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Updated: 15 min 19 sec ago

OPEI announces first ANSI standard for robotic lawn mowers

Fri, 2019-09-20 13:19
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute announced the first standard for robotic, battery-powered, electrical lawn mowers issued by the American National Standards Institute.

“It is predicted that this market category will grow considerably in the next six years as the outdoor power equipment industry continues to innovate and improve products in response to consumer needs,” OPEI president and CEO Kris Kiser said. “Standards play an important role in everyday life and ensure that consumers know what they are getting when they purchase a product like a robotic mower.”

The global robotic lawn mower market is expected to grow by nearly 22% over the next six years, according to a recent study conducted by Grand View Research.

The ANSI/OPEI robotic mower standard is “ANSI/OPEI 60335-2-107-2019 (Standard) for Outdoor Power Equipment - Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-107: Particular requirements for robotic battery powered electrical lawnmowers (national adoption with modifications of IEC 60335-2-107).” The standard was approved Sept. 5 and is expected to be published this fall.

It was developed through a public input process that brings together consumers, manufacturers and commercial equipment users.

“We expect to see increased competition in this product category as manufacturers will now be able to design equipment to meet the industry standard,” Kiser said.

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Industry Q&A: Rand Jerris on USGA Green Section retirements

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:49
After months of speculation, the USGA officially announced Friday the early retirement of dozens of employees, including 11 members of the Green Section who are older than 55, which will merge later this year with the association’s Research, Science and Innovation Group.

Golf Course Industry editor-at-large Pat Jones talked with Rand Jerris, the USGA’s senior managing director of public services, about the circumstances leading to the early retirement offers for those staff members and the future of the Green Section.

Pat Jones: Tell us why the Green Section is still valuable.

Rand Jerris: It would be difficult to overstate the value that the USGA Green Section brings to the game, and especially to the golf courses where we all play and to the communities that surround them. The members of our team are thought leaders in sustainability, champions of public golf, and leading experts in agronomic and environmental science. As an organization, we take great pride in all they do to keep golf courses healthy and to keep golfers happy. The Green Section has delivered this value for nearly 100 years and we will ensure this legacy by continuing to commit to research, educational programs, consulting services and solutions that advance the game.

PJ: What brought about the decision to offer early retirements to multiple members of the Green Section staff?

RJ: To be clear, this was not singularly a Green Section offering. Earlier this year, the USGA presented a strictly voluntary retirement incentive to more than 60 employees across the organization who were part of a pension plan that was offered to employees who joined the USGA prior to 2008. We made a decision to freeze the pension plan based on participation numbers, and we opted to provide each person in the plan who was over the age of 55 a one-time option to receive additional years of eligibility and other benefits — such as continued healthcare — if they chose to retire early. Among those eligible, 49 accepted the offer, 11 of whom worked for the USGA Green Section. To lose 11 Green Section experts in our ranks is hard for many of us both professionally and personally. They are our coworkers and our friends.

PJ: How does this reflect the continuing evolution of the Green Section?

RJ: Over recent years, Dr. Kimberly Erusha and the members of her team worked hard to evolve the Green Section to be even more relevant to the clubs, courses and golf course professionals that they serve directly. This has involved looking thoughtfully and deeply at the department’s core programs, and asking hard questions about the educational value of our programs, as well as the reach of these same programs. To their credit, the team saw opportunities to improve and expand both.

Embracing a mindset of continuous improvement, they’ve worked to implement some substantive changes that were designed to extend our reach beyond the comparatively small number of high-end facilities that were traditionally our core audience. There are more than 15,000 golf facilities in the United States, and more than 30,000 globally, and we wanted to evolve our programs in ways that would allow our expertise eventually to reach all of them. For some of our agronomists, this has meant spending less time engaging in one-on-one consulting relationships with individual clubs and more time creating educational content and delivering educational programs that large audiences can use and easily adopt.

It’s also meant spending more time engaging with and listening to golf course superintendents, golf course owners and even golfers themselves, to understand better their pressures, challenges and ongoing needs. Listening to and engaging with our customers has led us to create new offerings through the Course Consulting Service, develop new educational materials and programs, and identify new needs for critical research over the past several years. Through all of this work, the team has become more nimble, more responsive and, we believe, more impactful.

With the recent changes to the team, we’ll continue to leverage this same mindset of continuous improvement — constantly assessing the evolving needs of the golf community and ensuring that we have the best team and the best programs to support them.

PJ: What will the Green Section look like 10 or 15 years from now?

RJ: We understand that a thriving game requires expertise, resources and solutions and we believe that the USGA’s 100-year history in leading the game forward in these areas must continue.

As we look to the future, we remain committed to supporting four core activities of the Green Section: 1) investing in agronomic and environmental research to improve the quality of the golf experience and foster the sustainability of golf courses, 2) offering consulting services that provide expertise and guidance quickly both when and how our customers need support, 3) developing meaningful education programs and materials that advance the implementation of best practices at golf facilities around the world, and 4) developing cutting edge tools, technologies and solutions that are needed by our customers. The team that delivers these programs could include scientists, engineers, urban planners, water experts and more — the problems we need to solve are complex and we’ll need a diverse set of skills and experiences on our team to deliver against our core promises.

