Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 26 -- A Story with Heart

I know I generally write about the PGA Tour but this week I am going to relate a very inspiring story about Erik Compton, a Nationwide Tour member and first time Nationwide Tour winner last week at the Mexico Open. I heard this story on the Jim Rome Show so even if you can’t stand Rome please read on because this story is remarkable and very inspiring.

Erik Compton is the only professional athlete that has received not one but two heart transplants in his short 31 years. At age 12, Erik had a virus attack his heart which required him to be placed on a transplant recipient list. He received the first of two transplants that same year, at age 12, from a 15-year-old girl named Janine. After the transplant was successful he needed an activity that would help aid him in his recovery and keep him active, and he chose golf.

Choosing golf as his sport turned out to be a great choice because he was a natural. Erik started winning tournaments and even earned a free ride playing golf at the University of Georgia. Following his career at the Georgia, Erik played on the Hooters Tour and the Canadian Tour, winning tournaments on both.

If you are thinking this story couldn’t get any better, or be more inspiring, you would be wrong. At age twenty-eight Erik suffered a heart attack. A heart attack for anyone is horrible but a heart attack on a transplant heart is brutal. Directly after the heart attack Erik drove himself to the hospital making phone calls the entire way saying his goodbyes to friends and family. He thought it was the end of what he describes as a great life, but it wasn’t.

This is where Erik’s second heart transplant comes into the story. He received a second heart from Isaac, who was an All-American volleyball player. Erik said Isaac was a "6’4” stud who was way stronger and more athletic than I am.” He is still in contact with Isaac’s family to this day.

Erik’s philosophy on life is that life is not a race; it’s all about what you do with your life in the time you are given. Erik also believes you don’t have to be perfect, just live life to its fullest each day. He also said the problems you have in life don’t define you; it’s what you do about them that define you and makes you who you are.

Erik is a true inspiration to everyone. Just think about all the “problems” you let get in your way on a daily basis. Considering I still have my original heart and my health I guess you could say I really don’t have any true problems. Something to think about anyways.

Erik is married with a 2-year-old daughter and is second on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2011, which guarantees him a spot on the PGA Tour next year. I don’t know about you but I need to hear a story like this every once in a while to really put what I think are problems in my life in true perspective. I will be rooting for Eric Compton from this moment on.

Erik Compton is the new Hendren’s Hyperbole Johnny Vegas. Let’s go Erik!

-- Matt Hendren

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Toro acquires Lawn Solutions Commercial Products

News this morning from Toro:

The Toro Company today announced it has acquired Lawn Solutions Commercial Products, Inc., a leading manufacturer of innovative turf renovation equipment for the landscape, rental, municipal and golf markets. The acquisition, which includes a dedicated lineup of aerators, seeders, power rakes and brush cutters, adds key product categories to Toro’s portfolio to support growth across its core global businesses. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Turf renovation is a natural category for Toro having built our company around turf maintenance for almost 100 years,” said Michael Drazan, vice president of the company’s Contractor Business. “These products complement our brands and markets extremely well, while extending our offering to customers worldwide. With our expanded distribution and market strength, we believe we can deliver significant share growth in these categories.”

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, and founded in 2006, Lawn Solutions has quickly established its position in the turf renovation market and become known for its reputable line of innovative products. As part of the purchase, David Cook, owner of Lawn Solutions, will continue to consult with Toro after the acquisition and provide important product development and category expertise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you think you can talk to a blade of grass and get it to grow?

Check out this story by Jay Dempsey from the Riverhead News-Review. Here's a sound bite:

"Ladies and gentlemen, being a golf course superintendent requires the skills of a meteorologist, a farmer, a horticulturist, a public-relations expert, a personnel manager, a bookkeeper and a salesman."

Nice story from Dempsey, great quotes from Bill Shuford, superintendent at Laurel Links CC.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A moment of well-deserved rest for River Highlands crew

On Sunday afternoon of the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, while the final group of Fredrik Jacobson, the eventual winner, and Bryce Molder were on the eighth hole, TPC River Highlands head golf course superintendent Tom DeGrandi, first assistant Noel Hall and second assistant Ben Newfang, along with a small group of family and friends, were parked to the left of the first green. The vantage point afforded a prime view of holes 15-17.

The fatigue from a wild few days was etched into the faces of the three in charge of maintaining the Cromwell, Conn. course; for the first time in weeks, they we able to relax.

