If you watch Golf Channel tonight, prepare to see some of golf's marquee names making their pitch for superintendents.
Today is the launch of GCSAA's promotional commercials to "Thank a golf course superintendent." Among those who will be featured include Jack Nicklaus, Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Rickie Fowler, Nick Faldo, Johnny Miller and Jason Day.
The 30-second commercial spots are scheduled tonight during Golf Channel's Big Break program at 9:33 p.m. and 10:34 p.m., both EST. The spots will run throughout the second and third quarters of this year and will anchor a complete marketing campaign to promote and advance the profession.
Sharp Park Golf Course in San Francisco prevailed in another encounter in a long-running tussle with environmentalists yesterday.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal Wednesday in Wild Equity Institute vs. City and County of San Francisco to stop golf from being played at Sharp Park. In 2011, Wild Equity Institute, Sierra Club and other groups filed a lawsuit to close Sharp Park on allegations that golf operations at the 83-year-old course were endangering snakes and frogs protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
In late 2012, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case. The decision was appealed, ultimately leading to this most recent decision from a three-judge panel. The Ninth Circuit decided against the coalition that appealed, dismissing as moot a lawsuit alleging that the City and County of San Francisco violated the Endangered Species Act as a consequence of its continuing operations of the golf course.
Famed architect Alister MacKenzie designed Sharp Park.
"We're very pleased that the court of appeals' decision will allow this historic public locale to continue to serve golfers of all means and levels in the Bay Area," said Joseph Palmore, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster's Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group, who argued the case in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, a non-profit coalition of local golfers working to preserve affordable golf for Bay Area residents.
The company recently reached a milestone at its Turf Care factory in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., turning out the 500,000th unit built at that facility when a ZTrack Mower rolled off the line. The company will display that particular piece of equipment at a number of local events.
“Producing the 500,000th machine is a significant milestone for John Deere and our whole Turf Care team,” said Rosalind Fox, factory manager of John Deere Turf Care. “We are proud of the legacy we’ve built as a company and the work our team puts into every piece of equipment we produce. It’s a special day for the factory, the town of Fuquay-Varina and John Deere customers everywhere.”
In 1997 the factory produced its first unit – a Lightweight Fairway Mower. Today, Turf Care produces 10 different models of commercial mowing and golf equipment that are distributed throughout North America and exported to more than 100 countries. Commercial mowing and golf equipment products manufactured by Turf Care include the Wide Area Mower, Front Mower, Gas and Diesel ZTrak Mowers, Trim and Surround Mower, Fairway Mower, Greens Mower, ProGator and 7-Iron Decks.
Bayer Environmental Science has once again dipped into the university turfgrass research community to add a well-known figure to its Green Solutions roster.
The company confirmed Thursday that Zachary Reicher, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Nebraska, had joined the Bayer Green Solutions Team, a dedicated team of technical service specialists serving the turf and ornamentals (T&O) market. The Bayer Green Solutions Team provides customers with scientific expertise to address their unique business goals and challenges, while also providing scientific thought leadership, education and training to benefit the turfgrass industry.
“It is an honor to join the Bayer Green Solutions Team and work with such a highly-respected group of fellow turf scientists,” said Reicher. “In my new role, I am eager to leverage my experience from many years in research and academia leading efforts to offer the best scientific solutions to support our business, customers and industry as a whole.”
The GCSAA has about 17,500 members, but no one may be more proud of being a member than Lupe Ibanez.
Ibanez, 52, became the golf course superintendent at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Ariz., 25 minutes outside Phoenix, in October 2014, after 13 years as an assistant for Scott Krout, the director of agronomy. But Ibanez’s rise to become a GCSAA member in 2015 is more than a tale of hard work. It is a story of courage and his search to find a better life.