One thing that we are sure of is this: the Green Section of the future will continue to include the best minds in both the science and operation of the golf course, professionals who are committed to helping facilities deliver great experiences to golfers, supporting golf course operators in being strong stewards of important natural resources and assuring the golf courses deliver great value to their surrounding communities.

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Electing to be different at elevation

Wed, 2019-09-18 16:23
Red Ledges director of agronomy Pat Christoffer is an outside-the-box thinker. Cultivating bentgrass fairways and A1 bentgrass greens in Heber City, Utah – one of the highest and driest regions of the United States – has forced the 20-year golf industry veteran to employ maintenance practices that most would never think of. By implementing a “limited disruption concept,” Christoffer has found a balance between playability and the environment that are sustainable for the mountain community’s 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and 12-hole, par-3 Jack Nicklaus Golf Park.  “Since the day we built Red Ledges, 12 years ago, we have never hollow core aerated our greens, never,” Christoffer says. “I believe we are the first club in the world to implement this type of limited disruption concept from day one on newly built USGA golf greens.” Red Ledges greens are as firm, true, Poa annua-free and healthy as the day they were built. Christoffer’s out-of-the-ordinary maintenance approach on the greens requires its share of tradeoffs.  “The trick is once you eliminate hollow core aeration, you lose a powerful mechanical tool to remove thatch accumulation,” Christoffer says. “To manage the thatch in other ways, we apply frequent, light topdressings, but more importantly we monitor fertilizer input to avoid producing thatch faster than it is broken down by microbes and diluted with sand.”   Red Ledges has also eliminated the use of synthetic foliar nitrogen on greens, choosing instead to use primarily organic, locally sourced nitrogen and encourage conditions to promote mineralization of the existing nitrogen in the soil.  “Our minimalist goals have also allowed Red Ledges to very sparingly apply nitrogen fertilizer to our creeping bentgrass fairways,” Christoffer says. “We’re applying only about 10 percent of the nitrogen fertilizer that other golf courses are putting on their fairways annually, while still delivering perfect playing surfaces for members and guests.”   Located in the Heber Valley on the eastern edge of the Wasatch Mountains, Heber City and Red Ledges receive less than 16 inches of precipitation annually. Working in concert with Mother Nature is a vital part of Christoffer’s job.  “We pay attention to what Mother Nature is doing as she has more experience managing turfgrass than any of us,” Christoffer says. “Fundamentally, nothing we do at Red Ledges is more important than the application of irrigation water. That is why Red Ledges has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into making the most efficient irrigation system in Utah even better. We’ve added micro-irrigation, installed moisture sensing technology, utilize drone photography and continually audit the entire irrigation system for efficiency.”   By taking a natural and eloquent approach, while utilizing a mix of science, technology, Mother Nature and good old-fashioned hard work, the Red Ledges agronomy team is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful turf maintenance teams in the West. Rob Myers is an Arizona-based writer. 
CLICK HERE to listen to a podcast Golf Course Industry recorded with Pat Christoffer last year.  ]]>
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Better Billy Bunker offering GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund assistance following Hurricane Dorian

Tue, 2019-09-17 18:20
A natural disaster has once again affected many within the golf community. As with hurricanes in recent years, Hurricane Dorian continues to impact the Bahamas and much of the East Coast, devastating golf facilities and altering the lives of GCSAA members, their families, and their staffs.

In times such as this, the GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund is critical in ensuring GCSAA members who need help get it. Developed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the fund is designed to provide assistance to members personally affected by natural disasters. Unfortunately, Hurricane Dorian isn’t the last natural disaster that will impact GCSAA members. It’s essential for the fund to be adequately prepared when calls for help come.

For the third straight year, Better Billy Bunker has announced a matching program for those wanting to show their support for GCSAA members through the Disaster Relief Fund. BBB will match the first $10,000 in individual and chapter donations made to the fund.  

“Our goal with this matching initiative is to encourage as many contributions as possible,” Better Billy Bunker officials said in a statement. “Donating to the GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund is the perfect way for everyone in our industry to show support for friends and colleagues who are in need. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those affected by Hurricane Dorian.”

To make a donation, text “Disaster” to 785-693-2593, or donate online at

For GCSAA members personally impacted by natural disasters, call 800-472-7878 or email]]>
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Dilution Solutions adds new business development manager

Tue, 2019-09-17 10:45
Irrigation and agriculture engineering specialist Jose Rodriguez has joined Florida-headquartered Dilution Solutions as business development manager.

Rodriguez earned his Ph.D. in engineering sciences — food engineer program from Washington State University, along with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, and also has experience in food processing and sanitation.

Rodriguez will will focus on meeting customers’ needs and exploring opportunities to grow relationships.

“I am eager to share my knowledge and experience developing long-term customer relationships by providing excellent support,” Jose said. “Staying in touch with our customers, being available and remaining in contact is of utmost importance.”