Thursday’s soaking rain that suspended the first round shortly after 11 a.m. produced a unique Friday with golf almost non-stop from 7 a.m. to 8:01 p.m. when play was called because of darkness. Not a blade of grass was mowed or an ounce of sand raked, just cups and tee markers moved in between the final group of the first round and the first group of the second round on each nine. The two small crews of maintenance personnel were given a rolling one-hole gap in which to do the quick change.

As a result of no work being done on Friday, Saturday began at 4 a.m., 90 minutes earlier than usual. Greens were double cut, tees squeegeed, fairways dragged and cups changed. After breakfast inside the maintenance facility, the crew was back out at 9 a.m. mowing tees and fairways before the third round commenced.

“I wanted to make sure that players that made the cut had a clean, fresh golf course,” DeGrandi said.

Carbone’s Ristorante of Hartford, thanks to DeGrandi, delivered dinner for the crew. Then, it was back out in the evening to mow the entire golf course, save for the rough. Sunday morning they were back at it.

Conditions were fantastic as evidenced by a bevy of low scores in the final round, the only day that lift, clean and place was not in effect. Greens that had been Stimping in the low 10s late Friday, were a foot quicker for Sunday play.

It came as no surprise that Jacobson lauded final-round conditions that saw shots bounding along in the fairways rather than plugging and putts dropping in from all over.

“The greens were rolling great,” he said.

“They’re the best players in the world,” DeGrandi said. “You want to produce the best golf course you can.”

-- Anthony Pioppi

Friday, June 24, 2011

TPC assistants see big picture

Within the PGA Tour’s Tournament Players Club network is a program that sends assistant superintendents from one facility to another to aid during tournaments of the three tours, PGA, Champions and Nationwide.

For this week’s PGA Tour Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., Jack Creveling from TPC Sawgrass and Adam Weber from TPC Scottsdale are lending a hand.

Their primary job is to collect data for the Tour that includes green speeds, as well as moisture content and firmness of greens. They’ll also be lending a hand doing whatever River Highlands superintendent Tom DeGrandi needs, tasks such as raking bunkers.

DeGrandi’s two assistants, Noel Hall and Ben Newfang, have taken their turn at other courses. This year, Newfang will be at TPC San Antonio for the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship.

Creveling and Weber arrived the Saturday before the tournament began and will stay to the Monday after the Travelers is scheduled to end. Creveling knew he would be at the Travelers in January but Weber found out about two weeks before making the trip after the assistant who was going originally tapped for the assignment took a job at a non-TPC facility.

“It’s been good to see a different golf course,” said Weber, 25. “We don’t have the topography. There’s no slope in the desert.”

This is the first time either have worked on a golf course where the turf variety on greens is primarily Poa annua.

Creveling said dealing with one golf course can produce tunnel vision.

“You become engrossed in one property. (This) expands your horizons,” he said.

Weber said the education is not just about agronomy.

“It helps you see what the (TPC) network is about on a bigger scale.”

-- Anthony Pioppi

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hall's week in the irrigation room

For 13 years Noel Hall has been the assistant at TPC River Highlands,
site of this week's PGA Tour stop, the Travelers Championship. He
started out on the bottom of the ladder and took five years to work
his way up to the no. 2 position. This is his 18th tournament at the
Cromwell, Conn., golf course and he still revels in the moment.

"I enjoy the whole production. To me, this is what it's all about,"
said Hall who graduated from the University of Tennessee with degrees
in business and psychology. "I also enjoy the day-to-day without
members and guests, but there are two different existences."

Hall, who sleeps in the irrigation room during the tournament rather
than make the hour-long drive home each day, doesn't use all of his
downtime to catch up on rest. He can be found out on the course
watching golf, often sporting an orange shirt, in recognition of his
beloved Tennessee Volunteers.

Hall said that the week of the tournament isn't the most difficult,
even though his schedule can be determined by a combination of
tournament play and weather.

"Hell week was the last week. Advance week is the hardest," he said.

For him, even if the predicted thunderstorms cause havoc, that part of
the fun is rebuilding bunkers and squeegeeing greens so that the
course is once again ready for a PGA Tournament.

"If Mother Nature washes us out, that's just another excitement," he
said. "You look back and say, 'wow, I can't believe we did all that.'"

-- Anthony Pioppi

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Live from the Traveler's Championship

This week Golfdom contributing editor Anthony Pioppi is working from the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship. Tony checks in today with his first report from the course. -- S.J.