At age 17, Ibanez and two of his friends left their families in Oaxaca, a part of southern Mexico, to come to the United States. He didn’t have any idea what would happen. That was 1980.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” says Ibanez of his younger days when he learned English on his own, one word at a time. “I was just looking for a better life. I was chasing the American dream. Being away from my family was not easy. I was alone for five years, but now I am married and have three grown children. My life has been hard, but not impossible. To know where I came from, this life is a blessing.”
The American FootGolf League (AFGL) received an endorsement from a major organization.
The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has recognized AFGL as "the governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the U.S." and its "Official FootGolf Organization." The announcement was made by NGCOA deputy CEO Mike Tinkey.
"FootGolf, as promoted by the AFGL, under the rules and guidelines of the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), is a proven revenue generator for golf course operators in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and is growing worldwide," Tinkey said. "It has taken off virally and the number of FootGolf courses is growing rapidly as it brings in new customers and new revenue. Facilities are reporting they are seeing more millennials, women, children and young families after introducing FootGolf."
FootGolf has quickly spread across the nation since its introduction in the U.S. in 2011.
FootGolf is a combination of soccer and golf played with a regulation soccer ball on a shortened golf course. It is played much like golf, with the goal being to get the soccer ball into a 21-inch hole with as few kicks as possible. It is played on golf courses with the 18 holes located away from the golf putting surfaces.
This is not the first time change has come to the golf course at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, owned since 1975 by Arnold Palmer.
The original Dick Wilson/Joe Lee-designed layout, which opened for play in 1961, was renovated in 2009 by the Arnold Palmer Design Company, the process overseen by Palmer. For the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational® Presented by MasterCard, which begins tomorrow, a less-dramatic yet significant set of alterations has transformed play for members and guests, as well as for the PGA Tour players vying for the coveted trophy.
“Our motivation for making the recent changes was primarily for our members and guests, but certainly also for the tournament,” says Chris Flynn, CGCS, director of grounds at the facility since November and 17-year GCSAA member. “Over time, the changes became more necessary, and now the course is more playable in a variety of ways.” Pictured at left is No. 17.
Flynn and his team approached the project, approved by Palmer, with three sets of modifications in mind: tree trimming and different mowing patterns to adjust fairway shapes and sizes; and new sand in all 58 course bunkers and in the practice-area bunkers to enhance bunker play. The goals were to improve overall playability of the golf course and to rectify some overgrown areas wrought by nature through the years, all while preserving the layout’s fundamental design characteristics. In fact, Flynn consulted Wilson’s original drawings in fashioning his plan.
Rory Hoolehan’s owner ignited a pay it forward approach to the 2015 Dog Days of Golf Calendar contest.
Rory, a Labrador retriever who shares the same name of golf star Rory McIlroy, was voted winner of the calendar contest (this year set a record with 609 overall votes). The real winner, though, may have been the Train a Dog Save a Warrior (TADSAW) program, which received $2,750 from the contest.
Past GCSAA president Sean Hoolehan, CGCS, helped make it all possible.
Lebanon Turf, who sponsors the dog calendar in cooperation with GCSAA, donates $3,000 to the winning member’s local chapter. Lebanon Turf also donates $500 to the winner/dog (Hoolehan and Rory, who is featured in September from a picture Hoolehan snapped on his smart phone of Rory at the second green during sunrise). Lebanon Turf and GCSAA each donated an additional $500 apiece to TADSAW.
Hoolehan invested his and Rory’s $500 for TADSAW. Hoolehan, who belongs to two GCSAA chapters (Oregon and Idaho), split the $3,000 for both of them. In response to his giving, the Idaho chapter turned around and donated $750 and Oregon donated $500.
The $2,750 that was raised for TADSAW will be used to train a dog for a veteran in Oregon, says Hoolehan, a 30-year GCSAA member who served as GCSAA president in 2006 and currently is at Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton, Ore. Service dogs aide veterans, including those who suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“I always had intended to donate the winnings if Rory won,” Hoolehan says. “The whole contest was fun and for a good cause.”