Jump to content

John Reitman

Administrators
  • Content Count

    1,597
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

106 Eagle

About John Reitman

  • Rank
    Director of News & Education

Profile Information

  • Club/Course/Company
    TurfNet
  • Location
    Findlay, OH

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.turfnet.com

Recent Profile Visitors

4,678 profile views
  1. Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club receives the 2018 Superintendent of the Year Award from Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta. His successor will be named Jan. 30 at this year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando. This year's finalists for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta come from a variety of backgrounds. These experiences include opening an entire industry to the once-taboo subject of mental health, following a legend, dealing with the effects of a devastating natural disaster, managing a sprawling property under tough conditions and overcoming personal challenges most others take for granted. The finalists for this year's award are: Kyle Callahan, Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana; Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in Abaco, Bahamas; Ryan Gordon, the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington; Paul MacCormack, Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, Prince Edward Island; and Jake Mendoza, Detroit Golf Club. Kyle Callahan Meticulous planning and organization help overcome limited budget and staffing and wall-to-wall bentgrass at a sprawling 400-acre facility in southwestern Indiana - an area where all other courses are growing zoysiagrass. Click here to read more. Matt DiMase Stayed on the island during Hurricane Dorian and used his knowledge and experience as a superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course, for members of his team and for locals in his community. Click here to read more. Ryan Gordon Rather than let hearing loss hold him back, Ryan Gordon has used it to his advantage to redefine effective non-verbal communication at this Seattle-area course that is home to an annual Champions Tour event. Click here to read more. Paul MacCormack Began studying mindfulness to overcome the stress related to a job loss, then used a blog to spread the benefits of this movement to fellow superintendents, opening the door to discussing a difficult topic - mental health. Click here to read more. Jake Mendoza In just two years at historic Detroit Golf Club has proven to be a natural leader with what a member of his team has called unmatched agronomic skill and ability to handle anything that comes up while also prepping for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Click here to read more. Finalists are chosen from our panel of judges spanning the golf industry on criteria that include: 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 and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions. The winner will be named Jan. 30 at the Syngenta booth during the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and will receive a trip for two on the TurfNet members golf trip to Ireland. Previous winners include: Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis (2018); Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, TX & Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, IA (2017); Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL (2016); Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, KS (2015); Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, NC (2014); Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, OH (2013); Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Flourtown, PA; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, TN (2011); Thomas Bastis, The California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, CA (2010); Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain (GA) Golf Club (2009); Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields (IL) Country Club (2008); John Zimmers, Oakmont (PA) Country Club (2007); Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, CA (2005); Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, FL (2004); Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, IL (2003); Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Golf Course, Windsor, Ontario (2002); Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, MA (2001); Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas (NV) Paiute Golf Resort (2000).
  2. Carlos Arraya's successor to the Superintendent of the Year award will be announced on Jan. 30 in the Syngenta booth next month at the Golf Industry Show. A virtual reality experience, health and skin cancer screenings, a 5K run, a women in turf panel and the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award are a few of the things Syngenta will have on tap next month at the Golf Industry Show. During the show scheduled for Jan. 25-30 in Orlando, Florida, Syngenta will provide GIS attendees with opportunities for networking, prioritizing their personal health and learning about innovative solutions for defending their turf. Visitors to the Syngenta Booth (#2628) can experience a unique look at the science behind the company’s Action-branded solutions through virtual reality. The experience will allow visitors to the Syngenta booth to see how acibenzolar-s-methyl, the plant defense activator in Daconil Action, Heritage Action and Secure Action fungicides, helps protect turf from stress. They also will be entered for a chance to win one of six sets of Sonos One Bluetooth speakers. During the show, Syngenta will introduce two new fungicides and also will support numerous events, including the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award presentation, the Ladies Leading Turf panel discussion and more. Additionally, as part of Condition. Perform. Recover. from Syngenta, which focuses on turf health and superintendents’ personal health, attendees can receive free wellness check ups at the Mobile Wellness Unit in Booth #2607 and free skin cancer screenings at the GIS Wellness Pavilion. Online registration is also open for the annual Health in Action 5K fun run. “Through our Experience the Action virtual reality, we’re excited to show superintendents an in-depth look at how the Action family of products helps manage turf stress,” said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager at Syngenta. “But we also know their jobs come with their own stresses, so we hope attendees take a moment to