At the 2010 PGA Tour's Travelers Championship, the story was heat with
a relentless procession of 90-plus-degree days. This year, Tom
DeGrandi, superintendent at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., is
having to deal with rain. Today's celebrity pro-am was suspended at
11:06 a.m. because of dangerous conditions;
lightning. One large storm cell is supposed to blow through by early
afternoon but that will probably result in the event being shortened
to nine holes.

Thursday's forecast is for scattered thundershowers while Friday is
predicted to have isolated thunderstorms. Cromwell was the recipient
of some severe big storms over the last two weeks, including one drenching
that created a six-foot-deep pond in the 12th fairway. That portion of
the course is built on an old sand pit and drains extremely well.

One consistent with Degrandi from last year to this year is the
sleeping arrangements for some of his crew. As he has for a number of
tournaments in a row, first assistant superintendent Noel Hall will
be bunking in the irrigation room for the week. A camping trailer,
that largest one yet, will again be the temporary home for crew
members, approximately eight this time, who would rather stay over
than be forced to drive back and forth, sometimes twice a day.

Yesterday the River Highlands crew worked from 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Because of the nine-hole Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am that began at 5
p.m. interfered with the normal tournament week schedule, front side
mowing began at 1 p.m. Then the rest of the course was taken care of
from 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m. They were back at it again at 5 a.m.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 25 -- U.S. Open Results

Hendren here, of Hendren’s hyperbole! Thanks for checking back again this week! I hope all you fathers had a great father’s day weekend. I had a great one. I watched as much of the U.S. OPEN as I could, hung out with my kids and spent some time at the pool. All in all it was a great weekend.

Congratulations to Gumsguys for winning the inaugural U.S Open Golfdom Hackoff. Also, congrats to Long Knockers and Nowhere Near Scratch for taking 2nd and 3rd. Some sweet prizes are headed your way, or will be as soon as you you all email Seth ( with your mailing address and true identities! I hope everyone that signed up enjoyed it, except you Neuty. I hope you had a horrible time!

Stay tuned, everyone, for info on the British Open edition of the Golfdom Hackoff taking place July 14th-17th.

I watched a lot of the Open this past weekend for several reasons. The first reason being that it is my favorite tournament of the year. The second reason is I wanted to see if Rory could hold it together. The third reason was because Tiger wasn’t playing.

I am still kind of in shock that Rory kicked everyone’s ass the way he did. He made it look easy. Is he really that dominant of a golfer? I thought the Open’s setup was supposed to be one of the most difficult of the year. Why were there so many players under par for the tournament? 20 players were under par for the tournament. I know the weather had an effect, but... whatever. It left me scratching my head. Did you think it was too easy?

I just hope Rory is the real deal. I hope he becomes the next big deal in professional golf and not just another really talented golfer who never reaches his full potential. Time will tell.

Until next week!

-- Matt Hendren

How about San Antonio in 2015?

The GCSAA just announced that San Antonio will host the 2015 Golf Industry Show.

The dates of the show will once again be late for this show: Feb. 25-27.

I'm all about San Antonio as a location for the GIS. Among other things I love the River Walk, Mexican food and fast food chain What-a-Burger. (Also, my Jayhawks won a national championship in that fine city back in 2008.)

The only eyebrow-raising from over here is on the dates. Feb. 25-27 is another late show, like the 2012 GIS in Las Vegas. I wonder if the later date will put a cramp on superintendents' schedules? We'll find out soon with the 2012 edition in Vegas, what supers think of the later show date.

From the press release:

San Antonio has been selected by officials of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) to host the 2015 Golf Industry Show and education conferences. The dates of the trade show are Feb. 25-26 and the education conferences are Feb. 23-Feb. 27.

"Based on attendee feedback we selected San Antonio for the 2015 Golf Industry Show," GCSAA Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said. "It is a new location that attendees and exhibitors want to go to and do business. It is a great addition to the Golf Industry Show lineup and another outstanding destination."

The 2012 Golf Industry Show (Feb. 29-March 1) and education conferences (Feb. 27-March 2) will be in Las Vegas.

