Introducing the Turfheads Guide to Grilling

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Golf Course Industry, AQUA-AID Solutions celebrating the art and science of outdoor cooking among golf maintenance professionals.

February 1, 2021

Golf Course Industry and AQUA-AID Solutions are cooking up a flavor-filled, hunger-satisfying and engaging program for golf maintenance professionals.

To honor the connectivity and creativity demonstrated through grilling, smoking and barbecuing, we’re introducing the “Turfheads Guide to Grilling.” The program started in late January and is designed to inspire turfheads to celebrate the camaraderie outdoor cooking provides.

We’re encouraging industry professionals everywhere to share glamour shots of food on a grill or serving plates, cooking videos, team-bonding images, recipes, and tips. Participating in the program is easy. Use #TurfheadsGrilling and tag @GCIMagazine and @Solutions4Turf on social media posts. If social media isn’t your thing, you can email images, recipes and tips to Golf Course Industry editor-in-chief Guy Cipriano (, managing editor Matt LaWell ( or national sales manager Russ Warner (

Materials will be collected throughout the year and shared in a printed “Turfheads Guide to Grilling” insert in the December Turfheads Take Over issue of Golf Course Industry. Industry professionals whose materials are chosen for the printed guide will be eligible to win a team cookout in 2022.

“AQUA-AID Solutions is proud to partner with Golf Course Industry on the Turfhead Grilling campaign,” AQUA-AID Solutions president Sam Green says. “During 2020 we all valued cooking and family dinners more than ever. A unique set of circumstances allowed us to have time to be more creative, and cooking and sharing these experiences seemed to allow a sense of normalcy. I know with my own family we had a lot of fun creating new meals. The turf world is closely connected and the cookbook allows turf managers around the globe to come together in a relaxed fun-filled platform. I, for one, am looking forward to the banter back and forth between turfies during this campaign.”

Look for more grilling-themed conversation throughout the year on the Off the Course podcast, Golf Course Industry and AQUA-AID Solutions websites, Fast & Firm enewsletter, and Twitter and Facebook using #TurfheadsGrilling.

“We’re absolutely pumped to begin this program with our friends at AQUA-AID Solutions,” Cipriano says. “It’s no secret turfheads enjoy the process and results of grilling. Creating a team-first culture has never been more important in the golf industry and cookouts are an important part of building that culture. We’re encouraging our audience to share the details of this program with everybody on their team. The goal is to get a far-reaching collection of recipes and ideas from various parts of the United States and beyond. Who knows? Maybe you’ll gain an idea or two to add zing to your team or family meals.”

Tartan Talks No. 55


Longevity sometimes means an abundance of activity.

Forty years ago, Bruce Charlton joined Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s design firm as a young associate and immediately started traveling to nearly every imaginable corner of the world. Charlton’s responsibilities quickly expanded — he’s now the chief design officer of Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects — but the pace has never subsided.

Fortunately, we got Charlton to pause for close to an hour to join the Tartan Talks podcast. An avid runner whose home route in Northern California includes the neighborhood surrounding famed Pasatiempo Golf Club, Charlton raced through a number of subjects, including his early days working for Jones Jr., the lessons he absorbed from his boss’s legendary father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., how the son of a third-generation attorney became a golf course architect and the experience of working at 2015 U.S. Open site Chambers Bay.

Like many of his colleagues, Charlton started working on a golf course as a teenager, rising to assistant superintendent at 9-hole Manchester (Iowa) Country Club before graduating high school. The crew consisted of two people: a retired farmer who mowed greens and Charlton. “It was a great job,” Charlton says.

That job remains etched in Charlton’s mind, especially when he reflects on how agronomic advances since the 1970s have affected golf course architecture. “The mowing equipment is so precise now,” he says. “It really changes the way the ball behaves on greens.”

Enter into your web browser or visit the Superintendent Radio Network on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular distribution platforms to hear the podcast.

A year when golf numbers soared

The numbers are startling.

According to Golf Datatech and its 2020 National Golf Performance Report, a first-of-its kind annual report analyzing rounds played and retail equipment sales in the U.S., 2020 rounds increased by 13.9 percent and equipment sales increased by 10.1 percent over 2019.

The increase in rounds is the largest total year increase since Golf Datatech began collecting and projecting rounds played in 1998, topping the previous largest increase of 5.7 percent in 2012. The 10.1 percent improvement in retail sales surpassed the previous all-time high percentage gain of 10 percent in 2005.

Fueled by a combination of avid players, newcomers and infrequent golfers, 2020 demand for all things golf surged during the second half of the year. The 2020 spending reached near-record levels, as overall golf equipment sales eclipsed $2.81 billion, the third-highest annual total, trailing only 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).

December rounds played soared 37 percent higher than a year ago, led by a strong showing in warm-weather markets, which are the primary driver of golf during the winter months, along with some incremental increases in markets that would typically have minimal activity due to cold weather.

“We’ve never seen an annual increase remotely close to this, as the previous record increase occurred in 2012, a year when we had nearly perfect weather across much of the United States and rounds played grew by 5.7 percent,” Golf Datatech partner John Krzynowek says. “While there is no doubt that the pandemic provided a positive jolt of energy to the golf business in 2020, a warmer and drier climate across broad swaths of the U.S. also generated more potential tee times, which the golf community passionately consumed … and continued to ask for more.”

States that experienced the biggest year-over-year increase included:

  • Iowa-Missouri, 24.6 percent
  • North Dakota-South Dakota, 24.4 percent
  • Oklahoma, 24.3 percent
  • Minnesota, 23.6 percent
  • Indiana, 23.5 percent

Hawaii (negative-32.7 percent), Nevada (negative-3.6 percent) and South Carolina (negative-0.2 percent) were the only states that experienced a year-over-year decrease.