Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eagle One Golf acquires Fore-Par

Breaking news here... Eagle One Golf Products (Anaheim, Calif.) is set to announce today that they have acquired Fore-Par (Buena Park, Calif.) Readers might remember back in June, Eagle One Golf was acquired by Canadian company Golf Supply Warehouse.

With the acquisition, Eagle One Golf now says that they are the "largest distributors of golf course and golf range equipment, supplies and accessories in the world." 

Here is a statement from the company:

Eagle One Golf of Anaheim, Calif., is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of Fore-Par of Buena Park, Calif.

Fore-Par has served the U.S. golf industry for more than 48 years. It has a tremendously well developed business in the golf course and golf range equipment, accessories and supplies product segments. Fore-Par also has an established manufacturing capability in golf flags, tee markers, as well as golf course signage, in addition to distributing a broad line of other golf course equipment and supplies from leading manufacturers such as Par-Aide and Standard Golf. Paul Cherrie, President of Eagle One Golf added, “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to combine the Eagle One Golf and Fore-Par businesses. This will allow us to increase the depth and breadth of our product offerings to better serve our customers.”

The combined Eagle One Golf & Fore-Par businesses will operate out of the Eagle One Golf Head Office in Anaheim. Longer term, the plan is to exit the current Fore-Par distribution facilities in Buena Park, Jacksonville, Fla., and Phoenix, and merge them into existing Eagle One Golf distribution facilities in Anaheim and North Charleston, S.C.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Eagle One Golf

Founded in 1992, Eagle One Golf, and its parent company, Golf Supply House (founded in 1960) are now the largest distributors of golf course and golf range equipment, supplies and accessories in the world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sharp Park case dismissed

This comes via email from the Southern California Golf Association's director of governmental affairs, Craig Kessler. He brings good news on the battle to keep Sharp Park open:

Case dismissed!

Those of you who have been reading these reports for the last two years know that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sierra Club, after failing to secure the closure of San Francisco’s Sharp Park Municipal Golf Course through the political process, filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court under the Endangered Species Act alleging that operations at the 80-year old Alister MacKenzie designed golf course was killing the rare frogs and snakes that ironically only colonized the property due to the dredging that accompanied the construction of the golf course in the 1920’s.

Judge Illston dismissed all counts of the lawsuit on December 7, citing an October 2 opinion of the United States Wildlife Service that found that golf at Sharp Park is “not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the California red-legged frog or San Francisco garter snake.”  Last summer the same Federal Judge issued some rather terse comments about the illogic of the plaintiff’s substantive claims when ruling against their prayer for injunctive relief pending resolution of the merits of their claims.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Lunch with Rees

Funny story from the Golfdom Summit...

I made a few new friends at "Eleven," the rooftop bar at the Reunion Resort. These guys were on vacation from Pennsylvania, and thought it was pretty cool that we were hosting our event at the Reunion Resort.

They thought it was even cooler that Rees Jones was giving our keynote speech.

So the next day, I get a phone call from one of the guys. "Seth, it's Roy, from Pennsylvania," he says. "Not sure if you remember from last night, but if the offer's still good, we would like to come see Rees give his talk at your event."

Monday, December 03, 2012

Back from the 2012 Golfdom Summit

Wow, that was a blur! But we had a great meeting. Lots of great stories were told, lots of new connections were made... it was exactly what we wanted it to be.

The travel doesn't settle down for us. Senior editor Beth Geraci has already boarded another flight and arrives in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Syngenta Business Institute, any minute now. She'll have a few updates here and there from that event.

Right now I'm behind on email, voice mail, snail mail... so I'll be back with a better update later, that's what I'm trying to say!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's been a great time here at Reunion Resort so far. Things got off to a fun start yesterday with golf on the Arnold Palmer course, which was in great shape, I might add. The weather and the company could not have been better. We've got an exceptional group of superintendents here again this year! Here a couple shots of golf yesterday and last night's festivities.

