Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ahh, crap!

a pitch for organic fertilizer

UMass prof talks turf at GIS

UMass assistant professor and plant physiologist Michelle DaCosta spoke to superintendents today about pre-conditioning turfgrasses. And she drew a large crowd. Pre-conditioning turfgrasses, she said, exposes plants to a mild form of stress that helps them withstand stress better later on. "Do it when the plant is actively growing," she advised.


in the Cylex Signs booth

Big wheels keep on turnin'

in the Pomp's Tire booth

The daily grind ...

... at the Bernhard booth

Duck, duck ...

Turfgrass Talk Show at GIS spotlights wetting agents

By Marty Whitford / Golfdom Editorial Director

Wetting agents have earned their place in the golf market, according to the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America's (GCSAA's) Turfgrass Talk Show this morning at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Las Vegas.

Hosted by Thomas Nikolai, Ph.D., a turfgrass academic specialist with Michigan State University, today's Turfgrass Talk Show on wetting agents embodied "infotainment."

Although guests of the Turfgrass Talk Show varied in their use and support of wetting agents, all agreed it's more a question of when, where, how and how often to use the solutions.

Guests of GCSAA's Turfgrass Talk Show on wetting agents included:

* Rodney Tocco Jr., a research assistant and doctoral student at Michigan State University;

* Douglas Karcher, an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas;

* Matthew Taylor, CGCS, director of golf for the Royal Poinciana Golf Club; and

* Michael Morris, CGCS, a golf course superintendent with the Crystal Downs Country Club.

"I haven't bought into the need for a full-blown wetting agent program yet, but we do use wetting agents on our greens during certain times of the year," says Taylor, who oversees 36 holes in Naples, Fla.

Taylor adds that wetting agents help combat localized dry spots and deal with drought conditions and related water-use restrictions.

Morris agrees, noting he is somewhat skeptical of some of the water- and money-savings claims made by some wetting agent manufacturers.

"On greens, wetting agents serve as a bridge between waxy sand coatings and water -- improving water droplet penetration," Karcher notes.

"To improve turf quality and playing surfaces, we can either water every day or cut back some on irrigation and use wetting agents," Karcher adds. "Some wetting agents have improved their residual so, in some cases, the need to apply them can be reduced from every two to three weeks to just a few times a season."

Tocco concurs that several applications of a wetting agent can help control localized dry spots and enhance soil moisture levels.

"Wetting agents clearly are one of the many tools we have to enhance turf quality," Nickolai concludes.

Too much K?

Frank Rossi challenged superintendents to think carefully about all the chemicals they apply and, more specifically, whether they're applying too much potassium on their turf. He's conducted studies on cool-season turf in New York that support ratcheting back on K. "It's a low-risk savings," he says.

Fighting back

An attendee fights back against disease pressure


Oh, no. There goes Tokyo ...

Ride in style

As Asian company showcases a Rolls Royce golf cart

The Arysta folks are colorful

Standing out in a crowd

Direct Solutions race car!

Sent from my iPhoneCheck out the sweet ride at the Direct Solutions booth! The Impala SS is a race car simulator that makes you almost feel the wind in your hair. Seeing all the people taking a crack at being the next NASCAR star made Golfdom's own Seth Jones want his shot at being the next big star on the racing circuit and he will get his chance at 4:30 today. Stop by and watch Seth go the distance!

Jacobsen party

The Jacobsen party was a blast. First-class all the way. It really made an impact, which the company hasn't done at the golf show in years. There were plenty of international customers from Asia and Europe. A nice showing. To lighten the mood, there was plenty of talk about Elvis staying at the top floor of the Las Vegas Hilton back in the day.

Talk ranged from a superintendent managing seashore paspalum in Baja California to organic pesticide use in Ohio with an agronomist.

Plenty of optimistic folks despite the less-than-positive economic conditions. Very upbeat.

- John Walsh, contributing editor

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GIS in full swing

So much action already today, and things just really gut busy for me tomorrow.

 - Went to a Phoenix UPI meeting, where they talked about changes to the company since the acquisition by UPI. Owen Towne raved about the possibilities of the company now that is was a UPI business. UPI has grown 29% in the last year. "It's still the same customer service," Towne told the group. "It's still Sharon doing our customer service. Only the last few letters of her email have changed."
- Popped into the Syngenta media reception, where Stephanie Schwenke, golf market manager, talked about Daconil Action. Bombed their boxing quiz that they gave everyone while I caught up with all of my media brethren. Chatted with Bob Goglia -- he golfed this weekend in Vegas with his 79-year-old dad.
- Saw about 100 supers I knew as I ran from one corner of the convention center to the other. Sorry that I had a cell phone attached to my ear!
- Got the Golfdom booth set up for tomorrow...

