Friday, March 29, 2013

Best. Month. EVER.

Wow! What a month here at the Golfdom Daily!
"Hey Sned, you read the Golfdom Daily?" "You bet, Tiger. Every day!"

Why? Because we just set a record for the most hits ever in a single month.

And why not? We had great content this month. From a one-on-one with Arnold Palmer (a legend) to a one-on-one with Chase Rogan (a reality TV star). From photos of a sinkhole in Illinois to a photo of steaks on the grill in Florida. Photo parades. A floating TV camera. Keegan Bradley, one-on-one.

In my best Sinatra, "It was a very fine month."

So thanks to everyone who came by the blog to visit us this month. Please check back in again. I promise more sinkholes. Those things are hiding everywhere...


Your pals at Golfdom

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gruesome discovery near golf course

Wouldn't want to be the golfers who discovered two bodies near a Tallahassee golf course. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Update from Beaver on storm damage at Bay Hill

If the Arnold Palmer Invitational is going to run into the next week, then "Arnold Palmer Week" at the Golfdom Daily will as well!

I just got off the phone with Matt Beaver, superintendent at Bay Hill, to discuss the intense storm that hit Orlando yesterday, causing the final round to get postponed to today. (I was already back in Kansas by then, so no photos from me this time -- sorry! But the PGA Tour has some pics up here.)

"It depends on who you ask, but we had 50- to 60-mile-per-hour gusts out there. That's pretty wild during a tournament, with everything up on the golf course.

We lost a couple trees, but nothing that affected play. One TV tower fell over, but luckily, we don't have to deal with that. A bunch of boards were blown down, leaves, branches...

There was a tornado warning that popped up at one point. We got everyone inside right away, kept everyone safe.

As far as the rain itself, we got 1.3, 1.4 inches in the rain gauge. This golf course drains really well. We were almost completely dry between the ropes by last night. We mowed fairways, tees and greens this morning.

Today it's going to be a cool, windy day. But a good day -- no rain."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bay Hill pic parade pt. 2

A helicopter-camera hovering above the range. Cool! Noisy, though.

A closer look at the copter-cam. Reminds me of that floating football in the movie "Flash Gordon."

Brandt Snedeker, shortly after our interview. Would have liked to have used the photo then, but... well, things get busy!

The crew cut the rough on Tuesday.

More mowing.

Willie shows off the day's lunch -- some awesome steaks!

Thumb's up to this crew. Some of the nicest, most accommodating, laid-back guys I've ever met at a maintenance building.

Aww! A family of Sam Hill Cranes.

Mowers all around!

Palmer on: What he looks for in a superintendent


A lot of what I look for in a super is if he’s paying attention to the details of maintaining a golf course. That is very important to me and something I watch constantly. Simple little things like where they turn the mowers, and how they turn the mowers, whether it be a greens mower or a fringe or a tractor-trailer mower, whatever. How careful they are —there’s a lot of damage that can be done just by maintaining a golf course."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Charley Hoffman on condition at Bay Hill

A look at the current leaderboard shows Charley Hoffman in a tie for third, after firing a 69 in the first round.

I asked Charley what he thought of the way the course was playing after his practice round on Tuesday... Charley was clear he liked what he saw, and his score today seems to reflect that:

“I’ve only played here a handful of times, but it’s the best I’ve ever seen it. Greens are perfect, fairways are perfect. The rough is thick enough, that’s for sure.

Greens are perfect, probably the best they’ve ever been here. Hopefully they don’t trick them up too much, they’re perfect now.”

Palmer on: Key holes and keys to winning his invitational

No. 17 at Bay Hill.
"I think (holes) 16, 17 and 18 will be the holes most noted. 16 is a very soft par 5... a lot of the players can pick up eagle. 17 is a par three, a little over 200 yards, that will be key depending on the pin placement. And 18, a lot of guys will lay up off the tee for a longer shot into the green to avoid the water on the right side off the tees. Three holes that are attractive and challenging.

Keeping the ball in the fairway is going to be major. The roughs are not particularly long but they’re very thick. The ball is going to sink down, and the shots out of the rough to the greens are going to be key because unless it rains excessively -- which we do not expect -- the ball will be bouncing on the greens... they’ll be firm and fast.