"San Antonio is a perfect complement to the next three Golf Industry Show locations: Las Vegas, San Diego and Orlando," NGCOA Chief Executive Officer Mike Hughes said. "San Antonio is an easy city to travel to and typically features pleasant weather that time of year. We are very optimistic about the networking opportunities available there with the convention center being located on the Riverwalk, where there are so many hotels and restaurants."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fairway mowers coming up 18

Blue Course super talks about anticipation of US Open

Here's another video I got while at Congressional... this one is with Derek Trenchard, who is the superintendent of the Blue Course at Congressional CC. We talk about how big the crew is for the U.S. Open, the challenge of getting them all trained for the tournament, and what he'll do once the tournament is over.

Chat with Rees Jones at Congressional

I had a chance to catch up with Rees Jones on Wednesday. We chat about the changes to the course as well as his long history with the course.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fairway mowers in formation

You know I'm a sucker for these photos! (I only took about 100 shots of this!)

The US Open trophy visits maintenance

A cool, fun moment for the entire maintenance team. I'm pretty sure everyone got a chance to take a pic with the trophy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check out the rough, and a team photo

I'll have more tomorrow... right now time is against me! Trying to keep superintendent hours, yet I need the late nights to get writing/uploading done as well!

Here are two photos: one is of the entire crew at Congressional (volunteers included) and the other is to show you how deep the rough is.

Tomorrow, I hope to share with you a couple video interviews... fingers crossed!

Players talk Congresional course conditions

I just talked to a few of the players about the way the course is playing the day before the first round of the U.S. Open. Here is what they had to say:

Jim Furyk

"It’s got some brown spots around the greens, you can tell the greens are relatively new and I’m sure the heat from last week put a lot of stress on them… probably need to get a little bit of water, maybe a little bit of rain would help. But the course overall looks pretty good.

I keep reading in the paper how the rough needs some rain because it’s not that thick, but I wouldn’t agree with that. I’ve hit out of it all week, if you can get a club on it you can advance it a little bit, but you’re not going to see a ton of great scores coming out of the rough."

Dustin Johnson

"The course is in great shape. I think the USGA’s done a great job setting it up – it’s tough, but it’s fair. It’s not crazy, if you just miss the fairway they give you a chance to advance the ball. They’ve done a really good job.

The greens are good, they’re rolling good. They’re new, so they react like new greens. You’re not going to see a ball spin back, it’s just not going to happen, just because they’re new. But they’ve got them about as good as they could with new greens.

I think the rough is good and thick, it’s nice. They’ve done a good job with setting it up, they’ve got a couple different cuts. If it just barely runs off the fairway you’re not going to be punished severely."

Bubba Watson

"(The course is) tough, very tough.

The rough is good. It’s fair, you can hit shots out of it, but it’s going to be tough.

People don’t understand how hard it is (to get the course up to U.S. Open conditions). And then with the weather, the weather has to cooperate and I know last week was 100-and-some degrees. There are some bad spots, but it’s because of the weather. The superintendent can only do so much, then the weather has to do the other part. Every golf course is going to have little spots, no matter how perfect it is. That’s the key, is the weather. That’ll make the course or break the course, is weather. And that’s what the superintendent fears, is weather.

(On the winning score) If the weather gets crazy, and gets hotter and hotter, the course is going to get tougher and tougher and harder and harder. You’re looking at even par to 5-over. If the weather cooperates, to somewhere between 1-under and 5-under, somewhere in there. Nothing major, though, I don’t think there’s going to be a 14-under, unless it stays soft somehow."

Quick syringing for greens at Congressional

The staff is on top of it out here at Congressional. Mike Giuffre told me he has over 150 volunteers out here, and every single one of them has been on time everyday.

There's been some buzz in the media that the greens are looking worn, but I'm not seeing it. There are a few stress areas around the collars on some greens, but I think people are trying to anticipate drama, and they're just wrong. I'll get some close-up photos this afternoon and share tomorrow.

While the greens look good, Giuffre does look worn. Unfortunately for Giuffre, he woke up ill this morning. Just a cold. But there's no time to be sick this week, so he's just toughing it out.

Quick stop at Atlanta Athletic Club

Had a great time hanging out with Ken Mangum and Kasey Kauff at AAC this morning. The course is looking great. Kasey is, to put it mildly, high on Champion bermudagrass. (Wait, that doesn't sound right... ahh, forget it!)

More from AAC soon... like, next issue... right now, let's get to the US Open!

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 24 -- HACK-OFF!!!

Welcome to a special Hendren’s Hyperbole being written from #18 at Congressional!

...Alright, I am really in Kansas City just wishing I was going to be witnessing my favorite tournament of the year in person (I hate you Jones!!!). A guy can dream, can’t he?

