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John Reitman

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About John Reitman

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    Director of News & Education

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    TurfNet
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    Findlay, OH

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    http://www.turfnet.com

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  1. Jerry Coldiron, left, with Rick Tegtmeier of Des Moines Golf and Country Club at the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando. It has been almost two years since the TurfNet community and the turfgrass world were shocked to learn of the death of Jerry Coldiron Jr., CGCS. A superintendent in his native Kentucky for nearly 30 years before retiring to Florida in 2007 and starting a second career in sales for Hector Turf of Deerfield Beach, Coldiron died Nov. 22, 2017, at age 60. Coldiron will be remembered during a memorial celebration at Lassing Pointe Golf Course in Union, Kentucky, where he once was superintendent. A native of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Coldiron graduated in 1979 from Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture and turfgrass management. He spent his entire greenkeeping career with Boone County Parks & Recreation, where he was a superintendent at Boone Links and Lassing Pointe golf courses. After retirement, Coldiron and his wife, Susan, relocated to Boca Raton when he embarked on the second phase of his career. The couple were married for 36 years and together had three sons, Josh, Jake and Jared. He was a past president of the Greater Cincinnati GCSA and the Kentucky Turf Council. In 1988, his alma mater named him the EKU Horticulture Alumnus of the Year. A longtime TurfNet member, Coldiron embodied the true TurfNet spirit of sharing, caring, compassion and camaraderie. After Coldiron's death, TurfNet established the Coldiron Positivity Awards that recognize individuals within the golf turf industry who live lives of positivity, caring, sharing and compassion for others... or who are experiencing personal hardship due to illness, natural events or job loss... or who do something special for the natural world. Inaugural winners named at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio were: 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, New York; and John and Nick Paquette, Indian Hills Country Club, Northport, New York. The 2019 awards were 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 2017.
  2. Members of the We Are Golf group prepare to help manage the grounds at some of the most popular monuments inWashington, D.C., last April. Photo by @KSErusha The amalgamation of groups and individuals from throughout golf industry who have been making forays into Washington, D.C., during the past several years is making an impact. The National Park Service will present its group award for "Outstanding Volunteer Service" to the We Are Golf coalition for their work in National Golf Day's Community Service Project on April 30. In April, the coalition participated in the third-annual community service project, which was coordinated by Michael Stachowicz, turfgrass specialist for the National Park Service and a former golf course superintendent, and was part of the 12th annual National Golf Day. More than 200 participants helped lay sod, rake, edge, over seed, aerate, mow, mulch, plant flowers and prune shrubs across 18 projects along the National Mall, including at the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. Under the banner of We Are Golf, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, this year's National Golf Day also resulted in 244 meetings with members of Congress from 41 states to discuss the game’s $84 billion economy that employs 2 million people and annually contributes almost $4 billion charitable organizations nationwide. We Are Golf includes representatives from the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America, Ladies Professional Golf Association, National Alliance for Accessible Golf, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA of America, PGA Tour, The First Tee, Sports and Fitness Industry Association, United States Golf Association, World Golf Foundation and more. The 2020 Community Service Project on the National Mall is scheduled for May 5.
  3. Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, right, presents Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club with the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. When he came upon a fork in the road that would change the course of his life regardless of which path he chose, Carlos Arraya turned tragedy into triumph. 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 Country Club in St. Louis. As a result, Arraya, was named last year's TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, presented by Syngenta. "Losing my son gave me a new perspective," Arraya told TurfNet upon receiving the award at this year’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego. "Tragedies really awaken people, or they make them go down a road they can't come back from." Today's golf course superintendent must wear many hats to provide the best possible playing conditions for the club's golf clientele with the resources at hand. To do that, he (or she) must be a self-disciplined, multi-tasking agronomist in charge of managing the clubs most valuable asset; a multi-lingual personnel manager; babysitter; therapist; accountant; electrician; politician; hydraulics expert; ditch digger; plumber; arborist; environmentalist; integrated pest management specialist; turfgrass pathologist; entomologist; irrigation expert; and mechanic. One only need look to the abundant seminars and educational programs for superintendents that focus on topics besides agronomy for proof of the evolving role of the golf course superintendent. Since 2000, the Superintendent of the Year award has recognized dozens of nominees for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity. If this sounds like your golf course superintendent, or someone you know, nominate him (or her) for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award. Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors or colleagues, even by mothers and wives. The nomination deadline is Dec. 13. The winner, who is selected by a panel of judges from throughout the golf industry, will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, and will receive a trip for two on next year's TurfNet members golf trip, courtesy of Syngenta. Nominees are judged on their ability to excel at one or more of the following criteria: 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. To nominate a deserving superintendent for this year's award, visit the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award nomination page. For more information, email John Reitman. Previous winners of the award include Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 2018; Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf & Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2017; Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 2016; Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas, 2015; Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Country Club, 2014, Highlands, North Carolina; Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, Ohio, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tennessee, 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, California, 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Illinois, 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, California, 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida, 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Illinois, 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club, LaSalle, Ontario, 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort, Las Vegas, 2000.
