from the nationally ranked Wake Forest University School of Business will teach the curriculum, which will cover the following topics: 
    •    work/life balance
    •    negotiating
    •    tools for managing employees
    •    leading across cultures and generations 
    "It is wonderful to see Syngenta has a strong desire to continue providing golf course superintendents with critical leadership and business savvy to ensure they have professional growth opportunities they need to thrive," said Kerry Shronts, executive director of executive education at Wake Forest University School of Business. "In working closely with our Wake Forest Executive Education team, Syngenta is reinforcing its commitment to the industry as we transition this program to a virtual classroom and continue to provide an effective and safe learning environment." 
    To help encourage interaction and participation among attendees, the class size for SBI 2020 will be limited, like previous years. Syngenta will select approximately 24 individuals employed in the United States as a superintendent, director of agronomy or at an equivalent level to participate in the program. 
    Applications must be submitted online by midnight, Pacific time, on Sept.15. 
    To be considered, candidates must fill out an application, which includes a short essay on why they should be selected to attend SBI. Selected participants will be notified in October. 
  • The mysterious seeds planted in Arkansas started as small orange-colored flowers (below) and grew like crazy before eventually producing fruit that looked like large, white squash (above). Remember those mystery seed packets - apparently from China - that have been showing up recently on doorsteps across the country?
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has identified some of them, and all, so far anyway, have proven to be harmless, although the jury is still out on at least one.
    According to a recording on the USDA web site, the federal agency has identified at least 14 plant species from seed packets that were delivered to homes in several states. So far, they have found mustard, cabbage, morning glories, roses, hibiscus and herbs such as mint, sage, rosemary and lavender.
    Osama El-Lissy, with the Plant Protection program of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the species represent just a sampling of the seeds collected so far, so we're not exactly out of the woods yet. In fact, the USDA and state agriculture agencies across the country are still warning people not to plant the seeds or improperly dispose of them.
    At least one person - and there are probably more - did not get that message in time. Doyle Crenshaw of Booneville, Arkansas, said he recently received seeds, including zinnias that he had ordered and another packet of unidentified seeds that he had not. 
    So what does one do with a packet of mystery seeds that they didn't ask for? Plant them, of course. After all, what could go wrong. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is asking the same question after Crenshaw called and admitted he planted the seeds, and fertilized the daylights out of them, before seeing the notice warning him of doing just that.
    What is growing in his garden isn't exactly something out of Jack and the Beanstalk just yet, but it is something the likes of which he has never seen before. 
    Crenshaw said in published reports: "We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I'd come by and put Miracle-Gro on it and they just started growing like crazy."
    The plants first produced orange flowers from which eventually came what Crenshaw described as something that looks like a giant squash.
    The state agriculture commission hasn't seen anything like it, either.
    Officials from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture told Crenshaw to leave the plants alone and that they would be sending someone out to remove them. Although the USDA said there is no evidence to suggest that Seed-Gate is nothing more than a marketing scam called "brushing"  but not all seed varieties have been investigated. 
    "Those who have planted the seeds (we can't believe Crenshaw is the only one, right?) should leave the plants where they are and contact the Department for guidance," the department said in a release. 
    "Our concern," according to Scott Bray of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, "is from an invasive pest aspect, these seeds could introduce an invasive weed, or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease."
    The Chinese Foreign Ministry says its country's postal service prohibits transmitting seeds oversees and has asked for the seeds to be returned to China. The foreign ministry also has said that many of the mailing labels indicating the packages originated in China appear to be fake.
  • Green Start going online this year
    This year's Green Start Academy is moving to a virtual format. The annual educational event for assistant golf course superintendents that is hosted by John Deere and Bayer will  comprise a series of virtual sessions that will kick off Oct. 14 with an opening general session. 
    Following the general session, participants will have an opportunity to connect via virtual roundtable conversations with notable industry professionals and cultivate critical skills such as leadership and team management through a series of online sessions. In addition, participants will be assigned to smaller mentorship groups with various golf industry leaders to further encourage meaningful conversation and deeper connections with other participants and facilitators. Dates for those sessions have not yet been confirmed.
    A new offering for the 2020 Green Start Academy, will be a keynote session that is open to all past participants and facilitators, bringing together 15 years of Green Start Academy attendees. The keynote session on leadership in a multigenerational culture will be presented by Jeff Havens, a successful author, business growth expert and communication expert. During the keynote session, Havens will provide participants with insights about how to become a better leader and guidance for successfully navigating the challenges they might face throughout their careers.
    Green Start Academy is open to assistant superintendents from the U.S. and Canada who want to advance their careers and build connections within the golf industry. Click here to apply. Deadline is Aug. 31, and selected participants will be notified by Sept. 15.
    BIGGA cancels BTME due to pandemic
    The British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association has canceled its Turf Management Exhibition scheduled for January due to "ongoing uncertainty" relating to the coronavirus pandemic according to a news release.
    The decision to cancel was made after talking with members, representatives of the Harrogate Convention Centre and other stakeholders. A "festival of turf" is scheduled for next summer and the show is expected to resume in 2022.
    BIGGA’s education program, Continue to Learn, will still take place in January as a virtual event and will include a full program of presenters.
    The announcement of an alternative event next summer will enable BIGGA to explore options for hosting the event outdoors.
    The Harrogate Convention Centre, home to BTME and its previous iterations since 1989, has been used as a hospital since April.
    Bayer helps superintendents save
    Golf course superintendents can save instantly on select Bayer products purchased in August and September through the NOW Solutions Program.
     