Speaking of tomorrow... we'll be presenting our Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year Award to Paul Chojnacky tomorrow at 10:45. Come see Paul and say hi!

The rest of tomorrow's schedule:

 9-10 a.m. -- Anthony Williams, CGCS, CGM, environmental editor
10-11 a.m. -- Seth Jones, editor-in-chief
11 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Beth Geraci, senior editor
12-1 p.m. -- Matt Hendren, contributing editor
2-3 p.m. -- Joel Jackson, CGCS, contributing editor
3-4 p.m. -- Clark Throssell, Ph.D., research editor
4-5 p.m. -- Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., science editor

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feherty talks superintendents, 2012 GIS, and the mower he killed

Here's a little sneak preview of what you're going to get at the 2012 Golf Industry Show. Feherty is going to kill it at the Opening Session! Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GIS Games

I'm getting revved up for the 2012 GIS! I thought I'd be ready for it, and here I am staring down Thursday, and there's still a lot to do before I leave for Las Vegas.

A couple cool things I'm looking forward to:

We're giving away an iPad at the Golfdom booth. You have to earn it, though. No random drawing. You have to be the best Wii golfer at the GIS. Best score at our booth walks away with the iPad. Bring your A-game.

I'm lucky to once again be participating in BASF's media charity event. This year we're doing "Superintendent Pyramid" which is based on some 1970s game show, I'm guessing. I'll Google it. Jeopardy! is the only game show I ever watch. But I'm looking forward to it. I've done well in BASF's games so far, knock on wood, dating back to when I won their Media Jeopardy game in 2008. I was a question away from being a "Thousandaire" last year. Fingers crossed I do well in Pyramid. Come by and see me do it, it takes place at the BASF booth (# 1860) at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

I'm also driving a race car simulator at the Direct Solutions booth. This is a first for me. It's also a competition among fellow turf media, for charity. I'll warn all those suckers: I drive an 8-cylinder Z28 everyday, and I like to drive angry, so they better bring their A-games.

OK, that's it for now. Hey, check out the photo of me playing Turf Jeopardy back in 2008! Ahh, that was a good day. I remember it well: "Who is Alan Shepard?" was the question that put me over the edge. Good times! (Watch me fall on my face at Superintendent Pyramid.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do You Have Weed Madness?

A madness of a different sort is about to begin.

FMC is hosting an NCAA bracket-style "Weed Madness" contest at the GIS to see what will prevail as the toughest weed in the land. You can vote at the GIS, or via FMC's Twitter feed. 

The details from the press release are below. I'll take Poa Annua and Goosegrass in my final four.

For the other madness? I'll take my Jayhawks, UK, 'Cuse and...... Marquette.

On February 29th and March 1st at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Las Vegas, FMC is hosting a "Weed Madness" contest by pitting 16 of the worst weeds in the country against one another to determine the Toughest Weed of 2012. Superintendents and Twitter followers (@FMCturf) can vote for the toughest weed in various match-ups over the two days.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hendren's Hyperbole -- Life on the Champions Tour

I normally do not read a lot of books -- who has the time? -- but if I decide to find the time to read a book I generally want a book about a golfer, or sports icon or possibly a story about some knuckle head who almost died climbing Everest. Two of my favorite books include Bo Knows Bo, written by Bo Jackson and Bud, Sweat and Tees, written by Rich Beem of the PGA Tour.  So when I was recently sent a book titled Inside, Outside, and On the Ropes, Life Lessons from Q-School & the Majors, written by Keith Gockenbach, I was intrigued.

The title of the book pretty much lets you know what the book is about but for a little more clarity the cover of the book states “For all golfers who wonder what it would be like to have the game, the goals, and the guts to try and make it on The PGA Tour’s Champions Tour…..” I think that is an accurate portrayal of the book in thirty words. Oh yeah, for what it is worth some guy named Fred Funk wrote the foreword.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Three things learned from Hector Mejia

Last week while I was at Pebble Beach, I took an early-morning ride along with Hector, a member of the crew at Pebble for 15 years. Here are three things I learned from Hector:

1. To catch gophers, you need to read up. Hector was tasked with this duty at Pebble, and at first he had no success. But there's a library near his house, so he read two books on the little pests. Hector says there are two keys: you have to catch them on the first try, because after you start messing with them they'll stay hidden; and you need to set the traps when their burrow is fresh. That helps.

2. Celery is the worst vegetable to work on in the fields. You have to work in mud, and it doesn't matter if it's raining outside. (If you're working lettuce, you at least get a break when it's raining.) Plus, crates of celery are heavy. Think about that the next time you're chomping on some celery and peanut butter...