focus on themselves with our free health checkups and skin cancer screenings.” Rick Tegtmeier and Jorge Croda were co-winners of the Superintendent of the Year award in 2017. Below is an overview of all the Syngenta highlights at GIS 2020: Experience the Action – Virtual Reality Experience Syngenta Booth #2628 Jan. 29-30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Go inside a turf plant via virtual reality to see how acibenzolar-s-methyl, the plant defense activator in the Action-branded solutions, helps protect turf from stress like disease, heat and drought. Mobile Wellness Unit – Free Medical Checkups and Skin Cancer Screenings Booth #2607 – in the GIS wellness pavilion Jan. 29-30, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Syngenta will offer free health screenings for turf management professionals at its Mobile Wellness Unit. A registered nurse will provide blood pressure measurements, cholesterol screenings, glucose analyses and more. Additionally, this year, attendees can again receive free skin cancer screenings. Health counseling for medical concerns and informational brochures discussing health and wellness topics will also be provided at no cost. Sign up for an appointment with our registered nurse here. Opening Reception Rosen Centre Hotel Jan. 28, 5-6:30 p.m. Syngenta and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) will host a reception for all GIS attendees to meet and network with industry professionals from across the country, while enjoying complimentary appetizers and cocktails. Attendees who share a photo from the opening reception on social media and include #ExperienceTheAction will be entered for a chance to win a Sonos One Bluetooth speaker. Opening Session North Hall, main stage – North Concourse Jan. 29, 8:30-9:50 a.m. To kick off the show, Syngenta and the GCSAA will honor several industry professionals, including the Certified Golf Course Superintendent Class of 2019, the recipient of the Old Tom Morris Award and the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards. Mike Parkin, global head of Professional Solutions at Syngenta, will provide a special welcome to attendees. GCSAA Certification Luncheon North Hall, main stage – North Concourse Jan. 29, 12:30-2 p.m. At this luncheon, Syngenta and the GCSAA will celebrate the Class of 2019’s newly Certified Golf Course Superintendents (CGCSs) and provide special acknowledgements of 25- and 40-year CGCSs in attendance. The Ladies Leading Turf discussion is scheduled for January 29. Ladies Leading Turf Discussion Panel and Networking Reception Convention Center, S230AB – South Concourse Jan. 29 3-4:20 p.m. – “Next level leadership – building your diverse team” – Panel discussion 4:30-5:30 p.m. – Reception Syngenta, Ladies Leading Turf and the GCSAA have partnered to host the third annual diversity and inclusion session, celebrating women in the turf industry. In this session, you'll hear from leading women in turf about their journeys to success in the industry and how you can foster diversity within your organization. Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta, will provide welcoming remarks, and the session will be moderated by Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA, golf course architect at Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design, Inc. Panelists include: Cathy Harbin, owner, Pine Ridge Golf Course; Elizabeth Guertal, Ph.D., professor at Auburn University; Kayla Kipp, golf course equipment maintenance manager, Lodestone Golf Course & Fantasy Valley Golf Course; Laurie Bland, golf maintenance manager, Miami Springs Golf & Country Club; Ellen Davis, vice president, SportZmix Solutions, Waupaca Sand & Solutions. Health in Action 5K Orange County Convention Center Jan. 30, 6:30 a.m. Syngenta and the GCSAA will partner to host the fourth annual 5K fun run. Register by Dec. 27 to be guaranteed a T-shirt in your preferred size. Follow and join the conversation on social media using #GIS5K. TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Presentation Syngenta Booth #2628 Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m. Syngenta and TurfNet will announce the annual TurfNet Superintendent of the Year award winner, which recognizes the accomplishments of an outstanding golf course superintendent nominated by their peers.
  3. Bill Meyer, Ph.D., (second from right) is the recipient of this year's USGA Green Section Award. Renowned Rutgers University turfgrass breeder Bill Meyer, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2020 USGA Green Section Award. The USGA Green Section Award honors distinguished service to golf through an individual's work with turfgrass. For more than 30 years, Meyer has made a significant impact on the turf industry through his turfgrass breeding work, which focuses on developing grasses for golf and other playing surfaces that are resistant to adverse factors. As a professor at Rutgers University where he holds the title of Director of Turfgrass Breeding and C. Reed Funk Endowed Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics, Meyer has influenced all levels of the industry at the national and international levels through seminars, research papers and trade publications and his research in the field developing and improving turf varieties. Meyer earned bachelor's (1968), master's (1969) and doctorate (1972) degrees all from the University of Illinois. He has been a plant breeder in the plant biology and pathology department at Rutgers since 1996 when he joined Rutgers as director of the turfgrass breeding program after 21 years as a commercial turfgrass breeder including 21 years as vice president of research for Turf Seed Inc. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading breeders of cool-season turfgrasses and is known for developing several varieties such as Midnight Kentucky bluegrass. Meyer will receive the award at the USGA's annual meeting Feb. 29 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
