- Mike Muzio, Stotz Equipment
- Russell Montgomery, Revels Turf and Tractor
- Jim Leiseberg, Everglades Equipment Group
- Steve Lebsack, Pacific Golf & Turf
- Pierre Morin, Martin Deerline Ltd.
John Deere celebrated its top golf dealer and sales representatives during a special awards ceremony. Held remotely this year, the company announced Beard Equipment Group as the Dealer of the Year.
“Each year we look forward to celebrating our dealers and their sales teams. This year’s ceremony was even more special, allowing us to acknowledge their hard work and unwavering commitment to our customers,” said Manny Gan, global director of golf, John Deere. “Our dealers and sales teams play a critical role in our success in the golf industry, ensuring that John Deere is trusted by the world’s top courses. During these unprecedented times, they have navigated every turn, supporting and uplifting our customers through it all. We are thankful for our dealers and appreciate everything they do for our customers.”
In addition to the Dealer of the Year award, John Deere also honored its sales leaders. Ralph Brannin of Beard Equipment Company received the sales manager of the year award. The sales person of the year recipients include:
Toro has introduced the TransPro 200, a trailer created to increase productivity for walk mowing greens. The TransPro 200 gives up to two mowers a super secure ride so that precision settings don’t change during transport. The trailer is designed to ensure operators can quickly unload greens mowers upon reaching playing surfaces.
“Everything about the TransPro 200 trailer is designed to help make it easier for operators to do their job,” said Jeff Drake, global product marketing manager at Toro. “They can easily transport up to two greens mowers to the mowing area, and because the TransPro 200 keeps the mowers secure, superintendents can have peace of mind that mower adjustments remain intact.”
The TransPro 200 secures mowers by combining a front roller pocket, rubber mats and wheel/donut retainers. Once the ramp or rails are raised, the mowers are locked securely in place so they retain their height-of-cut adjustments during transport.
Adjustable roller pockets make it easy to configure the TransPro 200 to ensure a perfect fit for fixed units and flex units, with or without groomers. The hitch height is adjustable, too, allowing 2.5 inches of adjustment for level trailering regardless of the tow vehicle. A hitch pin release is incorporated into the convenient lift handle, making it quick and easy to hitch and unhitch the trailer.
The rail ramp module eliminates the need to use mower transport wheels, reducing loading and unloading time by up to 50 percent. The trailer can be configured for 18-inch and 21-inch mowers without the need for additional kits. Still more time is saved through the open design, which allows for an easy washdown of the mowers without unloading.
“If you take a quick look at the TransPro 200, all you’ll see is a trailer,” Drake said. “But if you look closely at all the ways it helps our customers, what you’ll really see is a time-saving, highly productive piece of equipment.”
It’s pretty safe to say there has never been a Golf Industry Show like 2021’s virtual offering. Like many, I had no idea what to expect. I should point out I’m not an annual attendee of the show. I usually attend about every third year. Living in western Washington, I tend to hit the show when it’s on or near the West Coast. San Diego is my favorite, don’t-miss site in the rotation. Close, warm and, on a personal note, after the San Diego show ends, I take the Amtrak north to Orange County and visit my sister and her husband for a few days. It’s always a pleasant trip.
Having said that, I had not planned on attending the in-person 2021 event because the 2022 show is set for San Diego. For me, one huge benefit to the 2021 virtual show was that I could participate in an event I wasn’t planning on attending.
So, how was the virtual show? Although I can only give one person’s experience, I’d have to say there was some good, some bad, and some so-so. Some of the positives were unexpected, which made them seem even better somehow. And some of the bads were also unexpected – I think this bears out when I say I did not know what to expect of the virtual show – which seemed to make them even more frustrating somehow.
The education sessions were my favorite part of the show. I only purchased the base package, but even with that I found lots of worthwhile and informative sessions offered. Because it was virtual, logistically, I attended more sessions than I normally would have.
I found that attending a session online, either in Zoom or in a webinar, didn’t seem much different than listening to the speakers, watching a PowerPoint presentation and taking notes in person. For the most part, I actually felt like I was in the education session. Even the oddity of having the presenter speaking from their living room or den didn’t seem to diminish the experience.
