Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Congrats to Mike Hurdzan

GCSAA's press release on the winner of the 2013 Old Tom Morris Award:

Mike Hurdzan, who has gained critical acclaim for his golf course design with a focus on environmental stewardship and affordability, has been selected to receive the 2013 Old Tom Morris Award by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The award will be presented during the 2013 GCSAA Education Conference in San Diego on Feb. 6 at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta.
GCSAA's most prestigious honor, the Old Tom Morris Award is presented each year to an individual who "through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris." Morris (1821-1908) was the greenkeeper and golf professional at the St. Andrews Links Trust Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland; a four-time winner of the British Open (1861, '62, '64 and '67); and ranked as one of the top links designers of the 19th century. Previous winners include Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nancy Lopez, Nick Price and Peter Jacobsen, among others.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"I don't hate golf..."

This is my new favorite commercial on TV:

I about fell out of my seat when I saw this one. Perfect!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unusual wildlife at Lawrence CC

I was at Lawrence (Kan.) CC early this morning for a photo shoot... I didn't expect to spot such unusual wildlife while I was there!

Two funny things about KU's Big Jay and Baby Jay being at the course this morning:

1. Bill Irving, the superintendent of the course, has a dog named Ozzie. Ozzie, like Bill, is a die hard Nebraska Cornhusker. As you'll see from the first photo, Ozzie was NOT HAPPY about seeing the two mascots at the course this morning! (More on this after the jump!)

2. The mascots stayed "in character" the entire time they were there. It was 7 a.m., the course is quiet, it's just me and Bill at the putting green. The two mascots and their two coaches/handlers/attendees (I don't know what you call someone who assists a mascot... an assistant, I guess) show up. Big Jay wanted a golf ball. He could have walked up and said, "Hey guys, can I borrow a golf ball for this photo shoot?"

No way. These mascots were totally in character. They danced up to us and mimed out "we need a golf ball, please" for us.

Me and Bill are old enough that we're a little past mascot cuteness. Doesn't matter -- the Jayhawks were  pros. They never broke the first law of Jayhawk mascotting: be the bird.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ed Hunter posthumously inducted into Green Industry HOF

Edwin J. Hunter, inventor and founder of Hunter Industries, has been posthumously inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame, an organization dedicated to honoring individuals who have made lasting contributions to the betterment of the Green Industry. Inclusion in the Hall of Fame is a distinct honor and Hunter Industries is proud to have their founder included.

According to the Hall of Fame, Ed received the honor because, "His efforts and contributions have proven valuable in ensuring the development and future of our industry." Such contributions include the world's first irrigation controller, plastic sprinkler, rotor, plastic valve, valve-in-head golf course sprinkler and stream rotor.

Ed passed away in 1998 at the age of 80. His contributions to product innovation and production processes stand as a testament to his tireless work ethic, passion for engineering, and unquestionable ingenuity. Thanks to organizations like the Green Industry Hall of Fame, his legacy and name will live on for many generations to come.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poa products

My people:

I'm working on something along the lines of the new Poa products available on the market.

If you're using one, quit using one, considering using one... I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a call (785-690-7047) or an email!

Pictured is a photo of some Poa creeping into bentgrass... oh, and the original Batmobile on top of it.

(Yes, I went to Comic-Con two weeks ago... and yes, I took a photo of every Batmobile from every movie, as they were all parked right there next to the San Diego Convention Center! And no, I don't know that there is any Poa in this photo. And yes, I just wanted an excuse to post this photo here.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The 5.9% Club

I'm thrilled with the reaction our July cover story is generating with readers. It's got people talking, young and old.

If you haven't read the story yet, click here.  The story, written by Jay Charnes, a former superintendent, questions whether his chosen profession was a position he could have kept until retirement. Numbers show that very few superintendents are age 60 and older.

I'm putting up a poll. What do you think: are you concerned about making it to the 5.9%?

Final thought here -- how much cooler would it have been if that number would have been 6.0%? I've had readers email me about "The 5.9% Club." That's cool. But "The 6.0% Club," where you have to be 60 or older and a working superintendent? That would have been perfect.

Ahh well. I'm not going to manipulate numbers, even a tenth of a percent, because it looks cooler.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't let the K-Staters see this one...

I received this in the mailbox here at Golfdom HQ last week... I'm willing to bet Golfdom magazine has never received an offer from Kansas football before.

Hmm... think I can justify that expense?

OK, K-State fans: the comments section is all yours.

Fire Destroys Maintenance Building, Kills Two Dogs

Sad news from my friend Chris Sorrell, who recently took the superintendent job at Boiling Springs Golf Course in Woodward, Okla.

Last week a fire destroyed his maintenance facility, and most important to him, killed his two dogs, "Shooter," a 12-year-old schnauzer, and "Boswell," a 2-year-old Border Collie. Sorrell discovered the fire at about 6 p.m., after it was already out of control.

