Monday, April 30, 2012

Bucks for Turf

Our own Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., talks about a new program to help out the turf research department at OSU...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yellow Ring

This email just was sent out via Golfdom's "Putting Down Roots" e-newsletter. Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., talks a little Yellow Patch:

The appearance of yellow to reddish brown rings is a common springtime occurrence on golf course turf. Yellow Patch, or cool temperature brown patch, is often associated with these rings. They occur on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), but the symptoms are most widespread on Poa annua. The patches can range from circular to irregular or scallop shaped, ranging from 1 to 3 feet in diameter. The yellow ring along the circumference of the patch ranges from one-half an inch to an inch in width. Yellow patch, caused by the pathogen Rhizoctonia cerealis , occurs under cool (50 to 65 F), wet, cloudy conditions. The disease is normally considered a minor problem, because with the arrival of warmer sunny conditions, the symptoms disappeared.

If daytime temperature increases (80s) and the yellow rings persist, the likelihood that brown ring patch is the culprit increases.  The brown ring patch pathogen was initially described as "Rhizoctonia-like." Researchers at the University of California, Riverside identified the pathogen as Waitea circinata. Previously, researchers in Japan identified the same pathogen as causing similar symptoms on creeping bentgrass and named the disease "brown ring patch."

Fungicides are available for the control of brown ring patch and, should you decide to treat, contact your local extension specialist or company representative for recommendations.

If you didn't get the email, jump over to  to sign up for all our e-newsletters, written by turf specialists Danneberger, Clark Throssell, Ph.D., irrigation specialist Joe Turk, and Golfdom staffers Beth Geraci and yours truly!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GCSAA Golf Tournament condenses dates

Right on, GCSAA! This is a great move!

From the announcement:

The golf tournament will begin with the four-ball competition Sunday, Feb. 3, with the golf classic and national championship being conducted Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 4-5. A new event, likely featuring a scramble or shamble format, will be conducted Monday, Feb. 4, for those not participating in the classic or the national championship. The Sunday, Feb. 3 four-ball is a stand-alone event and does not require participation in the new Monday activity or the classic/national championship. In recent years, the four-ball was held on Friday, with the classic and national championship conducted Saturday and Sunday.

GCSAA just hit a triple in my book... they can make it a home run (and their best number of participants in years) if they can now get Torrey Pines to be one of the host courses!

Monday, April 23, 2012

RBC Heritage

Heritage Aircheck from M Street Creative on Vimeo.
Nice video here about the RBC Heritage, and how it's rallied back from near death...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Take the Golfdom greens survey!

Take a minute to participate in our putting greens survey! Results will be published in next month's issue. Oh, and we'll select someone at random to win $100!

Here is the link to the survey:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Golf Car Maintenance Webinar

Thanks to early warm temps throughout the country, the golf season has launched early, too. And just as important as the condition of your course is the condition of your golf car fleet. So tune in next week to Club Car's Webinar Golf Car Fleet Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment. Learn how to keep your fleet in top condition and maintain its value in the long run. Also, get tips on how to get the longest life from your golf car batteries, learn why daily inspection is important and more. The free Webinar takes place April 24, 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m. EDT. Your Webinar attendance also makes you eligible for a chance to win a free iPad! Register here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shout-out for Scioto CC in Columbus!

Cool news from the USGA yesterday -- that Scioto CC in Columbus will host the 2016 U.S. Senior Open. Congrats to the crew there -- Robert Becker, CGCS and Mark Yoder, CGCS, and company -- on the big news!

Here's the press release:

The United States Golf Association today announced Scioto Country Club, in Columbus, Ohio, as the host site of the 2016 U.S. Senior Open Championship. This will be the fourth USGA championship held at Scioto Country Club, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016 as the first 18-hole course in central Ohio. The dates of the championship are Aug. 11-14.

“The USGA is delighted to return to Scioto Country Club, especially on the occasion of the club’s centennial,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, who made the announcement from the club on Tuesday morning. “Scioto Country Club’s rich history is associated with two of the USGA’s greatest champions in Bob Jones and Jack Nicklaus. Central Ohio, especially the state capital of Columbus, will be an enthusiastic setting for conducting a successful 2016 U.S. Senior Open.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The good news keeps coming

Check out this story from northwest Arkansas's The City Wire.

