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Updated: 30 min 24 sec ago

Bayer launches new digital purchasing tool

Tue, 2019-10-01 13:29
The Turf and Ornamental business of Bayer, within the company's Crop Science division, announced the launch of Flex Solutions – a new online ordering platform that gives customers the freedom and flexibility to create solutions with the products that best suit their needs. The new platform launch coincides with the beginning of Bayer’s early order program, which runs Oct. 1 through Dec. 6. The new Flex Solutions platform was designed as an intuitive digital tool that moves away from the notion of pre-assembled PAKs of products and instead allows customers the ability to search for relevant solutions, easily identify the best savings opportunities, and ultimately purchase only the products they need for the environments they manage. Through the tool, customers can also utilize their network of trusted advisors for recommendations and support. “One of the greatest benefits of this platform is the freedom of choice for our customers,” Bayer product manager Mark Clodfelter said. “They have always wanted the ability to customize their purchases, and now we are thrilled to be able to deliver that experience for them.”  Through the Flex Solutions online ordering platform, customers will be able to: 
  • Easily find solutions and savings by accessing previous order history
  • Pick only the products they want – search all product solutions based on growing area, turf type and acreage
  • Identify savings through the rebate finder – look for the blue tags to see recommendations and tips in real time while shopping online
  • Search pest solutions and receive a list of recommended products
  • Easily access pricing, customer support and product information from a mobile device
  • Work with a network of trusted advisors for recommendations and support throughout the ordering process
Going forward, turf managers and lawn and landscape professionals will utilize the Flex Solutions platform in collaboration with their trusted advisors to create Bayer solutions.   In order to participate in the early order program and create Flex Solutions credentials, customers must have a My Bayer Rewards account. Once this is complete, customers will be able to create their Flex Solutions login credentials and access the platform that offers flexible ordering and cost savings.]]>
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Husqvarna introduces new autonomous mower

Tue, 2019-10-01 09:50
Husqvarna formally introduced its Autonomous Operation for professionals, which increases productivity and safety while maintaining large green spaces and consists of multiple self-operated Husqvarna robotic mowers powered by Husqvarna EPOS technology. Three pilots are being set up to refine the system before an official launch in 2021.

The system is designed to improve productivity, work environment and workspace safety for greenspace professionals maintaining large areas.

“Built on our 25-year legacy in robotic mowing, Husqvarna Autonomous Operation emphasizes our determination to consistently lead through innovation,” Husqvarna Division president Sascha Menges said. “Robotics and autonomous solutions will play a major role in the future of green space management and Husqvarna Autonomous Operation is just one example of how innovations can improve professional lawn care.”

The system uses the new Husqvarna EPOS technology, a high-precision satellite navigation system that provides enhanced real time positioning accuracy, delivering location accuracy of 2-3 centimeters. The tech enables the machine to navigate within and between work areas using virtual boundaries.

It also offers object analysis, and collision avoidance based on information from several independent sensors, utilizing cameras, radars and ultrasonic technology. As an additional safety measure, an operator can maneuver and override the system, with a hands-on remote control.

“Satellite technology opens up new possibilities for our industry and gives us the opportunity to offer our customers new solutions,” said Adam Tengblad, the director of autonomous systems at Husqvarna. “This end-to-end solution will further benefit our professional customers by increasing productivity and enabling safe and more efficient green space management in large, hard to reach, areas. Also, the hybrid propulsion used in the pilots can contribute to a decrease in the overall environmental impact for green space management.”

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Dosatron introduces D400 Series injector

Mon, 2019-09-30 14:42
Dosatron has formally entered a new product in the injector market, adding the D400 Series to the mix. Available immediately, the D400 Series sets up with no programming necessary, allowing user to set the injection rate and turn on the water. It’s compatible with multiple chemicals such as nutrients, additives, and acids.

Sales manager Jason Maddox said that, with five models of D400 available, it’s “perfect for any large-acreage application.”