  4. Anthony Williams, CGCS, (right) signs copies of his book at a recent Golf Industry Show. Find a new job, or at least be happier in the one you currently have. It is a common New Year's resolution. It also is one that usually is long forgotten by Valentine's Day. In a recent TurfNet University Webinar entitled Jump start your career in 2020, Anthony Williams, CGCS at TPC Four Seasons Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, shares how to keep your promise to yourself. In this webinar, which Williams has been presenting each year since 2014, Williams addresses questions to ask yourself to determine if the time is right for a career change, or if you just want to join that group of high achievers he calls The 2 percent Club. It is one of many TurfNet University webinars presented by Brandt/Grigg and BASF that are free for everyone in our recorded archives section. To accomplish this, he says it is necessary to take stock in your career as it is currently and list your goals of where you want to be. There is something permanent and definite that occurs in the brain when someone actually writes something on paper, rather than enter data into a phone or computer, so the actually writing by hand is an important step. Williams has multiple sets of goals defined by the acronyms S.M.A.R.T. and G.R.E.E.N. S.M.A.R.T. goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, resourced and timed (deadline). G.R.E.E.N. goals, which are more specific to the turf industry, must be generational, relevant, easy to start, environomic and networkable - a field Williams knows a lot about. For any long-term project like this, he said, it is critical to track your progress daily. One of many ways of doing that is by making 3x5 goal cards and reading through them regularly and noting your progress on attaining them. We don't want to give away all the secrets here, but there is no question that Williams' approach takes time and commitment and, but both are necessary to effect change, he says: "If you wish to achieve something you have never achieved, you will have to do things you have never done and see things in a completely new way to connect to a new network or you will default to the old normal 100% of the time." Click here to watch it. Click here to see the rest of our archived webinars.
  5. The field crew and representatives from Brandt at the Rose Bowl. Photos by Lauren Reitman Relationships don't bloom overnight. Like a sprig of Bermudagrass, they take time to cultivate. Shown the proper attention and care, eventually they can blossom and mature. That's how Rose Bowl field superintendent Will Schnell and Brandt territory manager Michael Steve look upon their relationship. "Typically if I'm within 100 miles, I'll just pop over to make sure everything's good. Not that they need me," Steve said. "I always come several days before the Rose Bowl, not that I can change anything at that point, but Will likes the support. "These people are not just my customers; they're my friends." It took time to reach that point, and that relationship now also includes the nearby golf course that is so essential to game day operations at the Rose Bowl. When the two first met nearly 12 years ago, Steve had just started with Grigg Brothers (long before the company was acquired by Brandt in 2014) and Schnell was 10 years on the job in Pasadena and was using a competitor's product. "Before I came, Will was using a couple of our products on a limited basis," Steve said. "I started working more closely with him, meeting with him and paying attention to him and coming here a lot and developing that relationship." Best management practices, including fertility, are a big deal here. In a sea of American sports stadiums, the Rose Bowl is its biggest fish. Nicknamed America's Stadium, it has a rich history that dates nearly 100 years and is home to college football's oldest postseason game. Its field is widely regarded as the finest playing surface in American sports and the way Schnell's team manages it draws comparisons to Augusta National Golf Club. Michael Steve of Brandt (left) and Rose Bowl field crew member Phil Singer. "Their products are simple and easy to use," Schnell said. "I know I'm not going to get in trouble, and that allows me to focus my attention on other things." The reputation of the stadium and its field are not taken lightly by Schnell, and he makes sure his team is aware of that history, and that has helped promote teamwork and camaraderie that includes Steve. "It's a lot more than just growing grass. We're all a family here," Schnell said. "Mike is a big part of our success here, and he's part of our family." Andree Goodman (left) and Walter Beasley zip the velcro on turf covers to protect the Rose Bowl field from overnight night. It's a relationship that is pretty uncommon - even in a field known as a relationship business. "Whenever a (UCLA) game is televised, I watch it to see how the field looks," Steve said. "I'll tell him the field looks great, and he'll correct me: ‘Mike, it's our field, not my field, our field.' " During a recent visit to the Rose Bowl, Steve noticed that Phil Singer, a member of the field crew, wasn't at work that day. When he asked of Singer's whereabouts, he learned he was in the hospital recovering from a surgical procedure. Steve left the stadium and drove immediately to the hospital. "When I woke up and saw him, I thought he was an angel and I was dying," Singer laughed. When a contingent from Brandt, including vice president and general manager Bill Engel, came to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Eve for a tour, Schnell made sure they received the VIP treatment and brought everyone onto the field (pictured at top). He told the story of explaining just whose field this is, anyway. "I had to slap Mike on the wrist a little bit," Schnell joked. "This is our field, not my field. And now you are part of this too. When I say this is our field, that includes you." The stadium and adjacent Brookside Golf Course that is used as a parking lot for Rose Bowl events, including football games and concerts, both are owned by the city. The golf course does not receive nearly the same resources directed toward the stadium. During football games and other events, superintendent George Winters and his team hastily make the conversion from golf course to parking lot and back again in the blink of an eye. This includes generator-powered lights and helium-filled balloons that remind people where they've parked. How many times does Winters fill balloons? "My budget for helium is more than my budget for fertilizer," he said during the teardown that began minutes after this year's Rose Bowl Game. Against all odds, Winters produces great putting surfaces. To help him out this last year and this year, Brandt is providing him with a fertilizer program that helps maintain good will between the company, the stadium and the golf course. "I think our greens are always very good," Winters said. "But I've had a lot of people tell me since we've been on that program that the golf course has never looked so good." Helping out in a pinch - isn't that what family is for?
