Many times, in the past, I’d use this space to talk about whether the big, big show was busy or slow. I’d examine the causes and take our host association to task. I’d shake my fist (metaphorically) and call for change!
But, frankly, I don’t care about crap like that anymore. The show is what it is. It’s not a selling show where suppliers are trying to book business (though a few do). It’s a networking show. In a relationship-driven market, time spent bonding with customers is valuable. Valuable enough to spend a fortune tobe here, and we usually close a significant amount of advertising business, so it’s all good by me.
It was interesting to learn that the NGCOA is dropping out of the Golf Industry Show partnership. I’m not shocked they’re doing it. I’m sure the owners want their own event and autonomy back just like CMAA a few years ago. But what was really interesting was that nobody cared. I hadn’t heard anything about it, and when I asked a few supplier friends about it, they just sort of shrugged. Meh.
I’m frankly bullish about the quality of this event, but I’m absolutely certain it will continue to shrink (with or without NGCOA). Does anyone believe that thousands more supers will flock back to the show and exhibit sales will grow again like they did in the 1990s? Uh, I sure don’t.
But I do think that a smaller, higher quality event would be fine for most of us who serve this industry commercially.
It’s a well-managed event and a target-rich environment for a professional schmoozer like me. It’s so rewarding to be here, and I learn so much. And my cup runneth over with the joy of seeing good friend … and taking selfies with them.
Pat Jones is GCI’s editorial director.
The Toro Company has reached the 100-year mark in serving the golf industry. In 1919, Toro developed the industry’s first motorized fairway mower, the Toro Standard Golf Machine, for The Minikahda Club, in Minneapolis, Minn. By mounting five individual reel mowers onto the front of a farm tractor, Toro helped courses increase productivity by replacing the labor and time intensive use of horse-drawn equipment.
Toro credits its longevity in the industry to four key factors – listening closely to its customers, developing innovative products based on feedback and available technology, long-standing customer relationships, and establishing close cooperative ties with an outstanding distribution network to deliver great local service and support.
This formula has led to revolutionary product launches and an ever expanding breadth of product offerings over the last century. Well-known brands such as Greensmaster, Reelmaster, Groundsmaster, Workman, ProCore, MultiPro, SandPro and others have become synonymous with quality, durability and value.
A few historic examples of innovations for the golf course industry include the first flexible frame fairway mower in 1921, the first golf utility vehicle — the Toro Knockabout — in 1930, new valve-in-head sprinklers in 1964, the versatile Toro Sand Pro series in 1972, the first contour-following Flex Head greensmowers in 1986, and the first lithium-ion powered greensmower — the Greensmaster eFlex — in 2012.
Toro’s people are also largely responsible for the longevity of the company. Topping the long list of influential Toro employees over the past century is the company’s first president and co-founder, John Samuel Clapper, who personally held several patents for golf course equipment, including the first electric-powered (corded) greensmower in 1928. Also on that list is Dr. James “Doc” Watson, who joined Toro in 1952, and is revered as a pioneer in agronomics, a teacher to customers and Toro employees alike, and a legend in the golf industry. Another industry pioneer who worked with Toro is John Singleton, who joined the company in 1967 and was instrumental in establishing Toro’s position as a leader in golf course irrigation.
“Without a doubt, we owe much of our success to the Toro employees who have helped shape the golf industry with countless innovations,” said Rick Rodier, vice president and general manager of Toro’s Commercial Business. “But we wouldn’t be here today without the Toro customers across the globe who put their faith and trust in our products every day. As we celebrate a century in the golf industry, we simply want to say thank you to our customers and channel partners for continuing to put your trust in Toro people and products.”
The Toro Company was founded on July 10, 1914, and for the first five years focused primarily on providing engines for the Bull Tractor Company and other tractor and truck companies,and developing the first Toro-designed piece of farm equipment – the power cultivator – before shifting focus to mowing products.
SiteOne Landscape Supply has introduced LESCO NOS, LESCO NOS Plus, LESCO PolyPlus-Opti, LESCO CarbonPro-L with MobilEX and LESCO CarbonPro-G. All five new products utilize the latest agronomic technology to maximize turf performance for superintendents and greens crews, no matter the present challenges or budget.