Golfdom Summit Day 2 off to a good start

Seth and Anthony Williams, CGCS, held a captive audience this morning over breakfast. Good crowd! Looking forward to the rest of the day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our host super

That's me and our host superintendent for the Golfdom Summit, Tray Maltby. Tray has been super-excited about hosting this event and I have to say he has also been super helpful. Looking forward to seeing what the courses look like, we're going to have a great time here at the Reunion Resort in Orlando!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Waverley CC visit

I'm back from a fun week in Portland!

I've been meaning to post this all weekend, just now getting to it. One of the highlights of my trip was getting to stay the night at the luxurious Waverely CC in Portland. Special thanks to superintendent Brian Koffler for the hospitality!

Also a big thank you to David Phipps, Linda Whitworth, and all the people involved with the Oregon GCSA.

I'll have a full report on my trip to Oregon coming soon. Right now... sleep.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And now a word from our sponsors!

New Oregon State turf prof announced

David Phipps just announced that Alec Kowaleski will take the position at Oregon State that was left vacant when Rob Golembiewski left the school. Kowaleski currently at Abraham Baldwin. Starts at OSU in January.

At the 2012 NW Golf and the Enviro mtg

Kevin Fletcher from eParUSA is now presenting. Full roster of speakers today, I'm going last. "if you're not first your last!"

Friday, November 09, 2012

Recalling Reed Funk and Hurricane Sandy

We called Rutgers professor William Meyer, Ph.D., recently about the passing of his colleague and mentor, Dr. Reed Funk. Meyer returned the call a couple days after Hurricane Sandy hit, so he had a lot to say about that, as well as ample praise for Funk.

"Everything I learned about breeding I learned from him—and from doing it," Meyer said. "He worked on me for five years to get me to apply for a job at Rutgers. I cooperated with him from there."

Meyer sent us one of his favorite photos of Funk, this one of him collecting centipede grasses in a cemetery in Cherry Hill, N.J. in 1996. 

To honor Funk's life and legacy, Meyer said, Rutgers is holding a memorial symposium for Funk on Jan. 11. "It's an all-day affair," Meyer said, "and everything is oriented toward him." Funk's former students will present at the symposium, including Chris Carson, Al Turgeon, David Kopek and others.

But the conversation also turned to Hurricane Sandy, which had hit New Jersey two days before we spoke with Meyer, who lives just six miles from the ocean. He described the storm this way:

"It just blew and blew and blew. It was blowing at 90 miles an hour, and the sound of that is amazing. It’s like a train blowing through. I’m telling you, I was scared. It was blowing that hard. It was amazing. 

"No trees snapped off but there are a thousand tree limbs in our yard. It was amazing. I just can’t tell you how frightening it was. And then, of course, everybody in New Jersey along the coast, those poor people. They got so much damage. Their houses are gone. They lost everything. 

"I’m six miles up the hill from the ocean. Down the hill, all the boats ended up on the parking lot. Being up on the hill, that made the wind even worse. It was crazy. You know, the weirdest thing now is you can't t buy gas. The lines are 300 cars long. I got two-thirds of a tank of gas left in my car. I’m hoping things calm down soon."


The moral of this story: Don't ask a kid doctor adult questions

Aleve is my No. 1 choice when I've had too many of these!
As I nurse a level-2 hangover today, I'm reminded of a recent visit to the doctor's office for my 1-year-old.

Boyd's doctor always closes our appointments with, "Any questions?" Being me, I ask questions.

On this day I asked a question for myself. Hey, I'm there at the doctor's office, chatting with an expert, might as well see if I can learn something, right?

"Yeah, doctor, I'm curious for myself... after a night of hard drinking, is it OK to take Aleve? Or is that bad for my kidneys?"

She looked at me and said, "It's fine..." and then went on into some detail that I may or may not have understood.

But then she gave me a disapproving look and said, "But... how old are you? Maybe instead of taking Aleve you should just grow up."

Wow. Thanks, Doc!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Are you smarter than a robot?

