Golf courses and the way they maintain a cooperative relationship with the natural environment took center stage during a recent episode of the "Dean of Green" radio show on WGLT-FM in Normal, Ill.,an NPR station that is a service of Illinois State University. Hosts Laura Kennedy and Dan Don Schmidt talked about the Audubon Cooperative Sancutary Program for Golf Courses with Dave Kopsell with Illinois State's Department of Agriculture, who gives a nice shout-out to the school's Weibring GC and its superintendent, Michael Rayman, CGCS.
The ongoing battle between Sharp Park Golf Course and environmentalists continued this week. Sharp Park prevailed in the latest encounter.
Construction enhancements that include a new frog breeding pond, native plant restoration area, moving a golf cart path from a wetland and dredging invasive reeds and sediment from an existing stream and pond was approved when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected the environmentalists' argument that the proposed construction would threaten frogs and snakes on the golf course.
Sharp Park, located in Pacifica, Calif., is home to threatened species' of California red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes. The environmentalists who oppose the construction have sought to see Sharp Park Golf Course be forced to close for several years because of their concerns.
The construction work has been approved by the Recreation and Park Commission, as well as the Planning Commission.
The battle may not be over, however. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Wild Equity Institute, a group of environmentalists who have requested a full environmental impact report on the project, plan to file a lawsuit objecting to the city's decision.
Sharp Park was built in 1932 and designed by famed architect Alister MacKenzie.
"This is a win for common sense environmentalism, golf, the local community and for ordinary citizens who love to use their parks," says Richard Harris, co-founder of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
After several incarnations in North Carolina, the Symposium on Affordable Golf is heading to California.
With the Central California GCSA serving as the host and a number of golf course management industry stalwarts taking places on the agenda, this year's event will take place next week (March 31-April 1) at Dairy Creek GC in San Luis Obispo, where industry leaders will focus on key topics relating to golf ─ playability and the need for affordability, plus the affects of California’s looming issue, water.
In addition to a series of seasoned speakers, the symposium will include an on-site Zero Waste Golf tour, daily lunch, an early evening networking reception and a golf experience at Dairy Creek Golf Course, the newest of three golf facilities operated by San Luis Obispo County Parks.
“What sets this symposium apart from other conferences is that golfers are an integral part of the discussion,” said Symposium founder Richard Mandell, and president of Richard Mandell Golf Architecture. “Everything we discuss has a direct line to those we serve the most, that is, the golfer.”
Pinehurst technician Arlindo Lagunas Nambo vows to be absent Saturday of the men's U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
Vows is the operative word.
Lagunas Nambo will be exchanging vows on June 14 of the championship with Maria De Las Lus Segura Gonzalez. They are getting married that day and Lagunas Nambo has the blessings of Pinehurst Resort's director of golf course and grounds management, Bob Farren, CGCS, to be gone. Based on how those who work closely with Lagunas Nambo feel about him, their willingness to allow him to get married at that time is no stunner.
"He knows how to operate any machinery. Ask him to build something, just give him the tools he needs, and get out of the way," says Pinehurst No. 2 assistant superintendent John Jeffreys. "You can't put a price tag on what he's worth to us. That's fine (that he will miss Saturday). We'll work around him. We don't want to get him mad and make him quit."
Lagunas Nambo had a key role in the restoration at Pinehurst No. 2 that was completed in 2011. He worked on the construction crew for architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, then Pinehurst hired him to stay on with them.
As for a honeymoon, well, it appears that will be delayed. Jeffreys says Lagunas Nambo is coming back to work on Sunday, then will be on hand when the women's U.S. Open begins. This is the first time the men and women have played major championships on the same course in back-to-back weeks.
Jeffreys joked about how Lagunas Nambo was offered the Fair Barn, which is adjacent to the golf course management facility, to use for the wedding.
"We tried to convince him to get his tux and get married and have the reception there," Jeffreys says.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) made it official today. Torrey Pines, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, last hosted the event in 2008 when an injured Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff.
GCSAA superintendent Blake Meentemeyer, a 10-year member of the association, oversees the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which is also the site for the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey Pines has been the home to a PGA Tour event since 1968. Meentemeyer previously was an assistant superintendent at Bel-Air Country Club until he was hired last summer to handle the South Course. He received his degree in ornamental horticulture and a master's in crop science at the University of Illinois.
The dates for the U.S. Open in 2021 are June 17-20.
The PGA of America announced today that it has formed a 10-person team to develop and evaluate innovative concepts to drive participation in golf.
