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Updated: 13 min 35 sec ago

Royal Portrush Golf Club renews GEO Certified status

Tue, 2019-07-16 13:49
Royal Portrush Golf Club has successfully renewed its GEO Certified status. This is golf's most comprehensive and widely regarded sustainability distinction assured by GEO Foundation, which serves as a credible platform for communications of real outcomes and continual improvement for golf facilities that are actively fostering nature, conserving resources, and supporting the community.  The Club first became GEO Certified in December 2015 and has continued to strengthen its commitment to sustainability and protecting the natural links habitat. Examples of this include grassland and scrub improvement and maintaining a thriving habitat for native bee species.  “The Open is played on some of the world’s most revered golf courses, at venues which represent the many ways that golf can be beneficial to communities and the environment,” GEO Foundation executive director Jonathan Smith said. “Congratulations to the team at Royal Portrush for their achievements, and for helping to ensure the continuation of The R&A’s leadership policy of high sustainability standards for Open venues.” “We as a club are delighted to renew our GEO Certification and are able to track our progress and achieve continued improvement in our commitment to being an environmentally sustainable business,” Royal Portrush course manager Graeme Beatt said. “We are custodians of the Links here at Royal Portrush and take great pride in the flora and fauna within its sand dune grassland while also managing all departments of the business in a sustainable manner.” Hosting The Open for the second time in its history this year, Royal Portrush will be home to several sustainability initiatives including a focus on Fairtrade, local and ethically sourced produce, waste management efforts and The Open Water Initiative, which will see free purified, chilled local water delivered directly to fans, players, staff and officials through the use of on-site water stations and special edition refillable stainless steel bottles. The initiative will shine a light on the impact of global marine plastic pollution, while helping to drive behaviour change away from the single-use mindset that has led to an epidemic of ocean pollution. The initiative has been developed by The R&A in collaboration with Bluewater and is supported by UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign. “It is important that all venues which stage The Open set the standard in sustainability and we are delighted that Royal Portrush is demonstrating its continuing commitment to addressing issues concerning the local environment, use of resources and the local communities,” R&A director of sustainability Steve Isaac said.  “Our commitment to only host The Open at certified venues has been very well received and is a good match with The Open GreenLinks initiative across the staging of the Championship related to nature, communities and resources.”  The Open GreenLinks initiative was set up with the assistance of GEO Foundation’s OnCourse Tournaments program, utilizing many of the guidelines and resources that are designed to help golf tournaments around the world accelerate their own commitments, actions and results. Other recently GEO Certified venues include Portmarnock and The Island, which co-hosted the The Amateur Championship in 2019. ]]>
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Debut 3M Open brought together by more than Scotch Tape

Tue, 2019-07-16 10:04
Long before 20-year-old Matthew Wolff howled home a tourney-crowning eagle at the PGA Tour’s inaugural 3M Open in early July, the maintenance cast and crew at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn.  was prepping a renovated course to ready for the world's best.

As detailed by Golf Course Industry in November, the grounds’ transition from a longtime PGA Tour Champions host into a reworked PGA Tour stop was neither a task nor a timeline for the timid.

Beginning what the course referred to as “competitive enhancements” literally the day after the farewell round of Champions play in early August, the TPC Twin Cities’ grounds team was on a clock of approximately 80 days to man the thorough design changes before winter.

As players neared the cut late on the Friday following round one’s Independence Day debut, Mark Michalski, head superintendent at TPC Twin Cities, found a rare moment to observe his charge on television, and to reflect on the torrid transition that took the course from a 7,000-yard par 72 to a 7,450-yard par 71.

After laying the last sod two days prior to construction companies pulling out on October 29, the track survived a tough winter, with stretches of days with no snow cover and 30-below temps.

“We got everything done,” Michalski said. “And then, coming out of winter, we didn’t lose any grass, but the grass was just so dormant. And then we didn’t get above 50-degrees soil temps until May 30.  Realistically, we only had a few months of growing weather with frost into early June.”

After a deluge of spring rain, Michalski found muggy weather in late June into early July playing to his benefit.

“If the fall gave us a little better weather, well ... the things we got done after October 10, you can still see some sod seams out there,” he continued. “It plays fine, but you can still see the scars a little. The holes we did first look like they were always there, but from a super’s standpoint, you want not the just playability, of course, but also the perfect aesthetics."

Some of the crew’s best-laid plans were at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Michalski had course peripheries and hospitality areas seeded with good germination ... which was washed away with pounding rain, affecting the reworked grounds.

“So there was, like, a foot of sand on the 18th fairway in spots,” he said. “That was discouraging; it set us back a bit. But I look back on that now, and, I mean, if we hadn’t sodded everything, with the winter we had, even if we had a good catch of seed, I think I would have lost some of that. So, without that rainstorm, I may have made the wrong decision. It was frustrating, but looking back on it now, I think I was given the weather I needed to do the job. Never get too high or too low as a superintendent, is what I've learned. You're only as good as the weather that you’ve got.”

As anticipated, a course that once played among the easiest on the Champions Tour indeed saw its share of red numbers for the world’s best. And yet, despite the lack of the grounds’ typical wind defense, TPC Twin Cities stood sturdy with a cumulative 69.455 scoring average, and saw 40 scorecards over-par for non-cut makers (Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson among them at 5-over).

In addition, the rework’s most dramatic change – a doubled lake size on the par-5 18th – saw the intended risk-reward narrative take form, ranging from Wolff's 72nd-hole eagle to world No. 1 Brooks Koepka carding a 4, 8, 7 and 3 across his respective four rounds.

For Michalski, the process was more than just turf-based; rather, seeds of knowledge grew across the 11-month window.

“I learned a lot from the design meetings,” Michalski said about observing the work of Steve Wenzloff, the PGA Tour’s vice president of design services, along with player consultant, Tom Lehman.  “I’m not a designer; I’m a superintendent. I like to play golf, to think about the course, but I learned so much about the ‘why’ those guys would do certain things, and the concepts behind it. Whether it was the bailout area left on the 18th to make for a longer second shot, or all the options presented with routing on the shorter No. 16 – those things gave players opportunity to use their imagination.”