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Anuvia, Audubon partner for multi-year study of sustainable golf practices

Thu, 2019-09-12 14:41
Anuvia Plant Nutrients and Audubon International have launched a partnership that will include a multi-year study to evaluate the environmental, sustainability and performance benefits of Anuvia’s bio-based GreenTRX fertilizer for golf courses that are involved in Audubon’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program. They will mutually promote environmentally sustainable property management practices for businesses and communities.

The ACSP is an award-winning educational and certification program that helps golf courses protect the environment and preserve the game’s natural heritage. Through partnerships with communities and businesses, Audubon International provides assistance helping to ensure healthy environments, quality of life for people and economic vitality.

“This represents a great beginning to a long-term relationship,” Anuvia chief commercial officer Hugh MacGillivray said. “The joint research will allow us to scientifically document and practically demonstrate the positive environmental impact of using our product. GreenTRX already is an important component in many golf course management programs that enhance land, water, wildlife and other natural resources that make golf courses a valuable asset to communities.”

Audubon International ACSP was created as concerted efforts to enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations. The program serves an important environmental role worldwide. Audubon International has developed Standard Environmental Management Practices that are generally applicable to all golf courses. These standards form the basis for ACSP for Golf certification guidelines.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Anuvia on this initiative to further our efforts to add value to ACSP certified partner golf businesses and communities,” Audubon International CEO Christine Kane said. “Our common goals with this partnership will help both Anuvia and Audubon International lead in and promote conservation, education and stewardship of our environment.”

Additional goals for the Anuvia-Audubon partnership include:

  • Providing tools to implement and promoting sustainable practices within local communities and within the golf course industry.
  • Protecting and enhancing land, water, wildlife and other natural resources by engaging in efforts that align with the three E’s of sustainability: economy, environment and social equity.
  • Using scientific information to guide the development and implementing programs and products.

The two organizations will recruit a panel of science advisors to advise on the study’s design, research techniques and goals. Following the input of the scientific panel, the three-year study will examine Anuvia’s GreenTRX bio-based fertilizer and its applications to green spaces in association with Audubon’s business partners.

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Faldo Design’s newest course opens for play in Cambodia

Thu, 2019-09-12 10:41
One of the more anticipated properties in Asia, Vattanac Golf Resort is now the second Cambodian venue to join the Faldo Design portfolio, following the opening of the East Course.

Measuring longer than 7,500 yards, the golf course has unique design features taking inspiration from the Bayon temple at Siem Reap, as well as actual on-course replicas of other pre-Angkorian structures, including the Preah Vihear and Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. The design sets the innovation standard for golf in Cambodia, offering a unique combination of culture, leisure and golf.

Located less than 15 miles from the center of Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh, this is the first of two unique championship-standard golf courses that will sit at the heart of the luxury resort, with the West Course set to be completed later this year.

“I’m very proud to finally see this course open for play, delivering on the bold development vision we were tasked with,” Faldo said. “After what was a detailed and bespoke creative design process, I am confident it will offer a strategic and memorable test to players of all standards and I look forward to seeing the impact it makes on the region’s golfing landscape.”

Local identity was the focus for Faldo and his team during the design phase of this project. There was nothing but flat, featureless land within clay basins during the first site visit, requiring large scale earthworks that were initially hampered by severe flooding in 2013, delaying the East Course’s construction.

Vattanac Golf Resort has been one of the more challenging but rewarding projects Faldo Design has undertaken, as we literally had a blank canvas with one or two trees on a flat plot of land that used to be occupied by rice paddy fields,” Faldo Design lead architect Andrew Haggar said. “The opening of the East Course was a proud moment for the design team.”

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Hawk’s Landing turns to hydroponic tee box for big water savings

Wed, 2019-09-11 15:29
Capillary Concrete’s new Capillary Hydroponics system is delivering results a year into its first major customer installation at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club in Orlando. Capillary Concrete built a new tee box last fall at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, incorporating the Capillary Hydroponics system, with superintendent Josh Kelley’s team and contractor Double Eagle Golf Works.

The system divides the tee box into two areas, with a layer of Capillary Concrete under the rootzone. Two air lift pumps, powered by a 55-watt solar panel, move water inside the closed system. All irrigation is applied subsurface; with water is mainly lost through transpiration and minimal evaporation. The system creates a moving water table, using capillary action to move water out of one zone and into another. The water pushes the heavier carbon dioxide molecules out of the rootzone and sucks in oxygen to replace them. It is a far more successful method of gas exchange in the rootzone than conventional methods of aeration.

“We began building the test tee in late September,” Kelley said. “It was completed and grassed in early October. Now, a typical tee box is obviously just a pile of dirt that you shape up. As you get to the higher end, you might put drainage under it, or even use a special rootzone. The process here was that we laid out the rectangular box, cored down 12 inches, and then installed two inches of Capillary Concrete before filling up with sand, levelling and sodding. It was not a difficult project.”

Kelley described it as a “a trial site.” “We aren’t doing anything special to it,” he said. “We have run no overhead irrigation at all, except to water in two applications of herbicide. The tee itself has performed superbly. No hotspots, no disease issues, no wet areas.”