    Superintendents can save more than 12 percent instantly with off-invoice, volume-based discounts on certain products. Turf managers also can earn up to 21 percent in rebates. Eligible products include Indemnify, Revolver, Tribute Total, Specticle G, Specticle FLO, Chipco Signature, Interface Stressgard, Mirage Stressgard, Signature XTRA Stressgard and Banol. Qualified purchases must be invoiced in August or September by authorized Bayer agents.
     
    All rebates will be issued in the form of My Bayer Rewards points. Customers must be enrolled in My Bayer Rewards and accept current Terms and Conditions to receive a rebate. Points can be redeemed for checks, agent credit or thousands of catalog items.
     
    The NOW Solutions program runs through Sept. 30.
    PBI-Gordon offers new formulation of SpeedZone
    SpeedZone EW is a new broadleaf herbicide for turf from PBI-Gordon with an emulsion-in-water formulation that does not rely on solvents to solubilize active ingredients.
     
    With the active ingredients 2,4-D, carfentrazone, mecaprop-p and dicamba, SpeedZone EW is labeled for control of dozens of common weeds, including dollarweed, ground ivy and spurge in warm- and cool-season turf.
    The emulsion-in-water technology of SpeedZone EW creates smaller particle size than emulsifiable concentrate formulations, resulting in more of the active ingredient impacting the leaf surface for improved efficacy, plus a lower odor profile and lower volatile organic content. And the EW formulation is engineered for use in low-volume and conventional sprayers.
     
