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Peter McCormick

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Everything posted by Peter McCormick

  1. In this episode of the Turfgrass Hotline, Frank Rossi chats with Clint Mattox of Oregon State about turf conditions and management strategies as summer winds down in the Pacific Northwest. Recorded September 5, 2019. Presented by DryJect and Intelligro | Civitas Turf Defense.
  2. With the 2019 NFL season upon us, Frank Rossi chats with Dr. Andy McNitt of Penn State about the current state of sports field system management including measurement of field characteristics -- firmness, surface stability, traction, etc. All important, as 20% of football injuries remain field-related.
  3. In this episode of Frankly Speaking, Frank Rossi chats with Dr. David McCall, assistant professor of turfgrass pathology at Virginia Tech. Topics of discussion include McCall's research on turfgrass pathology in the transition zone, his work with drones and remote sensing, and GPS-guided spray application. Follow Dr. McCall on Twitter at @VTTurfPath. Presented by DryJect and Intelligro/Civitas Turf Defense.
  4. Here's a tip from the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club:
  5. Frank Rossi chats with Dr. Clark Throssell about his circuitous career from his Montana roots through Penn State to Kansas State, GCSAA, Purdue and Lebanon Turf to hanging out his own shingle with Turfgrass R & D, Inc., in Billings, Montana. Along the way, Throssell served as director of research for GCSAA; research committees of the USGA, O. J Noer Foundation and Crop Science Society of America, and technical resource for the Peaks and Prairies GCSA. Along the way, Frank and Clark chat about data collection and management, water use and other challenges facing superintendents today. Presented by DryJect and Civitas/Intelligro.
  6. Jerry Coldiron, CGCS, was a man for whom joy and positivity were not sound bites or t-shirt slogans. They were an infectious part of his being, something he passed onto others without thought or intention. So upon his untimely passing in November, 2017 at the age of 60, we at TurfNet thought it only appropriate to join with his family to honor our long-time friend and member by establishing an award in his name. The Jerry Coldiron Positivity Awards are given annually to recognize individuals within the golf turf industry who live lives of positivity, caring, sharing and compassion for others… or who have experienced personal hardship due to illness, natural events or job loss… or who do something special for the natural world (a special thing to Jerry). The first awards were presented at the 2018 GIS to Marcos "Mike" Morales of the Buccaneer Golf Club in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands John and Peggy Colo, Jupiter Hills Golf Club, Tequesta, Florida Adam and Erin Engle, Lake Shore Yacht and Golf Club, Cicero, NY John and Nick Paquette, Indian Hills Country Club, Northport, NY The 2019 awards have been presented recently to Tenia Workman, executive director of the Georgia GCSA, and posthumously to Tom Morris, CGCS, 20-year member of the TurfNet hockey team who passed away at age 61 shortly after Jerry, in February 2018. True leaders inspire others not through words, but through actions. For golf course superintendents in Georgia, Tenia Workman has been an inspiration for nearly 20 years. The executive director of the Georgia GCSA since 2002, Workman has overseen the development and implementation of a host of programs designed to promote the superintendent profession to constituencies inside and outside the golf industry, and has helped build and nurture a family-like atmosphere among members throughout the chapter. “Tenia made the Georgia chapter like one big family,” said Ralph Kepple, superintendent at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the award was presented August 20 during a lull in the preparations for the 2019 PGA Tour Championship. “She’s like a mother to everybody in the association. She’s the glue that keeps us together.” Tenia Workman with her award plaque at the East Lake Golf Club maintenance facility. She also received a check for $1000. Even when Workman was at her personal worst, like two years ago when she learned she had breast cancer, she was at her best professionally. Workman was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and underwent a double-mastectomy shortly thereafter. “Even when she was going through her cancer treatments, she still cared for everyone else,” said Anthony Williams, CGCS, director of golf course maintenance at the Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, and a longtime Georgia superintendent. “She is Saint Tenia in my book. She has been a superintendent wife forever so she knows when to push and