  6. Pete Dye, who had a hand in designing or restoring more than 250 golf courses around the world, died Jan. 9. He was 94. A native of Urbana, Ohio located between Columbus and Dayton, Dye was a longtime Indiana resident. His design career began in 1959 with wife Alice (right), who died last February at 91. "Pete made an indelible mark on the world of golf that will never be forgotten," read a statement released by Dye's family. "We will all miss him dearly." The list of courses he designed reads like a who's who of modern golf, and includes The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, Harbour Town and The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island both in South Carolina, Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run both in Wisconsin, the Honors Course in Tennessee, PGA West in California, Brad Klein's home course of Wintonbury Hills in Connecticut and Crooked Stick in Dye's home state of Indiana. Born in 1925, Dye enlisted in the Army in 1944 at age 18. As the story goes, he was in paratrooper training when the war ended. An accomplished amateur golfer, Dye qualified for the 1957 U.S. Open at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. He was in the early stages of a successful career in insurance sales in Indianapolis when he decided on a career change designing golf courses. The courses laid out by the quotable Dye are noted for the difficulty. "Life is not fair, so why should I make a course that is fair?" he once said. His first course of renown was Crooked Stick in 1964, which was the site of the 1991 PGA Championship. A 2008 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Dye was the recipient of the 1995 Donald Ross Award (ASGCA) Old Tom Morris Award (GCSAA) in 2003 and the PGA Distinguished Service Award a year later. Dick Gray, the 2016 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, has known Dye since they met on the fairways of Crooked Stick in 1969. They have been close friends ever since. "Today is my American Pie," Gray said, "the day the music died." Photos by PGA Tour and Indianapolis Star
  7. Rain Bird is introducing a new integrated course control solution that makes it possible to install satellites and the company's IC System on the same wire path. The Integrated Control Interface Plus (ICI+) allows superintendents to renovate or expand their existing satellite system in phases, at a lower cost and with less disruption to the golf course. This interface offers fully integrated course control, allowing the golf course to splice into the nearest satellite wire path and add integrated control modules without running wire all the way back to the maintenance facility. With the ICI+, courses with satellite systems can now easily integrate the IC System and its companion IC CONNECT devices, which offer advanced diagnostics, easy expansion, precision watering and the ability to integrate and interact with sensors and other field equipment, says Carolyn Maloney, Rain Bird product manager. Available in two different versions, the ICI+ System replaces Rain Bird Golf's current MIM and MIM LINK Satellite interfaces, as well as the current ICI. The ICI+ two-wire version communicates with existing and new Rain Bird Satellite and IC Systems, and the ICI+LINK version communicates with existing and new LINK satellite systems (with the option to add the IC System). Rain Bird has also developed a new IFX Satellite Board that will be installed in all new PAR+ES Satellites and is also backwards compatible with the company's older satellites and the MIM Satellite interfaces. This board allows courses to put IC rotors or Integrated Control Modules (ICMs) on a satellite's wire path. Because the IFX board is both backward- and forward-compatible, courses can connect their current satellite systems to the future-forward technology offered by IC and IC CONNECT simply by installing a simple interface board at a fraction of the cost.
  8. Anthony Williams, CGCS at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, discusses how setting career goals for you and your golf course for 2020 and beyond and working to attain them can help ensure career longevity. His annual presentation includes how to establish realistic standards and how to go about working toward achieving them. He also talks about how to market yourself, from self-promotion and public relations strategies in your current position to resume-writing and other career advice tips designed to help you realize your next opportunity.