For me, the trade show was a bit of an odd experience. Normally, I walk the show floor with a hint of an agenda. But, mainly, it’s not very scripted. I like to wander a bit aimlessly, eventually stumbling upon my targeted vendors while finding lots of other stuff on the way. Scrolling through the virtual trade show map just wasn’t the same. Of course, it couldn’t be the same. It was simply bound to be a bit of a weird experience no matter how it was done.
Going into a booth virtually, watching a few videos and perhaps chatting with a rep just didn’t quite get me to where I wanted to be. I think one of the things I personally like about a normal trade show is eavesdropping. Although I do tend to talk to reps about my specific target needs, I often like to listen to someone else getting the lowdown. Piggybacking on someone else’s questions, especially when it’s something I wasn’t actually targeting at the show but did have some level of interest in. That part was missing, so I just hit the things I had targeted, missing out on all that other info I normally get from wandering and eavesdropping.
Another negative for me of the virtual GIS was that I didn’t give it my full attention, primarily because I wasn’t physically there. In a normal year when I travel to another city and attend the conference, my guess is I’m actually somewhere around 95 percent present at the show. I say 95 percent because most of us stay connected to our courses while at the show at a certain level, usually through our phones. When at the show, I am show focused, first on the education sessions and then the trade show. Aside from checking into work and home a couple times, there are few, if any, distractions.
One mistake I made while attending the virtual show was doing it from work, meaning I invited all kinds of distractions. I thought I could get the crew going in the morning and then devote the rest of my day to GIS. Being at work, I soon realized tempts one to do some work. Because we have a very small crew in the winter, and because our golf course is still unusually busy even in the colder weather of winter because of COVID-19, I couldn’t help but do a little more work on the course than I had planned. I found myself running out to the course numerous times to get something done or check on something and then rushing back to a session. I felt distracted much more than I normally would have.
The opening and closing ceremonies were bound to be odd as well and, sure enough, they were. Just like the trade show, there was really no way to do this with any type of normalcy. I attended both sessions only briefly because of the oddity. Again this was expected, which somehow made it less off a letdown than the trade show.
Networking with our peers is such a big part of the show, whether it’s out in the lobby during the education sessions, on the trade show floor, or having a beer in the hotel bar in the evening or breakfast in the morning. This was sorely missing. But we all knew this going in.
The 2021 show was never going to be a normal experience. The fact that it was a show and those of us who attended felt like we got as much out of it as we possibly could have hoped made it a success at some level. It was a daunting task for those who put the effort into this to make it as good as they could. Hats off to them. Having said that, I really, really hope I get to take my San Diego trip next February.
Ron Furlong is the superintendent at Avalon Golf Links in Burlington, Washington, and a frequent Golf Course Industry contributor.
Mark F. Jordan, CGCS and natural resource leader at Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, was elected to a one-year term as president of GCSAA at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 4, held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show. He is the 85th president in the association’s history.
Jordan served as vice president of the association in 2020 and has been a member of the association’s board of directors since 2014. A 34-year member of GCSAA, Jordan is also a member and past president of the Northern Ohio GCSA.
Jordan has served as the natural resource leader at Westfield CC since 2007, but has been with the club since 1988, previously serving as general manager, club manager, superintendent and assistant superintendent. Prior to Westfield CC, Jordan had stints as an assistant superintendent at Winding Hollow Golf Club in New Albany, Ohio, and Hyde Park Golf and Country Club in Cincinnati.
“As Col. John Morley was establishing GCSAA in 1926, he used the altruistic principles of justice, faithful brotherhood and generous benevolence as foundational elements. These timeless principles continue to guide the association today,” Jordan said. “I am humbled and honored to lead this same organization that Col. Morley and every single president before me has led.”
Jordan graduated from the Ohio State University – ATI in Wooster, Ohio, with an associate of science degree in turfgrass management; and the Ohio State University in Columbus with a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy.