Called the PGA Task Force, which will include golfer/TV analyst Dottie Pepper and Olympic ski standout Bode Miller, the group is seeking ways to grow the game through nontraditional means, according to a statement from the PGA of America.
"There is nothing that I have been part of to date that is more important and has greater opportunity," says PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "The golf experience needs to be redefined. For many people, the traditional 18-hole round simply doesn't work. With the industry at a critical juncture of growth, it is our responsibility to consider any and all potential alternatives to enhance the consumer's enjoyment of the game."
Bishop, a member of GCSAA, has jumped into the cause. Earlier this year, Bishop was announced as a member of HackGolf, which is a movement by industry leaders to make the game more fun. Besides Pepper and Miller, Bishop is joined on the PGA Task Force by PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua; Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade-adidas Golf; former NFL player Melvin Bullitt; Damon Hack, co-host of Golf Channel's "Morning Drive"; Golf Digest editor Ashley Mayo; Arlen Kantarian, former CEO of the USTA; and Tom Dundon, part owner of Top Golf.
The PGA Task Force has long-term aspirations but will try to develop concepts that can be quickly achieved and implemented by PGA professionals and the industry.
James D. McCurdy, Ph.D., assistant professor and turfgrass extension specialist at Mississippi State University, has been named the winner of the 2014 Award of Excellence by the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation.
The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrate overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.
McCurdy received his bachelor of science degree in plant and soil science (specializing in turfgrass and golf course management) from University of Tennessee, Martin. He went on to earn his master's degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He received his Ph.D. from Auburn University where he worked with Scott McElroy, Ph.D., and wrote his dissertation on “The Effects and Sustainability of Legume Inclusion within Warm-Season Turf Swards”.
“It is indeed an honor to be selected for such a prestigious award,” said McCurdy. “I hope to be able to make an impact on the turfgrass industry at the level of many previous award winners.” McCurdy indicated that he plans on working diligently with his students at Mississippi State University to prepare them for careers in turfgrass management while he continues to conduct applied and basic research.
The Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation has had quite a week.
It announced today that it received checks for $10,000 each from the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association and Georgia State Golf Association. The Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Georgia GCSA.
Also, foundation officials announced that world renowned turfgrass scientist Dr. Wayne Hanna agreed to serve on the foundation board. The announcement came at the annual Spring Classic tournament at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth.
"Having Dr. Hanna's perspective and voice on the board of the foundation will be invaluable," foundation chairman Harold Franklin said. "He is a giant in his field and his passion and commitment to enhancing environmental sustainability on the golf course is second to none."
Hanna spent more than 40 years, including several of them at the University of Georgia, developing environmentally friendly grasses now used on golf courses worldwide. He produced bermudagrasses such as TifSport, TifEagle and TifGrand. Hanna received the USGA Green Section Award in 2012.
After hopping on his motorcycle with golf clubs in tow to make a several-hundred-miles journey from Illinois to Florida, veteran golf course superintendent Tom Robinson never got the opportunity to win the GCSAA Golf Championship on the 10-year anniversary of his last triumph in the event.
When you have to make repeated visits to the emergency room, golf is an afterthought.
Robinson, GCSAA Class A superintendent at Ravinia Green Country Club in Riverwoods, Ill., tells GCM he is still recovering from surgery that was performed on him earlier this month to address the issue that was in part causing multiple nose bleeds, a problem which became so dangerous that Robinson was in jeopardy of losing his eyesight because of it.
"It's been a nightmare," Robinson, 61, says.
Robinson, winner of the 2004 GCSAA Golf Championship (pictured), took vacation and arrived several days before this year's championship to prepare for it in Orlando. He got there on his 2012 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle by avoiding weather-related perils, whether it was St. Louis or Memphis, areas that have felt the wrath of winter. Robinson says his golf clubs fit perfectly on his bike, thanks to an attachment he built right behind him on the cycle.
Dr. Paul Rieke is being inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, it was announced today.
Rieke, 79 and Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University since 1999 and affiliated with the university since 1960, is generally regarded as the authority on turfgrass soils and nutrition. He is credited in many circles in the international development and advancement of turfgrass science.
In all, Rieke has co-authored five books on soil and plant nutrition, published 32 journal articles and more than 400 non-technical papers. Rieke helped develop the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center at Michigan State and was a key figure in the indoor turfgrass project for the 1994 World Cup at the Silverdome.
Rieke, who taught workshops for more than two decades for GCSAA, received GCSAA's Distinguished Service Award in 1996. One year later, he received the USGA's Green Section Award. Rieke is one of the founding members of the USGA's Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee.
Rieke will formally be inducted June 8 in a ceremony at Ferris State University.