  9. Working at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a dream job for Scott Lupold. On the last day of our (almost) week at the Rose Bowl helping superintendent Will Schnell's team prep for the big game, we visited with Scott Lupold, who is in his dream job as the grounds manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. We wanted to learn more about the challenges he faces at the other venue that makes Los Angeles a great college football city. A lifelong USC fan, he remembers sitting in the last few rows in corner seats that have since been gobbled up during a renovation to make room for a video board. For the past three years, Lupold has been managing the turf at the stadium that has been home to his beloved Trojans since the building opened in 1923. "When you are a diehard fan of the not just the college team but also the NFL team at the stadium where you work there is no letdown." Every dream job has its challenges. The field at the Coliseum is built on hard native soil that does not drain. Period. It gets a lot of play, and a massive pressbox blots out the sun from much of the field throughout the day. This week, after nearly 100 years, the old soil system comes out and a new sand-based medium will be installed in its place. The air in the Coliseum is thick with history. It was the site of the 1932 Summer Olympics, 1959 World Series, Super Bowl I was played here in 1967 and it is where the 1972 Miami Dolphins capped the only undefeated season in NFL history in Super Bowl VII. In 1984, it became the first stadium in the world to host the Olympic Games twice. Seven USC players won the Heisman Trophy playing their trade here. The native soil at the Coliseum is so hard it virtually prevents the field from draining. The LA Rams also called the Coliseum home from 1946-1979 and again from 2016 through December, when they played their last game there. Next year, the Rams and the Chargers, who have been playing their games in an adjacent soccer stadium, both will move into new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Between the Rams and the Trojans, the stadium has been the site of 14-17 games each fall in Lupold's three years at the Coliseum. Throw in some soccer - including two recent friendlies between Argentina vs. Chile and Brazil vs. Peru - and the Coliseum was the site of four major events in seven days. On a field that doesn't drain. "I've never had the soil tested before," said Lupold. "I know I should, but I was afraid to find out what was in there." Lupold's relationship with the Rams began when he was the field manager for the UC Irvine and the NFL franchised hired him, first as a consultant and later to run their training facility. His history with them is a big part of why he landed at the Coliseum. His three years at the Coliseum have tested him as a professional turf manager. There is a swath of turf measuring about 10,000 square feet that, at this time of year, never sees the sun, and he can't water the way he'd like to because of drainage issues. When Lupold covers the field during cold spells, the air temperature underneath can range from the high 70s on one side of the field to the low 40s on the other. He overseeds with creeping red fescue, which is more shade tolerant just to ensure turf cover on that part of the field. There is a world of difference not only between the logos and colors used by USC and the Rams, but also fonts for numerals and the positioning of hashmarks are different for college and the NFL. Because of drainage problems, Lupold had to be judicious with how much water he uses to remove paint when converting from one field to the other - and back again. "We use temporary paint," he said. "If I use too much water (to remove it), it won't dry out until February. "This is all coming out next week, and I'm so excited that we will have a state-of-the-art mix with 8 inches of sand and new drainage." Both the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl were resodded after Thanksgiving with Bandera Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass and grown on plastic, which creates a matrix of organic matter to resist tearing under foot traffic. Because of the intense traffic of the football season along with the native soil issues, the sod installed in November was grown on a base nearly one-quarter-inch thicker than that at the Rose Bowl. Putting the finishing touches on the field the day of the LA Rams' last game at the Coliseum. "The soil is so hard it can't root," Lupold said. "We play on (inch-and-a-half) because we need the roots." The football season began with a 419 Bermudagrass field that made it through six combined USC-Rams games over the first month of the season, and was resodded again with 419 in late September. That field lasted almost until the end of the season and was replaced in late November. Lupold verticuts aggressively and manipulates mowing heights to train the grass into upright growth. That helps with clean cleat-in-and-cleat-out with each step to further resist tearing. That's a key when a field gets as much play as the Coliseum, which was the site of 15 games in four months. "You have to take the turf down for it to go up," he said. "When we play on Bermuda, we can scalp it all the way to brown on a Sunday after a Rams game, and put the blankets on for three or four days, and when we peel them back you have this beautiful growth that is at almost 100 percent playable by the next Saturday." Although he will miss working with the Rams, he is eagerly anticipating next football season. "I'm looking forward to having a one-team field," he said, "and what we are going to be able to accomplish here."
