Celebrating a big one

Departments - Notebook

Guy Cipriano visits a field day in the Carolinas and learns why a little traffic can be a good thing.

September 9, 2019

Turf managers from multiple states listen to a presentation from NC State’s Dr. Travis Gannon.
© guy cipriano

An immediate sign an event is a big deal: police officers lurk on a busy road, stopping, guiding and redirecting traffic during a peak travel time.

The 2019 NC State Turfgrass Field Day, held on a steamy August day at the Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Research Lab, resembled a college football game or county fair, with cars parking in a field and attendees hailing from multiple states. The show-and-tell led by NC State’s talented turf team brought hundreds of vehicles (mostly trucks) to a quiet section of Raleigh.

Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Research Lab manager Marty Parish addresses NC State Turfgrass Field Day attendees.
© guy cipriano

But the event proved something deeper than what results spotted on plots can reveal: effective university research requires a major commitment from industry partners. A quartet of NC State researchers and officials – associate professor Dr. Jim Kerns, associate deans Dr. Steve Lommel and Dr. Rich Bonanno, and Lake Wheeler lab manager Marty Parish – displayed gratitude in their opening remarks. With two-dozen dedicated colleagues standing in the background and more than 500 coffee-sipping attendees occupying the foreground, the quartet spoke behind a sign listing 34 companies and associations who support NC State’s research efforts.

The annual field day demonstrates how resources provided by supporters are being utilized. NC State professors and researchers led presentations on 15 topics, including disease management, deciphering glyphosate myths and the results of trials combining fraise mowing with aerification. Only the least attentive superintendents, sports turf managers and landscape professionals left Lake Wheeler without a tactic or two they could use on the job.

The presence of university leaders at a field day allow individuals who benefit from university research to communicate why turf programs are vital to the community. Although Lommel and Bonnano described triumphs within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, including $50 million in grant activity and the looming opening of a $160 million Plant Sciences building, in their field day remarks, turf researchers at nearly every university display concern when discussing long-range funding.

Still, optimism permeated throughout Lake Wheeler last month. The Environmental Institute for Golf’s Rounds 4 Research has boosted research efforts at multiple universities, including NC State. Cameron Stephens, a research assistant funded through the program, described his work with disease management in tall fescue at the field day. Stephens also has collaborated with Kerns and Dr. Travis Gannon on research involving fungicide movement following mowing and irrigation treatments.

The more research universities such as NC State can fund, the more reason police officers will be needed at future field days. Who says a little traffic is a bad thing?

Tartan Talks No. 38


John Colligan’s one-liners are as bold as the state where his golf course architecture firm, Colligan Golf Design, executes the bulk of its work.

Colligan brought Lone Star State laughs to the Tartan Talks airwaves as he discussed philosophies, recent work and relationships with superintendents in this month’s episode. Along with associate Trey Kemp, Colligan strives to enhance courses for the masses.

“You can’t have too pretty of a golf course,” Colligan says. “I like to say the perfect golf course is like the perfect wife or husband – easy on the eye and not too hard to get along with.”

Colligan Golf Design has recently unveiled a pair of revamped and renamed municipal facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex: Texas Rangers Golf Club (the subject of Golf Course Industry’s July cover story) and Irving Golf Club.

Looking to learn more about Colligan’s work while enjoying a few late-summer laughs? Enter http://bit.ly/JohnColligan into your web browser to hear the podcast.

Think – and write – like a turfhead

Another December, another opportunity for Golf Course Industry readers to motivate, inspire and inform each other.

“Turfheads Take Over” returns this December, marking the fourth straight year of the popular reader-driven extravaganza. The methodology of the issue hasn’t changed since its debut: industry professionals are encouraged to write about any industry or life topic.

Last year, readers responded to the agronomic challenges encountered in many regions by submitting a personal collection of stories focusing on work-life balance. More than 40 turfheads have contributed articles in the last three years.

Contributions can range anywhere from 700 to 2,000 words. The topic is entirely your choice, and if you need writing guidance, Golf Course Industry editors will guide you through the process. Submissions and applicable high-resolution photos can be sent to editor Guy Cipriano at gcipriano@gie.net. Email or call Cipriano at 216-393-0230 with questions. Deadline for submissions is Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.