“When we installed the tee, we put a flow meter on the irrigation so we could measure exactly how much water was being used,” said Martin Sternberg, the inventor and CEO of Capillary Concrete, and a Swedish golf pro and course superintendent. “After almost a year, we can say that it has used 65 percent less water than a similar-sized, conventionally-irrigated tee box, and we think that we can tweak the system to get that figure to 85 percent.”

Sternberg first experimented with tees five years ago in Sweden, primarily as a subsurface irrigation project. “We know we are getting up to 6,000 percent more gas exchange in the rootzone in comparison to convention methods of aeration, and it is obvious that will have a massive impact on turf health,” he said. “This is akin to what happens naturally in a seaside links environment, where you typically have a very low water table – but critically, it moves with the tide. That promotes a gas exchange. The best way to promote gas exchange is to push it with a waterfront.”

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Bayer fills four leaderships roles

Tue, 2019-09-10 16:35
The Environmental Science business of Bayer, within the company's Crop Science division, has announced appointments for several leadership positions. These changes will enhance focus on finding innovative solutions for the evolving needs of customers.

Axel Elling Ph.D., will lead the turf and ornamental product development team responsible for disease, nematode, insect, weed and turf stress management. Axel will remain responsible for disease and nematode management solutions, and will lead a team including Bruce Spesard, focused on weed management; Xulin Chen, focused on insect management; and Chenxi Zhang, focused on stress management.

Jake Doskocil, Ph.D., has been named global project leader of pest management and rodent control for environmental science. He most recently served as product development manager for insecticides and led the Clayton Development and Education Center for Environmental Science.

Nonggang Bao, Ph.D., has been named as head of the environmental science field solutions development and experience center in Clayton, N.C., biology team manager and will also be responsible for leading projects within the ES global specialty actives team.

Xulin Chen, Ph.D., joins the T&O Field Solutions team as product development manager for environmental science. She brings more than eight years of broad entomology expertise to the team.

“We are thrilled to welcome this change among top innovators within our organization,” said Richard Rees, Ph.D., head of ES field solutions in North America. “At Bayer, we’re dedicated to keeping strong leadership in customer-facing roles to provide the innovation and support our professional customers need.”

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Oxbow Country Club reopens

Tue, 2019-09-10 10:03
Oxbow Country Club reopened this month in Oxbow, N.D., following an extensive and comprehensive renovation by Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects

Originally built in 1975 near the Red River, the course was one of Jones’s earliest designs. Hugging the river’s U-shaped “oxbow” bends from which it took its name, the course quickly became recognized as one of the region’s premier layouts.  

The five-year-long renovation program was largely instituted to mitigate flooding issues. Many years, in springtime and after common winter snow melt, the Red River would flood, putting the course and 42 nearby homes in jeopardy. The cities of Fargo and Moorhead formed a diversion authority that proposed flood protection for the entire region, including Oxbow. The first phase of the diversion project involved building a levee for flood protection around the Oxbow community. However, the levee bisected the existing course, necessitating the relocation of the clubhouse and more than half the golf holes.

The “new” Oxbow golf course, with 18 new or renovated holes, is beautifully and subtly designed, featuring gorgeous prairie views and striking bluegrass and fescues. The wind — or “the invisible hazard” according to Robert Trent Jones, Jr., chairman and master architect — comes into play on this wide-open layout. Accordingly, the RTJ II team made sure the fairways have enough room to play in any and all winds, leaving room for the ball to move. Some of the bluegrass species selected can handle the winter winds and desiccation that occurs, while accents such as Ohio's Best Sand in bunkers and concrete paths throughout the course will ensure that the new Oxbow remains the most impressive course in the region.

The land for the new holes came from a farm field just south of the existing course. “It was as flat as a pancake,” RTJ II president and chief design officer Bruce Charlton said, “but we were able to fit in all the new homes and the relocated homes. It sounds a little like a jigsaw puzzle, but it was fun to figure out, tying existing holes with the new ones and giving them the same characteristics.”

That includes elevation. Eight of the new holes now play “against” the levee, which rises 14 to 20 feet above the landscape. And with the relocation, the course was losing its original river oxbow; Jones’s team created a new oxbow of connected lakes, using the excavated material to create further contour and definition.

“Having such accomplished golf course architects work on a project of this magnitude and complexity was instrumental to Oxbow, ensuring that the club’s tradition of having the finest golf course in the region was maintained, and in this case, enhanced,” said Sedi Halvorson, general manager of the Oxbow Country Club. “Many course architects would consider having to build a golf course within a levee structure a hindrance. Not only did the RTJ II team view it as a positive, they used it in such a creative way to bring wonderful elevations to the course, creating beautiful tee shots and overall course contours and views not commonly found in the plains. It is truly a work of art.” 

“We’re really proud, in today’s age of natural disasters, that the people there took a proactive approach,” Charlton said. “Knowing they get flooding, they did what they could to make their lives better. The course is a key component of the club and the city.”

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Nufarm announces renewed commitment to GreenCare for Troops

Mon, 2019-09-09 14:34
Nufarm Americas announced its recommitment of $150,000 to Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program. The nationwide program assists thousands of military families by providing basic lawn care and yard maintenance while a family member is deployed.

The investment will help expand the impact of the initiative and enable more lawn and landscape professionals with the opportunity to give back to their community in a meaningful way.