  4. Fueled by hot, dry winds and little rain the past several months, the Getty Fire burns recently near Mountaingate Country Club in Los Angeles. Photo by KTLA Two years removed from one of the worst droughts in history in California, a month without rain and wildfires demanding time on TV news throughout parts of the state, some might believe another prolonged dry spell is in the offing. That would be a mistake, say two of California's foremost authorities on water and golf and how the two mesh. "What the weather is like in November doesn't preface anything," said Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, and one of the state's leading water experts. "Some of the wettest years here, El Nino years, have been preceded by dry Novembers and Decembers. "You want to start paying attention in January, February and March. That is the rainy season here. Those 13 weeks are the gold standard." According to the National Weather Service, about 14 inches of rain has fallen in the Los Angeles area. That's about 3 inches more than the historic average. The area has received less than an inch since June. That includes no rain throughout Los Angeles County, where the average rainfall for the month ranges from one-half inch to an inch throughout the county that covers 4,700 square miles. "Is this a sign of the next drought? Nothing is predictable here in November," said Mike Huck, an irrigation consultant and an expert on California golf's water issues. "In fact, this is the most cool and mild summer I can recall, and I've lived here since the late ‘80s. "The superintendents I've talked to have said this is the best summer they've ever had." About one-fifth of the state, all a corridor hugging California's southwestern border with Nevada and Arizona, have been officially labeled as abnormally dry or in moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The dry conditions throughout southern California and on the state's eastern edge are not cause for alarm, Kessler said. "Why aren't we concerned that there was zero rain in October? It's often zero," Kessler said. "Those other areas are high in the mountains where it is normally snowing now. Early snows often melt, and that precipitation is lost. What we need are the late snows in January and February when it's too cold for it to melt." That snow in the higher elevations throughout the winter provides much of the water needed for California's 39 million residents through a storage and delivery system of reservoirs and aqueducts known as the State Water Project. According to the California Department of Water Resources, 10 of the state's 12 major reservoirs are at 51 percent to 84 percent of capacity. The other two are at 41 percent and 45 percent of capacity. "Those early snows are often followed by warm air, then it melts and we lose the ability to capture it," said Huck, a former golf course superintendent and USGA Green Section agronomist and the recipient of this year's USGA Green Section Award. "Snow during the winter is our slow-release water source." So then what's with all those wildfires? Blame it partly on nearly 14 inches of rain falling throughout the area during last winter's rainy season that brought a flush of new growth, followed by six months of virtually no rain and regularly occurring hot and dry Santa Ana winds that fan the flames, says Kessler. "Last year was very wet, so there was a lot of growth, a lot of brush. Then there was a long dry season, and no rain in October, which is the normal course of business this time of year," Kessler said. "A lot of that growth dried up. When you have low humidity and high winds, it's like a tinderbox."
