- Bellerive Country Club’s Carlos Arraya is leaving his mark on our entire industry – but also touching individuals everywhere he goes. He inspired Leasha Schwab (who is pretty remarkable in her own right) to tell her story about working with Carlos at the PGA Championship last summer. Key quote: “This man knows the importance of life and he wants everybody he crosses paths with to learn how to find it, too.”
- There is life beyond the golf course for even the most passionate turfhead. Our friend Luke McGhee went out on a limb and relocated his talents to the lawn care business. And you know what? He’s happy and rewarded. Key quote: “Skills that you learn on the golf course – attention to detail, general management, membership interaction, responsibility and time management – are all pivotal pieces of operating a business, but now I get to do it for myself rather than a membership or golfer.”
- Finally, of the many tributes that were paid to the late Steve Wright, Parker Ferren’s personal account of what he learned from him is the one that I hope will stick with you. Parker captured Steve’s sense of joy about EVERYTHING. The guy simply loved life and often captured the moment by saying “we are G2G” or Good To Go. Key quote: “Yes he helped shape MANY great superintendents. But I think the greatest lesson we can learn from his wonderful life is that the dream we all chase in the pursuit of happiness is easier to obtain than we may think. Work hard. Play harder. Love other. Keep it simple and we will all be G2G.”
As you’ve probably seen by now, there’s been a lot of interest in our third annual Turfheads Take Over issue. Again, the primary goal of this special edition of the magazine is to highlight personal stories from superintendents and others in the industry. Boy did that happen this year. Why?
Given that we just experienced the latest “year from hell,” the social media discussions about stress, anxiety, substance abuse and work-life balanced spilled over into the magazine and became our focus for the issue.
Please read this issue, either in print or online. Every bit of it is terrific and often emotional. Here are a few of my personal takeaways from the reactions thus far:
I can’t emphasize enough that you should take a little time during your holiday to read the entire issue. There are a dozen more awesome stories from your peers. Make it a very turfy Christmas and maybe you’ll find some inspiration in those stories for a great 2019.
Pat Jones is GCI’s editorial director.
Douglas Products announced the formation of a new Plant Health Division following the addition of two companies known for innovation in biological plant nutrition and soil health. Growth Products, based in White Plains, N.Y., and AgriEnergy Resources, based in Princeton, Ill., have joined Douglas Products.
Growth Products produces and markets liquid nutrient and biological technologies serving the turf and ornamental, agriculture, arbor care and residential markets, and serves the citrus market in Florida through its G.P. Solutions division. AgriEnergy Resources specializes in the development and production of microbial and other soil fertility products for horticulture and row crops.
“We are excited to expand our resources and expertise with the addition of two companies which each have over 30 years of proven track record for developing innovative solutions aimed at improving soil health and increasing plant productivity,” Douglas Products CEO Wes Long said. “The mergers are a major step in our company’s vision to expand its branded specialty chemicals and biological solutions portfolio for the Agriculture and Turf & Ornamental segments.”
“The announcement addresses an important issue within agriculture and T&O — the demand for proven sustainable biological technologies, added Vince Adams, Chief Business Development Officer for Douglas Products.
“Under the Douglas Products banner, Growth Products and AgriEnergy Resources will capture R&D, Agronomical support and manufacturing synergies,” Adams continued. “We will ensure that service and support to dealers, distributors and end-use customers will continue without disruption, but our main goal is to better serve customers by leveraging the combined strengths of all three companies. We will expand investment to develop new soil and plant health solutions both in the U.S. and overseas. And we will also take advantage of efficiencies in, logistics, warehousing, regulatory affairs and marketing.”
“Creation of a Plant Health Division is a strategic move,” Long added. “Douglas Products has served agriculture for 103 years, primarily to protect grain. Its Ag product portfolio includes two postharvest fumigants, ProFume gas fumigant and PH3 (phosphide) as well as several insecticide brands. The addition of Growth Products and AgriEnergy Resources now provides solutions from planting through post-harvest as well as expands the technology portfolio into the Turf & Ornamental market.”
Long said that Growth Products and AgriEnergy Resources will continue to operate from their current headquarter locations.
Syngenta will spotlight the latest tools for keeping turf in top shape, including Posterity and Secure Action fungicides and Manuscript herbicide at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. Superintendents can test their knowledge on these products and more with the in-booth turf trivia challenge in both #3222.
Additionally, as part of the Condition. Perform. Recover. platform from Syngenta, which focuses on turf health as well as superintendents’ personal health, attendees can participate in the Health in Action 5K fun run and receive free wellness checkups at the Mobile Wellness Unit.