And, come tourney time, architecture lessons segued to logistical understanding.

“Just stuff like how we get back to our maintence facility,” Michalski added. “It was tight, the way it was routed with fences and barriers. This week, we're going through catering and police and stuff, so it has been a challenge, but also an opportunity to make mental notes for next year.”

For Michalski, the transition of Tours on his grounds created an apropos comparison from a Minnesota native.

“It’s kinda’ like going from the County Fair to the State Fair – it's just so much more of everything,” Michalski concluded. “Inside the ropes, we kept things the same; outside the ropes is a different story.”

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Trio wins Power for Good scholarships

Tue, 2019-07-16 09:36
John Deere celebrated The First Tee 2019 Power for Good scholarship contest winners last week on the eve of The John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. The winners participated in a panel discussion with Scott Langley, a First Tee alum.

Each of the three winners received a $5,000 college scholarship, as well as a VIP experience at The John Deere Classic, including participation in the Wednesday Pro-Am at TPC Deere Run.

“As a leader in the golf industry, we are committed to supporting the next generation of golfers, and one way we do this is through our continued relationship with The First Tee and the John Deere Power for Good scholarship contest,” Deere director of global golf Manny Gan said. “The three 2019 winners are leaders both on and off the course, and we are proud to honor these young women this week at The John Deere Classic.”

The scholarship winners are Kharynton Beggs of Charleston, S.C., Katelyn Harris of Antelope, Calif., and Mombo Ngu of Jacksonville, Fla. The purpose of the contest is to recognize the efforts of young men and women in The First Tee program who, like John Deere, have a passion for improving their surroundings. Through an essay application, students are required to write a summary of the impact of their efforts and how their work is connected to the values learned through The First Tee and the game of golf.

Deere has sponsored The First Tee since 2012, working with the organization to positively impact young people through educational programs and the game of golf. The scholarship program launched in late 2016.

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Water, water everywhere

Fri, 2019-07-12 10:30
Like most courses across the Midwest, TPC Deere Run received far more rain this spring than history says should fall around the Great Lakes as the calendar turns toward April and May, inch after inch pouring down on its 385 acres of bentgrass tees, fairways and greens. Unlike most courses across the Midwest, TPC Deere Run still needed to open its gates for the crowds and cameras that accompany a summer PGA Tour event.

How to prepare an expansive property for a weeklong television showcase when rain relegates you to the cart path? Ask Alex Stuedemann, the veteran director of golf course maintenance operations.

Now in his sixth year back in the Quad Cities after TPC stints in Minnesota and Texas, Stuedemann normally prepares the course for the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois with a thorough 12-week plan that starts around Tax Day and runs right up to tournament week. This year, though, the course received 13 inches of rain from April 13 through May 12.

“We’d get an inch-and-a-half of rainfall,” Stuedemann says, “and then it’d be dry for 18, 19 hours, then we’d get half-an-inch, then we’d get four-tenths of an inch, and then a quarter-inch, and it just kept stacking, stacking, stacking on top of a very snowy winter — it was the second- or third-snowiest on record for the Quad Cities — so the soil was already charged and now we had all this rain.”

The rain never relented. “It was just so continuous,” Stuedemann says. “It wasn’t like we were getting blown out. The bunkers were fine, and for the most part, the golf course maintained its integrity, we just couldn’t get on it.”

Golfers were permitted to drive off the path just four days during May. More important for the tournament ahead, Stuedemann and his crew of 25 mowed fairways only two or three times during the month and were unable to mow the rough even once. An incredible fleet that includes 109 pieces of John Deere equipment remained in park.

“We ended up having to spend pretty much the entire month of June playing catchup once things started drying out and getting a little more hospitable for heavy equipment to get out,” Stuedemann says. “We were picking our battles. What was imperative to be done prior to the event? What were the things that we might see but the professional golfer or the spectator coming out here wouldn’t know the difference? Those are tough choices to make, because it’s kind of a bug in your craw, not having something done, even though in your eyes almost everybody else can’t see it.”

Schedules shifted toward odd hours for a while. Assistant superintendent Alex West recalls mowing during plenty of afternoons into the evening, once or twice staying atop a mower past 9 p.m. Andy Cooper, one of two assistants-in-training alongside Jarrett Chapman, sprayed four hours one night from 6 to 10, then returned the next morning, just like normal, by 4:15.

“The course dries out throughout the day and then you still have golf out there,” Cooper says. “So you’re working around the weather and the golf, and our window was now nighttime. That’s when most of our mowing got done. Looking back, we were so glad we did come in at night, because the weather the next couple of days was normally complete garbage.”

Equipment director Bruce Phillipson describes the stretch as “a little bit of a break,” though he followed that statement by saying, “and I don’t want that to happen again.” Phillipson would much rather prefer to tune up the 14 John Deere 220 E-Cut Hybrid walk-behind greens mowers, the eight 220SL Precision Cut walk-behind greens mowers, the quartet of 7500A E-Cut hybrid fairway mowers, the dozens and dozens of Gators. He can find other ways to fill his days — like designing and welding a dew drag that allows a single Gator to skim overnight moisture — but he would rather work on the Deere equipment whose triennial order form alone weighs more than a can of pop.

“You have to be able to adapt, come up with new ideas, and do things you don’t normally do” West says. “I think we adapted well to the climate and ended up with a pretty decent product for the tournament.”

The pros on the course and the tens of thousands of fans all around it will likely attest to that. The tournament teed off Thursday for the 49th straight year in the region — and for the 20th straight year at Deere Run — with the course as gorgeous as ever. Every corner appears perfect and prepared.

Maybe all that rain helped more than hindered.