  5. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently granted label registration to Union Fungicide SC, a new dual formulation product from PBI-Gordon. With the active ingredients azoxystrobin and cyazofamid, Union SC is a flowable liquid formulation fungicide that provides preventive and curative control of Pythium diseases (blight, damping-off, root dysfunction, root rot), brown patch, anthracnose, cool-weather brown patch, yellow patch, fairy ring, gray leaf spot, red thread, summer patch, and Rhizoctonia. It is approved for use on cool-season and warm-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, Bermudagrass, bahiagrass, buffalograss, centipedegrass, kikuyugrass, seashore paspalum, St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass on golf courses, residential and commercial properties, sod farms and sports fields. Testing has shown that Union is highly effective in the preventative and curative treatment of Pythium diseases (blight, damping-off, root dysfunction, root rot), brown patch, anthracnose, cool-weather brown patch, yellow patch, fairy ring, gray leaf spot, red thread, summer patch, and Rhizoctonia. It is approved for use on golf courses, residential and commercial properties, sod farms, and sports fields. Available in 2.5-gallon jugs, label rates for Union range from 2.9 ounces to 5.75 ounces per 1,000 square feet. It will be available early next year.
  6. "We have a good story to tell. We just need to do a better job telling it." I hear this, or some variation of it, a lot when talking about the environmental footprint of a golf course. As it turns out, a lot of people in this business actually are very good at telling that story of environmental stewardship, sustainability, establishing and protecting habitat, water conservation and outreach and education. What golf, more specifically the turf business, does not have, outside the four walls of its own industry, is a dependable partner to help tell that story. There is a lot of preaching to the choir within the trade, but without that messenger outside the industry, turf does not have a consistent audience to hear its message. The audience golf needs is the consumer golfer, non-golfers, children, women and government agencies. The work of superintendents to create a sustainable future for the game is one that should be told. Because of the misconceptions still surrounding you and your profession, and your footprint on the ecosystem, the truth of what you are doing is a tale that must be told. Field days and field trips at the golf course can be effective at educating others about what you do, but if you are waiting for an assist from the mainstream media, good luck. It can be humbling if not downright embarrassing to be even loosely associated with the media. It is an industry riddled with gaffes, some of which are a byproduct of a lack of preparation, like this reporter who asked University of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts to clarify that he actually prefers winning to losing. Others are more heinous in nature, like former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair who was relieved of his duties over numerous allegations of plagiarism. Bangor Municipal Golf Course in Maine recently worked toward renewing its Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status, which it has held since 2013. Kudos to all involved at Bangor. Regardless of what anyone in this business thinks about the Audubon program, it can be an effective tool in promoting environmental stewardship efforts to those who do not understand this industry. When a reporter from the local paper came calling to tell the story, he went where many in his field go when talking about environmentalism on a golf course - to the head pro and then the assistant pro. No mention of the superintendent or if the course even has one. For the record, superintendent John Kelley has been at Bangor as an assistant superintendent and head superintendent for almost 20 years. When it comes to Audubon-specific criteria like environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and outreach and education, no one is better equipped than himt to discuss what Bangor has done to retain that status. The head pro and assistant pro know that and so would any reporter who did their homework. Instead, the story went on to say that such stewardship efforts are important, because "golf courses can receive some negative attention based on their environmental impact. Whether it be using bad chemicals, using too much water, or destroying natural wildlife." There is no evidence offered to support these claims, and shows a lack of preparation, because we know in today's golf industry these problems do not exist. Pesticides have less active ingredient than ever, are target specific and are effective at low use rates. Golf courses use historically low levels of water and superintendents have proven to be leaders in developing water-conservation plans on a massive scale. Finally, literally every golf course is a sanctuary for plant life, birds, wildlife and pollinators. Talk of sustainability also is being addressed, albeit in an easier-to-understand approach, across the country at Lone Tree Golf and Event Center, another municipal operation in Antioch, California. Lone Tree and the city recently unveiled an array of six solar parking canopies that provide shade for customers and renewable electric power for the golf operation. The move to solar power, the city said, will help Lone Tree save more than $1 million over the next two decades. That is specific information anyone can understand. With the rising cost of power and labor in a state with a rapidly escalating minimum wage, finding ways to cut expenses might be the difference between remaining a viable business entity or being one of the many golf courses destined to close as the market continues its slow path toward self-correction. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 was passed with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That was not enough for the City of Antioch, which 10 years ago established its own plan to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Real data and facts can help people outside the golf industry understand and get behind what this business is about. The next time a local news reporter comes calling, be prepared with specific data about what you are doing: how much you apply and how often, how little water you use, how clean it is when it leaves your property and an inventory of plant and animal species. Give them and their readers numbers to chew on so they can quantify your efforts. In other words, do their homework for them, because they're giving both of us a bad name.