Now in its 13th year, the GreenCare for Troops initiative counts more than 6,000 industry professionals among those who have registered to help more than 11,000 military families.

“Nufarm is proud to be a sponsor of GreenCare for Troops and the good that it encompasses,” Nufarm Americas VP turf and ornamental Sean Casey said. “Military families face many challenges when their loved ones are deployed. GreenCare for Troops works nationwide to connect them with complimentary lawn care services. It’s a great way for lawn and landscape professionals to give back and help military families relieve stress by coming home to a worry-free green yard. We encourage everyone to get involved by donating, volunteering or spreading the word.”

“Nufarm’s ongoing overall support to this incredibly worthwhile program is making a significant difference in the lives of military families and professional lawn and landscape contractor volunteers across the country,” Project EverGreen executive director Cindy Code said. “This ardent support has helped this nationwide to build upon its success and, ultimately, bring safe and healthy yards and landscapes to families in need of relief and peace in a green setting.”

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Tanto Irrigation adds to management team

Mon, 2019-09-09 09:57
After more than a decade at August National Golf Club, Tim Clarke is joining Tanto Irrigation as a part of its management team. Clarke focused on irrigation during his time at ANGC.

Clarke is an upstate New York native and a Delhi University graduate. He honed his turf and irrigation skills as assistant superintendent at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y. prior to heading to Georgia in 2008.

He joins Tanto, an Elmsford, N.Y.-headquartered company celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, as part of its third generation of irrigation professionals.

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Daytona Beach courses reopen after Dorian scare

Fri, 2019-09-06 10:55
Daytona Beach was spared the worst of Hurricane Dorian’s wrath and area golf courses have reopened, welcoming players back as the fall season nears.

Dorian menaced the Florida coast, but the eye of the storm stayed far enough offshore to allow Daytona Beach to escape with low tropical storm force winds and rain but no substantial damage. Golf courses closed for a couple days to clean up small debris but there will be no lasting impact.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of The Bahamas, who endured the worst of Hurricane Dorian,” said Kate Holcomb, director of communications for the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We were very fortunate here in the Daytona Beach and Volusia County area, and we are happy to be welcoming golfers.”

“Thankfully, the course was spared along with everything else in the area,” said Rod Perry, the head pro at Crane Lakes Golf Club. “The forecast was for much worse conditions, but it stayed far enough offshore that we didn’t see much wind and rain.”

Dorian reached the United States on Friday morning as a Category 1 storm, with sustained winds of 90 mph whipping over the North Carolina coast. It has killed at least 30 people in The Bahamas, where fundraising efforts are in full swing.

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ASGCA announces first Environmental Excellence Awards honorees

Thu, 2019-09-05 11:44
Projects from seven courses are a part of the first group of American Society of Golf Course Architects Environmental Excellence Awards, cited for their work with ASGCA members in addressing unique environmental challenges. The program is presented by Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.

The Environmental Excellence Awards program was introduced to recognize the innovative work being done at golf facilities to address the needs of the environment, where golf course architects work with course owners and operators to make a positive impact on the game and the surrounding area.

The 2019 submissions were reviewed by a panel of golf industry and environmental leaders, including representatives of Audubon International, GEO Foundation, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association,

The recognized courses are:

  • City Park Golf Course, Denver — Todd Schoeder, ASGCA
  • Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne, Florida — John Sanford, ASGCA
  • Los Robles Greens Golf Course, Thousand Oaks, California — Jason Straka, ASGCA
  • Roosevelt Golf Course, Los Angeles — Forrest Richardson, ASGCA
  • The Preserve at Oak Meadows, Addison, Illinois — Greg Martin, ASGCA
  • The Refuge Golf Course, Flowood, Mississippi — Nathan Crace, ASGCA
  • Willow Oaks Country Club, Richmond, Virginia — Lester George, ASGCA

“The response to this program in its first year has been tremendous,” ASGCA president Jan Bel Jan said. “Congratulations to each of these facilities and the golf course architects for their work in improving the environmental landscape, helping golf facilities become more sustainable and profitable — and special thanks to Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply for their support.”

  • City Park Golf Course, Denver — Todd Schoeder, ASGCA | Can the redesign of an historic 1913 golf course in an urban environment address major neighborhood flooding issues while simultaneously enhancing the character of the golf course? The challenge was met in one of the last open spaces in Denver to detain and treat stormwater, then release it within eight hours to keep the course playable.


  • Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne, Fla. John Sanford, ASGCA | In an effort to reduce its water consumption, Miami-Dade County Parks Department initiated the project with Sanford Golf Design, who has been working over the past year to develop a conceptual plan that reduces the golf course’s irrigated turf area. The project’s design goals were to improve playing conditions in the tidally-influenced areas, reduce irrigation water consumption and maintain the visual aesthetics of the golf course.


  • Los Robles Greens Golf Course, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Jason Straka, ASGCA | The city charged the design team at Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design with providing a playable, fun and visually stunning golf course that would reduce water usage by about 25 percent and reduce the required fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels to dramatically improve the golf course’s environmental footprint.


