Target Specialty Products has introduced Nutrifense technology, a proprietary ingredient that will enhance turf quality and performance, especially through stressful times.
The Nutrifense technology is included in three of Turf Fuel’s foliar products - Element 6, Photo Fuel and Respo Fuel – in addition to other Turf Fuel G golf materials.
“Nutrifense is an umbrella technology that includes the latest plant health components available. Today’s Nutrifense is not the same as last year’s, and the formula will improve again next year,” said Mark Jull, head of the Turf Fuel Products Division at Target Specialty Products. “This is because we are constantly sourcing and testing new ingredients to bring to the formula.”
Turf Fuel worked with academic and independent researchers throughout North America to validate the benefits of Nutrifense. The results show reduced turf decline from drought, high heat, disease, poor water quality and even prolonged ice coverage.
“We created Nutrifense several years ago and have been enhancing its capabilities ever since,” said Steve Loveday, Turf Fuel Nutritional Product development manager. “Currently, Nutrifense consists of plant extracts sourced from five continents, a state-of-the-art plant defense activator, antioxidants, and protein precursors.”
BioSafe Systems announced it has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture Certified Biobased Product label. The product, AXXE Broad Spectrum Herbicide, is now able to display a unique USDA label that highlights its percentage of biobased content.
“We applaud BioSafe Systems, LLC. for earning the USDA Certified Biobased Product label,” said Kate Lewis of the USDA BioPreferred Program. “Products from BioSafe Systems, LLC. are contributing to an ever-expanding marketplace that adds value to renewable agriculture commodities, creates jobs in rural communities, and decreases our reliance on petroleum.”
AXXE is a sustainable herbicide formulated to deliver maximum performance through ammoniated pelargonic salts. AXXE can be applied outdoors and around buildings or structures, with no residue left behind.
The USDA Certified Biobased Product label displays a product’s biobased content, which is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. AXXE’s active ingredient, ammonium nonanoate, is a plant fatty acid that penetrates the cell wall of plants, disrupting the cellular functions of the targeted weeds and killing them within hours of application.
“BioSafe is humbled and proud to be honored with initiatives that invest in the future of sustainable agriculture in a multi-faceted field-to-packing approach, utilizing innovations to help producers address evolving changes in agriculture production practices,” said Michael Larose, technical marketing coordinator at BioSafe Systems.
Troon President Tim Schantz will officially move into his new role as chief executive officer of the world’s largest club management firm on April 1, whilefounder Dana Garmany becomes the company’s executive chairman.
Schantz has been with Troon since 1998 and has served as the company’s president since 2017. Prior to becoming president, he was the executive vice president of global business development for the 29-year-old management firm. Schantz has over 24 years of experience in the golf and hospitality industries, specializing in corporate and real estate transactions. Before joining Troon, Schantz served as vice president and senior corporate counsel for the Doubletree Corporation, a Phoenix-based lodging and hospitality company. A licensed attorney, Schantz began his career in the California offices of Latham & Watkins international law firm. Schantz received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder and his Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Kansas.
Garmany founded Troon in 1990 with Troon North Golf Club as its flagship property. Under Garmany’s leadership, Troon has become the world’s largest golf management company providing services at more than 360 locations around the globe, including managing 280 golf courses at 246 facilities. Throughout its history, Troon has earned a reputation for delivering pristine golf course conditions, personalized member services, outstanding food & beverage experiences and world-class retail offerings.
“I feel a personal responsibility to carry on Dana’s legacy, create value for him and the company, and maintain the feeling that we’re part of something very special that one guy started 29 years ago,” Schantz said. “Leading Troon will be a lot of responsibility, but it’s something I welcome. There are no dramatic changes planned. For Troon associates and our facilities, it’s business as usual with no big changes or reinventions.”
In his new role as executive chairman, Garmany will still be active with the company as he’ll continue to run board meetings and be a presence for Troon in the industry. He is the largest individual shareholder of the company.
“The timing is right for Tim to move into the role of CEO,” Garmany said. “He is a caring leader and a very smart dude. Troon is prepared and positioned for a strong future. As for me, I look forward to playing more golf, do some writing as a hobby and playing with a few bands I am involved with. That really is fun for me.”