Part of the company’s Mega-Flo Series, the D400 uses self-compensating diversion technology. It includes a high-performance piston and there are no Venturi tips to clog. The D400 low injection rates allow for direct injection of undiluted products and with rates up to 1:200 it is ideal for standard applications. It boasts a GPM flow from 110 GPM up to 400 and expandle to 1,200 and is water-powered and volumetric.

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Two ASGCA architects evolve together in golf design

Mon, 2019-09-30 14:20
To thrive in the golf course design and construction business, Albanese & Lutzke principals Paul Albanese and Chris Lutzke have played to their collective strengths to evolve with an ever-changing industry. In an era when more golf courses are closing than opening, the duo remains busy and considers themselves fortunate to be doing some of their more creative and impactful work around the world.

They both started as associates under Jerry Matthews, who designed more than 400 golf courses around the state of Michigan. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Albanese and Lutzke would spend hours together on sites and in pubs discussing golf course architecture. Albanese earned his B.S in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell University and his Masters of landscape architecture from Harvard University, while Lutzke earned turf science and landscape architecture degrees from Michigan State University while also working as a lead associate with legendary course architect Pete Dye for 20 years.

In 2004, Albanese and Lutzke, both currently members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, recognized the value of bringing their architecture skills and knowledge under one roof and formed Albanese & Lutzke. Below are some highlights of their recent and current projects:

Albanese, and Lutzke open first project in Vietnam

Yen Dung Golf Resort in Bac Giang, Vietnam is one of the leading golf resort destinations in Asia. The 36-hole facility has been divided into two phases. The 18-hole Hillside course was opened in 2018 and Albanese and Lutzke are currently working on the second 18 holes, with the Rock Valley course scheduled to open in 2019.

Albanese continues Native American projects

Albanese has developed a niche, designing and building quality golf course projects with Native American-owned resorts. His first was the award-winning Sweetgrass Golf Club at Island Resort & Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. That was followed by Tatanka Golf Club in Nebraska. His next project, Sage Run, also at Island Resort & Casino, opened this summer.

“It is a pretty prominent landform on this site,” Albanese said. “The holes go around, over and through the drumlin. Golfers will experience great holes through the trees, some in open areas and just a lot of variety in terms of landscape and feel.”

Lutzke applies Dye expertise with Kohler and other Dye Renovations

When it comes to performing renovation work designs by the great Pete Dye, no one knows the Dye landscapes and maintaining the design philosophy better than Lutzke, who spent more than 30 years in the dirt with Pete, developing many of his award-winning projects.

Originally hired in the late 1980s to pick up sticks for Dye while he was building Blackwolf Run, Lutzke has come full circle with Dye and the Kohler Company, working today on the Straits Course in preparation for the upcoming Ryder Cup in 2020. He is also coordinating closely with the Kohler Company on proposed projects.

In addition to the Kohler projects, Lutzke has applied his Dye experience with a renovation at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Lutzke has renovated Old Marsh’s fairways, greens, tees, and added irrigation. In Indiana, Lutzke has worked on the Dye-designed Ackerman-Allen Course at Purdue University and is developing some new projects at French Lick Resort.

Renovations, construction projects keep Albanese & Lutzke in dirt

In addition to their design projects, Albanese and Lutzke have created their own in-house golf course construction management firm, enabling them to provide a strong value proposition to clients on both renovations and new projects. This will allow the firm to pass along savings to facilities like Dayton Country Club, where they brought back many of Donald Ross’ design philosophies, and closer to home in Michigan, where they performed a hybrid restoration at Lochmoor Club in Gross Pointe Woods, restoring much of the design philosophies of Walter Travis.

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Strictly business

Mon, 2019-09-30 10:18
In just the past five years, our industry has seen some huge corporate changes. Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, upsizing and even a few companies that exited the golf market entirely. While it’s never fun for the people involved in that kind of turmoil, we tend to call it “business as usual” and not bat an eye. Some other company will come along and serve those needs, right?