This weekend is THE U.S. OPEN! The only thing that could make this weekend better is if Tiger was playing but as we all know…he is not, unfortunately. Actually I am not how sure unfortunate it really is. Sure, I love a good meltdown, a few swear words, and some good old fashioned club throwing... but just for one week I would like the emphasis to be on anything other than El’ Tigre.

Maybe this will be Phil’s year? How about Dustin Johnson or Rory McElroy? Probably none of the above, but I wouldn’t mind if it was any of them. Any golf tournament is next to impossible to predict a winner but the OPEN has to be the most difficult.

Speaking of predicting a winner, it is time for the Golfdom Hackoff, U.S.Open edition. To sign up just follow the directions below.

The Hackoff is going to be at just like in the past. Click on "Sign up now!" for "Tee it Up!" fantasy golf (it's the only fantasy golf game they have.) Once you create your team, click "join a group." The group ID is 17466 and the group name is The Great Golfdom Hackoff (Yes I know 'hackoff' is spelled hack-off but I was limited in spaces to enter a name and I had to have the name be The Great Golfdom Hackoff!)

You will need a password to join the group. The password is golfdom123.

If you have signed up in the past just sign in and make your picks for this weekend. If not, what are you waiting for? You could win a number of great prizes, from gift cards to U.S. Open merchandise to Rain Bird and SubAir golf gear! All you have to do is sign up for your chance to win some great prizes and go down in history as the first U.S.Open edition Hackoff Champion!

I hope to read your trash talking best on the leagues message board.

Good Luck!

Until next week!

--Matt Hendren

Monday, June 13, 2011


I know Hendren will get into this more tomorrow, but just an early head's up... it's Hack-Off time!

Here's the blurb I've got going in the next Golfdom Insider email newsletter:

Participate in the Great Golfdom Hack-Off!
Once again Golfdom will be where the world of golf is… this time that place is the U.S. Open at Congressional CC. We’ll be reporting live from Congressional during the week, but in the meantime, let’s have some fun and give away some prizes! Enter your picks for the U.S. Open and you could win a number of great prizes, from gift cards to U.S. Open merchandise to Rain Bird and SubAir golf gear! Just click here for directions on how to enter the Hack-Off!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bill Rose is back, Ceplo wins award

Ahh, computer problems! Love it! My internet went down, limiting the work I could accomplish, but just because the computer is down that doesn't mean the turf news stops!

Here are two interesting bits:

Bill Rose, Crystal Rose-Fricker and Ed Rose, principals in Rose Agri-Seed, Inc and Pure-Seed Testing, Inc., announced that after a five-year hiatus they will re-enter the professional turfgrass business.

The announcement comes after Rose Agri-Seed reached an amicable agreement that allows the company to market professional turfgrasses while continuing to provide custom seed coating and packaging services.
The recent agreement will allow Rose Agri-Seed to acquire select Pure-Seed Testing turfgrass varieties and inventories, which will help realign Rose Agri-Seed’s position on the professional turfgrass market.

Rose Agri-Seed Founder Bill Rose says, “We were an industry leader for over 35 years and we are very pleased to be back marketing turfgrass!”

And from New York:

The New York Team of the Global Sports Alliance (GSA) presented its 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award to Matthew J. Ceplo (pictured, left), superintendent at Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, NY. Ceplo is the third recipient of this award, "given to an individual who exemplifies the role of environmental steward in the management of a recreational or sports venue in New York."

Rockland Country Club is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary and Ceplo is also working with other Rockland County, NY golf facilities to earn this certification as well. Ceplo and his staff have built more than 50 bird boxes for purple martins, osprey, wood duck, bluebirds and bats. He has guided several other environmental projects at Rockland, including the conversion of more than 15 acres of out-of-play rough to wildflowers and tall grass areas and the construction of a strategically located wetland that has enhanced many elements of the environment. In addition, he has involved local Boy and Girls Scout groups to assist with some of the planting projects, including increased shoreline vegetation to establish buffer areas and protect surface water.

"Through his progressive management of the golf course, Matt has distinguished himself as a leader. He points the way to the future of the game by maintaining the social and economic integrity of the golf course while resolutely defending environmental quality," said GSA New York Team Captain Kevin Trotta. "His many years of involvement and promotion of Audubon International's Cooperative Sanctuary Program and his pursuit of sustainable practices have earned him the respect of his industry and the respect of GSA New York."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

2011 Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition Accepting Entries

Feel strongly about water conservation issues? Now's your chance to put your passion -- and creativity -- to good use. Create a short film about responsible water conservation for a shot at $6,000 and a trip to the awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Sept. 20).

