Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 22 -- Memorial Day Edition

Welcome back to Hendren’s Hyperbole! I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I had a great weekend even though I couldn’t get out and play a round. I just enjoyed spending time with my family. Hopefully you not only had a great three-day weekend at the lake, but you also had a chance to wave a flag and remember what the holiday stands for... I know we did at the Hendren house.

I can’t believe this is the 22nd episode of Hendren's Hyperbole! I figured Jones would send me packing after the 2nd. I guess I could still get canned... especially if someone doesn’t start leaving some comments!

There was lots of golf on the tube this past weekend. Tom Watson rallied to win the senior PGA championship. At the age of 61 that’s pretty incredible. Keegan Bradley earned his first PGA Tour victory at the HP Byron Nelson Championship over Ryan Palmer and Luke Donald won the BMW PGA Championship beating Lee Westwood in a playoff. Donald’s victory moves him to 2nd in the Fed-Ex Cup standings. He only trails Bubba Watson by 29 points for the top spot. Over all this last weekend was a great weekend to log endless hours watching golf.

Well, because this is a short week due to the holiday my post is going to be rather short. Check back in next week and I will fill you all in on why golf is the main cause for tough guys going extinct.

Until next week…!

-- Matt Hendren

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Here's a nice tribute to an old-time super who passed away recently, Harold Peck, who was the superintendent at Battle Creek CC from 1947 to 1988. Published in the Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer.

According to the article, he was a charter member of the GCSAA... but that doesn't sound entirely accurate, as I don't think he was old enough to have been able to have accomplished that... it also says he was a founder of the Michigan State turfgrass program... but it also states correctly that facts blur over the years, especially when someone accomplishes a lot of things in their lifetime.

Regardless, an interesting article about a person who was obviously a hard-working superintendent, dedicated to his craft. Cheers, Harold Peck, and to all those friends who aren't with us anymore...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Super Jimmy Shannon on the local news

Pine Golf Course in Diamondhead, Miss., reopened last weekend... hopefully the guys had nice weather for the unveiling of their new Miniverde greens.

Check out the video to see course superintendent Jimmy Shannon talking about the greens... and you have to like a golf pro with the first name "Hoppy."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Have you checked out the last issue of Golfdom yet?

If you haven't, click here or over on the front cover on the right-hand side of this page. Lots of good stuff in the issue, including our cover story interview with former GCSAA CEO Mark Woodward!

And, for the record, it took me four issues until I got a Radiohead reference on the cover of the magazine. "Fitter, Happier" is a title of an offbeat Radiohead song off of their OK Computer album.

Take that, competition...! We're leading the industry in Radiohead references as well as What-a-Burger references! WHOO-HOO!!!!

US Open host Giuffre in USA Today

Check out our pal Mike Giuffre in USA Today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 21 -- Quick Rounds in Vegas, Baby!

Hendren from Hendren’s Hyperbole here! Glad you decided to take a minute to read this week’s post. I have had a great week… so far. I got to play Creekmoor Golf Course, a fairly new course in my area, this last Saturday. Creekmoor is located in Raymore, Mo., and is a great track. It is 7,200+ from the tips, not that I played from the tips. I actually played alright considering the amount of beer that was consumed and how hard the wind was blowing. So I guess I didn’t play very well if I need two excuses for my performance.

Congratulations to David Toms for his win last week at Colonial. It takes some serious stones and intestinal fortitude to lose in a playoff one week and come back the next week the way he did. If my math is correct this is Toms’ thirteenth win on the PGA Tour and first since 2006. The win places him 4th in the Fed Ex Cup standings. Nice work David!

Listen, I’m sure there isn’t one guy who hasn’t wanted to get in a quick round on a Saturday morning and still get home to knock off a few items on your wife’s honey-do-list, but in the end decided not to play due to the simple fact that it is next to impossible to get in a round under 4.5 to 5 hours. I’m sure we all know the feeling of weighing a round of golf versus the wrath that is going to be waiting for us at home after a long round and what your wife considers a wasted day.