Other elected officers were Kevin P. Breen, CGCS and golf course superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, Calif., as vice president, and Kevin P. Sunderman, CGCS, director of grounds at Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., as secretary/treasurer.
Board members Jeff L. White, CGCS and superintendent at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan.; T.A. Barker, CGCS and superintendent at Fore Lakes Golf Course in Taylorsville, Utah; and Paul L. Carter, CGCS and superintendent at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tennessee, were elected to serve again, while Marc E. Weston, CGCS and superintendent at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington, Connecticut, was newly elected to the board.
Douglas D. Dykstra, CGCS, golf course superintendent at White Mountain Country Club in Pinetop, Arizona, continues his service on the board. John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS, grounds and facilities manager at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club, will serve as immediate past president, while past president Rafael Barajas, CGCS and the director of golf course operations at Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club in Boca Raton, Florida, retired from board service.
The GCSAA reported strong attendance for the virtual Golf Industry Show, with more than 9,300 attendees from around the world during the live event. The education component of the event featured 88 sessions, with preliminary numbers for those presentations currently at 9,197 participants total. More than 200 exhibitors are part of the trade show, and so far, have recorded 213,299 in total booth visits. The 24-hour-a-day virtual trade show will be open through March 6 as well.
“Like so many organizations this year, a virtual show was unchartered territory for us, and frankly it was difficult to project how our traditional attendance would translate to the virtual world, so we are extremely pleased with the very enthusiastic response,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “I was particularly excited to see that many facilities that took advantage of our All-Access package for everyone on the team. It really shows the desire for education for every member of the facility, and we hope our curriculum helps enhance their careers and facilities.”
The Golf Industry Show is produced by GCSAA along with its presenting partners the Golf Course Builders Association of America and American Society of Golf Course Architects.
The 2022 Golf Industry Show is currently scheduled to be an in-person event and will be in San Diego Feb. 5-10, 2022, at the San Diego Convention Center.
In other news from the Golf Industry Show:
- A team from Purdue University won the annual GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition, which was presented in partnership with John Deere Golf. It was the Boilermakers’ first win since 2009.
- Jim Nantz, three-time Emmy winner and lead anchor of CBS Sports’ golf team, received GCSAA’s 2021 Old Tom Morris award. He joined the GIS live from his home in California during the Opening Session on Feb. 2, which was presented in partnership with Syngenta.
- The General Session: Managing the Challenges of Disruptive Change on Feb. 3, which was sponsored in partnership with Bayer, featured Evans, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, USGA CEO Mike Davis and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh in a live discussion of golf’s reaction to the pandemic and how the golf industry is moving forward.
The Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the GCSAA, has again received a $50,000 grant from The Toro Company Foundation for continued support of the Rounds 4 Research program in 2021. With this contribution, Toro has donated $450,000 to the program over the past nine years.
Rounds 4 Research is designed to address a critical shortage in turfgrass research funding by auctioning donated rounds of golf online. The program allows GCSAA chapters and turfgrass foundations to participate as fundraising partners and direct the proceeds from auctioned rounds to specific projects that will have the most significant impact in their local areas. Since its launch in 2012, Rounds 4 Research has raised more than $1.75 million. The 2021 auction will be held April 26-May 2 and is available to preview at www.biddingforgood.com/rounds4research. The program is administered by the EIFG and presented in partnership with Toro.
“On behalf of GCSAA and its members, we thank Toro for its continuing commitment to Rounds 4 Research," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “Toro’s support has been critical to the success of the program, which provides long-term benefit to the golf industry and the game.
Toro is a longtime partner of the EIFG, donating nearly $2.3 million since 1987 to help support scientific research, education and scholarships for future turfgrass professionals. As the exclusive presenting partner of Rounds 4 Research, Toro is a Victory Club member of the EIFG cumulative giving program and a GCSAA Platinum Partner.
“Rounds for Research not only supports important local research, but it also gets people playing golf, a win-win for the industry,” said Judson McNeil, president of The Toro Company Foundation. “This partnership with the Environmental Institute for Golf highlights the importance Toro places on supporting the golf industry and we are proud of the impact the organization has on turf professionals.”