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Dave Wilber

Author/Contributor
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    644
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  • Club/Course/Company
    Wilber Consulting
  • Location
    Littleton, CO and Clovis, CAQ
  • Interests
    Geekery, Wizardry, Energy, Spirit, Bass, ProTools, Yoga, Bodywork, Vulcans, Turfheads, Macs, Travel, Thai Cooking, World Travel, Logistics

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  • Website URL
    http://www.turfnet.com/blog/5-dave-wilber-turfgrass-zealot/

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  1. I told Paul that reading his stuff is like sitting by a nice fire. Of course it was 101 degrees when I wrote that, but still the calming effect is the deal. I hate being such a leg humper, but I just love this blog post. So much. I wanna marry it, or at least bottle it and splash my face with it, or something.
  2. Paul, You know I am a Fan Boy, for many reasons. This is, one of your very best pieces and I have read it no less than ten times. It hits home for me. My mom was a painter. A good one. Like, she sold stuff and did murals for people good. And she was a huge Bob Ross fan. She didn't always agree with his technical side, but she saw that he endeavored to bring a lot of joy to people via the canvas... and she understood that. Often his was on her TV in the background when I would call from wherever in the world. When I dropped everything to be her caregiver at the end of her life, three clicks on Amazon brought us all of Ross' DVD's. And she and watched every day together.... talking. Commenting. And enjoying the peace of it all. we even set up her easel and let her go to town. He hands were shaking badly, but she still had her it factor. So I appreciate your helping me to remember that this former Paratrooper made a difference in her life. And mine. Thanks!
  3. Matt....I have said it before and I will say it again. You are a national treasure!
  4. The lack of understanding of cutting units by Supers in our industry astounds me. Makes me happy to see this, Parker!
  5. I've always been baffled by the human condition that causes people to take one side or position, non-negotiable, unbudging. I am especially baffled by a stubbornness of opinion so great that it causes someone to crash, all the while thinking they are "on the right side", their only side. I'm reminded of a story I heard once where an airplane pilot who was "not a GPS guy" flew a plane equipped with GPS mapping into the side of a mountain. He spent three days crawling with two broken legs before he was found. When investigators asked why he didn't use all the equipment available to him, he still maintained his "not a GPS guy" status. Stupid. Although not as physically consequential, I have seen plenty of Turfheads fly their planes into the mountain or the lake or never even get off the ground because they took a side and wouldn't budge from it. So I asked a few of them lately what had put them to that decision point and why. The answers were fascinating. "I only use liquids on greens", proclaimed one super. "I'm done with granulars". So we talked this one through and the facts came out that at a previous job, this person couldn't get employees to master the concept of using a rotary spreader. Tried and tried and just couldn't make it happen. Factor number two was that some of that granular was ending up in the baskets the next morning. Makes sense, right? But new job, new place and this place needs some materials applied with spreaders. I am the one delivering the news. Paid to do so. And the conversation with me is something like saying, "look, I know you love the trombone, but the music you have to play here means you need a clarinet". It seemed an absurd conversation to me, but we finally sorted it out. "I don't do deep and infrequent irrigation like you do, Dave", said one super on the phone. Somehow my writings on irrigation of sand-based greens in arid environments and the benefits of evaporative cooling had already reached them. So we had a discussion about why swamp coolers work and how, in that person's particular area no one has a swamp cooler because they don't work. And I agreed with Soaked Super that irrigation is the least of the worries. But that the occasional flush could be quite the thing when combined with some venting, etc. Again, it took some convincing but the results spoke for themselves. So is this a conditioned thing? Our whole world seems to make these choices. Coke vs Pepsi. Nike vs. Adidas. Toyota vs. Honda. And in our business, Toro vs. Rain Bird, etc? Yes. An effective technique of marketing and advertising is to get people to choose a side. A call to action to make a decision. Even when that decision is apples vs. oranges, after all, it's fruit. On the other hand, we are often led by advertising simply not to choose a certain side. Eggs, once made into villains by other marketers of proteins, are now back in vogue. And as it turns out, nothing was ever really wrong with them. I see a lot of good marketing in agronomy these days. Really smart marketing. And any smart marketing is going to put buyers to a decision. Those decisions can often be based on fact of usage. Meaning, this is the right product for this job. They can influence decisions by way endorsement. Super Super uses this and so should you. These are decent messages and when combined with informed choice, they are legit. Where I see the cows being run off the cliff is when science and facts take a back seat. And when a more "everybody is doing it" mindset comes into play. Further towards the edge we can go when this turns into a Flavor of the Month-seeking behavior. Running with the "in crowd" has perks and advantages, but if you are doing it for all the wrong reasons and not making informed choices, when you hit that cliff edge, it's too late. So, when I have a visit with a super and I start to hear the team choices, the marketing oriented speech where product- or process-oriented talking points are being sold to me as gospel or just the downright hype, I start asking questions. Really tough questions. The kind of questions that often have Turfheads' brains scrambled. We go through it to see why those choices have been made. And this way, we know that no one is going to fly their plane into that mountainside. It's a dramatic example. But if you have ever seen turfgrass carnage simply based on a choice of one side sersus another, it's instantly recognizable. Summer may not be the best time to evaluate this. But it also may be the best. Situational demands. But I will tell you that when you are seeing the crash in your windshield, you will wish you took some time to really look deep into your decisions. Dave Wilber is owner of Wilber Turf Services and is an agronomic consultant and advisor. Dave can be reached at davewilber@yahoo.com