  • Roosevelt Golf Course, Los Angeles Forrest Richardson, ASGCA | The challenge was to convert the irrigation source from potable to recycled water, and simultaneously make improvements to a 9-hole golf course within Los Angeles’s historic Griffith Park. The project took more than a decade of planning and permitting, eventually benefiting the environment by conserving water, restoring natural habitat and integrating the golf course with the natural environment.


  • The Preserve at Oak Meadows, Addison, Ill. — Greg Martin, ASGCA | Planning, design and permitting was coordinated with 19 separate agencies as 27 holes were converted to 18 while improving golf conditions, relieving downstream and on-course flooding, providing environmental benefit, improving water and habitat quality and providing connectivity to other Preserve properties within the Salt Creek corridor.

  • The Refuge Golf Club, Flowood, Miss. Nathan Crace, ASGCA | Built in 1998, the course struggled to keep holes open after heavy rains, and the aging irrigation system was inefficient. Holes were crowded by invasive tree species causing loss of turf and soil loss from erosion. A full course renovation was put in place to remedy these and other issues.


  • Willow Oaks Country Club, Richmond, Va. Lester George, ASGCA | Willow Oaks borders the James River, and every time the waters in the James rose, half the course flooded due to lack of water flow control into and out of the course. Newly created flood channels alleviate flooding and effectively manages the flow of water.
Categories: Other Industry News

Save cash and cover your grass

Thu, 2019-09-05 11:40
AMVAC’s 2019 VIP Early Order Program is here with your chance to save cash and cover your grass year-round. Go to to explore the latest rebate offers and ways you can save on AMVAC’s comprehensive Four-Season Solutions™ portfolio of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. Together they offer full-calendar, full-course coverage of a broad array of common turf diseases and pests. Order between August 12 - December 31, 2019 to take advantage of big savings for 2020.  This year’s EOP includes two new products as AMVAC’s line continues to grow: Avensis insecticide/miticide and Oximus fungicide. Avensis provides control of ornamental and turfgrass pests including nematodes and annual bluegrass weevil. Oximus fungicide offers broad-spectrum, cost-effective control of brown patch and other listed diseases. Also available are AMVAC’s other fungicides, including Premion—a proven tool for anthracnose control—as well as Turfcide, an outstanding value on long lasting snow mold control. And for preventive control of turfgrass diseases, there’s Previa fungicide armed with chlorothalonil—a standard for broad-spectrum control. Also new to AMVAC’s VIP EOP is online functionality. Get complete product details along with rebate information at If you prefer, you can also submit your redemption online for added convenience and speed in processing. Rebates can still be redeemed through fax or mail through a downloadable, printable form on the website. AMVAC’s 2019 VIP EOP gives turf professionals the savings and solutions they need—and a growing portfolio that offers more new combinations than ever before. Go to to learn more. ]]>
Categories: Other Industry News

The Abaco Club initiates hurricane relief effort

Thu, 2019-09-05 11:30
The Abaco Club on Winding Bay is launching a fundraising effort dedicated to providing immediate disaster relief for the residents of Great Abaco island, which incurred catastrophic damage as a result of Hurricane Dorian.

“We are extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of our staff members and other residents of Abaco,” Southworth Development founder and CEO David Southworth. “There is an urgent need for immediate assistance on Abaco, and we are moving fast to provide that assistance.”

When the Category 5 hurricane caused widespread destruction when it made landfall on Great Abaco. The island’s largest town, Marsh Harbour, was almost entirely destroyed. Hundreds of homes were demolished on the island, leaving thousands of residents without shelter, with at least 23 people dying nationwide.

“We haven’t even been able to ascertain whether all of our staff members are safe yet,” Southworth said. “Communications systems are still down, power is out, roads are flooded or blocked by fallen trees. It’s a humanitarian disaster on an almost unimaginable scale.”

Southworth Development chairman Joe Deitch is pledging $1 million to the relief effort in the hope it will inspire others to also give generously.

“The people of Abaco are more than just our friends and neighbors,” Deitch said. “They’re like family to us. Both David and I have homes on the island and we cherish our relationships with the people of Abaco. What happened there is a tragedy, and we’re going to do all we can to help.”

Contributions to this GoFundMe campaign will be distributed by the Abaco-Winding Bay Relief Fund, a charitable organization created expressly for this effort with 501(c)3 status applied for and pending. All funds received will be used to provide assistance specifically to the people of Abaco in the form of food, shelter, medical aid and supplies, and assistance in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

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3 things new superintendents should know about establishing a budget