Fairway shots, driving it into the fairway is one of the key things, it’s going to be necessary for the guy who wins this tournament to do. It'll be quite interesting. The fairways are firm, they’re cut down, and the greens are fast and hard."

AP/Golfdom meeting gets mentioned by... the AP

Well, this isn't something that happens everyday...

AP golf writer Doug Ferguson mentions Golfdom in today's story on Arnold Palmer. Here's the excerpt:

Palmer is one of those guys. Always has been. And that's why so many people want to meet the King.

A staff member came into the room and mentioned two men who were outside the office and wanted to say hello. One was Seth Jones, the editor of Golfdom magazine who recently interviewed Palmer for a project he was working on.

"Well, bring him in," Palmer said, rising from behind his desk with a broadening smile. Dressed in slacks and a pink shirt, Palmer made sure the two men met everyone in the room and made small talk for a few minutes before closing with that powerful handshake and a smile. "Nice to see you guys," he told them.

This story has been picked up all over the country. Here are a few examples:

Looks like I was in the right place at the right time.

I did see Doug later that same day (this was on Monday) and chatted with him about Palmer (I wanted to make sure I didn't hurt any feelings by breaking in on that meeting.) He laughed and told me that our timing was great, and that I would probably be mentioned in his story.

Turns out he wasn't kidding. Very cool! Always good to get the name Golfdom magazine in papers across the country.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Keegan Bradley on conditions at Bay Hill

 "It's looking really good. It's going to be tough as usual. The course is nice and firm. This course is hard. It's going to be a good test.


The greens feel great. Not a lot of grass on them, they're really cooked. I think that, as usual, they're tough, they're firm. The rough is thick.


I've only played here one other time, my rookie year. It's similar… by Sunday it'll be really, really firm. Everything is super-tough out there."

Palmer on: the work of superintendent Matt Beaver

I asked Mr. Palmer if he could talk a little about the work of Bay Hill superintendent Matt Beaver....

"He has been here about 10 years and is doing an excellent job. He’s a great young man and someone I’m particularly interested in… helping him and keeping him doing the things that he’s doing so well now.

I think -- well, I know -- the course is about as good as it’s ever been."

Beaver fine with the rain

Just spoke with Matt about how the morning thunderstorm would impact playability. "We were really hot and dry... We let it dry out because we thought it would rain yesterday. I'm happy it rained, we needed it."

He also said the course is like a sponge, and will suck in that rain in no time. They delayed the pro-am for an hour, then it's back to golf.

The crew? They were sent home to rest. They'll be back by 2 pm.

Pouring here

Absolutely dumping here at Bay Hill. Will follow the crew out once it subsides.

'It is what it is!'

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bay Hill pic parade

Me gusta Arnold Palmer Week!
Willie is ready to take on the world!

Beaver and volunteer Larry from Rhode Island.

Wayne and Craig, the two loyal, hardworking assistants at Bay Hill.
Straight as an arrow.

Stuart, from Irleand, Ping, from China. Both in the Ohio State turf program.

Discussing soil moisture goals.

Brandt Snedeker on conditions at Bay Hill

"The course is playing great. It's real firm, real fast, not a blade of grass out of place. It's in beautiful shape. It's going to be a tough test this week, it's going to get firmer and faster throughout the week.

...this is as plush as I've ever seen it, there's so much grass, the greens are as fast as I've ever seen them and they're already really firm. This is as primo as I've seen this place play. They've done a great job getting ready for it."

Bold words from the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup points leader!

Palmer on: the state of the industry

I asked Mr. Palmer his feelings on how the golf industry was doing, and what he was seeing for his design firm...

"I’ve been reading a little bit about the economy and what is happening to golf. The only place I’ve seen an appreciable downturn is the construction of new golf courses.

(New course constructions) are starting to rev up a little. I think we’ll be building some courses, and redoing some courses. (And) rounds played are increasing and will increase 2013.

Mostly right now, (we're doing) repairs or upgrading courses. We have some potentials in Mexico, South America, China, and a couple of very likely prospects in the United States. The business is not that bad."