“We are excited for superintendents to learn about our latest innovations in disease, weed and insect control, including Divanem nematicide, which was recently registered for use in California,” said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager at Syngenta. “We’re proud to provide educational activities like our in-booth trivia challenge and the Shop Talk sessions on the show floor, and we also hope attendees take a moment to focus on themselves with a fitness and health checkup at our Mobile Wellness Unit.”
Here's an overview of all the Syngenta highlights at GIS 2019:
In-booth Turf Trivia challenge
Syngenta Booth #3222
Feb. 6-7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Attendees can stop by the Syngenta booth for some friendly competition and show off their turf knowledge with an in-booth trivia challenge. The top scorers each day of the tradeshow will win an Apple Watch Series 4. Everyone who plays will be entered for a chance to win one of six random drawings for a Fitbit Alta.
Mobile Wellness Unit medical checkups
Booth #2916 near GCSAA member services
Feb. 6-7, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For the second year, Syngenta will be offering free health screenings for turf management professionals at its Mobile Wellness Unit.
To help alleviate the stress of scheduling a health and wellness checkup, a registered nurse will be available to provide blood pressure measurements, cholesterol level assessments, glucose analyses and more. Health counseling for medical concerns and informational brochures discussing health and wellness topics will also be provided at no cost. For a preview of the wellness checkup, watch this video.
Sign up for an appointment with our registered nurse by CLICKING HERE.
Convention center, Center Terrace
Feb. 5, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Syngenta and the GCSAA will host a reception for all GIS attendees to meet and network with industry professionals from across the country, while enjoying complimentary appetizers and cocktails.
Convention center, Ballroom 20
Feb. 6, 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
To kick off the show, Syngenta and the GCSAA will honor several industry professionals, including the Certified Golf Course Superintendent Class of 2018, the recipient of the Old Tom Morris Award and the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards. Mike Parkin, global head of Lawn & Garden Controls at Syngenta, will provide a special welcome to attendees.
GCSAA Certification Luncheon
Convention center, Ballroom 20
Feb. 6, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
At this invitation-only luncheon, Syngenta and the GCSAA will celebrate the Class of 2018’s newly Certified Golf Course Superintendents and provide special acknowledgements of 25- and 40-year CGCSs in attendance.
Shop Talk - Managing difficult weeds & diseases in warm-season turf
Feb. 6, 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Dr. Lane Tredway and Dr. Dean Mosdell Syngenta technical services managers, will host an educational session featuring the latest solutions for weed and disease control in warm-season turf. They will detail ways to control grassy weeds like goosegrass, dallisgrass, crabgrass and tropical signalgrass. Then they will share options for tackling foliar diseases, including leaf spot and one of the most destructive diseases in warm-season turf, spring dead spot.
Ladies Leading Turf Networking Reception
Convention center, Room 28
Feb. 6, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Syngenta, Ladies Leading Turf and the GCSAA have partnered to host a networking reception specifically for women in the turf industry. Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta, and Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club, will provide welcoming remarks, and Maureen Kahiu, superintendent at Vetlab Sports Club in Kenya, will speak about her experience in the turf industry.
Beginning at 5 p.m., there will be a session on diversity and inclusion, featuring keynote speaker Nikki Gatch, PGA regional player development manager, which will be open to all GIS attendees.
Health in Action 5K
Starting at the Embarcadero Marina Park North
Feb. 7, 6 a.m.
On Thursday morning, Syngenta and the GCSAA will partner to host the third annual 5K fun run to help attendees get their bodies started. Online registration is open, and all registration proceeds will benefit the Environmental Institute for Golf. Register by Jan. 4 to be guaranteed a t-shirt in your preferred size. Follow and join the conversation on social media using #GIS5K.
Shop Talk - Advancements in controlling dollar spot
Feb. 7, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Dr. Mike Agnew and Matt Giese, Syngenta technical services managers, will discuss the latest advancements in dollar spot control, including Posterity and Secure Action fungicides. Don’t miss this critical information about new research, dollar spot prediction models, and resistance management strategies, plus tips for building an agronomic program to help condition your turf so it performs at its best and recovers quickly from stress.
It can be argued that water is a superintendent’s most important resource. Without it, he is left virtually unarmed in his fight against forces that can wreak havoc on the turf he is tending to.
Water, though, can be a precious commodity. That’s particularly the case in California, which has been plagued by drought conditions in recent years.