Well, Angel Park Golf Club in Vegas has implemented a policy that makes everyone a winner. The following is from a press release from Angel Park Golf Club:


First five tee times on Saturday mornings set aside for golfers who agree to finish in at least 3 hours and 45 minutes

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Angel Park Golf Club now provides Express Lane tee times on one of its two 18-hole golf courses each Saturday morning to golfers who commit to finishing 18 holes in 3 hours and 45 minutes or less. Although the exact times vary with the season, currently the five Express Lane tee times are from 7 am to 7:28 am. 

“One of the things we consistently hear throughout the golf world is that it takes too long to play,” said Greg Brockelman, Director of Golf at Angel Park. “In an effort to combat this issue, we created Express Lane. The reality is that most people live very busy lives. Whether it’s trying to catch up at work or other responsibilities at home, people have a hard time carving out five hours to play a round of golf. Not to mention that some golfers just like to play fast.” 

To ensure that there is no misunderstanding, the reservationist reminds the guest when they book their tee time that they must maintain at least a 3-hour 45-minute pace. A note is placed in their golf car, and the starter provides a final mention. They also sign an agreement stating that if they fail to maintain pace, their round may be interrupted to accommodate faster play. This interruption could include moving them to the other golf course, moving them forward into position, or moving them backwards behind the last Express Lane reservation. While every attempt is made to avoid an interruption, Angel Park must honor the agreement it made with the other Express Lane golfers (i.e. 3-hour 45-minute finish times, guaranteed).

“We love it,” said Las Vegas resident, Lowell Masters. “It’s a win-win situation for us. We can tee it up in the morning, and get back to the house with the entire day still ahead of us.” 

I think this is a great idea and a great way to attract new business to your club! We all know how important it is to set your club apart from the competition and this is a great way to do that at no cost to the club’s bottom line.

I wish I had thought of this idea. If I would have I might have a life-size statue of myself next to the putting green! Probably not, but hey, a guy can dream can't he?!?

What are some ideas you have instituted at your course to help speed up the pace of play? Leave me a comment and let me know what works or possibly didn’t work for you and your course.

--Matt Hendren

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Joplin tornado

I'm down here in southern Missouri visiting my wife's family... we're 40 miles east of Joplin, Mo.

Here in Monett, the tornado sirens went off for almost 30 minutes. I think that's the longest I've ever heard them, and that's coming from a guy who grew up in Wichita.

I took some photos, but didn't bring my card reader. I'll download and post them later this week. We didn't see any tornadoes here, thankfully, just a lot of ominous clouds.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone in Joplin.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jerry Kelly as the TCU Horned Frog

Always one of my favorite golfers, check out this video of Jerry Kelly teeing off dressed as the TCU Horned Frog.

Click here for the full story courtesy of Yahoo! Sport's Jay Busbee and Devil Ball Golf.

A bet's a bet. I applaud the guys for their creativity on this one.

The sad thing is that Kelly could probably still out-drive me while he's got a giant frog head on.

Although I will say the swing was a little anti-climactic. If there ever was a time for a trick exploding golf ball, this was it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wong joins Bayer as technical service specialist

It was announced today that Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience, has named Dr. Frank P. Wong as its Technical Service Specialist for the northern fungicide business of the U.S.

With more than 15 years of plant pathology experience, Dr. Wong will bring his expertise to the technical and research and development team for the fungicide business.

“We are excited to add Dr. Wong to the Bayer team as he brings an incredible depth of knowledge in plant pathology,” said Laurence Mudge, Technical Services Manager, Environmental Science. “Frank’s insight and experience from his prior research and extension responsibilities will be a valuable asset as Bayer continues to develop and commercialize leading chemistries.”

Prior to joining Environmental Science, Wong served as Associate Specialist in cooperative extension and as a plant pathologist at the University of California, Riverside. Golfdom last reported on Wong in our March 2011 issue (“Cal-Riverside Halts Diagnostics Lab”), when it was announced on March 7, 2011, that the turf diagnostics lab services was being shut down at UC Riverside. “For 2011 we will try to reorganize under a new business plan to meet the diagnostic lab needs of the industry, and relaunch the service under a different model as soon as we can,” Wong said at the time in a letter to the industry.