An excerpt:

Scott Murphy, golf professional at Paradise Valley Athletic Club in Fayetteville, said the mild winter allowed people to play year-round – a sharp contrast to last year when snow lay on the ground for weeks at a time.

“Our golf course is in June shape and it’s early April,” Murphy said. “Business is great and sales are way up.”

Murphy said rounds of golf are up 50% from March and April of last year. Sales are up 50% or more in the pro shop, he said.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hendren's Hyperbole -- Na to help with some maintenance at TPC San Antonio

If you have ever thought that professional golfers take themselves too seriously you obviously haven’t met Kevin Na. I don’t know if you remember last year’s Valero Texas Open but I know I will never forget it. Na carded an awesome 16 on No. 9. More than a few of those shots were from the woods on the right side of the fairway.

Na has graciously accepted an invitation to join the maintenance crew today at TPC San Antonio to clear out some of those very same woods. It’s nice to see a professional golfer take the occasional 16 and even better to see that some professional golfers have a sense of humor! Take a page from Kevin’s book, Tiger!

Speaking of humor in golf, yesterday I was watching the RBC Heritage while snoozing on the couch when I heard the funniest thing I have ever heard while watching golf. I was half asleep so I am not sure who said it but one of the announcers was talking about Pettersson and Knost as they were heading down a fairway after a tee shot and referred to them as “The group that is exercise resistant.”

That is the nicest way I have ever heard anyone call someone fat. I am absolutely going to steal that line and add it to my list of go to sayings. Good lookin' out, PGA Tour!

-- Matt Hendren

Friday, April 13, 2012

Back from Denver

I had a great time visiting a handful of courses over 24 hours in Denver. Thanks to all the supers who gave me their time (and Rockies tix!) while I was out there -- you know who you are and as soon as I'm done writing this blog, I'll begin hand-writing some thank you notes.

One thing I didn't want to bring back from Denver was a cold. I'm sure the gents who sat on either side of me on my Southwest flight are cursing me today. Sorry, guys.

Here's a pic from one of the courses I visited -- Saddle Rock GC in Aurora, where Mike Osley is the CGCS. Everything is on the verge of greening up there. Colorado just endured its driest March ever (they got nothing -- zilp, zilch, nada) so the guys are all praying for rain.

A great time in Denver, I look forward to getting back there soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hendren's Hyperbole -- Farewell to a Friend

What’s up Golfdom fans?!? Hendren here after a great weekend of Masters golf. Congrats Bubba! I don’t know what was better, seeing Bubba win or the fact that Tiger keeps proving he is who I thought he was. Either way it was a great weekend. On another note, the entire Golfdom crew was in Kansas City last week, which doesn’t happen often. We had a great time watching the NCAA Championship game and spent some time at the Country Club Plaza. All in all the last ten day in Hyperbole Land have been top-notch.

I did get some sad news a couple of weeks ago. Rockwood Golf Club in Independence, Mo., is no more. Rockwood is the first course that gave me a shot as a superintendent and for that reason has always been a special course to me. Rockwood was a small budget course as of late but had a huge history. President Truman was a member of Rockwood back in the day and it was rumored that many of the gangsters of the 1930s also hung out at Rockwood.

I realize courses are closing their doors at an alarming rate during these tough economic times but I don’t think course owners fully realize the impact this has on maintenance staffs and superintendents specifically. To most course owners the course is just a business opportunity. Nothing could be father from how a superintendent feels about “his” course. Blood, sweat, and more hours than I would care to admit are spent by superintendents at their course doing everything in their power to produce a quality product.

I was reading an article in Golf Business recently that was about ways courses can overcome challenges while motivating and retaining employees. The majority of the article was about clubhouse operations, but course maintenance was touched on as well. The articles talked about how courses are starting to replace assistant superintendent positions with a “crew foreman” and slash the position’s salary by $14,000 while keeping all the responsibility.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

News and notes: Phipps to GCSAA, Augusta Sand and Golf's Bounce-Back

Check this out: David Phipps, formerly the superintendent out at Stone Creek GC in Oregon City, Ore., has accepted a job with GCSAA as the Northwest Field Staff Rep. 