  7. In this episode of The Ladder, Ryan Kaczor, assistant superintendent at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, discusses working for superintendents like John Zimmers, both at Inverness and Oakmont, and Steve Cook at Oakland Hills, and how those experiences are helping him prepare for his first crack at being a head superintendent. A graduate of Michigan State, Ryan also talks about the recent restoration at Inverness, one of Donald Ross’s favorite designs, and how contemporary architect Andrew Green brought the 1918 classic back to its roots. Ryan also talks about how the challenges involved with completing the restoration just ahead of this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, and efforts under way to bring the 2021 Solheim Cup to northwestern Ohio.
  8. Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, right, presents Carlos Arraya of Bellerive Country Club with the 2018 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. When he came upon a fork in the road that would change the course of his life regardless of which path he chose, Carlos Arraya turned tragedy into triumph. 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 Country Club in St. Louis. As a result, Arraya, was named last year's TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, presented by Syngenta. "Losing my son gave me a new perspective," Arraya told TurfNet upon receiving the award at this year’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego. "Tragedies really awaken people, or they make them go down a road they can't come back from." Today's golf course superintendent must wear many hats to provide the best possible playing conditions for the club's golf clientele with the resources at hand. To do that, he (or she) must be a self-disciplined, multi-tasking agronomist in charge of managing the clubs most valuable asset; a multi-lingual personnel manager; babysitter; therapist; accountant; electrician; politician; hydraulics expert; ditch digger; plumber; arborist; environmentalist; integrated pest management specialist; turfgrass pathologist; entomologist; irrigation expert; and mechanic. One only need look to the abundant seminars and educational programs for superintendents that focus on topics besides agronomy for proof of the evolving role of the golf course superintendent. Since 2000, the Superintendent of the Year award has recognized dozens of nominees for their work in producing great playing conditions often during times of adversity. If this sounds like your golf course superintendent, or someone you know, nominate him (or her) for the 2019 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award. Nominations can be submitted by golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors or colleagues, even by mothers and wives. The nomination deadline is Nov. 30. The winner, who is selected by a panel of judges from throughout the golf industry, will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in Orlando, and will receive a trip for two on the 2019 TurfNet members golf trip, courtesy of Syngenta. Nominees are judged on their ability to excel at one or more of the following criteria: 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. To nominate a deserving superintendent for this year's award, visit the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award nomination page. For more information, email John Reitman. Previous winners of the award include Carlos Arraya, Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 2018; Jorge Croda, Southern Oaks Golf Club, Burleson, Texas, and Rick Tegtmeier, Des Moines Golf & Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2017; Dick Gray, PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 2016; Matt Gourlay, Colbert Hills, Manhattan, Kansas, 2015; Fred Gehrisch, Highlands Country Club, 2014, Highlands, North Carolina; Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, Willoughby, Ohio, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Philadelphia, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tennessee, 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco, South San Francisco, California, 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Illinois, 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania, 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club, Riverside, California, 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, Florida, 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club, Deerfield, Illinois, 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club, LaSalle, Ontario, 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club, Peabody, Massachusetts, 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort, Las Vegas, 2000.