when to hold ground and she's a standout in an industry that is often unforgiving, her example gives us all hope.” The awards namesake carried special meaning for Workman, who not only runs an association for superintendents, but is also married to one. “I didn’t know (Jerry), but just that this award is named after a superintendent, it means so much more to me,” Workman said. “I would do anything for the superintendents in Georgia. These guys are like family to me.” The Georgia GCSA recognized Workman’s contributions in December when the group named her recipient of the association’s President’s Award for continuing to serve members while undergoing treatments to fight cancer. In addition to an award plaque, Workman was presented with a check for $1000 for her personal use, however she sees fit, to do something fun or create joy for herself or her family. Jon Kiger of TurfNet made the presentation at East Lake. Peace, love and 3-part harmony Also receiving a Coldiron Award this year was Tom Morris, CGCS, a 25-year career superintendent, 20-year member of our TurfNet hockey team, hockey referee and bluegrass musician who passed away suddenly around Valentine's Day, 2018. His long-time partner, Nancy Jean Henry, organized a town-wide celebration of his life -- TommyFest -- in their hometown of Jamaica, Vermont, last summer. Peter McCormick and several other TurfNet members attended, and wrote about it here. Nancy Jean Henry and Tom Morris both led lives of "peace, love and 3-part harmony" - Tom's favorite expression. Tom Morris (r) enjoying a yuck with Joe "Squeak" Kinlin (Bey Lea GC, NJ) in 2005. As a bluegrass musician in a rural state, Morris had wanted to find a way to get musical instruments into the hands of those who couldn't afford them. Because so many of southern Vermont bluegrass musicians attended and played at the first TommyFest, Nancy Jean Henry made that the theme of this year's TommyFest 2019. She established a fund to purchase guitars, mandolins, fiddles and various percussion instruments, and encouraged those attending to bring a spare instrument to contribute. TommyFest 2019 was held July 6, which would have been Tom's 63rd birthday. Team TurfNet passed the hockey helmet around the dressing room at the Golf Course Hockey Challenge in Niagara Falls back in January, and those monies along with a $1000 award check were presented to Nancy Jean to help fund instrument purchases and the event itself. Appropriately, the team's contribution was earmarked for buying the beer. Over 30 instruments were exchanged, with new owners paired up with volunteer instructors. What would a Vermont celebration be without folk art, including this caricature of Tom? Everyone who attended the first TommyFest brought a perennial plant for a memorial garden, the centerpiece of which was a Japanese Maple tree. The garden has flourished since last year, and a peek within the branches of the tree revealed Tom's classic palm-less hockey gloves gripping the trunk. Look closely and you'll see Tom's palm-less hockey gloves gripping the trunk of his memorial tree. About Jerry Jerry was a proud native of Kentucky and an alumnus of Eastern Kentucky University with a BS in horticulture and turfgrass management. He spent his entire 25-year superintendent career with Boone County (KY) Parks & Recreation, retiring in 2006 as director of golf course maintenance for Boone Links and Lassing Pointe Golf Courses. After retirement from active golf course management, Jerry and his wife Susan relocated to Boca Raton, FL, so Jerry could embark on a second career in sales, selling Toro and Club Car in the Caribbean islands for Hector Turf of Deerfield Beach, FL. Classic Coldiron. Jerry was a long-time active TurfNet member, joining in 1996 when online discussion and communication was in its infancy. He actively participated in the Forum, contributing over 400 posts to various turf- and non-turf related discussions over the years. Jerry embodied the true TurfNet spirit of sharing, caring, compassion and camaraderie,” said Peter McCormick, TurfNet founder. “He was one of the central core of the TurfNet community. Always humble, Jerry loved to have fun and pump others up, encouraging everyone to live life to the fullest and enjoy every day. These awards will recognize those who have done the same in their own ways, and help us continue to shine Jerry’s light on the good of the world. He was a very special man.”
  7. The VGR TopChanger is a tractor-drawn, PTO-powered water injection aerifier that introduces wet or dry sand or other amendments into the soil profile. It is manufactured in the Netherlands by the VGR Group and distributed in North America by STEC Equipment of Anderson, South Carolina. The TopChanger incorporates water-blast roller cleaning and integral rear brushes to minimize cleanup.