“Trying to get too aggressive in that weather would have been disastrous,” Stuedemann says. “Whether it had been ripping up rough, scalping down turf that wasn’t ready to be cut. I think we lose sight of that sometimes as superintendents. We do more benefit when we don’t do something instead of going out there and trying to be the hero.”

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John Deere acquires OnLink, shows off new labor-focused tech

Tue, 2019-07-09 13:07
Course visit after course visit, the message that Brad Aldridge and the rest of the John Deere product team heard from superintendents and directors remained remarkably consistent. I can’t keep equipment operators in this job market, some said. My job applicants are always down and my openings are always open, others said.

Labor is my biggest challenge, everybody said.

John Deere listened, and on Tuesday morning, on the edge of a broad field at the company’s demo site in Coal Valley, Ill., not far from headquarters in neighboring Moline, announced an acquisition and a series of new products all designed to address the industry’s ongoing labor issues — including an autonomous mower demonstration that elicited audible surprise from a crowd of more than five dozen superintendents from around the world.

First, the acquisition. After more than two years as partners, John Deere formally acquired OnLink, the cloud-based golf course management platform that enables courses to college data and manage equipment, chemicals, nutrients, water, playing conditions and, of course labor. Manny Gan, the director of global golf sales and marketing for John Deere, described the acquisition as an opportunity to “continue developing the platform with the data knowledge we’ve already built.” The analytics, of course, are designed for more efficient planning and maintenance.

John Deere purchased the platform and existing service agreements for an undisclosed amount. The company itself and current employees will not be folded into John Deere after an initial transition, according to OnLink founder and CEO Walt Norley.

The company also introduced new autonomous technology outfitted on an existing 7500 Precision Cut mower — highlighted by a Starfire receiver. Much like autonomous robots have allowed manufacturers to shift workers from traditional labor to more specialized tasks, the autonomous mowers are designed to allow superintendents to reallocate their crew, product manager Brooks Hastings said.

“If you take those (man) hours and reallocate them,” Hastings says, “what does that do for you? Everybody has their laundry list. … We’re proposing that this will help with that list.”

The autonomous mowers will be programmed with initial help from dealers, Hastings said, with the length of that first round of programming depending on the size, layout and goals for each course. “The thing we’re finding,” Hastings said, “is after that initial training and going through it, they latch on to it very easily. It’s not like you’re coding 0s and 1s.”

John Deere also demoed a new GPS PrecisionSprayer that was introduced at the Golf Industry Show in January and has been in testing for close to a year. That technology is highlighted by AutoTrac, which helps more quickly and more accurately spray predetermined areas, and is now available off the shelf. Some of the testers have reported chemical savings as great as 30 percent, Hastings says.

“As long as you have your boundaries mapped, it knows where it should spray,” he says. “It could be pitch dark and it’s still going to operate. The nozzles will still activate when they cross a border. You obviously have to have an operator in the seat but it still widens the window.”

Finally, the company showed off new triplex mowers — the 2700 and 2750 E-Cut Hybrid models — that are designed to more consistently mow from operator to operator. The programmable touchscreen display allows for control over frequency of clip, turn speed, transport speed, lift and lower rate, and cutting unit timing, and includes cleanup pass mode along with an eco mode that can drop RPMs and boost fuel economy.

“A lot of these guys have never been on a piece of equipment before,” Aldridge says. “So the superintendent sets it up, says, ‘This is the way I want you to mow,’ and all they really do is drive the machine. The machine’s taking care of everything else. They don’t have to think, ‘Well, when I turn, I need to slow down,’ because the machine automatically slows down.

“It really kind of dummy-proofs it for the operator, and the superintendent knows every machine they set up is doing the exact same thing.”

The minimum wage has bumped up in 19 states this year, with increases in a dozen states next year, and the labor challenge will continue to confound for the foreseeable future. These are more options in the search for a solution.

Matt LaWell is GCI's managing editor.

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Categories: Other Industry News

Cheetah Pro approved for use in California

Tue, 2019-07-09 10:16
Nufarm Americas announced the approval of Cheetah Pro non-selective herbicide in California. Cheetah Pro provides fast and effective control of grass, sedge and broadleaf weeds in a variety of turf and landscape settings. Previously approved in 46 states, Cheetah Pro will be available to California distributors in 2 by 2.5-gallon units and 30-gallon drums beginning mid-July with 4 by 1-gallon units available in late July.  Cheetah Pro was developed to help turf professionals manage herbicide resistance while providing post-emergence control of the toughest weed and grass challenges. Its novel mode of action works quickly to control undesirable plant vegetation around ornamental trees, shrubs and potted plants, as well as landscape trim and natural areas. Cheetah Pro displays less movement in grasses, which can help create sharp boundary markers that are particularly helpful for sports fields and precise trimming around ornamental beds. ]]>
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BASF launches a pair of new fungicides

Tue, 2019-07-09 08:57
BASF has launched two new fungicides for the turf market. Maxtima fungicide and Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide feature the new Revysol active ingredient and provide broad-spectrum control on diseases such as dollar spot, anthracnose and spring dead spot.  The chemistry is the only in its class to be designated Reduced Risk candidate by the Environmental Protection Agency. Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide also delivers plant health benefits supporting turf to handle the toughest pressures. Unlike older demethylation inhibitors (DMIs), Maxtima fungicide and Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide are the first isopropanol-azoles, a unique chemistry that ensures excellent binding capacity and adaptability through its molecule flexibility. This offers control even on plant pathogen strains that are insensitive to DMIs.  “With Maxtima fungicide and Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide, turf professionals have two powerful new tools for their rotational programs that simply did not exist with the current DMIs on the market,” said Brian Thompson, BASF U.S. marketing manager, Golf and Lawn Care, Professional & Specialty Solutions.  Maxtima fungicide and Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicides feature outstanding rainfastness and help provide effective and longer-lasting control of turfgrass diseases such as anthracnose, fairy ring, spring dead spot and dollar spot. They deliver reliable activity regardless of temperature at application throughout the entire season.  Dr. Jim Kerns, associate professor and extension specialist of turfgrass pathology at NC State University, has been working with the two new products for more than five years applying them to research trials throughout North Carolina.  “We applied Maxtima fungicide to creeping bentgrass and ultradwarf Bermudagrass greens during periods of the year where other DMIs are usually phytotoxic, but we had not observed any phyto damage,” Kerns said.  Golf Course Industry has profiled the process of bringing BASF’s new chemistry to the turf market:CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of the seriesCLICK HERE to read Part 2 of the series CLICK HERE to read Part 3 of the series ]]>
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A total “Turfheads Take Over”