Thu, 2019-09-05 11:22
Here are three things new superintendents – and those looking for a financial refresher – should know about building a functioning budget for 2020 and beyond:  1. Become a property financial expertThe new superintendent must commit to becoming an expert with the programs, processes, people and the history of how previous budgets were crafted and ultimately performed.  This usually requires two critical actions: First, confirm access and acquire all available budget forecasts (projections) and actuals (final spend) and review them for cause and effect. How much was spent on each line item? Are the line items correct? How often are budgets reviewed and critiqued? Who can speak to the events that may need explanation? This initial step will allow the new superintendent a critical glimpse at how money and priorities connect and are evaluated.  The superintendent must then understand the approval and accountability flow. Who will oversee your financial performance? The general manager or director of finance? Get to know the preferences and language of your financial supervisors and teach them critical aspects of your operation (learn first, teach second). Never assume that your accounting department has a working knowledge of golf course maintenance or agronomy. Be proactive to learn the accounting lingo and reports that will be the critical measure of your financial success in the upcoming year. It is much easier to communicate up and down the Profit and Loss statement when everyone is speaking the same language that is connected to shared goals. 2. Justify every budget request on multiple levelsWe all want more resources to improve our operations, but how do you approach getting a budget increase? Using the financial skills you have mastered about the people and processes at your property, you must evolve to the next phase of budgeting, the justification phase. In short, how to get what you want/need.  Identify who must approve your request and what they will likely be influenced by. Is there a return on the investment? If so, getting a budget increase may be easy: just give them the ROI data. However, you may need to show the negative impact if funds are not allocated (say, investing in a new pump system vs. having a catastrophic pump system failure in mid-summer).  This is often connected to owners or green committees. The key is to have agreement that the expenses are necessary to achieve the shared goals of the property at each level. Be willing to negotiate but stand by your numbers as they will ultimately reflect your ability to deliver on promises made. And never forget that when you accept an operating budget, you have committed to that financial benchmark for the duration of that financial period or season.  The razor’s edge of a successful superintendent career is often to balance the delivery of a quality golf product within the given budget. 3. Remember your role – you don’t own the golf courseAttitude is everything. We do not always get the budget increase, the new mower or another staff member as requested. Sometimes even weather or other events occur and eventually consume resources that we originally budgeted to use elsewhere in the operation. It happens, and when it does, you must control your emotions and commit to the core goal, which is to provide the best golf course possible within the budget given – even in difficult times.  Be professional, be consistent, but most of all be a solution rather than a problem. The energy with which you handle something that negatively impacts the budget often determines the longevity of your tenure at a given facility. Communicate the facts in a timely manner, make your recommendations and if the powers that be say no or choose another direction, support the new budget direction 100 percent.  The truth is that you may not own the course, but you should always demonstrate a deep commitment to the course as the property steward. You are an integral part of the operation. By demonstrating a high level of financial skill, trust and professionalism, a new superintendent will remain gainfully employed while making wise budget decisions for a long time. Budgeting and financial analysis are simply tools that build relationships within any business. It’s how you use them that counts.      Anthony L. Williams CGCS, CGM, is the director of golf course maintenance and landscaping at the Four Seasons Resort Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.  ]]>
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FMC launches new loyalty program

Wed, 2019-09-04 11:16
FMC Professional Solutions, a business unit of FMC Corporation, announced it is offering a loyalty program for the professional turf and ornamental markets. Enrollment for the program begins immediately at The FMC True Champions rewards program is being integrated with the FMC Early Order Program to provide savings for end users with the ability to lock in their rebates all season long. “We are very pleased to offer an industry-leading end user rewards program highlighted by our new RebateLock feature for added savings opportunities to our valued customers in the golf, lawn care and nursery and greenhouse markets,” said Kevin Laycock, FMC marketing manager, Professional Solutions. “This industry-leading program not only delivers strong financial incentives across our portfolio, it also provides member-exclusive resources, including marketing materials and professional offers for businesses to help them grow.” In addition to product rebates, the FMC True Champions program includes Solution Assurances, such as the Echelon Herbicide Assurance Program for Bermudagrass. The FMC True Champions program strengthens its partnership with golf course superintendents and lawn and landscape professionals through a strong commitment to the industry. FMC has a relationship with the GCSAA and has taken a leadership role with We Are Golf, a coalition of the golf industry’s leading organizations, in promoting National Golf Day, held annually in Washington, D.C. FMC Professional Solutions also supports Project EverGreen, a national nonprofit that promotes how the turf and ornamental industry makes a difference in our yards, parks and communities. ]]>
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Longtime ANGC leader Marsh Benson to receive GCBAA’s Don A. Rossi Award

Tue, 2019-09-03 12:01
In recognition of his significant contributions to the golf industry, The Golf Course Builders Association of America is pleased to announce Marsh Benson as its recipient of the prestigious Don A. Rossi Award.

Benson’s pursuit of applying his innovative ideas in the golf industry began in 1975 with studies in landscape architecture in the School of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia. He later graduated from the Penn State Turfgrass Management program, created by 1995 Rossi Award winner Dr. Joseph M. Duich.

He interned at Augusta National Golf Club under Billy Fuller in 1981. After completing his formal education, he began his career in golf course maintenance at The Country Club of Florida in Boynton Beach, then moved to Jennings Mill Country Club in Athens, Ga. He returned to ANGC as its golf course superintendent in 1989, later becoming director of golf course and grounds, then senior director of golf course and grounds and long-range planning. He also continued to grow the Turfgrass Student Intern program at ANGC, ultimately having close to 50 students pass through the program, representing more than 20 turfgrass programs worldwide.