3. It takes getting robbed twice before you start to think you might die. Hector had a gun pulled on him twice while he worked at a liquor store. The second time, he asked the guy, "Are you serious?" and the robber unloaded a round into the ceiling to prove how serious he was. Shortly after that, Hector asked a friend if he could help him get a job at Pebble. 15 years later, he's still there, and he loves it. After all, there's no celery, and gophers never pack heat.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Graffis BPOTY part 3 -- future water savings at Pasatiempo

Here is part three, the final part of our three-part series with Paul Chojnacky, superintendent at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., and the winner of the 2012 Herb Graffis Business Person of the Year award. In this final installment, Paul tells me about the efforts Pasatiempo is making to solve their water woes for the future.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Back from Pebble

I'm back from Pebble Beach... got some great photos, a couple great interviews. A big thanks to Chris Dalhamer and Jack Holt for the hospitality. Here's a shot of the crew before they went out on Wednesday morning.

Hole No. 7 at Pebble Beach is easily one of the most dramatic holes I've ever set foot on. Waves crashing all around on a short par three that drops down to the ocean... I got some great pics, will post them later.

I've got a couple things in the works, but right now I'm jamming on some GIS planning and paying a few bills! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Sunrise at Pebble

Sent from my iPhone

Local celebrities at the AT&T

Sent from my iPhoneHere's a pic of me and Jack Holt, assistant super out at Pebble Beach, and the dogs. Everybody likes seeing the dogs roll by on the course, they're four-legged celebrities, right up there with Michael Bolton.

Jack said they've got a big crew of volunteers this week, including a few international helpers. If Jack looks familiar, it's because Golfdom profiled him in 2010. I'm hopeful to catch up with Jack, Chris and the crew tomorrow morning. Early to bed tonight!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I like dags

Sorry, I'm still quoting "Snatch" even after being back from London for two weeks now...

Ran into Jack Holt, the longtime assistant superintendent out here at Pebble. Nabbed a photo with him, I'll post it soon. It was the first time I've met Jack, very reassuring to hear he's been enjoying Golfdom consistently over the last year. Here's a photo of his dogs... I'll post a pic of all of us (me, Jack, the dags) together shortly.

One more day at the AT&T before I fly back to the land of Oz...

Monday, February 06, 2012

Me and David Feherty

Sent from my iPhoneJust ran into my pal David Feherty out here at Pebble Beach... You want to talk about crazy schedules, there is a good chance there are two of him, as many places as he gets to in a day.

Hmm, maybe a feature story with David in Golfdom? Whaddya think, would you read that? I would.

Exclusive: PGA, Mangum Recant Brush Damage Statements Made During 2011 PGA Championship

Mangum addresses the media during the 2011 PGA Championship.

If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.

Or, in this case, if you can’t prove the brush did the damage, you must take it back.

That’s what has been determined by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division. In a stipulation of dismissal filed by the court on February 1st, 2012, in a case of greens brush manufacturer GreensPerfection Inc. versus Atlanta Athletic Club, Ken Mangum, CGCS and the PGA of America, it was declared that the defendants “never determined and never intended to say that GreensPerfection brushes caused damage to any putting greens at the Atlanta Athletic Club in August 2011.”

That’s an about-face from what was stated at the PGA Championship, in both a press release and on live TV. In a press release issued by the PGA of America concerning the damage, it stated that, “damage is believed to be the result of a significant rise in the dew point at approximately 7:00 p.m., which caused the brushes on the mowers on those greens to stick in the grass and damage the turf.” In a live press conference broadcast on the Golf Channel on August 11th, 2011, Ken Mangum, CGCS, director of golf course and grounds, echoed that sentiment, saying, “the only answer I could come up with was that the humidity changed and the brush grabbed and dug into the green and caused the problem.”

But Rodney Lingle, CGCS at Memphis CC and owner of GreensPerfection Inc., manufacturer of the brush being used at Atlanta Athletic Club, refused to believe that his brushes could have caused such damage. In a statement sent exclusively to Golfdom, Lingle states, “After the statements made at the 93rd PGA Championship, we felt a responsibility to our current customer’s concerns, as well as potential customers, to make sure they knew our product was safe and effective. GreensPerfection brushes are incapable of damaging any greens in the way represented by the defendants,” the statement reads. “According to the official court document, the defendants never determined that GreensPerfection brushes caused damage to any putting greens at the Atlanta Athletic Club and the brushes are still in use at The Atlanta Athletic Club and have been since the PGA Championship.”

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Goldom TV -- Paul Chojnacky, Part 1

Here's part one of three videos we did with Paul while we were out at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif. In part one, we talk about Paul's use of goats to clear the canyons at the course.

I'll post parts two and three tomorrow... those are both about water savings, something every superintendent can appreciate!