"It's totally awful. I couldn't get anywhere near the door... there was black smoke everywhere. (The dogs) were maybe eight or 10 feet away from me," Sorrell told me today, sadness in his voice. "You know, the whole bloody thing could have burned down if my dogs were just out on the course with me, instead of being trapped inside the shop."

Nearby courses and the local John Deere distributor, PK Equipment, have already lent a hand, donating mowers and a cup cutter. Truth be told, there just aren't many courses in this part of Oklahoma, and Sorrell, being so new to the region, doesn't know many of his fellow superintendents in the region.

"One of the real disadvantages is I've not been involved in the local chapter much, since I've only been out here for two-and-a-half months," Sorrell said. "The timing is terrible. I haven't had time to make many contacts."

If anyone would like to reach out to Chris to lend a hand, he can be reached at 580-216-5408.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Turf trials at Arkansas

Golfdom's research editor, Clark Throssell, is on the road the next couple of days, checking out research trials. He checks in with us here from Fayetteville:

Drought is the common theme on this trip. Just like in Illinois and Indiana,
it is extremely dry in Arkansas. As the plane was landing in Arkansas it was
easy to tell the turf sites that were irrigated and those that weren't. And in
a quick unscientific survey made through the airplane window, most turf sites
including home lawns, are not irrigated in northwest Arkansas. I didn't see
any golf courses as the plane was landing so I can't say much on how they are
faring with the drought.

Mike Richardson, Ph.D., and Doug Karcher, Ph.D., turfgrass scientists at the
University of Arkansas have a great turf program in place. Both Mike and Doug
have active research programs that cover many important issues facing the golf
industry. Fayetteville, Ark., home of the University of Arkansas, is one
of the places in the country where both cool and warm season grasses can be
grown so I saw all the major turfgrass species in the field.

The time I spent with Mike was devoted to looking at field experiments
designed to improve cool season turfgrass performance during heat and drought
stress, cultivar evaluations and several management studies. One of the
management studies focused on bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and Kentucky bluegrass
performance on sand capped native soil managed like a golf course tee. The
results were interesting and Mike and his graduate students will have
great practical recommendations to share based on this research.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Have you seen the kitty cat?

First we told you about the "phantom" cow that made Sunflower Hills Golf Course his home, as published here and in our July issue (pg. 8). Now we bring you news of a cat that's gone missing from her stomping grounds, Palmira Golf Course (St. John, Ind.).

The white feline, also known as Snowball, has resided on Palmira Golf Course for 10 years and hasn't been seen on the course since Sunday. Palmira owner Kelly Nicpon told The Times of northwest Indiana, "We found her as a kitten.... She's become a golf course cat. She never leaves the premises."

But when course superintendent Bill Zientara went to feed Muffins as usual Monday morning, the feline wasn't there. The Times reports that the cat's disappearance has "baffled those who knew her as the friendly cat who jumps up on golf carts, snacks on special treats and even poses for photos."

Here's hoping Muffins returns home soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Turf trials at Illinois

Golfdom's research editor, Clark Throssell, is on the road the next couple of days, checking out research trials. He checks in with us here from Champaign-Urbana:

On Wednesday I traveled to spend time with the turfgrass scientists at the
University of Illinois and see some of their field research in progress. As
the plane was landing in Indianapolis (I drove from Indy to Champaign-Urbana,
home of the University of Illinois) I was struck by the extremely dry
conditions. The flight path took us over two golf courses. One course was only
watering greens and the other was only watering greens, tees and fairways. All
the unwatered turf was brown. And it looked like it had been brown for a long
time. For mid-July the dry conditions were severe with much more hot summer
weather to follow. It has already been a long summer for turf in the Midwest.
Like much of the rest of the country, Indiana and Illinois need rain.

At the University of Illinois I meet with Tom Fermanian, Ph.D., to review two
fertility trials on putting greens and evaluations of tall fescue and fine
fescue cultivars. The trials looked great, they were all irrigated, and
yielding useful information. I spent my time with Bruce Branham, Ph.D,
reviewing some of his annual bluegrass control experiments. He is examining
both new and old compounds in various application strategies to selectively
remove annual bluegrass from the desired turf. Bruce keeps chipping away at
controlling annual bluegrass and over the years has developed effective annual
bluegrass control programs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Focusing Irrigation on Priority Areas

In case you missed it, here's yesterday's Puttin' Down Roots, by Karl Danneberger.

What do you think? In times of drought, does the rough deserve a drink? Leave us a comment below! 

With drought conditions hitting many parts of the United States this year, watering is a critical issue not only in the amount available but how it should be used. In areas where water is limited, prioritize the critical areas on a golf course that need to receive water. Obviously, greens are at the top of the list, followed by tees.

But from a golfing perspective, areas like greens surrounds/complex and associated fairway and rough landing areas may need to be considered. The green complex provides not only a visually aesthetic area but also an important area for playability. Golfers don't want to miss the putting surface by a few yards and see their golf balls bounce 30 to 50 yards away.