This is a great hire for the GCSAA, David is exactly the kind of guy you want representing the national association. Congrats David, enjoy the GCSAA Christmas party, look me up next time you're in Lawrence and can get away from GCAA HQ for a few hours, drinks are on me!

I was just on -- my favorite sports gossip site -- and saw that this guy got arrested at Augusta National for trying to scoop some sand out of a bunker. Beer is cheap at Augusta National, and with enough of it, things like grabbing sand as a souvenir make sense (or so I'm told.)

I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone pocket some grass at Augusta National. It's hallowed ground to so many people. That's just a rough way to get arrested. At least the guy I saw getting busted at the Phoenix Open got to go for a swim in front of thousands of fans before he was knocked in the dirt and cuffed. I bet if the guy had it to do over again, he would have headed for a green...

And the best thing I've read lately (even better than anything on Deadspin) is this story from Bloomberg News that golf is riding a bounce-back and growing for the first time in five years with increasing golf rounds, equipment purchases and yes, maintenance equipment. Toro, John Deere and Jacobsen are all quoted in the story.

"There's older equipment out there that has quite a bit of hours and courses are realizing that they need to go ahead and re-fleet and purchase new equipment," Denny Docherty of John Deere tells Bloomberg News in the story.

That's the kind of thing this industry needs right now -- businesses looking ahead, instead of looking down!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Bubba's our Boy!

Congrats to Bubba Watson on winning the Masters today!

Bubba has been good to Golfdom in the past, and he clearly is an advocate of the superintendent and one of those golfers who "gets it." I had a chance to chat with Bubba at Congressional during last year's U.S. Open, and this is what he told me about superintendents and their work:

"People don’t understand how hard it is. 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."

Bubba was a real gentlemen to talk to and gave me plenty of time to talk about course conditions and the work of superintendents. So Bubba is not only the Masters champion, but he's also a good dude, in our book.

Congrats Bubba!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Syngenta's Bell Announces Retirement

One of my great friends in the industry, and, in fact, a great friend of the industry, Syngenta's Margaret Bell has announced she will retire, her last day set for May 4th.

Margaret began working in the industry -- working in the green, pest control and ag industries at various times -- in the late 1970s. Since 2001, she has worked in marketing communications in Syngenta's Lawn & Garden group.

Margaret has worked closely with the trade media, helping us cover the industry and answering our many questions. She has also been active in the various associations -- GCSAA, TOCA, PLANET, Project EverGreen, among others.

Margaret has always been a fun person to work with. For example, she's constantly giving me a hard time on how my hair looks exactly the same (short) every time she sees me. She tries to convince people I travel with my barber. (She's not far off -- I am somewhat OCD about visiting the barber.) The joke is especially biting around some of my colleagues who are more, uhh, let's say folically challenged.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


It's a big time in sports right now. We just had the NCAA Final Four, MLB's opening day, the Masters has begun, then there's... the Wrestlemania Pro-Am.

If you missed Sunday's Wrestlemania XXVIII, well, I heard it was a good one, and I read somewhere that the Rock was victorious over John Cena. The undercard to that epic battle, though, was an epic scramble of WWE superstars at Doral Resort and Spa. The folks at WWE were kind enough to send me these pics of the Big Show putting (that's probably a belly putter he's using, but his size makes it look like a belly putter) and the always annoying Miz celebrating what was surely a missed two-foot putt.

For the complete report on the WWE shootout at Doral, including an appearance by Mike Tyson, click here. I'll have to check in with the crew out at Doral to see if the WWE guys fix their ball marks...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Major change

It's Masters week, and you know me -- that means I'm somewhere in Georgia, on my way to Augusta National.



For a couple reasons, I've switched up my tournament schedule this year. I've decided to make it a Major-less 2012. Instead of going to the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, I'm attending the Phoenix Open (which took place in February) the AT&T Pebble Beach National (ditto), the Wells Fargo Championship (May, Quail Hollow in Charlotte) and one other tournament that I'll tell you about once I get all the credentials and everything confirmed.

So, no egg salad sandwich and cheap beer at Amen Corner for your pal Jonesy this year. But there is still a lot of golf to be seen this year...