Wong has also served as the American Phytopathological Society’s subject matter expert for the Environmental Protection Agency, providing information on plant diseases and disease management. Wong received his doctorate in plant pathology from Cornell University and his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. and can be reached via email at frank.wong@bayer.com.

“Bayer is an innovative organization that is always on the leading edge of research and development. I look forward to the opportunity to enhance and further develop the Bayer reputation as a leader in science,” Dr. Wong said in a press release from Bayer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A blog thank you to Bill Irving at Lawrence CC

Bill let us come out and do a photo shoot at Lawrence (Kan.) CC yesterday. We had beautiful weather and hopefully we got some usable stuff for the next issue of Golfdom.

Bill is your typical passionate superintendent. He was stressing about the project he was in the middle of on No. 12 as well as the fact that PGA Tour player (and KU alumnus) Gary Woodland was playing the course that day. And I'm sure I didn't help out his stress by asking to do photos at the course! But the course looked great and I'm sure Gary would agree. (I'll ask him, we have an interview set up for today.)

Here is a photo of Bill, as well as the drainage project on No. 12.

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 20 -- Fuchsia isn't my color

Greetings from hyperbole land! I hope everyone had a great weekend watching the Players Championship. Unfortunately I did not get to watch as much of the tournament as I would have liked to but what I missed I got caught up on from Twitter and PGA.com. Having to catch up on golf because I couldn’t watch it live sucks but what are you going to do? Anything involving golf is better than no golf at all… words to live by, write it down.

Last night I had the opportunity to have a great meal at Capitol Grille on the Plaza with Kevin Stoltman, vice president at Questex Media, Pat Roberts, Golfdom publisher, Seth Jones, Golfdom editor-in-chief, and Tom Mentzer from Mentzer PR Group. We all threw down some awesome steaks, enjoyed a few cocktails, smoked a few cigars and had a great conversation on a movie highly recommended by Mr. Roberts. I am not going to ruin the element of surprise by mentioning the movie so next time you see him make it a point to ask him about the best movie ever!

It was great to meet these guys, I’m really enjoying being involved with Golfdom and this dinner was just one example of the fun I’ve been able to have since joining the extended Golfdom family back in January. Jones hasn't been lying when he says this is a cool, fun group of guys. (That's all of us in the purple-y cell phone pic above... it goes Jones, me and Pat in the back row, then Kevin and Tom sitting down in front of us. Fuchsia isn't our natural color, I swear.)

So how about that ending to the Players Championship?!? It was EPIC! David Toms was defeated by K.J. Choi in the first playoff hole. Toms lipped out a 3.5 foot par, his first miss inside 5 feet all week leaving the door open for Choi to sink a 2.5 foot putt for par. This was Choi’s first victory since the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii, making K.J. the first Korean Players champion.

Granted I didn’t really have a horse in that race but every golf tournament is better with a dramatic finish in a playoff. Now we can start the countdown to the U.S. Open! Only 5 more weeks! Jonesy teased it this week in his Golfdom Insider, and I am so ready. I love all golf tournaments but the Open is my favorite. Maybe Tin Cup has something to do with that? Nah, I just love the fact that the Open is the “everyman” tournament. Anyone who is good enough to make the “cut” can play… in theory.

So what happened to Tiger? He hurt his knee again? Really? Is he in his 30s or his 50s? Fred Funk’s back thinks Tiger is baby. I’m sure his knee is hurt. I’m not questioning that… but why would he try to play in a tournament he has said he doesn’t like in the first place if he has a bad wheel?

Of course, I have the answer: Tiger has to be thinking the sooner he does something besides swear and throw clubs on the course the sooner people, like me, will forget his troubles off the course. Good luck with that El Tigre! It is apparent he shouldn’t have pushed. He just needs to shut it down for the rest of the year and get his body right, along with his mind and try again next year. When it rains it pours, huh Tiger?