Steaks a cookin'

I'm here on the right day! Steaks for lunch courtesy of Syngenta and Howard Fertilizer & Chemical!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Palmer's pals

What a great first day here at the Arnold Palmer Invitational! I'm beat, but ready for more.

Special thanks to Matt Beaver for all the time today, and to Arnold Palmer, the King, for welcoming us into his office to say hello.

Pictured above, Shingle Creek's Rickey Craig, Beaver and yours truly.

More soon!

Palmer on: Golfdom founder Herb Graffis

Golfdom was founded by World Golf Hall of Famer Herb Graffis in 1927. Arnold Palmer was a good friend of Mr. Graffis', so I asked him to tell us about him:

"Herb was a good friend. We spent a lot of time together, mostly just kibitzing and talking about golf and what the magazine does and the things that were important for people to read about in the game of golf, and how superintendents react to the various situations that arise in the process of being a superintendent.

...And he was a character —he always had a good joke."

Beaver sighting

Just spoke with Matt Beaver here at Bay Hill -- super nice guy. And I even got a compliment from Audrey Forrest, marina manager, on how much she likes our magazine. We're off to a good start for Arnold Palmer Week!

Welcome to Arnold Palmer week!

You've heard of Shark Week? Well, here at the Golfdom Daily, we'd like to welcome you to ARNOLD PALMER WEEK!

That's right... we're at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week... and guess what else? We've got one-on-one access to Mr. Palmer as well!

I'll be sharing a few soundbites each day from our one-on-one interview Mr. Palmer gave us recently, while also sharing some stories from the tournament. Please check back often, as we'll be updating the blog as often as we can. I don't know what all we'll have, but for sure I can tell you we'll have, among other things, soundbites from the King regarding:

-- the current state of the golf business
-- what Mr. Palmer looks for in a superintendent
-- equipment that's caught his eye recently
-- keys to winning at Bay Hill
-- I don't know, maybe a joke or two?

Who knows? But... welcome to ARNOLD PALMER WEEK!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Photos of the sinkhole from the super himself

A mighty huge thanks to John Soetaert, CGCS, for sending us these shots of the sinkhole at Annbriar Golf Course. It's not like he's got much spare time these days, you know? 

Check out the immense progress he and his crew have made in repairing the sinkhole—all this in less than a week! For the record, they'll be ready to sod on Monday. Tell us if this isn't impressive. Thanks so much for sending them our way, John! We owe you a beer.

The initial hole the golfer created when he collapsed the underground void.

The secured area, immediately after the fall

Beginning excavation and "collapsing the void." The maintenance team had to do this because onlookers kept pushing the fence down to get a closer look.
The backhoe digs as far down as it can--16 ft., not 18 ft., as reported.

Filling the hole with riprap. They used an estimated 100 tons of it.
The area will be graded Friday and ready for sod on Monday.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CGCS Soetaert on sinkhole

Just got off the phone with John Soetaert, CGCS at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill. The course made national headlines after a golfer was swallowed by a sinkhole on the 14th fairway last Friday, suffering a dislocated shoulder and bruises. The sinkhole was 10 feet across, marveled Soetaert, who was at the barbershop with his kids Friday afternoon when he got the call to return to work.

"I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable!" he said of getting the call. He rushed to the course and sprung into action, fencing off the sinkhole. 

"It looks like he just fell through the earth," Soetaert said. "I crawled up to the hole. It looked like a Hershey's Kiss under the ground, a bell-shaped void." The sinkhole is smack in the middle of the fairway, so there's really only one worse place it could be—on a putting green, Soetaert said

The course has other sinkholes but none so drastic as this one. It's too early to estimate how long it will take to excavate and repair it, but Soetaert's hoping repairs won't take longer than a couple weeks. Since he and his grounds crew are fully occupied with the sinkhole, Soetaert had to call in reinforcements to help with pre-emergents and day-to-day maintenance. 

But he's just happy the golfer wasn't injured more than he was. "I've been working on a golf course since 1986 and I've never seen anything like this," he said.

For more of our interview with Soetaert, check out our April issue!

Good news: no one has funny video of you dancing

I don't know if this bird tweets or clucks or warbles.
And no one is saying bad things about you on their blog.