  6. I remember. Well. I had a good influence with Communications with you!
  7. Thank you for the share, Matt. Good perspective!!
  8. Brain....coming from you...that is a major compliment.
  9. Ladies and Gents....make note of this moment. The Parker Stancil commented on my blog. My life....Complete.
  10. July. If you have ever held a hose in your hand in just about any climate, you know that July can be tough. It comes with all kinds of abnormal life habits. It surely signifies the end of Spring and the warm swampass revelation that Summer is actually here. You are now going to bed when it is light. Getting up when it is dark. Dressing quietly and slipping out of the house, apartment, tent or teepee trying not to wake anyone else up. A 3 or a 4 still on the clock. The neighbors hate you as you start your vehicle within earshot of the open windows of their bedroom, turn on the tunes and try to escape before they launch their eggs at you. July. Into work you go. The eyes coming in the door behind you are bleary, like yours. You wonder how much, if any, sleep they got, particularly on a weekend morning. You become the human Breathalyzer for the usual suspects. And if the air doesn't seem flammable you hand them anywhere between $2,000 and $50,000 worth of gear and send them out into the early morning, usually with headlights. There's a club event today. The Whatever Cup, or Medal Round or Invitational. It's meaningless. And yet it is everything. Mr. Willerford Ballpicker is on the phone to you before sunrise. "Did you remember to paint the zigzag line up the 15th fairway and the clown face on the 7th green?" You assure him it was done last night before you left. But did your assistant and intern actually handle it? Blood runs cold and you jump on a cart to make sure. It's all good. The clown is a masterpiece. July. I've never been one of those people trying to tell the world that our business is tougher than any other. Doing our business well is just like anything else. It requires a great amount of dedication and technical know-how. My friend the police officer deals with all kinds of life and health threats in his 10 hour shift. I can't imagine how that must feel. And he probably laughs when I talk about dead grass, or failed irrigation. I get it. Making those kinds of comparisons is akin to stacking deck chairs on the Titanic. Pointless. But if you have ever had July moments when it all goes wrong, it sure feels like the end. Or at least a version of it. I asked the "How are you doing?" question on the TurfNet Forum the other day, and it has created some good discussion. More to come, I am sure. And one of the respondents was pretty clear about supers not usually being happy. Or at least he questioned the definition of happy. Good point. I don't remember being happy in July. Ever. As a grass grower, it was just hard work. As a consultant, it's about a lot of hard work. Key phrase: Hard Work. Even the supers who have figured out the work-life balance thing know that if you fall asleep at the wheel in July, it can be costly. July. From our discussion on the TurfNet Forum, a couple gems have come. Sleep. No matter what. Sleep. And eat. Eat well. And exercise, somehow. A few of us use the simple kettlebell routine that Chris Tritabaugh talks about in one of the best blog posts I have read from him. Even my old broken body is benefiting from this kind of movement. July. August will come. I know this. And then September. It is what it is in July. Fighting it, being miserable because of it and all that can lead you down a bad path. And so, I have to say this. If things seem to be going fairly well and you still feel like the world is caving in, it may be time to get some professional help about that. I've talked about this plenty before. There is no shame in seeking help before something bad happens. And for sure, if your perspective is wrong, all you are going to do is swing at high pitches. That's bad. The unforced error of that way can lead to some pretty bad stuff. Eat well. Sleep as much as you can. Balance the integration of work and life. Exercise. Meditate or find meditation type activity. Be spiritual. Be realistic with yourself and those around you. The New July? Sure. And before you know it. July is gone with the wind. Gone like the Clown Face on that green.
  11. I think when a golf community and a surf community come together, it's a beautiful thing. Machrihanish is kind of the same way. Kids walking down stone walled lanes with Golf Bags and Surf Boards. Pretty cool. I never made any turns at either place because...well , cold water! Good Stuff, Parker!
  12. Parker...your blog reminds of how much I enjoyed my rounds at Lahinch. I actually loved the Castle course. And when I played it, I played with a local who had a keen game and a love for the whole place. That made it special. Your smile is infectious and tells the story!! Thank you for sharing.
  13. Beautiful perspective. I grew up in the restaurant environment. I get it so much. My dad was a recovering alcoholic and often old me that so many cooks were full on addicts because of the stress of it all. This is important conversation. Thank you.
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