Until next time,

-- Matt Hendren

Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with U.S. Open host superintendent Dave Hutchinson

If you're not signed up to receive the Golfdom Insider (and why wouldn't you be? It's free, it's got tons of content... sign up here.) then you missed my interview with Congressional superintendent of greens and grounds, Dave "Hutchie" Hutchinson.

I've also got an interview with the main man, Michael Giuffre, director of golf course maintenance, but I'm saving that one for another day.

In the meantime, here's the link to check out the interview with our friend from South Africa, Dave. (Dave is pictured on the right, Blue Course superintendent Derek Trenchard is on the left.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wrapping up with a cold beer at Tobacco Road...

And the Players Championship. Because that's how I roll!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Almost wrapped up from N.C.

I've been in North Carolina for eight straight work days. Been all over the state! Tomorrow we head back home. Aside from our trip to urgent care (five stitches for Dan) it's been a great trip.

We've met with BASF, Arysta LifeScience, JRM, IMRE and a few more, maybe even a trip to IHOP if we have time!

It's a Questex-only dinner tonight, so there will surely be some big plans concocted. Good news for us, me and Dan make a pretty good team when we put our heads together... we've already figured out two stories our respective mags can collaborate on. Now we just need a nickname for this new superteam...

Thunder in the background, looks like I'll be sporting a sportcoat over my Jayhawks t-shirt tonight. That's right North Carolina, there is a Jayhawker among you!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Never the way you want to start the day...

Even editors can get hurt on the job. Just dropped off Landscape Management magazing editor-in-chief Dan Jacobs at the urgent care in Greensboro, N.C. Dan sliced his hand open while opening the trunk of our rental car.

The injury was just like the scene in "Back to the Future," only Marty McFly wasn't trapped in the trunk.

But don't worry Mrs. Jacobs, DJ will be ok, he just needs maybe a stitch or two. Us editors stick together, I'll make sure he gets taken care of!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Thoughts on Seve

Seve Ballesteros' funeral is today. He died at age 54 of brain cancer.

I saw Seve play once, several years ago at the Masters. My plan was to walk the whole course, hole-by-hole, in order. I had just started my walk and was midway up No. 1 when a golf ball rolled up to my feet. I backed away and waited to see whose teeshot it was. Seve came strolling up the fairway.

I wasn't watching golf in Seve's heyday, but I knew this was one of the game's legends approaching me. There was hardly anyone else around (it was a bad teeshot) when he got to his ball. He gave me a nod as he approached the ball. I stood right by him -- close enough to think to myself, "huh, Seve wears Old Spice," -- as he cracked his second shot, a beautiful low iron.

I think what I liked about Seve, if only as a casual fan, was that he was known for his creativity. As a golfer who is forced to also sometimes hit, uh, creative golf shots, I liked it that there was a big name in golf known for the same thing.

Seve now has something in common with my Dad, who died of brain cancer two years ago when he was 62. Having witnessed my Dad's illness firsthand, I have some understanding of how terrible brain cancer is. It's tragic seeing someone who is otherwise healthy being crippled by something going terribly awry in their brain.

So here's me saying cheers to Seve, a cool old-school golfer who passed away far too young. And here's me saying that we have to keep supporting cancer research, because it's such an insidious disease.

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 19 -- Scratch for the beard???

Welcome back to another installation of Hendren’s Hyperbole! Hopefully everyone’s week is flying by in anticipation of this week’s Players Championship. The Players championship is one of my favorite tournaments of the year and with a $9,500,000 purse every player worth anything will be competing.

Congratulations to Lucas Glover’s beard for the win last week at the Wells Fargo championship. Lucas’s beard defeated former Clemson teammate Jonathan Byrd on the first playoff hole for the win and a sweet giant check for $1,170,000. What does a beard do with that kind of scratch? Buy a gross of giant beard combs? Purchase a state of the art beard trimmer? Acquire some industrial strength mustache wax? Whatever the beard decides to purchase I’m sure it will be well worth the money.

On a completely unrelated note, when I returned from vacation last week I learned that one of my employees had flipped a zero turn mower off a rock wall about 15 feet tall. Luckily the roll bar did its job and he wasn’t hurt. The mower has seen better days but, most important, no one was hurt.