But when another large organization in golf announced recently it was reducing its headcount through voluntary retirement incentives, it raised a lot of eyebrows. Why would the venerable United States Golf Association need to cut its staff just a few years after announcing a ginormous TV deal with Fox? Why do the cuts seem to hit hardest within the already diminished Green Section, where 11 senior folks were offered and accepted early retirements?

Allow me a few observations ...

The Green Section’s mission had already been evolving over the past decade from dispensing agronomic expertise to supers to helping clubs with business, labor and communications challenges. Why? Quite simply, most private club superintendents don’t need the turfgrass consulting services that were the original driving force behind the Green Section. Turfgrass science is now everywhere thanks to universities, industry, private consultants and Twitter. Consequently, the number of clubs willing to pay the annual fee for consulting also shrank.

We’re also seeing the USGA take much the same route as universities — providing education and extension via social and digital media as the resources required to do face-to-face events and visits dry up. Adam Moeller and his team are doing an outstanding job of creating and disseminating focused, timely information via the weekly Green Section Record e-newsletter and an amazing catalog of short videos designed to educate golfers about the realities of agronomy.

So why is this happening now? We asked Rand Jerris, the senior managing director of public services, and here’s what he said:

“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. 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.”

It’s seemingly all about money and a pension plan that got hammered by the recession. Half the companies in America have had the same problem. As that famed management guru Michael Corleone once said, “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”

Unfortunately, there is a very personal side to all of this. I bet virtually all of you reading this know at least one of the eight Green Section veterans who have accepted the retirement offer. Some of you, like me, know all of them: Dave Oatis … Jim Skorulski … Patrick O’Brien … Pat Gross … Larry Gilhuly … Bob Vavrek … Dr. Mike Kenna … Dr. Kimberly Erusha. Three admin staff also accepted retirements: Shelly Foy, Denise Covell and Karen White.

Let that sink in for a minute. As a friend pointed out on Twitter, those individuals represent collectively 325 years of top-level experience. To paraphrase the late Ross Perot, that giant sucking sound you hear is three centuries of wisdom being removed from the Green Section.

But beyond experience, the USGA is jettisoning a far more valuable golf industry asset. In fact, it’s the most valuable commodity in our entire community: relationships.

Each of these folks has hundreds of decades-long relationships with club leaders, supers, academics, architects, builders and even media who are critical to the USGA’s mission. While I understand that it’s only business, I also tend to think the folks in charge at Golf House don’t fully realize what they are giving up in order to fix the pension plan and move on with the evolution of the Green Section.

So, things change and we move on. But this time can we all do one thing that we don’t normally do when there’s some kind of seismic corporate shuffle? Can we all just say thanks to these folks? Call them. Write them a thank-you note. Buy them a drink. Take them to dinner. Log on to Twitter or Facebook and express your gratitude. Let them know that you genuinely appreciate all they’ve done for us.

Or you could write them a column like this and just say “thank you.”

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SonicSolutions Algae Control, Diversified Power International announce U.S. patent

Tue, 2019-09-24 15:10
Diversified Power International received U.S. Patent No. 10,399,867 for its algae control system using ultrasound technology. SonicSolutions Algae Control, which is the leading distributor of the product, announced the news at WEFTEC 2019, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, in Chicago.

Diversified Power International manufactures the Hydro BioScience product line, which includes the Quattro-DB and the Mezzo-DB, each of which provides more than 2,000 frequencies in one transducer head. The algae control range can reach up to 120 acres of coverage for blue-green algae with a single unit. The HBS product line uses the new technology described in the recently issued patent. 

SonicSolutions Algae Control CTO and VP of operations George Hutchinson was closely involved in the design of the Quattro-DB ultrasound unit. After years of experience working with competitive products Hutchinson decided in 2015 that it was time to develop a 360-degree unit that would provide the most frequency coverage and algae kill zone in a durable and affordable model.

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