Films should range from 1 to 10 minutes in length. Submissions are accepted until Aug. 1. For contest rules, a look at past winners and more information, visit

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hendren's Hyperbole! Episode 23 -- Sissifying America?!?

Welcome back to Hendren’s Hyperbole. I hope you all had a great weekend and your week is off to a good start. How about Jones playing golf at Sunflower Hills, which is essentially in my back yard, and not even throwing an invite my way! I see how you are Jones. I am not going to lie, it hurts a little. I know he didn’t invite me because he is tired of getting beat like a Grand Canyon mule but it’s still bush league, bush league I tell you!


I think you will all get a kick out of this. There was an article I read on how golf is the cause of the extinction of tough guys. Apparently there is a book; Tough Guys Always Play From The Tips: A Unisex Guide to Golf, Tough Guys and the Neutered Weenie Fraternity Created By Such an Insane Game, written by James Pomerantz, which delves into why golf is the cause of tough guys going extinct.

I have not read the book, nor will I, because it is a ridiculous take and I don’t want to give any of my hard-earned money to the idiot, I mean author, who decided it was his place to blame golf for all of societies short comings. Short comings in his eyes anyways.

Don’t take my word, decide for yourself. Here are a few excerpts from the book..

“The popularity of golf and the decline of the American Tough Guy certainly have a direct connection,” Pomerantz said. “If they don’t, then can someone please explain plaid pants to anyone with an IQ above concrete? Think about this. While alcohol is forbidden on the field of play in baseball, football and other manly sports, it’s not only available, but encouraged in golf. In contrast, try downing a cold one while coaching your kid’s Little League team. Also, on the exertion scale of physical effort, golf falls in just a hair short of playing poker or sleeping. Finally, football and baseball have complex rules and umpires to prevent cheating of any kind. Meanwhile, on the golf course, players are perfectly content to skip a stroke, take a mulligan, move a lie, concede an easy putt and kick a ball out of the tall grass when no one is looking. In summary, golf is an exertion-free game for alcoholic blowhards.”

Pomerantz points out that golf is a game that rank amateurs can play at a professional level from time to time.
“Where else can an overweight, middle-aged, half-in-the-bag Fox News addict hit a shot better than Tiger Woods?” he added. “Put Tiger Woods on a 150 yard par 3 with Skippy the Accountant, and let them each hit a bucket of balls toward the green. I guarantee Skippy gets a shot closer to the pin than Tiger at least once, if not more, during the challenge. Now, take Skippy and tell him to chase Michael Vick out of the pocket a few times. Just have a defibrillator and an EMS team standing by.”

In the final analysis, the culture of golf is in direct conflict with the culture of men, and that’s why Pomerantz thinks it is one of the key factors that is sissifying America.
“You know, mothers tell their sons to study hard, get a good education, make the right friends and be nice to people,” he said. “Well, that’s like asking the Dalai Lama to work at Haliburton. Life is about confrontation and confidence, perseverance and integrity. Golf is about drinking, cheating and competition with as little effort as humanly possible. After all, how has golf, a seemingly candy-ass, pull your dress down, non-contact, don't make a sound sport become the most popular amateur sport in America for men of ALL ages?”

This whole thing is ridiculous! What do you think? Shoot me a comment and let me know. But, I guess it is fairly entertaining.

The U.S. Open is only two short weeks away and we will be having another Golfdom Pick’em Challenge, U.S. Open edition. Check back to the Golfdom Daily for more information coming soon!

--Matt Hendren

Monday, June 06, 2011

Golf at Sunflower Hills

Had a great time playing Sunflower Hills in Bonner Springs, Kan., yesterday. Superintendent Mike Yadrich has the course looking good.

One of the many mistakes I made (along with this tee shot into the bunker, above), was when I was lining up my putt on 15... I was trying to concentrate, trying to visualize the ball dropping into the hole... and then I was distracted by the sound of a low-flying jet going over.

Rather than stopping to take a look, I stayed in my stance and missed the put on the high side. I stomped over to tap it in. As I did this, I looked over and saw 5 fighter jets, in formation and low, zipping across the sky into the distance.

