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!