I have lots of other stories about mowers being rolled and other crazy “accidents.” I want to hear about your unbelievable employee “accidents.” I’m sure we all have some stories that even you wouldn’t believe could happen if you weren’t there to witness it in person.

Shoot me your stories and I will recap the best ones in a later entry.

I hope you all are gearing up for summer and getting yourself pumped to haul a hose all over God’s green earth. Today it is about 90 in Kansas City and June isn’t even here yet! I love Kansas summers!

Well, I better get back to it. Those greens aren’t going to syringe themselves.

Until next week….

-- Matt Hendren

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 18 -- Best course EVER

Note from Seth -- This was supposed to post last Tuesday, but I dropped the ball on it. Apologies, Hendren!

Welcome back to Hendren’s Hyperbole reporting live again from Kansas City. Unfortunately, I had to come back from the Dominican Republic and jump back into reality. In case you didn’t know, when you leave the real world for a week your return is not a pleasant one. I have never been this busy EVER! Looking on the bright side I guess my week will fly by!

I had a great time on vacation. I had the privilege of playing Corales, designed by Tom Fazio, last week on my trip. I know this is Hendren’s Hyperbole but there is not exaggerating in this following statement….BEST COURSE EVER! I could not believe how awesome Corales was! Just picture being right on the ocean, drinking cold beer, playing the most beautiful, well kept courses, dare I say, on the earth! Nope, I said it! Words do not do this golf course justice. I love golf and have played a lot of courses and they all fall short.

I want to give a special Hendren’s Hyperbole thank you to Julio Diaz, the superintendent of Corales. Julio’s hospitality was top notch. Julio, if you are ever in Kansas City look me up and I will return the favor! Another special thank you to Joel, my wife and I’s caddy. This guy knew Corales like the back of his hand and really made our experience a special one.

I know this entry is a short one but like I said... I am slammed!

-- Matt Hendren

Friday, May 06, 2011

Surviving the Tuscaloosa tornadoes

Today I spoke with Gib Fox, golf course superintendent at Ol' Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala., about the destruction from the recent tornadoes there.
"It was black as night and eerily calm," he said, describing the scene. "You could see some small debris in the sky. Everybody says it sounds like a freight train. It doesn’t. It sounds worse."
Two tornadoes hit about a half hour apart, he said. The first one, he added, was mammoth, hitting at about 11 a.m.
Fox, his wife and two children live about a mile-and-a-half from where the tornado touched down. "We were looking at it as it passed and I was saying, 'This is bad. It was a half-mile wide and you could see it clear as day."
The twister was reportedly moving at 180 miles per hour, leaving a swath of devastation in its wake. Fox and his family do not have a basement, so they took shelter in a makeshift teepee they constructed in the middle of their house. Thankfully, he said, his kids didn't understand the gravity of the situation.
After the twister passed over his house, Fox stepped outside. "It was dead calm," he said. But the winds kicked up again shortly thereafter, and the second, smaller, tornado arrived.
"The second one went right over the golf course," Fox said. "I could see it. It was spinning up the in the air and I could see it. "
Like Fox's neighborhood, the golf course was spared any damage. Other areas, however, were not so lucky. The death toll is nearing 40, and whole neighborhoods are destroyed. "It looks like you took bulldozers and lined them up in a row and went to work," Fox said. "There’s nothing left.... And any time anybody loses their life, it’s bad."

Despite the massive physical and emotional devastation the tornado left behind, Fox said that given the record-breaking twister came within 200 yards of touching down at the University of Alabama and a nearby hospital, the death toll could have been even higher.
Sadly, in the end, he said, "You can rebuild a home, but you can't replace the people."

Links at Tuscaloosa Golf & Country Club superintendent Jason Bonneville videotaped the tornado and its aftermath.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Golfdom team at Grove Park Inn

We had a great time playing at Grove Park yesterday. Mark Rogers and his team are doing a great job out here in Asheville, N.C. The course picked up 2 inches of rain the night before we played, but still played great. Greens got fast on the back nine as the wind picked up/sun dried things out/crew rolled. Fun course.