Fri, 2019-07-05 16:00
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, including some of the most recognizable names in the industry, have contributed articles in the past 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 are more than willing to help 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. CLICK HERE to read the 2018 Turfheads Take Over issueCLICK HERE to read the 2017 Turfheads Take Over issueCLICK HERE to read the 2016 Turfheads Take Over issue ]]>
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Capillary Concrete adds trio of industry veterans

Wed, 2019-07-03 16:26
Sales growth across the United States has led to Capillary Concrete adding industry veterans Greg Nichols, Mark Patterson and Scott Grego to its team.  Nichols is the new Northeast sales and installation manager and will also cover Florida. An upstate New York native, Nichols graduated from SUNY Canton and has been in the golf course construction industry working with architects, contractors and superintendents specializing in bunker maintenance products since 2007. He is based in Tequesta, Fla. Patterson joins the company as its Southeast sales and installation manager. He is a 30-year industry veteran, working as a superintendent and director of golf and grounds at multiple clubs. Patterson, who lives in Alpharetta, Ga., holds a degree in plant and soil sciences from Mississippi State University and has built several high-profile clubs in the Southeast, including Champions Retreat in Augusta, Ga., where he served as director of construction and superintendent.  With more than 24 years in the turf industry, Grego joins Capillary Concrete as its Central sales and installation manager. A Michigan native, he attended Michigan State and received an internship at Dominion (Texas) Country Club, where he eventually became superintendent.  After seven years, he transitioned into the sales side of the industry.  “Our growth and future projections have provided us the opportunity to hire a leading sales staff to match our leading bunker liner and turfgrass management applications,” Capillary Concrete operations manager Travis Chivers said. “We are excited to bring the team together to make another huge impact for us in the near future.”]]>
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Michigan resort adding 10-hole par-3 course

Wed, 2019-07-03 13:31
Forest Dunes in northern Michigan announced construction has started on a 10-hole par-3 course. The short course will be located between The Loop and Forest Dunes courses and feature holes measuring between 50 and 155 yards. Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson considered a handful of top architects before entrusting the par-3 course project to Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb, who partnered on the renovation at Florida's Winter Park Golf Course. Johns and Rhebb have also worked together on design projects with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The, duo, both still in their 30s, met in 2014 while working for Coore and Crenshaw on the construction of Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia. Johns also assisted Tom Doak in the initial design and construction stages of The Loop. Also playing a major role in the shaping of the course is Michigan-based golf construction, design and shaping expert Joe Hancock. “We were thrilled at how quickly this project came together this year and with the huge amount of trust Lew has given us,” Johns said. “He wants a course that will be fun and playable for his grandkids and any golfer of any skill level, so that’s the main goal we’re keeping in mind as we build holes where you can play a variety of shots and trajectories and take different angles to get to the hole.” To facilitate a firm, fast ground game, the 957-yard course will feature fescues from the tees to the edges of the receptive bentgrass greens where golfers can use strategic slopes and banks to feed shots toward the hole. Rhebb said the greens will take on a variety of subtle shapes, many being bowl-shaped and some resembling catcher’s mitts or tabletops. “When you come to Forest Dunes, we want you to have a good time,” Thompson said. “What Keith and Riley are building is going to bring a new life and energy to the property. It’s going to bring people together and make their time more enjoyable.” Of the view visitors will see upon entering the golf property, Johns said, “you’ll see some nice shadows, some gently rumpled ground on this course, but playability is our main focus versus trying to make any bold design statement. Because the course is in the middle of property and so visible, it’s really going to raise the level of enjoyment at Forest Dunes. There will always be a gallery of some sort nearby to cheer you on, especially from the pavilion.” 

Grassing commences in August and the course is scheduled to open for play in the summer of 2020. 

Golf Course Industry profiled Johns and Rhebb's work at Winter Park 9 in 2017. CLICK HERE to read the story.

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PBI-Gordon hires Shawn Fopma

Wed, 2019-07-03 10:21
The employee-owners of PBI-Gordon announced that Shawn Fopma has joined the company as a sales representative. Based in Bondurant, Iowa, he is responsible for PBI-Gordon product sales to golf course and turfgrass management customers in Iowa and Nebraska.  Fopma was most recently the assistant director of the Iowa Turfgrass Institute. While there, he managed day-to-day operations and implementation of the nonprofit association’s strategic plans, membership programs and education programs. Prior to that, he was the assistant golf course superintendent of the Wakonda Club in Des Moines. A lifelong Iowan, Fopma holds a bachelor of science in horticulture from Iowa State University. During his academic career, he was an intern at Hazeltine National Golf Club during preparations for the 91stPGA Championship in 2009.  “We are excited that Shawn Fopma has joined the PBI-Gordon family of employee-owners,” says Doug Obermann, PBI-Gordon vice president of Professional and Agricultural Sales. “His experience, outstanding work ethic, and familiarity with the growing conditions in the Midwest will be a great asset to our customers in Iowa and Nebraska.”]]>
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Target Specialty Products offering Turf Fuel Master Class webinar

