Thursday, February 28, 2013

Merewitz gets Musser award

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected Dr. Emily Merewitz, Assistant Professor in Molecular Turfgrass Biology at Michigan State University, as the 2013 Award of Excellence recipient. 

The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrate overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.

Dr. Merewitz received her B.S. degrees in Plant Science and Plant Biotechnology from Rutgers University. She went on to earn her Ph.D. at Rutgers under the tutelage of Dr. Bingru Huang in molecular turfgrass physiology which is now the focus of her teaching and research at MSU.

“I am very grateful to be considered and to have received such a prestigious award,” Merewitz said. “It is quite an honor and it will motivate me even more to excel in the turfgrass industry. The industry has been extremely supportive of my research and this award means a lot to me.”

The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from universities including; Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.

To learn more about Professor H. Burton Musser, the foundation’s history and past recipients of the award, visit

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow day!

A view out the back door here at Golfdom editorial HQ in Eudora, Kan. But we're still open for business because the commute is just to the basement!

Take that, Yahoo!

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Hunter Industries president Greg Hunter positioned for success

Just got off the phone with Greg Hunter. In the wake of his father Richard's recent retirement, Hunter talked to us about how it feels to fill his father's shoes as company president, his own strengths and his goals for the company.

"I've been working for this for most of my life, and I feel very comfortable and very well prepared for it," he said. "There's been a lot of effort made over the years to make sure I've had the right kind of exposure, and I feel very confident."

As for following in his father's footsteps, Hunter said, "There are some things I'll never be able to do as well as he does."But Hunter is his own man, and he's looking forward to drawing on his own strengths as president -- especially his marketing savvy -- to grow the company into the future.

We'll have more of our interview with Greg Hunter in our March issue!

Audubon International make a move

Audubon International has relocated to its newly purchased headquarters situated in the Rensselaer Technology Park in Troy, N.Y.

The new office will allow Audubon International to continue enhancing its program offerings through an expanded workforce, and also enable the organization to operate out of an energy-efficient building in a more central, convenient location. Audubon International’s new mailing address is as follows:     

120 Defreest Drive
Troy, NY 12180
518-767-9051 (o)
518-767-9076 (f)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rather be lucky or good?

Back on the road again, this time on a not-so-public, secret mission where I won't be blogging too much. As opposed to the GIS, where we blogged every hour...

So in the meantime, check out what I scored last week at the local casino! My second royal flush ever. The $1.25 bet paid out $1,000. That gave me a rush! I was down to my last couple bucks, too. Happy Valentine's Day to me!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Causing a stink

Trouble was cooking at one Oklahoma golf course, yesterday. Guess you never know what you'll find in the port-a-potty! Check it out here.

Wayne Kappelman is the 2013 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year!


Today we unveil our February issue, which proudly presents Sharp Park superintendent WAYNE KAPPELMAN as our 2013 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year!

Read all about it here.

And check out our video interview with Kappelman here.

For winning this award, Wayne gets the cover story (and 100 extra copies of the magazine to share with his family and friends) as well as expenses-paid trips to the 2013 Golfdom Summit and the 2014 Golf Industry Show.

Congrats Wayne!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back to reality (Or: Back from my best show ever)

It always takes me a day or two to get back to reality after the GIS. That's me, a week ago today, enjoying a cold one from the pitcher's mound at PetCo Park in San Diego. Now, I'm back in my home office, trying to make sense of all the business cards and flash drives I collected over three quick days at the Golf Industry Show.

Even waiting at the airport and the flight home was productive. While waiting for my flight, I was invited to two different events. On my flight, I was seated next to one of our loyal advertisers.

Everyone I talked to was thrilled with the GIS. A lot of business was conducted, a lot of traffic at the booths, a lot of socializing once the show closed. If you missed it, you missed a great event. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about.

For me personally, the show couldn't have gone any better. The Golfdom redesign created a serious buzz for my magazine, and I heard a lot of high praise for the new look. My favorite compliment was when someone who is well known as a harsh critic told us the new look was "an absolute home run" and his colleague said "I'm looking at Golfdom and it feels like I'm reading Esquire."

For a magazine journalist and a fan of Esquire, that's like playing pick-up basketball and having a stranger tell you your game reminds him of the one time he got to play against Jordan. Or to put it in superintendent terms, that's like having a member's guest tell you the greens reminded him of Pine Valley.

Yeah, my head about floated right off my head when I heard that compliment. I needed someone to bring me back down to earth again. But instead I saw someone sitting in the airport reading the new issue and I couldn't help but smile. My best show ever? Probably.

Until the next one, at least.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Florida GCSA reception hits the deck

Of the Palomar Hotel in San Diego, that is. Golfdom columnist Joel Jackson (left), the association's director of communications, is holding court as superintendents and other industry notables from throughout the state gather on the hotel terrace to bid adieu to another GIS.

The guys aren't messing around with their shots, either, as you can see!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Let's race

One happy golfer

Rain o'er me

Stick it in

Tree injection at the Mauget booth

Meet Karl

at the Carolinas GCSA reception, which was at Karl Strauss Brewery

Loud and clear

Loudmouth apparel was popular on the trade show floor.


The Dow booth


Welcome ...