The Kansas Speedway is only a few miles from Sunflower Hills. They must have been doing a fly-over for the race that was about to start. So I had my own chance at seeing the fly-over from the golf course, but I was too caught up in my own lousy score to look up and see the jets! Sheesh!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dr. Wong Gets the Girl

If you're signed up for Golfdom's e-newsletters (and why wouldn't you be?), then you got this morning's "Chip Shots" about Frank Wong.

Not your typical turf story... this one is actually a love story. How about that?

Dr. Wong Gets the Girl

Leaving UC Riverside behind and accepting a job with Bayer in Washington, D.C., Frank Wong gets to be with his bride.

By Seth Jones

It was an easy decision, Frank Wong, Ph.D., laughs, because it involved a woman.

“It was a no-brainer,” he giggles. “You get the job that you wanted, in the place that you wanted, and you get the girl too. It’s an absolute slam-dunk.”

Wong, who previously was a specialist of plant pathology at the University of California-Riverside, accepted a job that moves him across the country to Washington, D.C. He’s now a technical service specialist for Bayer’s Environmental Health division. Most important to him, he’s closer to his wife of two years, Dr. Caroline Ridley, whom he married in October of 2009. Ridley moved to D.C. after she was awarded a fellowship to work as a scientist for the EPA.

“We have a little bit of that James Carville/Mary Matalin thing going on,” Wong says. “She works for the EPA, I work in crop protection for a chemical company.”

For Bayer, Wong will be doing a lot of what he was already doing as an extension specialist at Riverside – meeting with superintendents and growers and discussing what’s best for their turf and crops.

“(Bayer) would like me to focus on providing support for the industry,” Wong says. “From D.C. to Boston to Chicago. Where disease pressure on cool season turf is the highest – lot of brown patch, lot of dollar spot. It all comes down to enhancing customer service and support. Just talking to sales guys, supers, letting them know the best fit for the Bayer product line.”

If Wong has any regrets, it’s that he left behind an area that he feels lacks the support it needs. The University of California’s turf programs have never been like a Rutgers, an N.C. State or a Penn State, Wong says.

“I’m glad the industry has (Dr.) Jim Baird there to work with. There’s still turf research and extension going on at UC Riverside,” Wong says. “I just talked to Bruce Williams, who just accepted the executive directorship of the California Turfgrass and Landscape Foundation, which is being established to help support research and education in California… and I just really encouraged him to get the industry together and lean on the university to get (my former) position filled as soon as possible.”

Recently UC Riverside had halted operations of its turf diagnostics lab as a result of, among other things, insufficient funding.

“I don’t want to make it seem like I was running away from a problem at the university, but, man… when your primary job is to do science and education, and you find yourself 90 percent of the time worrying about budgets, manpower issues, and how to make sure you have enough paper towels in the lab? It really distracts away from the stuff you want to do,” Wong says. “I think this will be a welcome change to work on the part of the job I really love.”

And of course, there’s his true love, the lovely Dr. Ridley. Once this job at Bayer became available, Wong hit the door pretty quickly, he admits. But that’s what happens when personal lives are involved.

“I think it caught some people by surprise,” Wong says. “When an organization wants you to start right away, and for personal reasons, you want to be with your wife right away – I was out the door pretty quick.”

It’s obvious that Dr. Wong is a man in love – with a new job, a new city, and most of all with being reunited with his wife. It’s almost like the couple gets a second honeymoon.

But how will things go when the two are once again under the same roof?

“Man, I’m still just trying to figure out why she married me in the first place,” Wong laughs.

Details, Frank. You got the girl.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tragic story out of Illinois

A sad story about Willie Werling, a longtime employee at Annbriar Golf Course, dying in a mowing accident.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all his family, friends and co-workers.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Frank Wong talks about the difficulty of being at a state university

I interviewed Frank Wong, Ph.D., recently about his move from UC Riverside to Bayer.

Here's a good soundbite from our interview regarding the troubles turf schools are facing these days:

"The current conditions with state turf programs does not look good. Most of the schools out there that do agricultural research, the land grant institutions, have always had a significant amount of state and federal funding to support the programs. And that’s the only way you can do it. Now, (dang it), everyone is broke. There’s just the revenue from taxes -- things like that aren’t footing the bill anymore. Federal funding to schools have basically flatlined in the last ten years… all of the inputs have basically flatlined while your costs are going up. Overall it’s getting harder and harder for university programs to do what they want to do."

Look for more from Wong soon!