Benson was responsible for building and directing the teams that would implement the visions of ANGC chairmen Jack Stephens, Hootie Johnson and Billy Payne, ANGC members and senior staff members. These visions included enhancements to the golf course, clubhouse, tournament, player and patron support facilities, and have created one of the more prominent sporting venues in the world.

Benson’s ability to improve maintenance practices at golf course facilities achieved global recognition after he invented and patented SubAir Systems in 1994, allowing for subsurface aeration and moisture removal of turfgrass playing areas. The popularity of the system has grown over the past 25 years, starting with golf course greens and expanding to all types of playing and sports field surfaces. Because of the demanding tournament turf conditions under an array of weather scenarios, Benson has been instrumental in working with golf equipment manufacturers to improve numerous aspects of mower performance, grass disbursement, irrigation concepts and other improvements.

Benson retired in 2015 after 26 years at ANGC but continues to consult with the club on several projects. He founded his own company, WMB IMAGINE, which provides design, construction and project consulting services for clients throughout the world.

Now in so-called retirement, Benson serves on the board of The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation, which awards top doctoral graduate students the Musser Award of Excellence to provide financial support of their educational endeavors. He leads an effort to grow turfgrass scholarships at Penn State in memory of Dr. Joseph Duich and serves on the board of the Warrior Alliance, whose mission is to drive skills development in the golf industry for veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

The Rossi award is given by the GCBAA to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth and who have inspired others by example. It is named for Don A. Rossi, who served as executive director of the National Golf Foundation from 1970 to 1983, was instrumental in forming the National Golf Course Owners Association and served as executive director of the GCBAA from 1984 to 1990.

 Benson will receive the award Jan. 28, 2020, during the GCBAA opening reception at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando.

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Editor’s notebook: Change in the Valley of the Sun

Tue, 2019-09-03 10:41
The sun beats down on Taliesin West, because Taliesin West is smack in the center of the Valley of the Sun and the sun, as you should probably expect, almost always beats down on the valley that bears its name. Frank Lloyd Wright trekked to Taliesin West just about every year for more than two decades, from 1937, when the Wisconsin winters started to chill his bones, until his death in 1959. Situated on a mesa just below McDowell Peak 26 miles north of downtown Phoenix, Wright described it in his autobiography as “the top of the world.”  

Wright used Taliesin West as a place to live, to work and to learn, and he never stopped learning. Living quarters and studios and cabaret theatres popped up around the 620-acre property — just 20 acres shy of a full section — and every building evolved. For years, Wright refused to use any glass, opting instead for heavy hemp tarps to shield interiors from the sun. His third wife, Olgivanna, persuaded him to make the switch.

She also updated decorations inside and outside, and constantly swapped out furniture. If you tour Taliesin West, your guide might tell you that most of the buildings are today as they were in 1959, but they are still evolving and changing. Taliesin West is still a living place in every sense of the word.

Twenty miles north, there is plenty of evolution and change at Desert Mountain, too.

Situated in the shadow of the Tonto National Forest, Desert Mountain has been famous for years for its sextet of Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses: Renegade and Cochise, Geronimo and Apache, Chiricahua and Outlaw. But the expansive golf community recently added a seventh course, a par 54 rather appropriately named Seven that might just provide a glimpse into the future of golf. Seven designers Wendell Pickett and Bill Brownlee designed the course for both serious and casual players, because 3,114 yards make for an easier introduction to the game than, say, 7,200 yards of championship golf. And while homes are still popping up around the grounds, Seven already feels open and inviting.  A quick cart path ride away, the original Renegade course is a memory, redesigned and rebuilt over the last year and a half. Tee boxes are long gone, removed in favor of longer, wider, undulating landforms that return the game to its origins. Each hole includes multiple greens, too, offering an opportunity for a different round every day. Beyond the style of play, Renegade now features bentgrass — a seemingly bold choice that makes perfect sense according to Shawn Emerson, the longtime director of agronomy. Temperatures soar — sometimes as high as 120 — but Desert Mountain’s 8,000-acre pocket is normally relatively free from humidity and has an ideal elevation for bentgrass cultivation. “It wouldn’t work everywhere,” Emerson told me during a visit last week. “But it works here.” Desert Mountain will be featured next month in our annual construction and renovation issue. Because of their recently wrapped concurrent projects on Seven and Renegade, Emerson opted to hire a different contractor to work on each course, but those contractors turned to many of the same suppliers, including one rather taxed sandman who was asked for more than 110,000 tons of the stuff. The club will also be featured because of the culture Emerson has helped build near what Wright once considered the world’s apex. Each of the seven courses across Desert Mountain has its own superintendent, and each superintendent — and even some of the assistants — istasked with learning every aspect of course management, from general maintenance to the most minute points on an annual budget. The club has labor challenges like everybody else, but Emerson has shortened workdays, pushing through six intense hours and affording crew members an opportunity to head home or off to a second job by the early afternoon. And Emerson has become more and more active in the state’s water discussion, fighting along with a united group of superintendents, agency officials and advocates for the cultural and financial importance of the golf industry. There is a fascinating story out in the desert, and just like Desert Mountain, just like Taliesin West — just like all of us — it will never stop evolving and changing. Matt LaWell is GCI’s managing editor. ]]>
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