By Curt Harler

Pretty soon a robot will replace your first assistant’s insights and your local chemical salesperson’s advice on weeds. Make that a fleet of robots!

Angela Ribeiro and Pablo Gonzalez-de-Santos, at the Center for Automation and Robotics (CSIC-UPM) spoke about the promising future for robot fleets used for weed control during the International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The meetings was held in Cincinnati on Oct. 21-24.

Frits K. Van Evert and a team from the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands will talk about real-time detection and control of weeds. Closer to home, David Hearn of Towson University, near Baltimore, is working on the use of computational shape analysis and identification keys to identify plants from digital images.David Jacobs, University of Maryland, teamed with researchers from Columbia University and the Smithsonian Institution towards similar ends with a free app called Leafsnap. In its first iteration, it IDs trees but other plants – including pesky weeds — should follow quickly.

While some of the initial robot-based weed identification and control work is being done in field crops, the research should port nicely to turfgrass. The symposium will feature engineers and biologists who are working in the cutting edge field of sensor development and automation for real-time plant identification. The technology boom is revolutionizing management aspects of both crop and non-crop systems, including advanced target recognition and application systems.

Superintendents will soon have a plant identification monitor sitting next to their soil moisture and nutrient monitors in their utility vehicle. Both on golf courses and in natural areas, managers and conservationists will be able to identify invasive and other important plant species using identification technology that is also equipped with communication and environmental monitoring devices.

Now, if only we can get those robots to bring donuts for the rest of the grounds staff, we just might be good with that!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Remembering Dr. Reed Funk

Last month Dr. C. Reed Funk, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, passed away following a brief bout of pneumonia. He was 84.

Bruce Clark, Ph.D., described Funk in a statement as a “pioneer in the field of turfgrass breeding,” noting that he is credited with the development of hundreds of cool-season turfgrass cultivars with dramatic improvements in pest and stress tolerance. “Many of his germplasm releases, such as ‘Manhattan’ perennial ryegrass and ‘Rebel’ tall fescue, are considered landmark cultivars and have served as a foundation for many of the new turf-type cultivars used throughout the world today,” Clark stated.

Golfdom research editor Clark Throssell, Ph.D., described Funk as a “true icon of turfgrass science and the turfgrass industry.”

“Reed made incredible improvements in cool season grasses that are used on golf courses, home lawn, sport fields and other turf areas around the world,” Throssell said. “Reed was a fine person, humble, willing to help and generous with his time and talent.”

Later in life Funk took his expertise and set it towards a worthy goal: battling world hunger. He created a successful non-profit program called Improving Perennial Plants for Food and Bioenergy that worked to develop highly nutritious and sustainable tree crops that are able to be grown on marginal land.

“When I teach turfgrass management and the discussion turns to cool season grasses and cultivar improvements over the last 50 years you cannot avoid mentioning Dr. Reed Funk. His impact on turfgrass breeding is unmatched,” said Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Golfdom‘s science editor and a professor at The Ohio State University. “But the thing I mention to students is that yes he was extremely bright and had a strong belief in work ethic, but it was who he was that impressed me the most. Dr. Funk proved that nice guys could finish first.”

Monday, November 05, 2012

Junior Storie on Golfdom TV

Here's a video we did with Junior Storie while we were in Beverly Hills at the Intelligent Use of Water film competition. It was great having one of our readers at the IUOW film competition with us. Thanks to Rain Bird for partnering with us to make it possible! I think the Stories had a good time, too. I KNOW I had a good time!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pt. 3 of 3 -- What zombies teach us about environmental stewardship

And now, the final part of our zombie/environmental golf series, courtesy of Kevin Fletcher, Ph.D., president and CEO of e-Par USA. For parts one and two, just scroll down! 

And happy Halloween!

7.     When in Doubt, Make Sure You Hit the Brain (Review & Make Corrections): In Zombieland, this was termed a “double-tap.” Not sure that was a clean head-shot? You’d hate to have a half-gone member of the undead pop up suddenly and bite your ankle as you’re walking by all full of pride. Shoot again to make sure you got ‘em.