... to San Diego


At the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, Frank Rossi, Ph.D., turf extension specialist at Cornell University, discussed turfgrass color, specifically the influx of pigment products into the market. A low percentage of superintendents use pigments now, but Rossi expects that changing during the next five years. 

A criticism of using pigment products is that they can mask something superintendents need to see on the turf. Rossi says the slightest imperfection in annual bluegrass causes many superintendents who manage it to overreact and make knee-jerk decisions.

"I'm happy to paint annual bluegrass green so we see less colors in the turf," he says. "With bentgrass, though, one might take a different approach." 

Furthermore, pigments block ultraviolet light, which causes more oxidation in and damage to the plant, so pigments help protect the plant from the damaging effects of light.  

To date, all research points to the benefits of using pigments without any downsides, but Rossi says superintendents need to continue to discriminate when buying these type of products.

- John Walsh

Talking tan turf

At the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, Frank Rossi, Ph.D., turf extension specialist at Cornell University, discussed the color of turf. He started the presentation by referencing David Fay, the former executive director of the U.S. Golf Association, who has been outspoken about embracing a turfgrass color other than green. Rossi had been critical of Fay for embracing brown, which has been a persistent message from the USGA. However, that's not what golfers, especially in the larger U.S. markets, want or expect. Furthermore, superintendents can get themselves into trouble with members if they go down the brown road.


Rossi was surprised to hear seasoned golf course superintendents being critical of the brown look and their focus on the visual aspect of turfgrass.


"Are we part of the problem?" he asks. "Do we have egos? We like the green, don't we. I became part of the problem when I criticized Fay. It behooves us to think about the balance of the visual aspects of turf with how it plays. When we make decisions to improve the way turf looks – irrigation is a good example – are we lessening its playability?


"Can we live with tan?" Rossi adds. "Can we have less of a bias toward visibility and more of a bias toward playability."


Rossi cites the R&A, which he says is bold about promoting sustainability and as part of that is encouraging a wider use of fescues.


There are many moving parts to consider to strike a balance between the visual and playability aspects of turf. As such, superintendents need to be able to recognize their clientele and discuss with them taking a more sustainable approach to managing turfgrass.


"Maybe breeders will work on a grass that holds color longer while we dry it," Rossi says.

- John Walsh

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A bird's eye view ...

... in the Toro booth


In the Crop Production Services booth

A giant sausage?

No. Just a gimmick in the Sandmat booth.

Joe Schmo and Jay Blasi

Came by to say hi to us at the Golfdom booth!

Suck it up

Harper Industries' turbo vac

Vroom, vroom

Let's go for a ride.

Spin the wheel!

The  EZ Hybrid Turf booth

Come on in

The Green Flush Technologies booth

Nice pants!

Style in the Arysta booth

Orange, orange everywhere

Jacobsen with a significant presence in the Gaslamp District

Think pink ...

... at the Standard Golf booth

Former Navy SEAL teaches golf to disabled vets

Fred Brattain's main goal in life is to give back, and he's been quite successful in attaining that goal. Brattain, a former Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, teaches disabled U.S. military veterans the game of golf. While he's been doing that for years, he established the Disability Golfers Learning Foundation ( in Corona, Calif., three years ago.


Brattain, who has had 13 knee operations, has golfed since he was 8 years old. Pebble Beach was his home course, where he paid $75 a year for all the golf he could play. Brattain travels all over the country to VA hospitals to host clinics about the game of golf free of charge.


"He'll always continue to do this," says Joni Collins, Brattain's partner. "He has a great heart."


On Feb. 5, the California Golf Course Owners Association recognized Brattain with an annual award for community service for his work with disabled veterans and ADA compliance with golf courses at a reception during the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.


"I'm proud of the work Fred has done to help our veterans find there way in life," says Ed Smilow, Esq., the executive director of the California Golf Course Owners Association who has a law practice called Golf Course Law based in La Quinta, Calif. "I'm pleased as punch to recognize him tonight."


Smilow has known Brattain for years. They first met when Brattain was Smilow's student at the Professional Golfers Career College in Temecula, Calif.


Brattain, who also teaches computer skills to adults at military bases throughout the country, provided the entertainment for the reception as he played guitar and sang songs.

- John Walsh

Friday, February 01, 2013

Don't forget your November issue of GCM

Going to the GIS? Don't forget your November issue of GCM!

No, I'm not losing my mind. Listen:

In this post last week I complained that the GCSAA didn't print a GIS program this year. Well, I was wrong. Apologies to the GCSAA. They did print a program, it's in the back of the November GCM (this was the issue with the cover that had a close up of the "control" button on a computer keyboard.)

Sorry, I missed it. Now I know where it is. I will tear this out (sorry, I can't be walking around the GIS holding a GCM!) and take it with me.

I also see GCSAA included a few different languages in the program. That's cool -- well done.

I would still rather have it as a separate piece, but at least it's somewhere and not just digital (digital-only... thumb's down!)

There was some other discussion generated by that post, regarding my complaints on this year's keynote speakers. You can check it out here by scrolling down to the comments -- GCSAA gave a pretty lengthy response.

What do you think? Keep the conversation going! Or vote in the poll on this page. Am I being unfair to this year's speakers??

I'll try to post some thoughts later. Right now there's a GIS to plan for, an issue to get out the door, and an episode of The Joe Schmo Show on the DVR. I gotta get moving!