And probably, no one is spreading nasty rumors about you. (But I'll admit, these are all guesses.)

If you don't know what I'm writing about, then you probably don't do much on Twitter. Because if you're like me, and are (somewhat) active on Twitter, then you probably see the above messages maybe once a day.

It works like this, as far as I can tell (and I'm no expert): There's some kind of hack where you get a direct message from one of your followers saying that "someone is spreading bad rumors about you" (or whatever) and there's a link to click. Click that link and... well, I don't know because I've never clicked the link, but I assume it somehow leads down the path that everyone who follows you gets the same spam message.

OK, I just Google'd it. This guy is an expert on it, and he does a better job of describing it here:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just a few shots from a cool town

I paid a visit to Auburn, Ala., last week and found it to be a very cool town. Never been to a school so crazy about football. Just wanted to share a few of the sights.

16th tee, Moore's Mill GC

Sinkhole on a golf course

These sinkhole stories are freaking me out. This one on a golf course in southwest Illinois:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cover of the year?

Today's job, along with many of my colleagues from around the industry, is to decide what was the best thing we did last year.

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association, which we're members of, gives its annual TOCA awards in May. So I'm shuffling 2012 copies across my desk today, trying to decide what gets nominated and what doesn't.

If you have any feedback, something you think really stood out last year, shoot me a comment or an email.

Trying to figure out what were my favorite covers last year... I think this one made some of the most noise (definitely the most stressful)... Hard to believe that was only a year ago... feels like it was ten years ago!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Awesome morning at Moore's Mill

Just want to give a shout out to Joel Beason, assistant super at Moore's Mill GC, for showing me around today—and on short notice to boot. 

I'm down in Joel's neck of the woods, Auburn, Ala., for a quick stint. And let me tell you, sneaking in a visit to Moore's Mill was a definite highlight. The new TifEagle greens could not look better! Turns out the club is Jason Dufner's home course, too, which is pretty darn cool. 

While I was there, we even happened upon the club's owner, Billy Cleveland, who was pleased to hear I live in Cleveland.

Now if only I could say "Moore's Mill" 10 times fast. Still working on that.

Thanks for taking the time, Joel!

--Beth Geraci

Thanks, but I'll pass

Just want to share this appetizing shot of the rolls at last night's dinner. Ummm, butter!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Twitter Q&A with Chase Rogan, TV's Joe Schmo

  1. Hey Chase, in honor of the final episode of Spike's Joe Schmo Show airing tonight, how about a quick Twitter Q&A?
  2. OK... I saw you run thru like 5 doors on TV, when it was supposed to be set up for u to lose. Did that hurt?
  3. My adrenaline was cranking, I can't say I felt much. Except for the rush of possibly wearing the immunity vest.
  4. U beat Lorenzo Llamas and he's built like an NFL linebacker. Did u trash talk Lorenzo? Is he that big, or TV magic?
  5. he's a pretty big guy, and fit. I'm not typically a trash talker, so I let my "play" do the talking.
  6. They "gave" u a llama last ep. Did u ever have a thought about how u'd take care of it in Pittsburgh? ?
  7. Grass? I think? My parents have a farm about 90 miles north of Said Llama would have loved it. And me too.
  8. Did llama have a name? What 'spirit animal' would u hve preferred? 4 me, I'd go with a Bud Ice penguin.
  9. Hahaha If I coulda brought him home, he would be Llama Llamas. I prefer fox for obvi reasons.
  10. I ask this of everyone... what's ur beer of choice? I notice the labels are covered up on the show.
  11. Some blue moon, and some local LA micros that were very enjoyable. I dig a good .
  12. I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin... glad Jake's wife didn't hit on u in the show, because... DAMN.
  13. Well done ! I know u were recognized at the . Has the frequency of being spotted with a "Hey, !" increased much?
  14. It's becoming more frequent, but it's always fun. Much to the fans!
  15. Final episode on tonight 10 pm EST, Any big plans? Will Lorenzo be with you? How about the immunity vest?
  16. Ill be w friends and family. My llama painting and casual pouch will also be in attendance. joeschmo
  17. Thanks for giving ur time! I'll leave u alone now, we'll be watching tonite rooting u on!