  10. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM AT INSTAGRAM.COM/TURFNET FOR MORE PHOTOS There is a sign posted on the fence leading onto the Rose Bowl field that reads "Please pardon our mess. We're trying to grow grass." There is perhaps no place in the country better at doing just that. But what happens inside that fence is about a lot more than just growing grass. The team charged with producing the world's most famous field is a tightly knit group that redefines the term extended family. After nearly a week of early mornings and long days together defined by lots of coffee, eating together and working side by side, my daughter and I are grateful to have been accepted into that group. Will Schnell (pictured below right with assistant Miguel Yepez) likes to tell a story that sums up how he, and subsequently the rest of his team, view the Rose Bowl Stadium and the field they work so hard to maintain. Mike Steve, territory manager for Brandt, once called Schnell and asked whether it was OK to stop by. He said he wanted to check in and look at Schnell's field. "I had to correct him," Schnell said. "It's not my field, it's our field. We're all a family here, and Mike is part of that family." When Schnell says "our field" he means more than himself and Steve, who is his contact for Grigg foliar fertilizers. He also means his entire team who work tirelessly on this playing surface. Our week at the Rose Bowl started nearly a year ago in a meeting the week of last year's Golf Industry Show in San Diego. It was after meeting with Schnell and members of his team that I wanted to be part of seeing firsthand what they do to prepare for the Rose Bowl Game and to help out in some small way. After nearly a year in the making, our week on the ground with a simple goal - trying to convey what goes on behind the scenes to produce what is generally regarded as the world's best playing surface at college football's oldest postseason game. Shortly after arriving for our first day on the job, we realized this was about a lot more than, as the sign says, growing grass. It was immediately obvious that working at the Rose Bowl is much more than just a job for Schnell, his assistant Miguel Yepez, groundskeeper Martin Rodriguez and the rest of their team. Schnell has made sure everyone knows the history of the building and the game played here each New Year's Day since 1923. Many of the men on Schnell's team have at least 6-7 years of experience. Some have less, some have more. Together, they have 171 years of Rose Bowl prep experience. Everyone who comes into contact with this place is enamored with the stadium and the surrounding mountains that make for such a picturesque scene, but they're also taken in by the field itself. All week people taking tours, visiting VIPs, players, coaches and even announcers from ESPN snap pictures of the field. The day after the game, the parking lots were full as people paid $15 apiece to walk on the field. With all respect to the teams from the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences that play here each year, the impact of the game itself as well as other top tier bowl games might be somewhat diminished by the college football playoff system, there is no doubt that an invitation to the Rose Bowl is meaningful to the participating teams and their respective fans. "You can tell it means a lot," Schnell said after the game, won by Oregon 28-27. Denzel Grant, left, and Jon Williams, center, joke with a VIP visitor to the Rose Bowl, Scott Lupold of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Most) Photos by Lauren Reitman Days earlier, when the Oregon team arrived for a walk-through on New Year's Eve, one of the players asked Schnell if he could walk on the field. In golf, I can only compare it to your first visit to Augusta National. It's something you come to believe exists only on TV. Then you get there and are overcome by the history, the stories and the personalities that made the venue and its marquee event what it is today. Every golf course superintendent and sports field manager says they are only as good as the team they work with. The same is true here, but something's different. Once we arrived at the stadium, we got the schedule for the week and began meeting the 20 or so members of the team. They not only love the stadium, they all really care for each other and view one another as family. It's a different vibe than anything I've witnessed anywhere else, and it's top-down philosophy that starts with Schnell. "We've been through a lot of wars together this season" said Schnell, who just completed his 22nd postseason game at the Rose Bowl. "Like family, we disagree and argue about things, but we all love each other." Our new brothers, Walter and Reggie Beasley. Once we arrived, we were immediately part of the family. "Will told us all about you and how you and your daughter were coming," said Reggie Beasley, who is in his second year at the Rose Bowl, but is handed a lot of responsibility. He took it upon himself to be our guardian angel for the week. Schnell and Yepez direct traffic to make sure everything stays on track. They're always watching what goes on and they miss nothing. Beasley was our self-appointed trainer for the week. He made sure we stayed busy and knew what we were doing. Both were much appreciated. His older brother Walter has been here for seven years. Nicknamed "Big Walt", he is an intimidating figure. He plays semi-pro ball for the Compton Panthers and looks like he could have played New Year's Day for Oregon or Wisconsin. He also went out of his way from Day 1 to make us feel at home. "We're all family here," he said. "And now you're family, too." Lauren, our social media intern (re: expert) gets her hands, and shoes, dirty painting the Wisconsin end zone with help (left to right) from Willie Youngblood, Gerald Choyce and Reggie Beasley. It might sound corny, but they bro-hug each other a lot in the morning. By Day 2, we received a good morning hug from our new friend Andree Goodman, who is in his sixth year here. That must have been the unofficial signal that we were OK, because it was handshakes, hugs and heartfelt greetings from everyone from that point forward. Emotion rushes over you when people treat you this way. Then it dawns on you that this is the way