  9. A renovated shop is a better mousetrap at Medinah Country Club (above and below). Photos by John Reitman When asked to consult on construction of a new maintenance facility, Mike Vogt says one word continues to arise. Flow. Flow of car traffic. Flow of foot traffic. Flow of mechanized equipment traffic. "We examine the flow of people, from when they park their car and go into the maintenance building. That should be a straight line," said Vogt, a certified golf course superintendent and industry consultant. "Then it should be a straight line to the administrative area or staff room, then to where they get their assignments, then to where they get their equipment or tools should make another straight line." Flow also includes the route for machinery out of the shop and onto the golf course, then again off the course, to the wash area and back to the shop. "That line continues to the area where they fuel up machinery then go out onto the golf course, then backwards to where they blow off the machine, fuel it, clean it, then back to the storage area and to where they punch out." Building a new facility gives everyone involved more flexibility than a renovation when constructing the perfect maintenance building. Still, flow was a keyword when the shop at Medinah Country Club in Illinois was reworked from last December through April. Given a finite amount of space with which to work, the folks at Medinah laid out construction paper to scale to simulate work stations and whether everything would fit where they wanted it. "When we did this shop renovation, we had a lot of decisions to make - insulation, lifts, equipment, work station set up," said Medinah equipment manager Brian Bressler. "We used to construction paper, the big rolls you can buy at Home Depot, to make sure everything fit in its footprint before we moved anything. What we were looking for was to make sure the shop flowed, make sure everything flowed." The end result at Medinah was a shop with two lifts, a new entry way door and multiple work stations. The extra door and spacing of work areas meant a dramatic improvement in workshop flow. "We knew we wanted to put two lifts in and we added a new door. We wanted to make sure we could get equipment in, work on it and get it out without interfering with other work stations," Bressler said. ‘We wanted to bring a piece of equipment in, get it on a lift and not take any more footprint than needed. Now, we can literally bring a piece of equipment in, put it on a lift and work on it, drive off that lift and go out the other entry door. The key is figuring out how to utilize space and maximize efficiency without being so cramped that we're crawling all over one another. Right now, we have two tractors in there, two tow-behind Lastecs, a twin-cylinder Kohler engine that is torn apart and we're working on some snow-blowing equipment, and we still have plenty of room to work without being bunched up together. "A lot goes into planning this. We used four large rolls of paper. It took a lot of time to put the paper down and tape it together, but it worked out well" There is more to a functional maintenance facility than a well-running shop. Areas used by employees, namely kitchen areas, breakrooms and locker facilities also deserve close attention. When planning out kitchens and breakrooms, Vogt often looks to an industry outside the golf business for inspiration. "A firehouse is a good example," he said. "In what we call industrial engineering, there is a focus on employees to make it as good an environment as possible for them because it's already hard enough to get workers. They want a safe area to store things, a comfortable place to have a meal in air-conditioning and a place where they can change in a safe environment where they won't get ripped off." Flow also applies to the parking lot. "It determines where you put dumpsters and how fuel delivery trucks enter and exit so they have the ability to get in and out without disrupting the day to day," Vogt said. "That's a hot topic for employees. They want to park their vehicles where it's safe, and they don't expect their cars to get beat up."
  10. Research at Clemson University will focus on developing turfgrass varieties that are more tolerant to heat, drought and traffic stress. As representatives from agri-chemical and seed companies seek ways to feed a world population that is projected to balloon during the next half-century, all indications are that genetically modified foods are the way of the future. In the world of turfgrass, GMO is an acronym that probably will become part of the everyday vernacular for turf managers, as well. Clemson University's Hong Luo, Ph.D., a professor of genetics and biochemistry, recently received a half-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop genetically improved turfgrass and switchgrass. Research will focus on developing new turfgrasses that will require less water and will be more tolerant to stressors, such as heat, drought and traffic. Research on switchgrass will be directed toward developing biofuels. Considered a weed, Luo said switchgrass can grow better in poor soil conditions than other biofuel sources, such as corn, and requires less water. He also believes switchgrass eventually could supplant corn as a leading source of biofuel. One of the challenges standing in the way of genetically modified turf has been preventing the unintentional spread of seed into fields nearby or downwind. Remember Roundup ready creeping bentgrass? According to Clemson University, Luo’s approach to containing the engineered genes is to integrate two site-specific DNA recombination systems with sterility-induction mechanisms in the final transgenic product. When cross-pollinates the two lines in the lab, certain genes will activate and others will be removed, resulting in a new genetic line that is completely sterile and more stress-resistant. These new plants will not produce pollen or seeds, making it impossible for the modified genes to spread in the wild, according to Luo. Luo anticipates having a genetically modified new line ready for testing at the end of the four-year research project. If all goes well, the new transgenic line would then be ready for the stringent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) field tests before it could potentially be commercialized. Luo has prior experience with the GMO process. Before joining the Clemson faculty, he was the director of research at HybriGene Inc., where he led the development of the first genetically engineered, environmentally safe, male-sterile and herbicide-resistant turfgrass. He also helped create a new method for hybrid crop production using site-specific DNA recombination systems.