The Questex Media team (L to R, Dan Jacobs, Pat Roberts and Kevin Stoltman... and me behind the camera) finished in 2nd place in the golf tourney. We left a few strokes out there for sure, too many missed putts.

The TOCA awards banquet (sponsored by Syngenta) takes place tonight. Fingers crossed!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, amigos!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

The goodness that is Golf Day (3 of 3)

National Golf Day 2011 Report
Part 3 (of 3)
By Tim Connolly, assistant superintendent, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

Lobenstine joined two other Maryland superintendents in the foyer of the Rayburn House Building to help tell their story as stewards of their land and leaders in their industry. Mike Barrett, CGCS of Argyle Country Club and Teddy Blauvelt of Hampshire Greens Golf Course took a short ride in on the DC Metro to be with Lobenstine. All three work within 20 miles of downtown Washington in a part of the country that’s treaded water through the recession. All are heavily involved as board members in their GCSAA Chapter, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents.

Blauvelt, the Education Chair for MAAGCS, manages a course with many naturalized areas which he uses as opportunities to reach out to the community. He invites scout troops out to the course to help monitor wildlife throughout the season. “They love it and even if their parents aren’t into golf, they’ll start to understand more about it.” Staying positive despite hearing so many misconceptions about golf is part of Blauvelt’s credo. “We just have to be active and I don’t want to say confrontational. We have to be responsive to the people who are putting these bills in place, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

Mike Barrett, CGCS, has been the superintendent at the 147-acre Argyle CC for 15 years and is the Media/Public Relations Chair for MAAGCS. He’s currently working on a comprehensive recycling initiative at the club and has started the challenging process of achieving certification through Audubon International. For Barrett, We Are Golf’s mission to put a face on the game is a key point. “I tell people that the survival and success of Argyle Country Club is paramount to me. It’s how I make my living, how I support my family. I have 15 guys. That’s how they support their families. It’s how we pay our mortgage payments, it’s how we pay our healthcare costs. People lose sight of just how important golf is and how many families, not just on the golf course, inside from the kitchen staff, the accounting staff, the pro shop staff, the directors. It creates jobs.”

As Rhett Evans looked over the noisy crowd that gathered in the light-filled foyer of the Rayburn Building, he suggested that our outreach doesn’t stop here, just blocks from the White House. “When you look at politics, it’s really local. There needs to be a grass roots effort that’s compatible on all levels, so that when we come in with a unified message of what golf is, it carries a lot more weight. So if the states and the local groups could get together, and form their own “State Golf Day” and march onto their state capitals and basically take this same message to their lawmakers, just think what that would do to spread the word even that much faster. And that can be done. It just takes some folks who are motivated to pull the right people together to make that happen.”

Folks like the group of superintendents who served their profession in the nation’s capital on National Golf Day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The goodness that is Golf Day (2 of 3)

National Golf Day 2011 Report
Part 2 (of 3)
By Tim Connolly, assistant superintendent, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

Everyone knows golf is big in Florida. “We employ 167,000 people, about a $4.5 billion direct economic impact,” said GCSAA President Robert Randquist (pictured, center, along with Rafael Barajas, left, and Rhett Evans, right), director of golf course and grounds at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton. “So for us to get that message across to our local representatives is very important.” Randquist, just 2 months into his term, shared his thoughts regarding a relevant federal law and its effect on superintendents. “NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) is a major concern for us, we’d like to see that put back in the jurisdiction of the different legislation that we’ve been under for years, so that’s a real key point for us.”

For Jon Lobenstine, Director of Agronomy for Montgomery County Golf and superintendent at Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac Md., having NPDES on the horizon is not good. The NPDES is a part of the Clean Water Act. For over 30 years, superintendents have applied pesticides under the umbrella of FIFRA (Federal, Insect, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act). Wording in NPDES trumps FIFRA. “The NPDES is going to make it difficult for a property with a certain amount of acreage of water. It will require extra paperwork per application simply because there’s a body of water on your property. The legislation is redundant because you’re already filling out application records to satisfy state laws. It’s extra work for superintendents that are already doing a responsible job managing their properties.” A House Resolution to amend FIFRA and prevent additional permits under the Clean Water Act has passed the House but has stalled in the Senate.