people should treat each other, but often don't. Like I said, this place is special, and these guys all get it, and they were genuinely happy someone tried to look at the world through their lens and tell their story. By the third day we were already sad that the gig was halfway over - and the game was still three days away. That is how much we enjoyed the camaraderie and the sense of belonging to the group. I've never been so sorry to see an assignment end. "I'm going to miss these guys," Lauren said. "Me, too." This place is more than a mass of concrete and steel wrapped around a grass field. It grabs you and takes hold of you. Ask Brandt's Mike Steve who has been coming out here to service this account for nearly 20 years. It also is more than just a job. For the people who work here, it is helping change people's lives. Each one of these men has a story that makes them unique. Many of the men working here started sweeping the stands after games. Those who worked hard and lasted often were invited out of the stands and onto the field by Schnell. Willie Youngblood earned a degree in criminal justice while playing football at Bacone College in Oklahoma. He loves the Rose Bowl, but his life goal is to work for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "I know I can do good things for the community," he said. Will Schnell discusses irrigation on New Year's Day morning with Reggie Beasley, Walt Beasley and Chris Chang. This group is an eclectic mix. There is Geoff Thran, the high school teacher who recreates the Rose Bowl field in his yard every year, and Ian Gray, who is studying economics at UCLA, and was a recipient of a game ball given annually by Yepez and Rodriguez to two team members who go above and beyond. George Wiley is a retired Pasadena Police officer who now helps here along with his grandsons Jon Williams and Evan Devonshire. Then there's us, a middle-aged news junkie and his daughter, a student at the University of Kentucky. As a graduate of nearby Cal Poly Pomona, Chris Chang, pictured at right mixing paint with Reggie Beasley, stands out in this crowd. He has worked here for 11 years - dating back to when he was in high school. During that time, his role has changed from student to teacher. Just ask Phil Singer. One of the crew's elder statesmen, Singer has worked here for 14 years. Like all of us from a similar generation, he complains of back pain, but never lets it stop him. "I've worked with Chris since he was a teenager, and I've seen him graduate from college," Singer said. "I used to teach all these kids, now they teach me." Denzel Grant is Singer's nephew. His real job is working for the parks and rec department. The Rose Bowl is just a part-time gig as is occasional work at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Uncle Phil urged him to apply for a job at the Rose Bowl seven years ago. "It was working here that made my job at the park possible," Grant said. These men all have different life experiences and cultural backgrounds, and admittedly Lauren and I shared nothing in common with them a week ago other than a love for the Rose Bowl Stadium and the game. Now we share a lot, because, as Big Walt says: we're family. Can't you see the resemblance?
  11. Carlos Arraya was named Superintendent of the Year at last year's Golf Industry Show. The year 2019 was a memorable year in the golf business, even if some would like to forget it. It seems like 2019 was the year in which many people and places came out against pesticides, including many that are used on golf courses. Lawsuits and use bans made headlines nearly every week, and the golf industry continued its slow, steady retraction toward that elusive market equilibrium. We have compiled a list of the top-10 most-read stories of 2019 from the pages of TurfNet. Click the headline to read the full text of each story. 10. TurfNet turns 25 Armed with little more than a freshly inked monthly print newsletter, a $20 bill in his pocket, and a blank slate for ideas to come, Peter McCormick filed the incorporation papers for TurfNet on February 1, 1994. His initial goal was to not be one of the 90% of new businesses that fail within the first five years. With the support, participation and intellectual investment of forward-thinking superintendents and commercial members, TurfNet made it. In spades. 9. Brewing brothers share passion for beer As a former golf course superintendent, Dan Miller is accustomed to the pursuit of perfection. Nowadays, as the owner of Mighty River Brewing Co., in Windsor, Colorado, Miller exhibits the same quest for excellence in brewing the nearly 15 different beers his family-owned and operated business has been churning out since it opened last fall. 8. Managing the world’s most famous field is serious business Since Warren Harding occupied the White House almost 100 years ago, playing in the Rose Bowl - the game and the stadium - has been a dream for countless kids across the country. It's a legacy turf superintendent Will Schnell takes seriously at the world's most iconic stadium that opened in Pasadena, California in 1923. 7. Autonomous mowers help cut costs There was a time when golf course superintendents could not envision entrusting putting surfaces to autonomous mowers. But 12 months after incorporating the technology into his day-to-day routine at the Presidio Golf Club in San Francisco, Brian Nettz cannot imagine ever going back to walk mowing greens. 6a. OSU research helps monitor greens conditions Putting green quality is the measuring stick by which golf course superintendents are measured. At Ohio State University, associate professor Ed McCoy, Ph.D., has developed a simulation model that helps turf managers monitor organic matter accumulation, decomposition and dilution and provides a way to manage organic matter on a site-specific basis. Lee Butler (left) and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., say the business of turfgrass pathology is pretty good thanks to golfer demand to produce increasingly faster putting surfaces. 6b. Pushing conditions? NCSU researchers say enough is enough When it comes to pushing turf to please golfers, Butler and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., associate professor of turf pathology, believe that science and superintendents have gone about as far as they can go. The demands that golfers place on superintendents to produce championship conditions every day - or else - are a threat to the sustainability of the turf and the game itself. 