  11. Although being a golf course superintendent was Aaron DeLoof's dream job, it turns out he was preparing for the Plan B part of his career since he was a kid. After a quick two-year stint as a superintendent, DeLoof, 30, traded in for a career in the maintenance facility as the assistant equipment manager at Medinah Country Club near Chicago. "My dad was always in the automotive industry, so as soon as I was old enough I would go out in the barn with him and help with whatever it might be; lawnmowers, cars, four-wheelers, jet skis, snowmobiles," DeLoof said. "I was doing brake jobs by age 13." After prepping under names like John Zimmers, Tim Kennelly and Kyle Callahan, DeLoof finally got that first shot at being a superintendent in 2016 when he took over at Henderson Country Club in western Kentucky. Two years later, after a succession of 80-hour weeks and little time off over a lengthy golf season and an overwhelming feeling of isolation, DeLoof had enough. "I tried to go to the gym a couple times a week, but when you get up to go to work at 4:30 in the morning and you're not getting off until 6 o'clock at night, it's hard to make time for yourself. Then by the time you eat dinner, it's 7:30 or 8 o'clock, and you're ready for bed," DeLoof said. "Down in Kentucky, the golf season starts in the middle of March and never really ends until the middle of November, so I had about eight months of 80-plus hours a week and no real life outside of work. "Everything together was bringing me down." For DeLoof, a native of Battle Creek, Michigan and a graduate of the Michigan State University turf program, clearly it was time for a change. "I always enjoyed being on the golf course. I enjoyed the work, but not being able to leave work behind was starting to get to me," he said. "It changed me as a person. It's not like I was drinking a lot or anything like that, but I could tell my body wasn't reacting to it well. I was always stressed out, always worried about work. I realized at that point I needed to make a change for myself." After a phone call to a former colleague, that was made partly in jest, DeLoof's life quickly changed. After preparing for a career as a golf course superintendent, Aaron DeLoof is happy as assistant equipment manager at Medinah Country Club. Prior to getting the head superintendent job at Henderson, DeLoof was an assistant under Callahan at Victoria National in Newburgh, Indiana. There he and equipment manager Brian Bressler became close friends before the former left for western Kentucky and the latter moved up to become head wrench turner at Medinah under Steve Cook. "He called me one day just to see how I was doing," Bressler said. "He asked if I needed an assistant. I think he was joking, but I actually needed an assistant. I knew he had been a spray tech and he could turn reels, and I needed someone. That's how it happened." Always in the conversation for a major event, Medinah's No. 3 Course was the site of the U.S. Open in 1949, 1975 and 1990, the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2006 and was the host course for the 2012 Ryder Cup Matches. The Tour's now-defunct Western Open was played at Medinah in 1939, 1962 and 1966. In August, the 1928 Tom Bendelow design was home to this year's BMW Championship. At first glance, it appeared that DeLoof had jumped from the frying pan into the fryer. A 54-hole fryer - with a PGA Tour event on the horizon and 450 pieces of equipment that includes 70 walkmowers, 13 fairway units, 8 triplex mowers, 12 rough mowers and 25 push units. Instead, the change was immediate for DeLoof, who said Bressler was not the only reason he decided to pull the trigger on the change to Medinah. "Obviously, I had a history with Brian, and that's one of the big reasons I came here," DeLoof said. "But I also know a lot of guys who worked for Steve in the past, and he's one of the few who can say your family and your life come first, and the golf course, it will be here tomorrow." Cook is in his second season at Medinah after a long career at Oakland Hills near Detroit, where he was the host superintendent of the 2004 Ryder Cup. He said DeLoof brings a unique perspective to the shop. "His 'superintendent eyes' have been valuable on the golf course," Cook said. "It's like having another superintendent on staff. He brings that turf knowledge into the shop and it makes our operation better." That said, DeLoof said the switch has been a welcome change. "I miss being out on the golf course, but I still get to be around all the guys on the crew," DeLoof said. "I don't mind working six days a week as long as there are a couple of short days in there. I don't mind watering, but I don't like doing it in the middle of a 12- or 14-hour day. "After the BMW, Steve came up to us all and told us to take a week off. He didn't give us the option, he told us to schedule it in the next month because he didn't want everyone to get burned out. It was a grind four three months with not a lot of days off, and we all understood that. But for him to come through like he did, telling us to take a week off to recover, that went a long way with us." DeLoof's unique skill set that includes mechanical aptitude, work ethic and management experience put him on the fast track in his new career. "He's a quick learner. He's definitely smarter than the average bear," Bressler said. "It's not going to take long before he's ready to have his own ship."