Before coming to Montgomery County Golf seven years ago, Lobenstine worked for Dean Graves at nearby Chevy Chase Club. Graves is the recipient of the 2011 GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. Working for Graves opened his eyes to the importance of being a voice for the profession. “You realize what these people do and you just feel like you want to give back. I enjoy being involved with stuff like this.” Lobenstine’s main goal for the day in Washington was “to help reverse the negative stereotype that golf courses have, as far as the environment. You know, anytime you see a lush green golf course, people think it’s over-watered and over-fertilized. And it’s really the opposite. We’re spoon-feeding nutrients, we’re hand-watering. We’re using less everywhere. I think just getting that word out is pretty big.”

Monday, May 02, 2011

The goodness that is Golf Day

I hyped how we had Tim Connolly, assistant superintendent at TPC Potomac, at National Golf Day representing Golfdom this year. Well, Tim has turned in his story and it's a great read.

Unfortunately, it's too long to run in its entirety in the next issue... but that's one good use of the blog -- No space restrictions here!
So here is part one (of three) of Tim's report on National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. Look for parts two and three on Wednesday and Thursday.

Superintendents Serve their Profession at National Golf Day 2011

By Tim Connolly, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Spring is the best time to visit Washington D.C., when a sea of cherry blossoms adorns the city with optimism. That positive energy was palpable during the National Golf Day activities on Capitol Hill, when golf’s main organizations converged to engage members of Congress with powerful messages of the game’s impact on their constituents.

The activities, which included putting lessons, swing analysis, golf simulators, and displays that narrated the successes of golf in the United States, took place in the Rayburn House Building, across Independence Avenue from the Capitol Building. We Are Golf, a coalition of the industry’s top organizations including the GCSAA, CMAA, NGCOA, PGA of America and the World Golf Foundation, is determined to put a face on the game that’s so often reviled by politicians as an elitist pastime. According to We Are Golf, the U.S. golf industry employs 2 million people and has a $76 billion economic impact nationally. Many familiar faces from GCSAA’s Board of Directors, including President Robert Randquist, CGCS and Vice President Sandy Queen, CGCS were there with CEO Rhett Evans to open the lines of communication with Congress and push legislation that helps superintendents and the golf industry.

Before heading upstairs for a series of meetings with members of Congress, Rhett Evans clarified the mission of the day. “We’re trying to let Congress know that when they make decisions on golf, to use us as a resource so we can provide them the necessary information so that they’re not just making a decision in a vacuum. What started this was the law that went into effect regarding economic stimulus and the fact that golf was excluded and that golf was placed in a category that just was not right. We were lumped in with massage parlors and tanning salons and casinos, and that’s disappointing. Now that it’s happened, we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Our No. 1 goal is that this piece of legislation doesn’t get cut-and-pasted when the next disaster relief bill comes.”

For Jay Goughnour, owner and superintendent of Raccoon Valley Golf Course in Jefferson, Iowa, disaster relief is a topic that hits very close to home. His nine-hole course, located northwest of Des Moines, was devastated by flooding in May of 2008. The flood waters affected over 60 percent of the 65-acre property with two greens completely submerged. The Goughnour family survived the disaster through dogged determination and incredible will. “When natural disasters affect golf courses, and it does happen, golf courses should be treated like other small businesses and placed in the same playing field,” said Goughnour. “Maybe aid won’t be available to those golf courses, maybe it will. But they should at least have the opportunity to apply and not be excluded for whatever reason.” He wants Congress to know that golf faces the same hardships as any other business in this economy. “There are a lot of courses that just struggle to make ends meet; there are small courses that are run like small businesses. They employ a few people and they’re great meeting places and valuable assets to the community but they’re not rich people. I own a nine-hole golf course and I can promise you I’m not rich. I’m just a hard working individual.” Indeed, the National Golf Foundation estimates that over 90 percent of golf courses in the United States can be classified as small businesses.