Justin Mandon is the superintendent at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., on the Monterey Bay, less than an hour’s drive north of Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. He was a featured presenter at the recent New Jersey Green Expo, where he spoke on the topic of water management.
A graduate of the two-year turf-management program at Rutgers, Mandon spent seven-and-a-half years at the Olympic Club before coming to Pasatiempo in March of 2013.
Pasatiempo dates to 1929. Its golf course was designed by Alister MacKenzie. If Augusta National was Mackenzie’s masterpiece, then his heart was at Pasatiempo. It was Mackenzie’s home and his ashes were scattered on the property following his death in January of 1934.
“I’m extremely fortunate to be the caretaker there,” Mandon says. “There’s not a day that I go through that front gate that I don’t really want to be there.”
Mandon spends a lot of time dealing with water issues. Pasatiempo receives just 30 inches of rain per year on average. The first rain typically occurs between Halloween and Thanksgiving, as was the case in 2018. Steady rains continue through the winter months before tapering off in April. It’s common for the club to go 200 days without measurable precipitation.
“Your ability to manage irrigation on a golf course becomes extremely crucial when you don’t have your summertime thunderstorms to come through and even out your property,” Mandon says.
On April 15, 2014, Mandon was dealing with what would turn out to be the worst drought in California history. The golf course had received just seven inches of rain in the past 18 months and drought restrictions were in place. That day, he received a phone call from the city of Santa Cruz informing him his water allocation was being cut by 50 percent, effective in 14 days.
Mandon notes it’s important for a superintendent to have a plan in place for dealing with a drought emergency. “You have to know what your drought stages are,” he says, “and you have to know exactly where you’re going to cut back to meet your drought restriction.”
Mandon had the advantage of a new irrigation system that the club installed in 2010. In the process, 25 acres of irrigated turf were eliminated (today the club irrigates 66 acres).
But further action was necessary. In June of 2014, Mandon eliminated 50 to 75 yards of irrigated turf on each hole while continuing to irrigate greens and tees. If there was any water remaining from the day’s allocation, it went to the fairways.
While golfers appreciated the fact that their drives carried farther on the turf, their enthusiasm waned over time. By September, much of the Poa annua had died, although bermudagrass remained. Since Pasatiempo is a semiprivate facility, the conditions had an impact on the club’s bottom line. In 2014, the club lost half-a-million dollars in golf course revenue. The following year it lost a quarter-million dollars.
Amidst all this, Mandon and club officials were working to find more water at an affordable price.
Most golf courses in California have four options for obtaining water: potable (drinking) water, surface water/runoff from rain events, groundwater and recycled water.
Potable water is expensive and increasingly scarce, surface water is a rare commodity during a drought, and groundwater access is at long-term risk. In 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating all municipalities regulate their groundwater supplies, including wells, by 2040. There are no assurances of how much groundwater will be available for golf courses. Increasingly superintendents are turning to recycled water. But obtaining rights to that water is no easy feat.
Mandon and Pasatiempo leadership did have one point in their favor. In 1979, a pipeline had been installed between a wastewater treatment facility and the Pacific Ocean 4 1/2 miles away, passing the club en route. The pipeline carried 200 million gallons of secondary treated water each year. There was also a 6-inch pipeline extending from the main line and the club, including a water meter that had gone unused since the project was completed.
The club saw the pipeline as a solution to its water issue, but it took two years of negotiations with 13 separate governmental entities, including the governor’s office, before all the pieces fit. Finally, in the spring of 2016, the club signed an agreement with the city of Scotts Valley, guaranteeing Pasatiempo access to 175,000 gallons of water from the pipeline per day, or 35 million gallons per year, for a period of 30 years.
The cost to the club was $1.6 million, which is being paid over a five-year period; a modest price when one considers that the same amount of potable water would likely cost close to $ 1 million per year today and that figure would likely go up in years to come. Today, the recycled water is the bulk of Pasatiempo’s water supply, supplemented by well water and potable water purchased from the city of Santa Cruz.
To make it all work, the club constructed a water treatment plant and pumping station on site, behind its 13th green, including a 500,000-gallon tank to blend all the water. Today, the club gets 170,000 gallons of irrigation water per day from the facility.
Building the treatment plant was not an insignificant expense for the club. The project cost $9 million. But it was an investment in its future. By taking the steps that it did, the club is guaranteed access a reliable supply of water until 2046, water that would doubtless be desirable to other clubs.
Mandon believes the project essentially assured the club’s survival. “I think if we didn’t end up doing the project, the future of Pasatiempo was really in doubt if we were to go through another drought,” he says. “Securing that water was probably one of the most significant things that’s happened to Pasatiempo in quite some time.”