One of the most difficult areas to decide how to water is fairway landing areas. In some cases where water is plentiful even with a drought, the tendency is to overwater. This results in the ball plugging or causes little roll. To the golfer this is extremely disappointing, especially if a playing partner misses the fairway slightly but gets an additional 30 yards because of drought conditions in the rough.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 09, 2012

Please pardon our dust!

Golfdom -- and North Coast Media -- is moving offices today!

Our new address is:

1360 E. 9th St.
Suite 1070
Cleveland, OH

However, if you wish to reach one Seth A. Jones (allegedly the hacker pictured here,) his address remains the same:

709 E. 14th St.
Eudora, KS

Thank you!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Pace Turf video on dead grass

Dr. Larry Stowell of Pace Turf has released a new video on the heat and turf conditions these next few weeks. Might be worth sharing with golfers at your course. The video is embedded here and can be embedded on your course's website as well.

It's been in the 100s consistently here in NE Kansas... my hat is off to all you guys dealing with this weather!

When catastrophic turf losses occur due to record high heat, it can be frustrating, because there is no one to blame. The reality is that there is nothing that anyone can do in the face of the radically high temperatures and humidities the U.S. has experienced this year. “We expect to see lots of dead turf in the next two weeks, and we also expect that most of that grass will need many weeks to recover,” says Dr. Larry Stowell, director of PACE Turf. To encourage golfers to take these difficult conditions in stride, PACE Turf has released a video “Golfing on Dead Grass” now showing on YouTube.

In the video, Dr. Stowell explains to golfers that there is something they can do to help the situation. “First, be patient -- the turf will eventually recover, but it may take until fall. Secondly, why not continue playing golf even if conditions are not ideal? Sure, it won't be the same, but it can still be fun. And you will be supporting the game of golf and the golf industry, as well,” he says.

Toro spreading the word

A while back I was on the phone with Bob VandenBoom and he told me about the Toro Leaderboard. I went to the site and played around with it for a bit. It's an interesting idea. And I know what Toro is thinking on this, because superintendents trust their fellow superintendent.

Below is the press release about Toro's Leaderboard:

In multiple GCSAA member surveys, golf course superintendents consistently rank word-of-mouth from other superintendents as one of the most influential factors in a new equipment purchase decision — second only to local distributor support. Based on this research and an impassioned customer base, the marketing team created the Toro Leaderboard ( www.toro.com/Leaderboard), a new website that facilitates word-of-mouth sharing between superintendents who own Toro Equipment or Irrigation solutions.

“Our customers are the best advocates for Toro products,” says Bob VandenBoom, Toro’s senior marketing manager. “The Leaderboard website simply facilitates connections for course superintendents who are researching a new equipment purchase. They can see what nearby courses say they like about Toro products in their own words and even pick up the phone and call the course to learn more details about the product or service related experience.”

Monday, July 02, 2012

Golfdom wants to fly you places!

Exciting news!

Golfdom wants to fly you to Orlando. Or maybe Los Angeles. Heck, maybe BOTH.


I know, other magazines want to give you free hats, free webinars, free paper weights or a free high-five. (OK, we're known to give an occasional high-five as well.) But here at Golfdom, we've got some serious stuff we want to give to you, the green industry professional.

Check this out:

The 2012 Golfdom Summit has been announced (check out page 6 of this month's issue) and we're going to the beautiful Reunion Resort in Orlando! Hopefully you remember the Golfdom Summit from last year -- we put it on our cover of the December 2011 issue.

The 2011 Golfdom Summit was at Pinehurst Resort. We played Pinehurst No. 2. We had guest speakers like Rees Jones (pictured), Bob Farren (speaking, below), Ken Mangum, Clark Throssell and Anthony Williams. Simply put, a good time was had by all.

This year we're firing up the Golfdom Summit again. We're still working on the agenda and guest speakers, using what we learned from year one. Can we improve on last year's experience at Pinehurst? It'll be tough, but we're going to try like hell.

To apply for the Golfdom Summit, click right here and enter your information. I'm not sure about the number of supers we're taking yet, but my guess would be at around 50. You have to apply before I can take you to Orlando with me!

But wait, that's not all!

Golfdom and Rain Bird are teaming up to take one lucky winner and a guest of his/her choice to the Intelligent Use of Water film competition in Beverly Hills, Calif. 

That's right -- Beverly Hills, Calif. You. A friend. And your new friends from Golfdom.

We're formally announcing this sweepstakes in the July issue, but I'm giving you a head's up right now. Go here to enter your name. If you win, you can bring your wife, or your best friend, or your assistant, or your GM, whoever. We don't care. But please bring someone fun, because you'll be hanging out with me and Golfdom publisher Pat Roberts (with Jack Hanna, petting the alligator), and we like to have fun.

The trip centers around the Intelligent Use of Water film competition. We'll attend the screening. Then we'll see some sites. That's it -- no sales pitch or anything.

But be sure to give the kind folks at Rain Bird a shout-out after you're done rollin' down Rodeo, because they're the ones who have made this whole trip possible!

Man, talk about a fun blog post... we're flying people to both coasts, just hooking superintendents up!

OK... I'll admit it, I want a high-five.