Likewise, don’t assume you’ve done all you can and should to manage the environmental part of your game. To quote the great philosopher Ice Cube, “You gotta check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.” Include a periodic and ongoing self-audit and management review of your environmental management systems. Identify any weaknesses and correct them. That’s what continuous improvement is all about.

8.     Share What Works, There’s Strength in Numbers (Act Well and Tell Your Story): Inevitably, in zombie movies, the main group of survivors ends up running into another group of survivors. There’s that first awkward introduction when they all nearly shoot each other thinking the others are ghouls at first. However, the groups eventually start to bond and share their stories over a campfire inside the broken down warehouse (assuming they followed Rule #2). This is when we learn what works or doesn’t work when killing a zombie. Perhaps Chip (the ex-Navy Seal) discovered a new way to lure zombies into a trap and take three or four out at a time. By sharing their stories, the entire group is made stronger and learn more inventive (again, audience appeal) ways to dismantle the blood-thirsty.

Likewise, the golf industry is made stronger when superintendents find what works, do it well, measure it, and then report on it. Don’t be afraid to tell people your story. It’s good for the game, good for group morale, and makes for a nice break in between those tense moments of the job (or encounters with the zombie warehouse staff that was hiding in the basement).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BASF launches Pillar G fungicide

From the press release:

BASF today announced the launch of its Pillar G Intrinsic brand fungicide, the third fungicide brought to the professional turfgrass market since 2010 that is labeled for disease control and plant health. Pillar G Intrinsic brand fungicide is a granular product that combines triticonazole, the same active ingredient in Trinity fungicide, and pyraclostrobin, a key active ingredient in Honor Intrinsic brand fungicide.

Turfgrass diseases controlled by Pillar G Intrinsic brand fungicide include dollar spot, anthracnose, patch diseases (brown patch, large patch, take-all patch, and summer patch), gray and pink snow mold and leaf spot. In addition, BASF and independent research has shown Intrinsic brand fungicides enable turf to better withstand disease and environmental stresses including drought, moisture and temperature extremes.

“Turf professionals will always be challenged by disease, weather and additional stress events,” said Brian Lish, Business Manager, BASF Professional Turf & Ornamentals. “Pillar G Intrinsic brand fungicide provides them with another tool for disease control and proven plant benefits. As the industry leader in this category, we invite customers to experience the difference and compare BASF products on performance, breadth and depth of research, and label language versus others making similar claims.”

Part 2 of 3: What zombie movies can teach supers about environmental stewardship

Here's part two of our Golfdom/Zombie Halloween special. Yes, only in Golfdom do we mix golf and zombies! Even when there's a major storm hitting much of the U.S.! This is by Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D., President & CEO, e-par USA, Inc. To read part one, scroll down or click here:

Photo by Aeviin,
4.     Keep Track of Your Ammo (Monitor and Measure): The smart ones use bats, golf clubs and machetes as much as possible to make a zombie kill. Not only does slaughtering by hand increase the gore rating (and audience enjoyment), but it also conserves ammo. When guns are used, you have to know how much ammo you have left. Nothing worse than a clip running dry right when the walkers are on you.

OK, this is a little bit of a stretch, but measuring and monitoring environmental performance is just as important on a golf course. What’s our water use? Are we accurately tracking chemicals… how they’re stored, how much we have, are using, etc.? Are we reducing our risk over time? You manage what you measure and if your green committee is “on you,” having a good sense of your ammo can help you survive (but please, don’t use a golf club).