Reaching superintendents on the other coast
Most New Jersey Turf Expo attendees will never deal with the drought-related issues confronting Mandon at Pasatiempo. But his message resonated with an East Coast audience.
“It was fascinating to hear what (Mandon) is doing,” says Mike Tardogno, the superintendent at Skyway Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J. “I know some other courses that are using recycled water. It’s a good thing. Water is going to be an issue soon.”
Skyway utilizes drainage water from a county park located across the street from the nine-hole facility. “We pump that water into the golf course irrigation barn,” Tardogno says. “The golf course itself recycles water. There are four ponds on the golf course that are all connected so we can pull water from all four ponds before we have to pull city water.”
In his presentation, Mandon stressed the importance of communication and collaboration. He noted that decisions he was involved in concerning water management issues were made in conjunction with the membership.
“You do not want to be the sole person making these decisions,” he says. “You should be consulting with your committees, your boards, your greens committee chairman, your golfers. Make sure this is a group effort, because at the end of the day, when this starts being implemented, you’ll end up finding a lot of members and golfers that are extremely unhappy with it.”
Chris Carson is the longtime superintendent at Echo Lake Country Club, a private club in Westfield, N.J. The state regulates how much water the course can use. But Carson, who is committed to using water efficiently, says he is occasionally permitted to irrigate on course property while nearby residents are restricted from watering their lawns.
“When those situations occur, we have to communicate the economic value, the tax value, the economic impact, if you will, of golf, which is billions of dollars in the state of New Jersey,” Carson says. “We’re trying to keep an asset alive at a minimal condition to keep those businesses running.”
Rick Woefel is a Philadelphia-based writer and frequent GCI contributor.
Bayer Environmental Science, a Business Unit of Bayer Crop Science, has announced a robust lineup of activities at the 2019 Golf Industry Show Feb. 3-8, 2019, in San Diego, Calif. Bayer booth #3736 will showcase a host of activities, including panel discussions with industry leaders, engaging educational opportunities and chances to win free innovations from the best-in-class Bayer portfolio.
“Each year, the Golf Industry Show heralds in new opportunities to grow the game of golf and unlock the potential of turfgrass across the country,” said Mike Hirvela, customer marketing, Bayer Golf & Sports Turf Segment. “This year, we’re particularly grateful to be hosting a selection of dialogues on the future of golf and revealing new research on the short- and long-term benefits of stress-mitigating turf solutions.”
Bayer’s GIS offerings include:
--Bayer will reveal the latest research on the benefits of the Stressgard portfolio products in two engaging ways: a live panel discussion with superintendents as well as an interactive poster session at Bayer booth #3736 to allow for continued dialogue and more in-depth technical discussions.
--Now a trusted feature at the Golf Industry Show, the Bayer Living Turf Display offers booth visitors a unique opportunity to experience innovation in action. Featuring Exteris Stressgard and Signature XTRA Stressgard as well as other Stressgard fungicides, the Bayer Living Turf Display gives superintendents an up-close look at the extraordinary results occurring above and below the soil’s surface.
--Every qualified booth visitor will receive a key to try their luck at unlocking a box with premier solutions from the Bayer fungicide portfolio. Winners who successfully unlock the box can then choose between Signature XTRA Stressgard, Interface Stressgard or Exteris Stressgard fungicides. Please see the official rules for additional details.
--Once again, Bayer has doubled its commitment to the Bayer Superintendent Grant Program in partnership with the GCSAA and the Environmental Institute for Golf. Through the program, Bayer will sponsor 10 all-expense-paid trips to GIS with a focus on providing opportunities for superintendents from diverse backgrounds and geographies – including those affected by recent hurricanes.
--The Bayer Superintendent Grant Program will include a selection of individuals from hurricane-stricken territories, many of whom will serve as panelists. In a live discussion, superintendents will discuss the challenges they faced in the eye of the storm as well as the key strategies they have identified to ensure a restorative and successful 2019 season.
--Bayer is assembling an inspiring group of golf industry leaders – including recent graduates of Green Start Academy – for an engaging discussion on building a broader pool of talent and diversity of thought, bringing new perspectives and innovations to golf course management.
“The Bayer experience at GIS 2019 is designed to create an extraordinary experience for all involved,” Hirvela said. “Through engaging discussions, new research and live demonstrations, our hope is that each superintendent can take away a new perspective, strategic approach or opportunity to experience Stressgard innovations firsthand.”