Troon’s portfolio of companies includes Troon Golf, Honours Golf, Troon Privé, CADDIEMASTER, Troon International, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Management and RealFood Consulting. In addition to its headquarters in Scottsdale, Troon has offices in Irvine, Calif.; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Austin, Texas. Troon employs more than 15,000 people and is the largest employer of PGA professionals in the world.
When is a pollinator program more than just a patch of milkweed?
Chris Allen, the superintendent at Eagle Lakes Golf Club in Naples, Fla., spoke with me to discuss why the BASF Monarch Challenge has enhanced the facility.
Tell us a little about your course …
We are a fairly unique semi-private daily fee club; one of the few courses in the Naples area open for public play during the winter. Our peak season runs from January to March/Easter with anywhere from 220 to 300-plus rounds per day. With an operating budget that is on average about 25 percent of most clubs in this area, we are always searching for the most economical methods to produce the highest value product.
Like a lot of other places, staffing can be nightmarish. I am lucky to have an older crew (47 to 80 years old) willing to work amazingly hard. We have four full-time crew members, and another four seasonal part-time crew members, no mechanic, no assistants, no irrigation tech and no spray tech. I’m incredibly lucky to have clubhouse staff that assists during off-season months as well as an extremely supportive spouse at home!
What spurred your interest in the BASF Living Acres - Monarch Challenge program?
A couple years ago Erich Slider with SiteOne invited me to attend the BASF Pinehurst Experience. Personally for me, Pinehurst is such a special place I couldn’t turn it down. While there, I learned about their products and I was intrigued by their Living Acres program and The Monarch Challenge. I thought, “Oh someday that would be nice.”
Fast forward a year or so, I had another chance to learn more about the program with Max McGee of SiteOne. We’d just been through Hurricane Irma and I realized that it could also help us aesthetically. From there I worked directly with Luke Barnett our rep for BASF who couldn’t be more helpful.
How did you get started?
I started very small. I designated a 250- to 300-square foot area near a comfort station to grow the milkweed plants because I really didn’t know how it would be accepted. BASF sent me the plants, signage, hardware for the signage, and nice quality educational materials for our members, players and staff. I noticed early on our starter plants were having a tough time, so I purchased about five 3-gallon plants for about $50 from SiteOne here in Naples. Once planted, I simply watered them as needed and nature did the rest.
What did you learn along the way that you didn’t necessarily expect?
The amount of plant material monarch caterpillars can consume is absolutely mind boggling. I can’t overstate that. It blows your mind. The more milkweed you provide as a food source, the more caterpillars you will have. Butterflies showed up literally within days of planting and 10 to 14 days later we had our first batch of six to seven caterpillars. That was a few months ago. A few weeks ago, with about 20 more milkweed plants added over time, we had 263 caterpillars feasting.
How has this been a rewarding thing for your facility?
The most noticeable thing has been the reaction of our members and players. There has been so much positive support and interaction from every type of golfer. Whether it's questions, comments, or just pure amazement from being able to see the life-cycle and stages of development, they all love it. Our small starter area has triggered some great conversations to give us an opportunity to clear up so many misconceptions the public has about golf courses and the turf industry impact on our environmental surroundings.
One reward that wasn’t directly noticeable right away is financial. Our success with this program and the support of BASF has afforded our GM and I the opportunity to rethink our entire turf program. Hurricane Irma forced us to remove about 10 acres of useless turf area and we removed another 10 as part of a design change. Our goal is to reduce our playable turf area by another 20 acres by the end of summer and replace all of that removed turf with a wildflower/milkweed sustainability combination. Essentially this will double the impact of our fertilizer and chemical budget without injecting any new money, allowing us to focus on the grass that really matters. Refocusing turf applications and creating new wildlife habitat is a win-win for us.
How has it impacted you personally?
Consistently putting in 80- to 100-hour weeks doesn’t happen without some stress factors. This program and these butterflies have given me another way to de-stress. I could be having a tough morning or one of those weeks you have four Mondays in a row, and I’ll take five minutes and watch a butterfly hatch or a caterpillar transform into a cocoon … it’s hard to explain but it really helps me and has a positive impact on all of us. It’s just pure enjoyment for myself and my crew to witness the development and full life cycle of these things.
What’s your final piece of advice to other superintendents?
Sustainability will save you money! It’s too easy not to try.