Mon, 2019-07-01 17:01
Target Specialty Products has announced its first webinar as part of Turf Fuel Master Class. This session is part of Target Specialty Products’ Business Growth Webinar Series geared toward turf management professionals.  “Managing a Strong Foundation with Soil Physical Properties” will be hosted by Target Specialty Products’ Turf Fuel team. The featured speaker is David Doherty, a turf industry veteran and CEO/founder of the International Sports Turf Research Center.  The free webinar is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 11. CLICK HERE to register.  Doherty is recognized by most in the industry to be the world’s foremost authority on the physical properties of golf greens and sports fields. Numerous elite courses use the ISTRC System to monitor the effectiveness of their agronomic programs. ]]>
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Customer-focused enhancements part of Gempler’s 80th birthday celebration

Mon, 2019-07-01 13:22
Gempler’s has undergone multiple enhancements since the sale of the company to Carl Atwell earlier this year, including relaunching the website to improve functionality and better showcase a curated selection of problem-solving products.  “If you’re one of the small business owners we’ve served over the years, I want you to know we’re still the great company we always have been,” said Atwell, the company’s president. “We’re even more committed to excellence, more demanding of ourselves, more disciplined, and unwilling to compromise from the high standards we’ve set for our products.”  Gempler’s, an independent business based outside of Madison, Wis., celebrates its 80th birthday this year. Atwell and his team see themselves as an extended arm an in-house buying team.  The company has implemented a Shipping Saver program and all orders placed by 3 p.m. ship the same business day and knowledgeable customer service representatives are available to provide solutions to extend the lifetime of products.  “Our customer service team is knowledgeable about the product selection and committed to finding a solution that works best for the customer,” Atwell said. “Every company says customers are their No. 1 priority. At Gempler’s we walk the walk and treat our customers like a neighbor, not a number.”]]>
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Landscapes Golf Management expands its course portfolio

Fri, 2019-06-28 09:23
Landscapes Golf Management recently extended its relationship with Tippecanoe Lake Country Club in Leesburg, Ind., and signed on to provide management services to Indian River Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

LGM has been providing accounting, operations, marketing and sales support to the 93-year-old Tippecanoe Lake CC since January 2016, and the board recently agreed to extend their relationship for an additional three years. 

LGM and Indian River Club, meanwhile, began their relationship just last month, on May 21. Indian River Club features a Ron Garl design and has maintained its Audubon International Signature Sanctuary status since opening in 1995. LGM will provide accounting, food and beverage, membership sales & marketing support to the private club on Florida’s east coast.

LGM first offered a la carte or fractional services in the golf industry more than a decade ago. Since launching Landscapes Select, the company has helped more than 20 clients by offering a la carte management services to suit their needs. Clients can select from a menu of support services, including accounting, agronomy, food and beverage, golf operations, marketing, purchasing, sales and technology.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with these two fine clubs,” LGM president Tom Everett said. “Our partnership with Tippecanoe Lake has been a tremendous success, and we are proud to continue this relationship. Indian River Club is a great property in Vero Beach, Florida and we look forward to working in concert with the board of directors and staff to achieve the objectives of the club.”

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Troon set to manage new Phoenix-area course

Fri, 2019-06-28 09:02
Troon has been selected to manage Sterling Grove, a new semi-private club currently under development in Surprise, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix. Scheduled to open in the winter of 2020, Sterling Grove will be the centerpiece of the 780-acre SterlingGrove Toll Brothers lifestyle community.

Nicklaus Design golf course architects and Heritage Links construction company broke ground on the golf course in early January. According to Nicklaus Design, the concept for the golf course is to showcase features from the golden age of golf architecture, providing golfers with a playable and enjoyable course. Crews are currently in the early stages of shaping the course and building bunkers and green complexes.

Sterling Grove will ultimately become an exclusive private club reserved for members and their guests. When the course opens in winter 2020 and for a limited time as the Sterling Grove community builds out, the club will be open to daily-fee and unaccompanied non-member play.

“Sterling Grove is a wonderful new development in the fast-growing Northwest Valley,” Troon COO Mike Ryan said. “Together with Toll Brothers and Nicklaus Design, Troon is fully engaged with all facets of the new club from design and development, agronomy, food and beverage, to sales and marketing and merchandising. This is an exciting project for Troon to be a part of.”

The gated, luxury resort community will encompass 2,200 homes and include both age-restricted and family neighborhoods, an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course, and a 35,000 square-foot, modern ranch-inspired clubhouse with restaurants, spa, fitness, tennis, pools, and pickleball. Incorporating design and architecture from some of Arizona's most iconic neighborhoods, the community will include trails, parks, fishing lakes, community gardens, pet friendly parks, and many new and innovative community amenities.

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Categories: Other Industry News

Georgia Senate lauds superintendents

Thu, 2019-06-27 17:27
The Georgia Senate has lauded the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association for developing a manual detailing maintenance practices that serve golf’s environmental compatibility. Senators passed a formal resolution commending the association for publishing Best Management Practices for Georgia Golf Courses in collaboration with scientists from the University of Georgia and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.  Senators Matt Brass (R-28th), Frank Ginn (R-47th), John Wilkinson (R-50th), Jeff Mullis (R-53rd) and Mike Dugan (R-30th) sponsored the resolution which notes that today’s superintendents draw on more environmental science than any previous generation, “uniquely qualifying them for their duties.” The resolution also highlights how golf in Georgia generates $2.4 billion in economic activity every year supporting nearly 57,000 jobs. Importantly, the resolution acknowledged that “carefully adopted best management practices can potentially improve the financial sustainability of golf courses…” Using more than the minimum required amount of any inputs not only wastes money but can also lead to expensive problems. The resolution also cited golf’s role providing recreational open space that also serves as an effective filter of run-off, sequesters carbon and provides wildlife habitat. The publication launched online late last year with the help of grants from GCSAA and was based on a template developed by the Environmental Institute for Golf with support from the United States Golf Association.]]>
Categories: Other Industry News

Club Car introduces two new personal vehicles

Thu, 2019-06-27 15:49
Club Car recently unveiled two new offerings from its Onward line of personal transportation vehicles: the six-passenger Onward and the HP Lithium-Ion powered Onward. The new offerings come amid growing consumer demand for PTVs with increased space and seating options, and low maintenance electric PTVs.