“Superintendents have a lot to manage. The new LESCO fertilizers maximize water and nutrient efficiency through varying delivery mechanisms so superintendents can find products that align with their nutrition and greening goals,” said John Gertz, vice president category management – agronomics at SiteOne Landscape Supply. “Part of our promise to customers is that your SiteOne representative is part of your team, helping you to achieve your goals. These new turf maintenance products from LESCO are part of how we deliver on that promise to get results, even in challenging environments like fertilizer blackout periods.”
The new products offer enhanced-efficiency fertilization programs and innovative supplementary products that improve the soil and optimize future fertilizer applications.
LESCO NOS, or Nitrogen Optimization System, is the industry’s first fully incorporated DCD- stabilized nitrogen fertilizer that prevents nitrogen loss. The exclusive technology in LESCO NOS slows the rate at which nitrogen is lost to environmental leaching and volatilization. By keeping nitrogen in an ammonium form longer, the plant efficiently uses nitrogen when needed. Superintendents will optimize both nutrients and dollars by slowing the rate at which nitrogen becomes unavailable to the turf. This improves greening longevity between applications and maximizes application labor.
LESCO NOS Plus is a fertilizer for a one-time application that feeds nitrogen over time and reduces nitrogen loss. NOS Plus combines two unique modes of action – the first fully incorporated DCD with an advanced coating for slowly released nutrients. NOS Plus has a 38-percent higher plant NUE rate compared to unamended urea. Its dual mode of action formula protects against losses through volatilization, leaching and denitrification. LESCO NOS Plus meets slow-release technology mandates required in certain states.
“When tested, NOS and NOS Plus resulted in a 35-percent to 60-percent increase in nitrogen uptake when compared to unamended urea after 40 days of application,” Gertz said.
LESCO’s new PolyPlus-Opti is an optimized source of polymer-coated urea. Its proprietary formula provides a linear consistent release of nitrogen that maximizes greening between nutrient applications. The combination of amended and unamended urea sources delivers valuable nitrogen within the first three days without causing burn. The unique polymer coating on the granular fertilizer breaks down over time, resulting in a metered release of nitrogen. The precise, long-term delivery of nutrients translates to a customizable, consistent greening period for course crews and superintendents.
CarbonPro-L with MobilEX
CarbonPro-L with MobilEX is a revolutionary nutrient optimizing system that harnesses the power of plant-microbe interactions and organic soil sciences to maximize plant health and performance. The proprietary MobilEX nutrient technology supports cell wall stability by mobilizing calcium ions from organelle storage and increases nutrient transport by binding minerals to facilitate movement throughout the plant’s vascular tissues. The multi-solution product can be tank mixed with most non-pesticide liquid applications. Research shows, CarbonPro-L with MobilEX promoted more root and shoot growth using 30 percent less nitrogen than positive and negative controls in Tall Fescue. CarbonPRO-L with MobilEX is an ideal option to optimize invested nutrient dollars to manage high-performing turf, resulting in ultimate player satisfaction, and is a new tool to manage challenging restrictions or blackout application periods.
Now in granular form, CarbonPro-G is a microbial and carbon-based plant health nutrient optimizer that can be applied with a standard broadcast spreader to turf and landscape plantings. The multi-solution product uses soil conditioning to deepen and strengthens roots, help with turf recovery, increase nutrient uptake and efficiency, assist with seed establishment and reduce operation costs spent treating turf stress. Its bio-charged carbon structure holds water, making it available when needed by the plant. When applied, CarbonPro-G, regulates soil pH balance to be more neutral, and is an ideal option to repair damaged turf from winter salt damage.
RISE hosted its Industry Issues Breakfast during the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego today. More than 200 members and guests, including members of the Government Affairs Committee from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that the voice of golf be heard in the policy arena,” said governing board vice chairman John Gertz of SiteOne Landscape Supply. “As leaders in the green industry, golf course superintendents have the expertise and experience needed to shape effective, smart policies. If there’s one thing we can take away this morning, it’s that we have a powerful impact in the policy conversation when each of us is actively engaged with our communities telling our story.”