At the end of the day we all want a healthier environment for our golf course, families, etc. It’s up to all of us to create a more positive public perception of golf courses and our impact. It won’t happen overnight but taking advantage of this BASF program and others like it can be a meaningful mechanism for all of us to accomplish that goal.
Pat Jones is GCI’s editor-at-large.
LedgeRock Golf Club outside Reading, Pa., will be undergoing its first major course renovation since the feted Rees Jones design opened for play in 2006.
During 2019, Jones and his team will concentrate on two holes at LedgeRock — the downhill, par-3 10th and the uphill, par-4 17th — with plans to adjust other holes going forward. Ground has already been broken this spring on 10; it should open by Memorial Day Weekend. The plan for 17 calls for construction to be completed in late 2019. Alan FitzGerald, the only course superintendent LedgeRock has ever had, will oversee the effort using in-house construction crews.
The changes will be substantial: the 10th will be equipped with an array of new tee locations, allowing this single hole to play from as many as six new angles and elevations. At the somewhat notorious 17th, Jones will soften the club’s most difficult hole.
“Every golf course needs to be reevaluated from time to time,” Jones said. “At 17, we are taking out the cross bunker to make the hole more playable for every caliber player. On hole number 10, we are building more tee locations to create more shot variety on a daily basis.”
Jones’ design associate Bryce Swanson will direct the renovation measures on site. He explained that tree clearing on 10 got underway in 2018.
“These new tee positions make sense agronomically — more sun, more air movement, spreading the wear and tear around more tees — but they will also create some really cool, new angles of attack,” Swanson said. “The club deserves credit for taking the initiative here. They’ve demonstrated a real sophisticated vision for LedgeRock. What they did with that teaching facility, for example, was way ahead of its time — clubs just weren’t doing that sort of thing 10 years ago. We relish the opportunity to complete that vision with the renovation of these two holes.”
LedgeRock Golf Club opened in 2006, 15 minutes southwest of Reading, on 212 acres of terrain marked by striking elevation changes and riven by half a dozen roaring brooks. In an era when golf courses and private clubs are closing down in droves, LedgeRock has thrived by doubling down on golf itself.
“We have no tennis courts or swimming pools here,” said general manager Gerry Heller, who arrived in 2017 from Philmont CC in Huntingdon Valley, outside Philadelphia. “It’s a very lively, social place, but our members are here for their golf. They’re devoted to it. I’ve worked at elite clubs all over the country, but I’ve never seen a learning center double as such a social hub.”
Designed in a carriage-house style by the architects at Blackney Hayes, the LedgeRock Learning Center was among the first to offer state-of-the-art swing analysis and indoor hitting bays that deploy FlightScope, Boditrak and K-Vest technologies. There’s a dedicated instruction studio, an indoor putting and chipping green, and an array of fitting systems for clubs.
The complex, which also serves the club’s oversized outdoor range/practice facility, is centered around a great room with adjoining patio and fire pit. With its own food & beverage capability, plus commanding views of the 13th and 14th holes, the learning center has proved a popular venue for corporate meetings. “But we’ve got to be careful about that — the members just love to gather there,” Heller said.
Golf courses nationwide are indeed closing in record numbers — a net loss of some 150 each year since 2008, according to the National Golf Foundation. Private clubs have been particularly hard hit; hundreds have closed outright, but hundreds more have been obliged to go public. Berks County alone has seen a dozen golf properties shuttered over the last decade.
Market forces would appear stacked against the success of LedgeRock, but Heller believes that ultimately they have contributed to it.
“Two quite prominent private clubs in Harrisburg also closed their doors recently and a number of those players have come to play their golf here,” Heller said. “I could cite a dozen similar examples. It’s terrible to see all these closures, but it has helped us evolve and grow as a club, strategically. Today we do view ourselves as a regional private club with members from outside what a typical private club would consider its ‘market.’”
“The club has adjusted to what is a new, broader market,” new golf professional Zach Halvonik added, “one that really extends past Harrisburg, north of Reading, south to Lancaster and all the way into the western Main Line suburbs. That’s why we maintain the Kohl House,” a four-bedroom guest cottage where members can stay the night. “The market determines a lot of what we do here, including renovating these two holes, to make the golf course that much better and attractive to prospective members.”