Receiving and giving

Departments - Teeing Off

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January 14, 2019

Our holiday highlight arrived in the second week of December.

Without any begging or bribing, Carlos Arraya sent us an article. Carlos is the talented, engaging and enthusiastic director of agronomy and grounds at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. You might have seen Carlos a few times in 2018.

His team hosted a PGA Championship won by Brooks Koepka and invigorated by Tiger Woods, navigating Transition Zone booby traps and creating a canvas for a pulsating tournament. By keeping turf alive in a year when environmental factors suggested it should die, the Bellerive team boosted civic, club and industry pride.

Carlos made himself visible and accessible before and during the championship. He chatted turf, but he preferred discussing culture, leadership and people. The tournament ended with Tiger awkwardly hugging Koepka’s model girlfriend following the final putt. Since that made for social media moment, Carlos has further used the spotlight hosting a major championship provides to positively shape the industry.

His desire to reach a wide audience convinced him to send us an article about his biggest work passion: managing people (page 34). We immediately threw more work on Carlos and he responded with a sidebar about Bellerive University, an internal program designed to enlighten and empower club employees.

We love Carlos for thinking of us and we’re hoping more superintendents, assistant superintendents, equipment technicians, crew members, researchers, architects, builders, owners and general managers use Golf Course Industry as a platform to reach their peers in 2019. You don’t need a major championship pedigree to write for us. You simply need to put your ideas in writing and email them to gcipriano@gie.net. And don’t just save them for our annual Turfheads Take Over issue in December. We love unexpected gifts in the other 11 months. Don’t feel restricted by topic or length. This magazine is about you and your peers, so we’ll work with you to find the proper print or digital avenue to tell your story.

The second part of our holiday exacta arrived two days after Carlos clicked send: We received the first of what will be dozens of columns from Matthew Wharton.

While our quest for professional utopia isn’t as weather dependent as yours, we are always seeking to elevate our product. Sometimes that quest drives us a bit zany. Sound familiar? Our assessment led us to a weakness. The industry’s best columnist lineup lacked a current superintendent.

Thousands of turflicious people exist, yet we conducted a quick and decisive search to find our newest columnist. We offered the gig to Matthew, the superintendent at Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C. He accepted the offer less than an hour later.

If you have read Matthew’s contributions to our past three Turfheads Take Over issues, his blog entries and tweets, you understand why he’s now formally part of our team. His knowledge, dedication and passion, and folksy writing style, resonate with turf managers at facilities of all levels. We’re calling his column “America’s Greenkeeper,” a play on his fabulous blog, “The Greenkeeper.” The title foreshadows the relatable columns Matthew plans on producing.

His debut column (page 56) will spark conversations about decorum and generational differences. Managing different generations perplexes superintendents everywhere. Data from our annual State of the Industry survey (page 15) proves people are causing superintendents more angst than disease, finances or awful weather.

At least one of Matthew’s colleagues feels he’s conquered generational divides. Fortunately, he reveals his secret on these pages.