    Other features of SpeedZone EW include a visual response within 24 hours and weed death in 7-14 days, rainfast in as little as three hours, allows for reseeding in one week.
    SpeedZone EW will be available for sale this fall, pending state registrations.
  • In just five years, the Deep South Turf Expo has grown into one of the country's premier regional conferences for superintendents.
    The sixth edition of the Deep South event, at least the in-person educational portion, will have to wait a while, and we'll give you three guesses why.
    In response to Covid-19, this year's event has been canceled, and a hybrid outdoor trade show and golf event will take its place this year.
    The show was scheduled for Nov. 4-5 at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. The hybrid event will be held Oct. 26 at The Preserve Golf Club in Vancleave, Mississippi, and will include - for now - golf, an outdoor tailgate event and a trade show with products and equipment on display throughout the golf course. Show organizers said most respondents to a customer survey indicated they wanted to hold the show in a traditional in-person format, but in the end there were too many question marks.
    According to a release from show organizers: "The majority wanted to meet in person, however the facilities were not guaranteed to be open for us to meet . . . so we have made some adjustments that will ensure social distancing and safety for everyone."
    The fate of next year's Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas is still undecided. The GCSAA is considering several options for the next GIS and members and show exhibitors will be surveyed later this month with a final decision expected in October.
  • It is unlikely that superintendents give a great deal of thought to all the time, energy and resources involved in bringing to market products used to manage golf courses. Each product that makes it to the marketplace is the result of years of research and millions spent in development that leave literally hundreds of thousands of other formulations on the cutting room floor.
    "It's a fascinating and incredibly complex process that takes a lot of teamwork," Lane Tredway, Ph.D., technical representative for Syngenta, said during a virtual Syngenta product launch event July 30.
    "We need to eliminate the ones that won't work as quickly as possible, so we can get the ones that do work to market as quickly as possible."
    On Thursday, Syngenta launched three fungicides - Ascernity, Posterity XT and Posterity Forte -  for long-lasting control of diseases like dollar spot, spring dead spot, anthracnose and large patch on golf course turf.
    Ascernity is a combination product that includes SDHI technology from the foliar fungicide Solatenol (benzovindiflupyr) with DMI technology of difenoconazole for control of foliar diseases such as anthracnose and brown patch.
    It carries no heat restrictions, even in summer.
    Posterity XT and Posterity Forte combine three active ingredients, pydiflumetofen (Adepidyn), propiconazole and azoxystrobin from FRAC groups 7, 3 and 11, respectively. Posterity Forte is labeled for control of brown patch, dollar spot, large patch, leaf spot, spring dead spot and zoysia patch in warm- and cool-season turf. Posterity XT provides up to 28 days of control of nearly 30 turf diseases, including anthracnose, brown patch, dollar spot, spring dead spot and summer patch in cool-season turf.
    While launching a stable of new products now comes with its inherent challenges, tough summer conditions make the timing otherwise perfect, said Syngenta technical manager Mike Agnew, Ph.D.
    "The disease pressure this summer, is the worst I've seen since 2011 and 2012," Agnew said. "Turf always looks better when the weather is good. We're launching products in the worst weather conditions in years."
    All three products will be available for sale in August.
    The R&D channel is a long, long road.
    As many as 150,000 potential compounds per year enter the pipeline. That list eventually is whittled down to several thousand then several dozen before. Ultimately, it takes about eight years and as much as $300 million for one product to emerge from the process and eventually make it to market.
    Syngenta's technical services team also has developed agronomic programs that rotate these fungicides with other products. To find recommendations for incorporating Ascernity, Posterity XT and Posterity Forte into an existing agronomic program, visit GreenCastOnline.com/Programs.
    "The technology doesn't have to stop (with new products)," said Syngenta turf market manager Stephanie Schwenke. "We don't just focus on the chemistry; we also know that it is important to golf course superintendents to support them with application technology."
  • The fate of next year's Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas is still undecided thanks to Covid-19, but another green industry conference has been canceled because of the virus and the country's largest trade show, scheduled for the same venue as GIS, will be all virtual in 2021.
    Scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky, the Green Industry Expo, the largest conference and trade show for the lawn and landscape industry, was canceled July 29.
    Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and continued regulatory uncertainty, GIE/OPEI, LLC announced that the 2020 show will be postponed until next year. The show will resume Oct. 20-22 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
    Likewise, the Consumer Electronics Show, the country's largest trade show with more than 100,000 attendees, will be online only next year. The show, which is scheduled for Jan. 6-9, was to be the first event in the new convention center in Las Vegas. The Golf Industry Show is scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb. 4 in the same building. The GCSAA has not yet announced how the virus will affect GIS, but the association is considering several options, one of which still is a traditional in-person trade show, according to CEO Rhett Evans.
    According to a release from GIE, "show ownership and management (GIE/OPEI, LLC) of GIE+EXPO, the Green Industry Equipment and Exposition, have been monitoring the situation closely, and have been working with state and local authorities to put on the safest show possible. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of such a rapidly evolving environment prohibited this year's show from taking place safely." 
    "The health and safety of our attendees and exhibitors is critical, and it is with profound regret that we announce the cancellation of our 2020 event. We're looking forward to 2021 and already gearing up to make our next show a dynamic and engaging experience for the entire industry. I encourage exhibitors and attendees that have already registered or secured exhibit space to roll those monies forward to the 2021 show."
    Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on July 27 issued a mandate prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. The cancellation comes on the heels of the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show earlier this month.
    Next fall, attendees and exhibitors will experience several updates to the Kentucky Exposition Center grounds. The facility is undertaking $8 million in outdoor improvements and enhancements, including: 
    GIE+EXPO has been held in Louisville since it was founded nearly 40 years ago. Registration is currently open for next year's event.
  • Mystery seeds from China have been showing up for the past several days all across the country. For the past several days, people have been receiving unsolicited seeds from an undisclosed sender in China, and a federal agency is warning recipients not to plant or even discard them.
    According to a release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "USDA is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
    "USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins."
    Seeds have been received in several states from coast to coast, with some appearing to be grass seed and others perhaps agricultural. Some recipients have said that the package labeling indicates the contents are jewelry and some have reported the contents do include a cheap trinket. The seed contents are unidentified. 