5.     Stay Together and Back to Back (Be Systematic): The post-apocalyptic zombie world is no walk in the park. You need to work as a team, leaving no one’s back exposed in order to avoid the inevitable zombie “sneak attack.” If it’s a Night of the Living Dead zombie shuffling towards you, there may be time to react, but the 28 Days variety move too quickly and erratically to avoid.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Part 1 of 3: What superintendents can learn from zombie movies

What can superintendents learn from The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes?
By Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D., President & CEO, e-par USA, Inc.
October is nearing its end. That means that the television program guide is filled with Halloween movies.  I’m not a huge horror movie fan, but I do enjoy most shows about zombies. I thought that Zombieland was terrific (with golf’s great ambassador Bill Murray as himself in a short, but Oscar-worthy, role) and Sunday date night with my wife (after the kids get to bed) consists of Tequila on the rocks and AMC’s The Walking Dead. 
I was thinking about this show the other day, and it dawned on me that there are some great parallels between surviving in a zombie-filled world and managing a golf facility in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. Yes, avoiding and fighting the undead is not that much different from dealing with golfers, turfgrass and green committee members, while also reducing water use, managing chemicals safely, and acting responsibly. Before you snicker, let me provide some examples of what I mean:
1.     Keep Your Head on a Swivel or You Might Lose It (Self-Assessment First): One of the biggest mistakes made by the living in the zombie-filled world is moving around without really being sure where you’re going or what’s looming ahead. Sure, that alleyway is clear now… but what’s around the corner or behind you for that matter? Your eyes need to stay open and darting in all directions or they’ll become zombie hors d'oeuvres.

It’s the same with golf course environmental management. It always pays to conduct an initial environmental review or assessment. Ask yourself some hard questions about your environmental plans, operations, procedures, etc. It may help you create a clear vision (need eyes for that) and avoid getting bitten in the rear.

2.     Don’t Run Into a Dark Building at Night (Make a Plan): The first to go usually do so because they aren’t thinking. “Hey, let’s hide in that abandoned building.” Well it wasn’t abandoned, was it? Now you’re innards are serving as a zombie calamari appetizer.

Once you have a handle on the state of your environmental game through a self-assessment, make a plan. Don’t just run around looking for places to hide. You need to take your environmental threats and opportunities head-on. Make improvements where they need to be made by planning for them, not winging it. Is water your biggest issue? Then make a water conservation plan as a priority. Be smart.

3.     Don’t Be a Hero (Be Risk Averse): You have a choice of running through a crowded zombie-filled mall or heading outside and around the parking lot with maybe a few flesh-eaters to deal with? Easy. Make like a husband during the holidays and avoid the mall. Why put yourself unnecessarily in harm’s way?

This is critical for superintendents to do as well. Have you conducted a risk assessment, developed a risk profile for your facility-wide operations and developed written standard operating procedures for staff to follow to help avoid environmental incidents and accidents? If not, do so. Environmental stewardship isn’t just about nest boxes. Take the time to identify and manage your environmental risk. Survival is heroism during times like this.
Kevin A. Fletcher is President & CEO of e-par USA and is dead-icated to helping golf course management professionals fight with the ghosts and ghouls that make up a comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Feel free to trick or treat us at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clark Talks Turf: Winter is Coming

The golf and growing seasons are winding down in much of the country, while in southern locations, the primary golfing season is just getting cranked up. Up north and in the northern part of the bermudagrass belt, putting green grasses are showing signs of dormancy including a slower growth rate and a gradual loss of green color.

Now is a great time to raise the mowing height on bermudagrass, creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass greens that are entering dormancy. Green speed is always fastest in fall thanks to Mother Nature, so golfers will still enjoy fast greens while the grass gets a break from a higher height of cut. The extra leaf area will increase carbohydrate production which the turfgrass plant will use to develop a deeper, more extensive root system and storing more carbohydrates which will help the plant survive winter and kick start green-up in spring.

The higher height of cut will help the plants cope with traffic during the winter months when there is no growth. And for superintendents who are planning to paint dormant bermudagrass the extra leaf area will intercept more colorant, leading to a better looking putting surface. The extra leaf area in fall will help dormant bermudagrass greens from having excessively fast green speed in spring as the turf canopy gradually wears away over the winter due to traffic.