With a pair of grueling recoveries behind him, Sheffer is receiving a needed jolt at the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio.
Sheffer, the third-year superintendent of the Plantation Course at Edisto in Edisto, S.C., submitted the winning name Outcross in Toro’s Project Delta contest. Selecting the name of the vehicle, which possesses qualities of a tractor and utility vehicle, earned Sheffer an unexpected trip to GIS, where the Outrcross 9060 is being unveiled. The vehicle will be available to superintendents later this year.
“I have been to nationals before, but it has been a while,” Sheffer says. “I was not planning on coming. It’s been a great experience. I got to bring my family, which is awesome. They got to spend some time at the Marriott Resort while I played some golf, and they had a blast. It’s just an opportunity I wouldn’t be able to have without this.”
The contest – or equipment for that matter – didn’t enter Sheffer’s thought process last September when Hurricane Irma passed through Edisto, a coastal community between Hilton Head and Charleston. A powerful storm surge, causing debris from surrounding homes and businesses to flow onto the course, taxed Sheffer and his crew throughout September, a busy golf month in South Carolina. Sheffer received a needed morale boost in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the form of a visit from Smith Turf & Irrigation’s Steve Miller and Toro global product marketing manager Noah Wahl.
“My regional Toro salesman called me beforehand that he was coming out,” Sheffer says. “He didn’t really say what for. We were in the midst of cleanup from Hurricane Irma on the coast. I was pulled to all ends of the golf course, stressed out, trying to pull out my hair, but I don’t have any hair. (Miller) called and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll make some time.’ I never met Noah before, and Noah showed up and asked if I remembered the contest.
“At the time, I didn’t remember anything other than what happened five minutes ago. He started explaining it and it all started coming back to me. He did a little presentation with the team and they were talking about the machine and how they chose my name. The whole stress of the hurricane, the whole stress of the golf course being closed kind of went away for a couple of hours. It was a real nice surprise.”
So how did Sheffer determine the name?
“A cross between a tractor and utility vehicle was what we were going for,” he says. “Hybrid kind of came to mind, but hybrid is a word that everybody uses for everything. I did a little research and Outcrossing came up. It’s how they use it in genetics. They take the best of both organisms to make a super organism. I figured that was what Toro was going for with cross as part of the name, motocross, being outdoors and everything. It just kind of molded together.”
Guy Cipriano is GCI’s senior editor.