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  9. In this episode of the TurfNet Renovation Report, host Anthony Pioppi chats with Jim Barrett of James Barrett Associates, noted golf course irrigation designer and consultant. It could be argued that nobody in the golf business knows more about irrigation than Jim Barrett, who started designing irrigation systems back in 1972 for Robert Trent Jones before starting his own shop in 1984. There are also few in the industry more respected. Irrigation designers fly well under the radar that puts golf course architects in the spotlight, but the job they do is no less critical to a well-functioning golf course operation. Listen in as Jim tells us his story and discusses the state of golf course irrigation today and into the future. Presented by Golf Preservations and The Andersons.
  10. In this episode of the TurfNet Renovation Report, Anthony Pioppi chats with Tad King of King Collins Golf Course Design. King explains how he morphed from shaper and builder (most notably Sweetens Cove) into a golf course designer, and relates some of the challenges and rewards of working on projects around the world. Presented by The Andersons and Golf Preservations.
  11. In this episode of the TurfNet Turfgrass Hotline, Frank Rossi chats with Dr. Lee Miller of the University of Missouri about prevention, appearance and control of early Pythium root disease... which is not a fungus, he emphasizes. With the very wet conditions this year in many parts of the country, "...all you need for Pythium to get a grip is a pond for it to swim in." He notes that preventative control applications as early as April may be necessary under these conditions. Another topic is winterkill of Zoysia which was particularly bad this past winter in the transition zone. "Dead Zoysiagrass stays dead. It doesn't come back." Brown Patch and other foliar diseases, particularly of tall fescue, have also been particularly severe this year. They wind up the conversation with etiolation of bentgrass, a bacteria that loves hot weather and appears to have a relationship with Primo use. Recent "Bentgrass Bonking": primarily physiological decline due to organic matter holding water and "boiling roots", sometimes from the bottom of the rootzone up. Presented by Civitas Turf Defense and DryJect.
  12. In this episode of TurfNet Turfgrass Hotline with Frank Rossi, Steve McDonald of Turfgrass Disease Solutions updates us on the turf disease and cultural conditions of the mid-Atlantic area for August, 2019. Presented by DryJect and Intelligro/Civitas Turf Defense.
  13. In this episode of the TurfNet Turfgrass Hotline, Frank Rossi chats with the always "frank" Rich Buckley of the very busy Rutgers Diagnostic Lab about what he's seeing in the lab and what he's attributing it to: disease or abiotic stresses. Presented by Intelligro/Civitas and DryJect.
  14. Even with the recent uptick in awareness of women working in turf, the number of female superintendents and assistants remains staggeringly low: a few tenths either side of 1 percent. Flipping that around simply underscores the obvious: golf course maintenance has historically been and remains 99 percent (or so) male. Current statistics (as of July 30) from GCSAA indicate that of 18, 116 total members, only 285 are female (1.57 percent). Of the 8,778 superintendent members, 69 are female (0.78 percent). It's nearly impossible to think of other industries with a gender gap so lopsided. In fact, the United States Department of Labor defines "male dominated industries" as those with 25 percent or fewer women. And 25 percent is a far cry from 1 percent. Women of color (or even men of color) in golf turf management? Forget about it. Probably single digits. Even with the infinitesimal numbers, women working in turf are getting recognition thanks to the social media efforts of some. Leasha Schwab, Miranda "Mow" Robinson and Jessica Lenihan have become household names among those who frequent Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All three were profiled in April 2018 by John Reitman here. Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Course in Sharon, Ontario, in 2018 founded Ladies Leading Turf, an effort that culminated in a networking reception sponsored by Syngenta at the Golf Industry Show each of the past two years. Robinson recently moved west from her superintendent position at Summerlea Golf Club in Ontario to become assistant superintendent at Cordova Bay Golf Course, Victoria, B.C. She is an editorial contributor to Golf Course Industry magazine. Bayer hosted a Women in Golf panel discussion at GIS 2019, and has also hosted a Women In Golf series of events in Canada that will expand in September 2019 to a two-day event at Bayer headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. While this activity and recognition is welcome and overdue, others have gone before. Patty Knaggs (Westchester CC, Hazeltine National, Bass Rocks), Cindy Johnson (Tumble Brook CC), Heather Garvin (Canton Public GC), Tracey Holliday (Sterling Farms GC) and Jo-Ann Eberle (Sunset Valley GC) have been TurfNet members at times over the years. Johnson, who has been at Tumble Brook since 1978, remains director of agronomy there and has been a TurfNet member for 25 years. Of course, there are others, but not that many. In this multimedia series, presented by the Foley Company, we will visit with and profile a group of lesser-known female superintendents - past and present, including some international - who currently represent that small minority in golf turf management. Are you a "woman in turf" with a story to tell? Contact John Reitman and we'll get in touch.
