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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Here's a useful link

Want to check out an issue of Golfdom from 1975?

Or just want to see how many times we've done a story on fairy ring?

Maybe you just want to search for a random word -- like I just did, with the word "spider" -- and see what comes up? (Stories from 1929 and 1949!)

Then this is the link for you:

Please, check it out, have some fun... maybe even enter your own name and see what pops up! (If nothing pops up? Well, let's get to work on that!)

I have to admit, it's pretty humbling to look back at all this Golfdom history and think to yourself, "This is the magazine I'm in charge of now?!?"

I'm sure it's a lot like taking care of a golf course that's been around for a long time. You have to appreciate the history, while still looking forward!

Monday, October 22, 2012

When it comes to email, less is more

You may have noticed you’re seeing less clutter in your email inbox from your friends at Golfdom.

Well, that’s intentional. It’s not that we don’t want to write to you more, but… Well, let me explain:
For years we’ve been sending out multiple e-newsletters each month, under such names as “Inside Irrigation,” “Chip Shots,” “Puttin’ Down Roots,” “On the Green,” “Turfgrass Trends” and “Golfdom Insider.”

Moving forward, we’re going with the “less is more” approach. North Coast Media, parent company of Golfdom and our sister publications, Landscape Management and Athletic Turf News, hired an honest-to-goodness expert on digital media, a talented young woman by the name of Bethany Chambers. She brings with her real world experience as well as a masters degree from Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. And with Bethany’s help, we’re going to streamline our e-news offerings for maximum impact.

So what does that mean?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Let's fix those ball marks, people!

Just got done with a tour of the Eagle One facility in Anaheim. Love this sign!

Our grand prize winner: Junior Storie!

Last night we met up with the superintendent who won Rain Bird and Golfdom's grand prize; a trip for two to Beverly Hills to attend the intelligent use of water film Festival… Junior Storie!

Junior's a superintendent in Arkansas. we had a fun time hanging out with him last night and I'll be able to talk to him some more this evening... And good on Junior for bringing his wife out to the event, too!

More soon!


Slow going in traffic... Pat tells me this is where Boyz in the Hood took place... Crenshaw Blvd! Guess I need to add that one to my Netflix, huh?

Jack Hanna in the house!

Ok, so we ran into jack hanna while we were waiting to leave for dinner. Nice guy. But...

Everyone was waiting for the debate on TV! Isn't that the worst bar entertainment ever?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Here we come Los Angeles!

I missed Rain Bird's Intelligent Use of Water film festival last year because it was very near the due date of my son. This year, I'll be there in full force, as a judge and as a fan!

I'll keep you posted with pics and quotes as the event nears. Maybe even a celebrity sighting, if we're lucky!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Andy Wilson talks soil moisture meters, path to Bethpage

Hey everyone,

 It's been a crazy week as I've been in Cleveland most of the week, at North Coast Media headquarters, making plans for 2013. What kind of plans? BIG PLANS, my friends... BIG PLANS.

I'm back now, for two business days. I head out to the Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water film festival next Tuesday. Look for me to be blogging and Tweeting from that event.

 Anyway, a Golfdom Insider went out this week while I was in CLE. This below was the video we included with it.

 Pay close attention to the part where Andy tells me that Golfdom is indeed his favorite magazine in the industry... it's at the 1:15 mark... just in case you missed that part.

You know me, I'm here to help!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

In memoriam: Dr. Reed Funk, 84

Was just forwarded this email from Bruce Clarke, with the sad news of Dr. Reed Funk's passing:

Dear Friends:

It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. C. Reed Funk. Reed passed away the morning of Thursday, October 4 after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was 84 years old.

Reed joined the faculty at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in 1961 and was a pioneer in the field of turfgrass breeding. Throughout his illustrious career that spanned over four decades, 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. His tremendous intellect and keen sense of observation lead to many significant discoveries including the development of the first successful method of breeding Kentucky bluegrass by means of intraspecific hybridization, and the discovery that endophytic fungi can impart increased tolerance to major insect pests and enhanced performance for turfgrasses growing under environmental stress. Reed's diverse germplasm collection and enhancement programs have revolutionized the turfgrass sod and seed industries throughout the world.

In 1996, Reed embarked on an ambitious perennial tree crops breeding project at Rutgers, setting his sights on using plant breeding to develop highly nutritious and sustainable tree crops able to be grown on marginal land. Later, he expanded this project to Utah and developed a non-profit foundation dedicated to breeding tree crops adapted to the Intermountain West region of the United States. Both of these projects are prospering today because of Reed’s vision, unmatched work ethic, and commitment to excellence. Reed was a mentor to dozens of students, faculty and staff and a friend to everyone in the Rutgers and Turfgrass Community. He will be sorely missed.

There will be a viewing Tuesday, October 9, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Allen-Hall Mortuary (34 E. Center Street) in Logan, Utah and Wednesday morning, October 10 from 9:30-10:30 am at the LDS chapel (corner of 150 South and 100 East street) in Richmond, Utah prior to the funeral service. The funeral will be held on Wednesday at 11:00 am at the LDS chapel.


Bruce Clarke

Friday, October 05, 2012


I have a question for you:

Who is the most famous LIVING superintendent?

A few names come to mind right away... but I think it might depend on what part of the country you're from, on who you would say is the single most well-known superintendent alive.

But I want to know what you think!

Post your answer in the comments section below... or, if you prefer, shoot me an email -- -- and tell me who you think is currently the most famous superintendent in the land. Then, depending on the number of answers I get, maybe I'll post a poll here on the Golfdom Daily to see who comes out ahead.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Yesterday's "Chip Shots" e-news

Did you get yesterday's "Chip Shots" in your email inbox? If not, here's what you missed, below!

To sign up for Golfdom's e-newsletters (you know you want to!) visit and click on the "Golfdom E-Newsletters" button on the left-hand column.

Talking 'Back

It was a win-win at John Deere Feedback, where supers told Deere what they thought of its products in development.

By Beth Geraci

On the Duke University Campus in Durham, N.C., the patio overlooking the school's golf course was jumping. Superintendents from across the country were talking shop over cocktails and appetizers, and socializing with the Deere distributors who invited them there.

The casual evening reception, held just as the sun was about to set, was the perfect launch to John Deere's Feedback event. The superintendents, and other course reps, had been invited there to sample Deere products in development and tell Deere what they liked about them and what they didn't. Hence the name "Feedback."

Monday, October 01, 2012

Now accepting Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year nominations!

Has someone you know made a positive impact at your golf course? Has their outside-the-box thinking resulted in increased revenue? Does this person perform at such a level of excellence that he or she has made the facility more successful?

If you know someone who has done this, nominate them for the 2013 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year! We're now accepting nominations. 

Last year's winner, Paul Chojnacky, won an expenses-paid trip to the 2012 Golf Industry Show as well as the 2012 Golfdom Summit, and was profiled in our January cover story. Just ask Paul the next time you see him (pictured here on the cover of the aforementioned magazine) -- it's good to win the Herb Graffis Award!

To nominate someone -- it can be a superintendent, an assistant, a general manager, anyone, really -- shoot a message here describing why this person is deserving of the award.