5. Glyphosate ban in Miami should be wake-up call No one should have been surprised earlier this year when the city of Miami approved a resolution banning the use of herbicides containing glyphosate on city property. The ban affects city works and contractors working on behalf of the city. The PR campaign to stop the use of such pesticides is well organized, much more so than any efforts to save them. 4. EPA says glyphosate does not cause cancer In the PR war being waged against glyphosate, no one can accuse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of buckling to public opinion. As the debate wears on about whether the world's most popular weed killer causes cancer, the EPA reaffirmed its findings from 2017 that there is no evidence to support claims that glyphosate is a carcinogen. 3. Golf hasn’t found the bottom yet The definition of purgatory is a place where the souls of sinners suffer and atone for their misdeeds in life before going to heaven. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley who wears his burdens in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the golf business has been going through its own version of perdition for several years. contraction, the golf industry might be stuck in this state of limbo for much longer than anyone ever thought possible. Dan Dommer of Ozaukee Country Club in Mequon, Wisconsin is the recipient of the 2019 TurfNet Technician of the Year Award. 2. Dommer wins Golden Wrench The TurfNet Technician of the Year Award is given annually to a golf course mechanic who excels at a variety of tasks associated with maintaining the golf course. The criteria on which the recipient is determined might need updating after Dan Dommer of Ozaukee Country Club in Mequon, Wisconsin, won this year's award. Besides excelling as a mechanic in a 100-plus-year-old shop at this historic 1922 William Langford-Theodore Moreau design, Dommer mows and topdresses fairways and fills in wherever else he is needed. 1. Arraya wins Super of the Year Personal tragedy caused Carlos Arraya to question whether he had made the right career choice by becoming a golf course superintendent. If he ever has those thoughts again, Arraya, the director of agronomy and grounds at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, probably has a future as a motivational speaker. That tragedy, the death of his son, Isaih, in a car accident in 2016, was the impetus for some honest introspection and sobering changes to the way he manages his life and his team as the 2018 PGA Championship loomed at Bellerive.
  12. Will Schnell's team sweeps the field free of divots and tufts of turf after the halftime performance by the Oregon and Wisconsin bands. We knew the field at the Rose Bowl was special, but carving out a piece to take home? The 106th Rose Bowl Game is in the books, but the work is not over for the men who made it possible. Only a month old, the newly sodded field held up under the pressure of two marching bands, a hard-fought game that went down to the final play and a post-game celebration by the Oregon Ducks, their fans and marching band. Someone did, however, manage to abscond with a chunk of turf they managed to cut from the Rose Bowl logo at midfield. "That's alright," said field superintendent Will Schnell. "We need to get some sod anyway, and someone has a nice souvenir." Someone made off with a souvenir after the game. That scar will be evident today, however, as the field is open Thursday and Friday for tours. And the Rose Bowl wants the field left "as-is" so fans can get the full feel of the game. That means thousands of pieces of confetti fired from cannons are still there and that scarred rose will be on full display. Later today, the team will begin preparing for the next Rose Bowl event, the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl, an all-star game for draft-eligible college players on Jan. 18. Today, that process begins with blowing the field and trying to collect as much confetti as possible. Our new friend Andree Goodman, a member of Schnell's team, confessed that he and his co-workers will be finding bits of yellow and green paper for months. The new field held up well at the Rose Bowl. "It gets in the bushes," Goodman said. "You'll think you got it all and like three months later you'll still be finding it." They'll follow by mowing down to eleven-sixteenths today and start hitting the turf with fertilizer, which it sorely needs. Schnell is a big believer in the Grigg foliar fertilizers from Brandt. Due to weather limitations in December, which was abnormally wet here with nearly 5 inches of rain falling in the weeks after the sod went down, has not been able to feed the turf like he normally would. Schnell and his team will then take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off before hitting it hard next week. "We'll mow, and I'll start hitting it with iron," Schnell said. "I just haven't been able to do it, and it needs it."
  13. Immediately after the 106th Rose Bowl Game, we went over to Brookside Golf Club just outside the north end zone of the stadium in Pasadena, California to visit with superintendent George Winters. Each year for the Rose Bowl, UCLA home football games, concerts and several other events throughout the year, Winters and his team convert parts of the 36-hole Brookside property into parking and tailgate areas. When the events are over, his team works throughout the night to turn all 36 holes back into functioning golf courses by 8 o'clock the following morning. In other words, by the time this video was posted, the golf course still was in the process of being cleaned up overnight for the morning's first foursomes. Winters said this year his team will fill eight dumpsters overnight with garbage left on the golf course. When we met up with him, his utility cart included a discarded grill and a child's battery-operated car. After the game, he was kind enough to take time out of his busy reclamation schedule after the game to share some of what he and his team go through as they convert to parking and partying and back to golf again.
×
×
  • Create New...