  15. In this episode of Frankly Speaking, Frank Rossi chats with Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp and Stuart Lindsay of Edge Hill Golf Advisors. Jim is a frequent guest on Frankly Speaking, offering his refreshingly contrarian (some would say brutally realistic) view of the golf industry. Stuart Lindsay, a first-time guest, has 45 years of broad experience in golf management and measurement. The group reviews the impact of the abysmal 2018 weather on industry performance, how golf participation metrics are now including off-course activity like TopGolf and golf simulators, and the approach to growing the game by making it fun. Listen in. Good stuff! Presented by DryJect and Civitas Turf Defense.
  16. In this episode of Frankly Speaking, Frank Rossi chats with Dr. Art DeGaetano of Cornell University about the 2018 National Climate Assessment Report and its potential impact on the golf industry. Presented by DryJect and Intelligro/Civitas.
  17. Getting back to some Tips & Tricks, Kevin Ross stopped by Mariana Butte Golf Course in Loveland, CO. Superintendent Jordan McCormick showed him the roof rack they made to keep tools from banging around in the bed of a utility vehicle.
  18. OK, here are a few more: 1. McCormick’s 2-Step Path to Sales Success for Newbies: Don’t bullshit anybody. If you don’t know the answer to something, tell the customer you will find out and get back to him. Get back to him. Instant credibility. Cheap, simple and easy. 2. If calling on an account that hasn’t done much business with your company, don’t try to sell him a fleet of greensmowers (or the bulk of his EOP) for example) right off the bat. Sell him a string trimmer, flymo or sod cutter, and service the hell out of that. That’ll get your foot in the door. 3. After a significant order, send a handwritten thank you note. Does wonders for your stature with the customer. And shepherd the order through fulfillment so support systems don’t drop the ball. 4. Don’t ignore the assistant and mechanic. They may have more sway with decision-making than might be apparent, and assistants move on to head supt positions. Off the top of my head...
  19. What drew us to become golf course superintendents? For me, it was those quiet magical mornings caddying on “the ponderosa” which drew me into course maintenance. Then off to UMass/Stockbridge, and my first “greenkeeper” position, a 9-hole muni course. This was in the 1960’s. We were blessed, being at the right place, at the right time. Golf was exploding and for anyone graduating from a turf school, that was your ticket. The work was fulfilling. Working with nature, growing things. Problem solving. Working with people. Great colleagues in my local chapter, the MetGCSA. Trade shows. Every Spring hiring seasonal workers, and opportunities for mentoring and ministry. The 80’s were when things began to go south, at least for the relaxed, carefree times of the superintendent career. The solid and steady "founding fathers” on the club boards were replaced with the new generation of “instant gratification” types for whom a little knowledge was dangerous. They wanted it and they wanted it then. As another veteran superintendent put it, "The sons are not the fathers." Investments in infrastructure or equipment were supposed to alleviate all future ills. “We gave you the new irrigation system you wanted, so why do we have some brown spots on number 6?” Member-Guest tournaments and multi-club membership invited comparisons with nearby clubs and courses. The Augusta Syndrome. Then along came the Stimpmeter. With a few exceptions (like Arnold Palmer, whose dad was a superintendent), professional golfers didn’t help much. I remember hearing a disgruntled pro leaving a press tent quip: “There is no excuse for poor greens!” There were voices of reason trying to educate golfers that we are dealing with nature, and as such there are limits to what humans can do. We had the fine agronomists in USGA Green Section, always trying to get some rational thinking into the minds of the green committees and club boards. My good friend, the late Stanley Zontek, wrote an article for the Green Section Record using the baseball analogy; that superintendents cannot be expected to bat in the 300s all the time. Another USGA agronomist coined the phrase: “Slow greens are better than fast dirt.” A wise superintendent wrote an article decrying the stampede to perfect turf, entitled “Perfection is only marginally acceptable.” Here is where we are today: Golf play is down. We've all heard it: cost, time and difficulty. That is not going to change. White collar recessions are hitting club memberships hard. Golf courses are being sold for housing. The "country club lifestyle" doesn't jibe with Saturday morning