“As we observe shifts in the transportation needs of communities and families, these new customizations were designed with our evolving customers in mind,” said Ross Atherton, vice president and general manager, Club Car Consumer at Ingersoll Rand.

The six-passenger Onward PTV was engineered with rider comfort, safety and style in mind. The design includes a standard 4-wheel brake system and enhanced suspension system, grab handles, ample leg room, and a one-piece canopy design that covers rear-facing passengers and multiple compartments for storage.

The HP Lithium-Ion powered Onward PTV features a 3.1-kilowatt hour lithium ion battery that requires no maintenance. The 4.7-horsepower motor and 375 Amp controller deliver hill-climbing power and acceleration.

In related news, the National Club Association announced Thursday that Club Car has renewed its commitment to NCA’s corporate partner program as an executive partner. The renewal marks the partnership’s fifth year, highlighting the firm’s steadfast dedication to promoting the well-being of private clubs nationwide. Club Car will continue to benefit NCA’s members through sponsorships and educational initiatives across NCA’s many platforms and experiences.

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Categories: Other Industry News

University of Michigan opens construction on new short game area

Wed, 2019-06-26 10:59
University of Michigan golf courses director Corbin Todd announced architects Chris Wilczynski and Mike DeVries have begun construction on the Cilluffo Family Short Game Practice Area — a five-acre short game area that will help hone the games of some of the nation’s best collegiate players.

The complex, which will cost $300,000 and be ready for use this fall, will feature two large greens, several bunkers and subtly undulating fairway and rough areas that will allow the members of the UM men’s and women’s golf teams to practice every aspect of the critical short game.

"It's an exciting summer for the future of our golf teams," said U-M head women's coach Jan Dowling. "The design and implementation of the Cilluffo Family Short Game Practice Area is a culmination of hard work from our support staff, the Cilluffo family, our coaching staff and architects Chris Wilczynski and Mike DeVries. "With some great design suggestions, the space has become more efficient and effective for our student-athletes to train. It's designed with every shot inside 120 yards in mind, and we have added more usable putting space with two putting greens totaling over 20,000 square feet."

The new short game area will give golfers the opportunity to practice uphill, downhill and side-hill pitch and chip shots as well as shots from varying-depth bunkers. One green will be a concave punchbowl and the other will be a crowned convex green.  The greens also will be used for practice putting.

Wilczynski described is as “much more detailed than at a club or public facility. We have imagined and captured every type of shot that you will encounter from the edge of the green up to 120 yards away.” DeVries echoed his architectural partner, saying, “this is a generously sized area and will be a great asset to our players when completed.”

Construction began in mid-May with an expected completion in July, and is being directed by Wilczynski, DeVries and Joe Hancock.

"I have enjoyed working with Chris, the golf coaches and management of the golf courses in finding what is the best opportunity to maximize the area for what they need in a practice facility," DeVries said. "This is a challenging project, however, it is a generously sized area and will be a great asset to our players when completed."

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Categories: Other Industry News