  12. Nathan Lis and Andrew Moffitt always knew they had an interest in the science of weather. It took a class at Penn State to convince them they could be entrepreneurs in the field. In 2017, the duo helped start Innovation Weather, a company that specializes in forecasting frost, crop heat stress and other hazardous weather conditions. They recently sold the company to WeatherOptics. Moffitt works as an on-air meteorologist in Eugene, Oregon, and Lis is a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma. The two will serve as consultants for WeatherOptics, allowing them to continue improving forecasting tools for use in turf, agriculture, commodities and other industries. In an undergraduate class at Penn State, Lis and Moffitt (pictured left to right) met alums who used their meteorology and atmospheric science degrees to begin careers that took a variety of paths. That inspired them to think of how they could do the same. They researched ways that weather could benefit a societal need and quickly found there wasn’t anything available for frost or crop heat stress forecasting. They used resources such as Penn State Law’s Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic to draft the operating agreement and Happy Valley LaunchBox to get their startup off the ground. The entrepreneurs were invited to present at one of President Eric Barron's presidential tailgates in 2017. A grant from the National Science Foundation gave them the financial means to meet with and assess the needs of their clients. Through market research, the team found frost forecasting to be a solution that farmers, turfgrass managers and commodities traders were unaware of. They developed algorithms that combine a variety of weather variables to determine the likelihood that frost will form in an area of interest under certain meteorological conditions. These forecasts, available on an hourly scale up to 60 hours out, are then incorporated into street level data visualization using Google Maps. The frost prediction maps apply color scales to the probability of frost and look similar to temperature maps that depict the weather. - Information from Penn State University
  13. Gordon Kauffman III, Ph.D, of Brandt covers the basics of the Minimal Levels of Sustainable Nutrition model, how the guidelines have and continue to evolve, offers examples, and provides the most current information about other factors that determine nutrient consumption, and thus the need for fertilizer applications. In addition, broad nutrient management suggestions will be offered for a few key nutrients.
  14. Frank Siple, below, worked in the golf industry for 50 years, including at Lanier Golf Club, above. Frank Siple's resume does not cite contributions to the profession but his career is full of them. After a half-century in the industry, Siple, 70, has been named to the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Hall of Fame. During his career as a certified golf course superintendent and later as a sales representative for Corbin Turf and Ornamental Supply, Siple earned wide respect for what he could do with grass and how he treated people. He was renowned for investing in the success of others. Giving both to individuals and the industry, Siple volunteered at nearly 50 tournaments, including The Masters. Siple went to work for Charlie Underwood at Northwood Country Club in Lawrenceville in March 1971 because he “needed a job” after life as an assistant golf pro, then teaching pro, wasn't working out. But he only committed to golf course maintenance after a tough final round in the Kennesaw Open took him from one shot back overnight to a 10-shot deficit behind eventual winner Larry Nelson. Underwood, also a Georgia GCSA Hall of Famer, became Siple's friend and mentor. After three years with Underwood, Siple became golf course superintendent at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. He later moved to Lake Arrowhead Yacht and Country Club in Waleska, then Royal Lakes Golf and Country Club in Flowery Branch. He became a certified golf course superintendent in 1993. From 1997 to 2011, he was at Lanier Golf Club in Cumming. He joined Corbin Turf when Lanier GC was sold to a real estate developer. He retired in 2018. Siple will be inducted Nov. 4 at the Georgia GCSA's annual awards banquet at Jekyll Island Resort.
  15. until
    The natural filtration capabilities of turfgrass have been well documented. There are several published studies as well as many cases of anecdotal evidence that indicate that water leaving a golf course is cleaner than when it enters the property. For a long time, golf courses have been labeled as polluters of the environment, not stewards, so can superintendents actually make this claim when presenting to their boards or speaking in response to environmental groups? They can if they have the data, says J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D., of the University of Florida. In this TurfNet University Webinar entitled "Water quality monitoring on the golf course", Dr. Unruh offers evidence-based proof of the cleansing properties of turfgrass and how superintendents can arm themselves with this knowledge and use it to their advantage.
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