soccer and other obligations of harried parents. As club revenues decline, superintendents are expected to more with less. Longer hours translate to burnout and less family time. Our families often become another casualty. The few superintendent positions that do open up get a ton of applicants. Poor club leadership due to the revolving doors in the boardrooms. Club GMs only ready and willing to sacrifice a superintendent to appease the grill/locker room crowds looking for blood. Little, if any, job security. So where do we go from here? Let’s start with three facts and principles in our new Paradigm: We need to adapt to the rapid pace of change. Superintendents are some of the most talented, innovative, skilled, creative, motivated and dedicated individuals in any industry. With few exceptions, we do not receive the acknowledgement we rightly deserve at the courses and clubs we serve. We need to continually brainstorm new possibilities and Plan Bs for our individual futures. Not just thinking “outside the box”, forgetting about the box! Years ago, while chatting on the course one day with a CEO member, the subject of change came up. I recited the cliché: “You have to keep up with change,” to which he calmly replied: “No Pat, you have to already be there waiting for it when it comes.” To me, that statement sums up the new lens we must look through to see accurately where we are today, to remain financially solvent and to improve the quality of life for ourselves and our families. Below are some thoughts and ideas from someone who had been through the mill, using the old principle of “finding a need and filling it.” TRANSITION TO A SIMILAR BUSINESS REQUIRING OUR SKILL SETS Parks & Recreation, sports turf, schools, corporate campuses, airports, theme parks, estates, athletic stadiums, condominiums developments, just to name a few. Often better benefits outweigh a reduced salary. I know of a superintendent who took a college groundskeeper position and got tuition breaks for his kids. START YOUR OWN BUSINESS Take inventory of yourself. We have skills like arboriculture, horticulture, excavation, carpentry, plumbing, site development, running greenhouses, masonry, drainage, IT, equipment maintenance, second languages, coaching, public speaking, writing... Begin investing some time and energy into your own R&D account, laying the groundwork for your own venture, while still gainfully employed and not burned out. I once had a green chairman who wanted my head on his den wall and was actively lobbying to make that happen. With a wife and five boys, living in club-provided housing, and with no savings, I was sick to my stomach. It was the same old story of giving 150% to the job and putting 0% into my own R&D account. Through the grace of God, I was able to get financing to buy some equipment and begin a contract deep aerification business on the side. My sons ran the business, which gave them invaluable skills and helped put them through school. The “Outlier Phenomenon” (see Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success) was in place again, with deep aerification services just beginning to take off. GET MORE SPECIALIZED EDUCATION Have an Associates degree? Get a Bachelor’s. Have a Bachelors? Get an MBA. Take public speaking and human relations courses like Dale Carnegie, Toastmasters, etc. Advanced computer courses. Specialized training in any area you are interested it. MOVE UP THE CLUB LADDER In my opinion, out of the three club professionals, superintendents are the most capable of running a club. We understand how things work. Most of the skills of the club pro end with hitting a golf ball. Most of the GMs I’ve met are mostly show, with a gift of gab and able to sell a bill of goods. This is not virgin territory; other superintendents have done it, so can you if you really want to. Obviously, these thoughts don't offer any conclusion, just a tipping off point for further thought and discussion. Everyone has stories and experiences to share, and TurfNet has always led the way in that regard. Encourage and challenge each other to continually improve not only our craft as superintendents but our lives and futures off the golf course. Pat Lucas is a 50-year career superintendent and a charter TurfNet member. He lives in Danbury, Connecticut.
  20. In this episode of the TurfNet Renovation Report, Anthony Pioppi chats with Drew White, new superintendent at The Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson, NJ, about the Donald Ross restoration project White started one week after he was hired this spring. Follow along on the Riverton CC Agronomy Twitter feed as the project progresses Presented by Golf Preservations and The Andersons.
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