Innovation Never Stops: The Revysol Story

Tue, 2019-06-25 10:08
(Editor’s Note: This year, BASF and GCI are working together to tell the story of how a new active ingredient is coming to life for the golf market. The idea is to help you learn the scope of the R&D, testing, investment and plain hard work that goes on behind the scenes of product development. The specific formulations are not yet approved by the EPA but indications are they will be available in 2019. This is part 3 of a 4-part series on the remarkable process of bringing new chemistry to your golf course.) Roughly a decade ago, Revysol fungicide was a concept. In the years since, it has gone from a formula on a whiteboard, to the lab, to the field. Now, superintendents are eager to see how BASF’s new DMI subclass fungicide performs in “live fire,” under real-world conditions, on turf with real golfers walking and riding on it. Networking in New JerseyJamie Devers is the director of grounds at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J, around 20 miles west of midtown Manhattan. He started working at the club as an intern 19 years ago and has been there ever since. He assumed his present role in 2007. Canoe Brook features 36 holes. The North Course dates back to 1901 while The South Course opened for play in 1924. Both have undergone extensive revisions through the years; over the last four-and-half-decades much of that work has been done by Rees Jones, working either alongside his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., or on his own. Devers is planning to do a test with the Revysol fungicide products at his facility beginning in late June, weather permitting. Prior to that, as is his custom with a new product, he’ll reach out to other superintendents in the region who have used it at their own clubs. “From the information we’ve heard and received, it’s been something we are definitely looking forward to if the field studies and the research proves what they’re hoping to get,” he says. Devers often works with Dr. Bruce Clarke and his team at Rutgers University, who have been conducting trials with Revysol fungicide. “When this was presented to us, it wasn’t a hard sell to help out, to get more real-world research on this product,” Devers says. “There’s only so much you can do at a turf center, but when you get it on a golf course and seeing the different stresses that you have, it goes a long way as far as making sure the product is good, does what it needs to do, and what it’s supposed to do. That helps us out in the long run.” Devers is looking forward to seeing how effective Revysol fungicide is against dollar spot and summer patch. Current research conducted by BASF and universities indicates excellent control of dollar spot, summer patch and anthracnose. Devers plans to apply the product on two fairways, one on each course. “The fairway we’re going to try it on (on The North Course) has notoriously been a very active dollar-spot fairway,” he says. “It’s interesting because it’s only one hole out of 36.” Devers is going to apply in late June as he wants to see if Revysol fungicide lives up to the current research showing a clean record when it comes to not regulating or thinning turf. “Sometimes you can get into problems where if you have another growth regulator out there in the summer, it could be sometimes detrimental and sometimes nip the turf, if you will,” he says. Devers also hopes Revysol fungicide will offer an extended application interval. “We’re looking to this as another chemistry that might be able to give us a possible 21- to 28-day spray interval,” he says. “The less we have to be out there with the sprayers the better as far as applications, and with an operation our size, 36 holes, that will help us out, not only with hopefully disease suppression, but also just labor with spraying.” Obtaining information in OhioRodney Robbins is the head superintendent at The Country Club at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. The 18-hole private facility is situated across the street from Muirfield Village Golf Club, the site of the Memorial Tournament. The golf course, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, has been undergoing a renovation over the last five years that has included the reconstruction of every bunker on the course, the installation of a new irrigation system and the redefinition of several fairways. Robbins, an Ohio native, is in his third year at the club after starting his career at Pinehurst and then spending a season at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, where he was responsible for, among other things, caring for some of the finest grass tennis courts in the world. In his present position, Robbins is concerned less about dollar spot than resistance issues. “They over sprayed here in the ’80s and ’90s, so I’m dollar spot-resistant to all DMI fungicides,” he says. “They don’t work here; I don’t use them. “So, we’ve had to use other products, more contact fungicides and the SDHI line of chemistries. It is fairly new, but it is being used a lot. But you can only do four (applications) of that a year and there are resistance issues.” Research at Purdue University with Dr. Rick Latin the past several years has indicated that Revysol fungicide might have a new advantage in controlling DMI-resistant dollar spot. More research is being done to confirm this in the field. Robbins describes his thought process when he’s considering adding a new product to his repertoire. “The first thing I think about is ‘Do I have a problem that I need a new product to take care of?’” he says. “Right now, my program works. I don’t have a lot of disease issues at all. Dollar spot, anthracnose, Pythium, I’m covered. So, especially as a new superintendent, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But Robbins says he’s interested in learning more about both Revysol fungicide as a stand-alone (brand name: Maxtima®) as well as Navicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide (a pre-mix blend of Revysol fungicide and Insigna® SC Intrinsic brand fungicide) because of the potential of achieving both disease control and resistance management with the same product. He’s hoping that Revysol fungicide will “reset the clock” and give him a fresh start when it comes to DMI fungicides. “This new line is another chemistry class,” he says, “which is always important. There’s not supposed to be any resistance to this line.”Robbins is also interested in finding out what application interval Revysol fungicide offers and whether it is compatible with other products he’s applying. “It’s a big ordeal to set a spray up,” he points out. “Can I mix this stuff in the tank with my other products and not have a compatibility issue? “I’ll never put just one product in the tank, or very rarely. It’s so hard to go out and spray that you want to maximize your time and put as much in the tank to cover insecticides, fungicides, fertilizers, growth regulators, wetting agents. You’re putting six or seven products in the tank.” EpilogueBoth Devers and Robbins are aware that by lending their experience and expertise to the study of Revysol fungicide they are not only enhancing the experience of their own members but also giving back to their industry by contributing to the ever-expanding knowledge base about the product. Robbins is looking forward to seeing how well it works. “I’m on the list to get, I think, an acre’s worth,” he says, “so I will fit it into my program. I’ll give them the back-nine tees or a section where, if I did have a disease break through, it wouldn’t be that big a deal.” Robbins appreciates the support BASF provides if he has a question or needs help. “They’re my first call every time,” he says.
While Robbins, as noted above, is cautious about introducing new products into his protocol, he maintains an interest in learning about them. “I’m always open-minded about new stuff, so I’ve got kind of an open-door policy with all my guys from all the different companies,” he says. “It doesn’t hurt to learn something new or to try stuff and when these products come out, they’ll give me an acre’s worth and I’ll find an area on the golf course where I can apply this product and do the Pepsi Challenge compared to what I’ve got now. That’s the best way to do it. Just put it out in the field and see what actually happens on your property.” Devers embraces the idea of giving back to the game of golf and to his industry. He has the support and encouragement of his employers in that regard. “We were approached to be a real-world study for Revysol (fungicide),” he says, “and my greens chair and my general manager said ‘Yes, let’s go ahead and do it.’ We’ve done research with Rutgers in the past and they are more than happy to try to help if it’s going to be a product that can be used not only here at Canoe Brook but within the industry. “With Rutgers running the study, Dr. Clarke and his staff, we’re more than satisfied with how it’s going to go and the help it can provide for golf courses, throughout not only the Middle Atlantic region and the East Coast, but hopefully throughout the country.” Devers notes if Revysol fungicide proves to be as effective as is hoped, it will provide a direct benefit to golfers. “If we can get a DMI that has longevity in disease suppression along with the safety during the hot humid summers that we have in the Mid-Atlantic,” he says, “it would be another great piece to the puzzle in order to supply the best conditions we can for our membership.”  Next Up:Part 4 will reveal more details about usage in real-world settings.  CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of the seriesCLICK HERE to read Part 2 of the series  Note: Any sales of the products after registration is obtained shall be solely on the basis of the EPA-approved label, and any claims regarding product safety and efficacy shall be addressed solely by the label.]]>
Categories: Other Industry News

