Nice work here from the Georgia GCSA, who have been getting into the video game with a handful of feature promoting the industry and the job of the superintendent through the eye of professionals in that state. Getting a little insight into the ways superintendents in Georgia are working to enhance the environment is a great little pick-me-up to start a Friday.
The second phase of the 2014 Rounds 4 Research fundraising program for turfgrass studies, run by the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), sold more than 200 rounds of golf and yielded $30,891 in the seven-day online auction that closed Aug. 10. The total for the June and August auctions was $145,339. The EIFG is the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GSCAA).
The Metropolitan GCSA was the leader with more than $4,000 raised among the 40 fundraising partners that donated rounds for turfgrass research at the local level. The top bid for a tee time for four golfers was $1,480 for the chance to play at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., home to the recent PGA Championship won by Rory McIlroy. A stay-and-play package at French Lick (Ind.) Resort sold for $1,650.
“We are pleased with the success of our Rounds 4 Research program and the good that we know it can do for turfgrass research,” says Rhett Evans, GCSAA chief executive officer. “This is a terrific program that gives golfers everywhere a chance to play their favorite courses and benefit the long-term health of the game.”
The national campaign is supported by a $50,000 donation from The Toro Co. The program has raised more than $320,000 since being launched in 2012. Eighty percent of the money raised is returned to the local chapters for turf studies.
Last week's announcement of a licensing agreement between FMC Corp. and Arysta LifeScience North America might signal something more than just a change of address for two key turn and ornamental products.
The agreement, which allows FMC to develop and market both Disarm fungicide and Xonerate herbicide, certainly solidifies that company's menu for the golf course management industry and other turf applications. But it also seems to signify that Arysta's days as a significant player in the turf and golf course management segments may be numbered.
For FMC, the last 10 years has seen the company add seven herbicide and five insecticide products to its portfolio, not to mention other formulations specific for industry segments such as golf, nursery, greenhouse and tree care. Now with Disarm — a fungicide that offers four formulations tailored to regional climate, disease history and turfgrass variety — and Xonerate — a post-emergent Poa annua control herbicide — those steps forward continue.
Roger Meier already has his marching orders when the 96th PGA Championship is scheduled to conclude later today at Valhalla Golf Club.
"I told Roger, 'Let's get it back to life for the members.' I know he and his staff will," says Walt Gahm, son of Valhalla GC founder Dwight Gahm. "They know how to get the job done."
In case you don't know its history, even hosting a major championship seemed improbable all those years ago.
Valhalla GC was supposed to be a par-62 executive course.
Dwight Gahm purchased the land that previously served as a quarter horse farm and Boy Scouts camp and featured a flood plain. The initial goal for the project was to include more than 2,200 housing units, a shopping center and other commercial properties. A setback for those plans occurred when an easement for power lines on the land (pictured) was increased.
Gahm scaled back his blueprint for Valhalla and ultimately decided on simply building a great golf course. He targeted Jack Nicklaus to design it. Gahm got what he wanted on both fronts. Valhalla GC, with Nicklaus and his vision behind its look, opened in 1986 (there are a few homes surrounding the golf course). The PGA of America bought the club in 2000 and it has been the site of three PGA Championships (1996, 2000 and this year), the 2004 and 2011 Senior PGA Championship and the 2008 Ryder Cup.
Meier feels fortunate to be part of Valhalla GC.
"Around every corner you've got this amazing golf hole. Eighteen amazing golf holes on this property," Meier says.
The hole story: Fans got to pick the hole location for No. 16 tomorrow in the final round of the PGA Championship. Below is the official announcement from the results that were just released, courtesy of the PGA of America.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2014) – For the second year in a row, golf fans had a part in setting up potential major championship drama in the “PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus Presented by Samsung.”
Thousands of golf fans over the past two weeks have visited PGA.com, and chose “Hole Location A” from among four options for the location of the 16th hole at Valhalla Golf Club during Sunday’s final round. “Hole Location A” received 52 percent of the overall vote. The 16th has been the No. 3 most difficult hole through three rounds of the Championship, and was the No. 2 most difficult hole in the 1996 and 2000 PGA Championship. In 2000, Tiger Woods birdied the 16th in his epic Championship playoff with Bob May.
As a result, Sunday’s hole location on No. 16 will be placed 25 yards from the front of the green – and just 6 yards from the left edge of the green, which features a drop-off to a closely mown chipping area to the right.
The selection by the fans means that the deep bunker on the left will almost certainly come into play, setting up a dramatic decision for the world’s best players on the long par 4 at the 96th PGA Championship. During Sunday’s final-round coverage on TNT and CBS, viewers will be able to see the winning hole position.
A perk of hosting a major championship includes rubbing elbows with golf legends. Valhalla Golf Club superintendent Roger Meier got the chance to go beyond a simple meet-and-greet with arguably the greatest player of all time.
Jack Nicklaus designed Valhalla, host of the ongoing 96th PGA Championship, and he has collaborated on more than one occasion with Meier (pictured on the right). Evidence of that relationship can be traced to as recently as two years ago when renovations, including an overhaul of the greens, were completed at Valhalla.
More than anything, Meier appreciated how Nicklaus made him feel like a key voice in the job.
"Jack understands the superintendent's role," Meier says. "He was always asking me questions such as 'What do you think about if we do this?' 'Is this OK for you?' One of the issues was mounding around the greens, bunkers. He worked to help us spread out some of that traffic, shift some bunkers here and there. Guys that work with Jack would be making a decision and he would turn to me and say, 'You all right with that?' That is just how Jack is."
At some point in all of this, Meier was able to take a moment and reflect on the opportunity he has earned in his profession that began so many years ago when as a youth he picked rocks out of the fairway at Trumansburg, N.Y., GC.
"I never knew I'd be standing next to the greatest golfer in the world when this whole journey started," Meier says.
As Jason Newman approaches his 20-year anniversary at Valhalla Golf Club, he won't tell you that he has been around long enough to know it all.
"I do enjoy being stumped occasionally," says Newman, who serves as equipment manager at Valhalla GC, where he is in a go-time frame of mind all of the time. Especially this week, when everything is ramped up. Hosting a major such as the PGA Championship sure heightens expectations.
Newman embraces the challenge.
"I enjoy the intensity," he says.
Valhalla GC lead assistant superintendent Chris Habich appreciates the effort. He has come to expect that from Newman, a 42-year-old from Rochester, N.Y.
"He's awesome. He takes care of everything we ask him to do. He's always on top of things," Habich says.
Newman and assistant Shawn Trent (pictured; Newman is on the left) seem to have a handle on everything that comes into their shop. Trent, a 32-year-old who said bye-bye to the cubicle world when he departed the health care industry four years ago, insists he could not have found a better mentor than Newman to guide him.
"I worked the PNC and two other PGAs. He (Newman) is the best," Trent says. "Everyone says it. I tell him that all the time."