Aaron Hobbs, President of RISE said, “We’ve entered a busy legislative year. While the federal government shutdown has ended, multiple bills are still pending in Congress that are vital to the health of our industry and affect our ability to serve our customers and communities. We’ve spoken today about the importance of passing the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act, known as PRIA 4, as well as a new rule clarifying the definition of ‘navigable waters’ under the Clean Water Act. We remain actively engaged with the Administration on these bills and other fronts and look for your continued support.”
Governing Board Member John Smith of Winfield United emphasized the need for community engagement. “State legislatures will be especially busy this year, making it even more important that we show up and participate in discussions. By sharing our concerns, we can have a voice in local and state-level issues and ensure that we continue to have access to products that help keep golf courses open for play,” Smith said.
Gertz added, “I’d like to give a special thanks to members of our Governing Board for attending this morning, including Gilles Galliou of Bayer, Michael Maravich of SipCam, and Doug Obermann of PBI and Scott Reasons of Syngenta. We also greatly appreciate our committee leads who were able to attend, including Dean LePoidevin of LePoidevin Marketing who chairs the Communications Committee; Dave Ravel of Syngenta, the chair of our Programs & Membership Committee; and Sheri Roberson from Bayer, who chairs our Law Committee.”
RISE is the national association leading the way in meaningful conversations about pesticides and fertilizers. Stay informed on industry issues by following @PestFacts on Twitter. Follow updates on the Golf Industry Show using #GolfIndustryShow.
Imagine a golf therapy session … in a room filled with hundreds of your colleagues.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5 of at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego Convention Center, the “Solutions Center” educational seminar played like an open-aired empathy assembly to a standing-room crowd.
“I think it hit on many of the big topics in the industry right now,” said panelist Chris Tritabaugh, superintendent at Hazeltine National Golf Club. “Things like taking care of yourself, creating culture and getting people to work well together are all big things right now.”
As attendees sent in problems/question via text message to facilitator Carol D. Rau, PHR, Career Advantages (Lawrence, Kan.), the seminar's six-man panel took on a diverse range of subjects matters ranging from labor and work/life balance, to Twitter and turf tips.
“My hope, when I do a seminar, is that there are maybe one or two things that somebody will walk away with,” Tritabaugh said. “Whether it’s something I said, or something one of the other panelists said that can help somebody.”
The topic of golf’s labor issues and engaging a younger generation of staffers proved paramount during the two-hour discussion.
Advising a need for patience with millennials, Carlos Arraya, CGCS, Bellerive (Mo.) Country Club, suggested to the room a strategy to heed labeling, and to give younger workers the time and opportunity to develop.
“I think the subject of millennials is talked about a lot right now,” Tritabaugh added. “You have to do it differently. If a person is going to manage in a way that they did, say, 10, 15 or 20 years ago – you’re not going to have success in leading a high-performance team. Leading this younger generation is about creating a culture of enjoyment.”
Per complementing one’s work force with the senior set, Tritabaugh added that “free coffee and a free newspaper” had done wonders to bring in divot-filling volunteers.
Managing personal wellness was almost foremost among the discussion.
“When you leave work, leave work. When go home, go home," emphasized panelist Troy Flanagan, director of golf maintenance at the Olympic Club. "Yeah, this is our livelihood, but we need to remember that it's just grass."
Panelist Dr. Doug Soldat, professor of soil sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earned a collective head-nod from the room when noting that part of his own balance may be achieved by simply turning off e-mail notifications when away from the workplace.
The topic of social media also earned ample play among panelists, with most confirming that use of respective mediums can be a great tool – so long as characters of caution are part of one's Tweets.
Multiple panelists warned to avoid "shaming" guests or members for poor course maintence when Tweeting, and also suggested to ensure club policies before sending out opinions or images.
“It’s too bad that social media has trended toward a negative tone in general,” Tritabaugh said post-panel. “The ability to use it for information or conversing with colleagues, like a lot of people in this industry do, is pretty awesome. And it’s amazing to me how different this event is now compared to when I first started coming – and that’s because of the advent of social media. You’d come here and know a few people, and now it seems like everybody kind of has a general idea of who everybody else is.”
Judd Spicer is a golf writer based in Palm Desert, Calif., and is a frequent GCI contributor.