Anything but average in New England

Tue, 2019-06-25 09:43
Snow masked splendor when Mike Dachowski first visited Shelter Harbor Golf Club. Dachowski knew something special rested beneath the white blanket. But how opulent was this slice of Charlestown, Rhode Island, golf land? Before he understood how the turf tones meshed with the charming surroundings, Dachowski noticed hundreds of unimpeded acres on his maiden Shelter Harbor stroll. “I quickly realized how big it really is,” he says. “I almost got lost out there.” Shelter Harbor is a place where a newcomer becomes disoriented in the grandeur of a 500-acre, 27-hole facility. Everything and everybody at Shelter Harbor seems, well, pleasant. Dachowski’s visit in late 2009 as part of a job interview resulted in him landing a coveted position and becoming a mainstay at a club where transience and permanence converge. The bulk of the membership lives elsewhere and only uses the golf course in the summer as June, July and August bring familiar faces striving for a fascinating golf experience and escapism from big-city life. “They definitely expect conditions as high end as you can get,” Dachowski says, “and we try to exceed that for them. It seems to work. Everybody is coming here to their beach home and they’re in a good mood. They’re not coming here to work. The overall club feeling is a lot different. The membership is awesome here and the club as a whole functions really well with all the department heads. Everyone gets along very well. It’s kind of a unique situation rather than the norm.” Awakening the courses – Shelter Harbor has an 18-hole Michael Hurdzan- and Dana Fry-designed championship layout and a 9-hole short course with coastal views – for summer sojourns requires a coordinated and calculated agronomic effort. The summer crew hovers around 30 determined workers, including 11 employees possessing turf degrees. The staff has enormous responsibilities. Dachowski’s team maintains 5½ acres of Velvet bentgrass greens and 48 acres of Seaside II bentgrass fairways. The bentgrass requires year-round attention, and the Velvet can initially stun a newcomer. Shelter Harbor’s Velvet turns purple in winter before returning to an attractive green as temperatures warm. Learning the nuances of the variety represented one of Dachowski’s first tasks after becoming the club’s superintendent in early 2010. “There’s not a lot of research on it,” he says. “You find out that it’s low fertility, but there’s not a lot of information or a guide to steer you in the right direction. It took a good two to three solid years to get used to it. But once we figured it out, we learned it’s a great grass.” The grass requires less summer mowing than other bentgrass varieties. Dachowski says his team mows greens a “maximum” of three times per week in the middle of summer. Through daily rolling and a spray program created in collaboration with Bayer experts, members enjoy consistent, slick and disease-free greens, no small feat considering coastal climatic challenges such as fog, intense sunlight and warm evenings. “When you’re in school for turf and they teach you about the Temperate Oceanic Climate, you never know what that means (until you experience it),” Dachowski says. “That’s what we are. You can go from one extreme to another. We can be very mild, or you can go through real warm periods through the summer to very warm in the winter to kind of mild and miss a lot of the snowstorms in the winter. That’s probably the biggest thing here compared to other places I have lived and worked. There are more extremes here.” Dachowski, who previously worked at Merion Golf Club, Quaker Ridge Golf Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and the The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, found the New England turf community eager to share information about climate-induced maintenance challenges. Dachowski worked with Bayer technical experts, establishing a program based upon climate history to combat “high dollar spot pressure.” Cooperation from inquisitive superintendents such as Dachowski helped Bayer launch its Green Solutions Team, a group of technical experts who conduct research to support superintendents. “We brought Bayer Green Solutions Team to Shelter Harbor to start doing modeling with the weather,” says Brian Giblin, a Bayer sales manager who covers New England. “Going to a place like Shelter Harbor, where they have such extremes and short windows, helped us determine how to best lay out a spray and preventative disease program looking at the weather.” The collaboration yielded reciprocal benefits. Dachowski developed a reliable spray program, while Bayer received data on new products, including additions to its Stressgard line. Dachowski uses Signature, Interface and Tartan on greens. In addition to helping Shelter Harbor avoid dollar spot, the program allows the Shelter Harbor to promote fast and firm conditions while deploying what Dachowski calls “lean” irrigation tactics. Greens are treated weekly from May to September. The program extends to Shelter Harbor’s fairways, which are sprayed biweekly using a rotation that includes Interface, Tartan, Exteris and Fiata. Moisture meters guide irrigation decisions on playing surfaces, and frequent rolling has further enhanced fairways. “We balance things pretty well,” Dachowski says. “We will still be green, but we are not a vibrant obnoxious green. We’re just kind of a subtle green. The leaf blades are very thin because of the low fertility. You still get the green color. The Stressgard helps us get a good green color, but it’s not a fake green. When we spray one of the Stressgard products, particularly on fairways, we get good color on those for two weeks (and beyond).” Dachowski’s relationship with Bayer, and particularly Giblin, continues to strengthen. Dachowski uses parts of the par-3 course, which features the highest humidity on the property because of proximity to the ocean, to test products. Dachowski then shares the results with Giblin and fellow superintendents. “Having the scientific data is big,” Giblin says. “Mike has that relationship with his peers where they talk back and forth. Tapping into that group of people who talk about what they are seeing goes a long way for the both of us.” Tweaks to the program will be minor in 2019, Dachowski says, because of repeated success avoiding disease and unpleasant aesthetics. Shelter Harbor often records nighttime temperatures surpassing 70 degrees throughout the summer, which contrast milder nighttime weather at Dachowski’s past Northeast stops. But a proven program means a coastal calm permeates the crew. “It gives you peace of mind knowing we are covering our bases for what could be popping up,” Dachowski says. “You don’t stress out about what’s going to pop up out here because you know what’s going to happen.” People who fret about anything, especially work, are an uncommon sight in Charlestown, a small town that experiences a population boom each summer. Convenience to activities such as fishing, boating, swimming and paddling are part of the reason Shelter Harbor attracts an abundance of turf talent. Dachowski strives to provide opportunities for employees looking to experience Rhode Island’s summer offerings. For Dachowski, summer life away from the course involves watching his four children play sports. Beaches and ballfields are even more enjoyable when Shelter Harbor’s turf remains consistent through proven practices. “I stress every day, ‘Let’s do something better, let’s get better, let’s improve the place,’” Dachowski says. “I think, in turn, that makes the course better every year. The feedback I get from members is that it’s a little better than last year – and it was great last year. That’s what our end goal is. At the same time, we’re big on balance. I want our team to enjoy the area. It’s not just work, work, work. We try to balance everything, and it works out good.” From the fieldBayer area sales manager Brian Giblin, who works with superintendents in New England, says resorting to agronomics basics can help golf courses in cool-weather environments achieve desirable results as they try to present quality early-season conditions and aesthetics: “Don’t try to add a million and one things to your turf. Sometimes overdoing it can push things in the wrong direction. When you have a balanced approach, you’re going to know your soil conditions and your levels, and what’s available so the plant is only getting what it needs. Stressgard is an input that provides benefits beyond disease control. It’s more than just a fungicide. Everybody has fungicides and we all expect them to be successful and prevent disease. But adding in Stressgard helps superintendents dial things back a little bit and keep turf healthy.”]]>
Categories: Other Industry News