    "At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said in a news release. "If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag."
    Although USDA-APHIS, which regulates biological material in the U.S., said it has no evidence indicating that this is a marketing scam known as "brushing", seeds could contain an uncontrollable invasive species or unknown disease pathogen that could be disastrous and should not be planted or even discarded.
    "Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops," said a release by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations."
    According to preliminary investigation by the Utah Department of Agriculture, mystery seeds that arrived there have included only flowers and herbs, including rose, amaranth and mint.
    One of the recipients was Ohio State University sports turf specialist Pam Sherratt, who tweeted that she was waiting to hear from the USDA on how to properly dispose of them.
  • With only about six weeks notice, the Inverness Club in Toledo will be the host site of the newly added Drive On Championship. Photos courtesy of Ryan Kaczor Ohio is the retail and hospitality test market capital of the world. New restaurants often show up here first, and when existing ones want to try out a new menu item, they're often tested first in Ohio. When snack food companies come up with a new flavor of cookie, cracker or potato chip, odds are you'll have to be in Ohio to get that first taste.
    This year, Ohio also has become a test market for how to launch a golf tour during a global health crisis.
    With the PGA Tour doubleheader of the Workday Charity Open followed by the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in suburban Columbus in the books, focus now shifts northwest to Toledo. That's where the first two LPGA events of 2020 will take place in consecutive weeks.
    The Marathon Classic, originally scheduled for July 9-12 at Highland Meadows in Sylvania, had been moved, thanks to the you-know-what, to Aug. 3-9 in what was supposed to be the delayed season opener for an abbreviated LPGA season. Things often change quickly in a test market, however, and the LPGA has since added the makeshift Drive On Championship to its schedule from July 31-Aug. 2 down the road from Highland Meadows at the Inverness Club in the LPGA's new season opener.
    The LPGA didn't even ask officials at Inverness, site of next year's Solheim Cup, to host the new event until June 16, giving superintendent John Zimmers and his team just six weeks to prepare.
    If any place is up to the task of holding a professional event on such short notice, it is Inverness. The Donald Ross classic is fresh off a 2018 restoration by architect Andrew Green. The U.S. Junior Amateur was held there last year, and the Solheim Cup will be there next year. Zimmers came to Inverness in 2017 after 19 years at Oakmont, where he kept Henry Fownes' sole design in tournament-ready shape every day.
    "It was short notice, but the LPGA came to us because they knew with everything going on that we would be a good fit," said Inverness assistant superintendent Ryan Kaczor.
    "With the Marathon Classic the next week, this really puts Toledo on display. It's good for the city and for northwest Ohio."
    Many LPGA players already are sequestered in a Toledo hotel in an attempt to isolate them from Covid-19.
    "I saw where the PGA Tour went back-to-back at Muirfield," Kaczor said. "The LPGA has already been here a while because of the Solheim. Holding a tournament here takes away from the burden of Highland Meadows holding events in back-to-back weeks."

    Inverness was the site of last year's U.S. Junior Amateur and will be the host course of the 2021 Solheim Cup. Not everything has been in Inverness's favor.
    Zimmers' crew of 30 includes 16 seasonal employees. The team wasn't at full staff because of the virus, until the week before the LPGA called.
    "The biggest effect early on was there were so many unknowns. There still are a lot of unknowns," Kaczor said. "No one knew if the golf course would be full, or if it would be generating any revenue. We limped along with a smaller staff, and we spent a lot of time cleaning mowers, tables and other touchpoints, and that has slowed us down, but that's where we are in the world right now."
    Since June, the temperature has reached 90 on 23 days since early June.
    Zimmers, however, is an old hand at producing stunning championship conditions. Besides last year's U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness, while at Oakmont he was the host superintendent for the U.S. Open in 2007 and 2016, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open and the U.S. Amateur in 2003.
    "John has done this so many times," Kaczor said. "We are already at a high standard here to begin with, so not much will have to change. We're just honing in on some of the details to get things where they need to be. 
    In fact, Inverness is just coming off an annual member-guest tournament, and Kaczor said they might have to slow the greens a bit for the LPGA.
    "There is no better feeling in the world. It's what we live for - the spotlight," he said. "We take pride in everything we do. When you do your best and get a call at the last minute to hold the opening LPGA tournament of the year at a moment's notice, it shows all of our hard work is paying off."
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