In any other sport involving a ball, we wouldn't accept trees in the playing field.
Trees and Golf Agronomics
There is an art and a science involved in maintaining an exceptional golf course. Let’s start with maybe the easier of the two, the science, and how trees affect that science of bentgrass greens.
Grass needs sunlight to grow and air movement to stay cool; aesthetics, strategy, and emotions aside, it’s fairly simple. Regardless of how skilled and qualified your grounds management and staff may be, trees planted in inappropriate locations will reduce turf quality. Trees planted to the east and the south of greens will negatively affect turf conditions. As trees continue to grow, shade conditions will worsen. Trees that block the necessary morning sun and impede air movement will continue to make the greens’ turf weaker during the summer months.
It has been one of those near certainties in my thirty plus years in golf…that the best green on almost every golf course is the highest, largest, most sun baked and windswept green on the course. Conversely, the worst green on almost every golf course is the lowest, shadiest, smallest green with stagnant air movement. Bentgrass loves sunlight and air movement.
Cool season turfs, including bentgrass, wake up in the morning and begin to photosynthesize. The bentgrass will take in the available nutrients and water and turn them into energy in the form of carbohydrates. In the heat of the summer when the stresses of summer are present, the bentgrass on your greens needs to carbo-load before the start of the heat/endurance race for the day. It takes sunshine and cooler soil temperatures to do that.
Imagine two marathon runners, one carbo-loads and has the available energy to run the race, the other takes in a third as much in carbohydrates and peters out in the race. Which runner do you want your grass to be in the summer? Do you want a grass that has more energy or less energy? Selective tree removal that reduces or eliminates shade on greens from dawn until two in the afternoon will improve the stress tolerance of your greens and result in improved putting surfaces.
Air movement on greens improves the cooling potential of the grass and will reduce soil temperatures. Bentgrasses flounder as soil temperatures reach the upper seventies and higher. Increasing air movement to greens will help the grass and soils cool themselves off in much the same fashion as swamp coolers do or how we might stand in front of a fan on a hot day and feel cooler. Air movement can and should be enhanced through the removal of vegetation that restricts air movement and the addition of fans (surface and subsurface). These fans will improve overall turf health by cooling plants and soil off and reducing the humidity in the turf canopy.
How do trees affect the art of providing an exceptional golf course?
Thirty years ago I worked at Merion Golf Club, which many consider acre for acre to be the best course in the world. At Merion, the tree program was proactively managed down to the last detail.
Trees were never planted in linear rows. Never. They were clustered, which gave a sense of forest while still being positioned to achieve planned and aesthetic goals. Strategy and Member enjoyment were considered whenever possible by locating these clusters 275 yards from the tee on the left side of the fairway, not 225 yards on the right side unless they would knock down your ball and keep it from going OB. Merion even planted White Pines (tallest grower) closest to the tee, Austrian Pines going down the fairway and lastly Scotch Pines (smallest grower) further down the hole.
So how should you plant or remove trees to better your golf course:
•Identify the trees adversely affecting your agronomics first.
•Agree that clusters of trees are always better than linear rows of trees.
•Trees, like bunkers, can be placed to make the course more challenging for a low handicap and more enjoyable for a higher handicap.
•Take advantage of the topography of your course and open up some of the vistas.
•Remember all trees grow and in doing so shade will become more of an issue each year.
•When planting or replacing trees, plan based upon the trees mature height and spread.
Armen Suny’s latest career as a top recruiter proves curiosity can take you anyplace.
When I last interviewed Armen Suny in 2010, he had already reinvented himself from teenaged turfhead to working for Richie Valentine at Merion to major championship host at Cherry Hills to suit-wearing general manager at ritzy Shadow Creek to golf course designer partnering with a Tour player. At every step along the way, he had blazed his own trail.
You will be unsurprised to learn that, in the intervening decade, he has reinvented himself again … and in a most unlikely way.
Suny, for many years the industry’s leading outsider, has now become one of its top insiders. He has become The Man for superintendent recruiting at Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, the club industry’s leading search firm.
Suny has managed the search processes for some of the industry’s elite clubs who are all seeking elite superintendents. Suny and our friend, Tim Moraghan, account for many of the big-time superintendent jobs that have been filled in the past four or five years. And, as Baby Boomer superintendents begin to retire in earnest, more of those jobs will open for the first time in decades. In short, business looks good for those who help clubs find key personnel.
For those who want to know more about a man helping fill those positions …
Suny is a Philly guy. He grew up in the cradle of golf between Aronimink, Rolling Green and Merion. He played as much as he could and caught a job working for our pal, Mike Rothenberg and Steve Campbell, at White Manor CC, who helped him get into the Penn State turf program. That’s where Suny met Dr. Joe Duich, the legendary – and curmudgeonly – head of the program. The two would be lifelong friends.
Incredibly, after graduation, he was offered the assistant’s position at Merion, where he understudied with Valentine. If you’re younger, you may not understand that Valentine was Paul Latshaw before Paul Latshaw was Paul Latshaw. He was the pinnacle of our profession and Suny learned much from him. He stayed through the 1981 U.S. Open.
He ended up at Cherry Hills just four years later, hosting the 1985 PGA Championship. It was a landmark event for two reasons: Suny’s unapologetically tough setup for the Tour players, and the fact that he demanded and received the first bonus paid to a superintendent for hosting a major. He later moved south to Castle Pines GC, where he annually hosted the cool and quirky old International, which was the only Stableford scoring event on Tour.
His next stop was Shadow Creek CC, the ultra-exclusive course outside Las Vegas which, at the time, was owned by the iconic Steve Wynn. Suny was GM under one of the canniest businesspeople in the world. Much was learned. Eventually he headed back to Monument, Colorado (the man loves to ski), and began doing architecture work with Richard Zokol. He remains happily married to his wife Christy after 31 years. And, in another crazy Golf Course Industry connection, Christy introduced our friend, Terry Buchen, to his wife as well.
When I interviewed him in 2010, we covered his entire career and he seemed perfectly happy doing what he was doing. Little did we know that he had yet another career in store.
WHAT’S AN AVERAGE DAY LIKE FOR YOU NOW?
I have two kinds of days. I have the ones at home and I get up 6:30ish, drink coffee, and plan out emails and calls. Then I do a lot of phone interviews. I also look at Twitter. I love to see how superintendents are using Twitter. I’ll obviously look at the Twitter feeds of potential job candidates. It tells me a little about how guys and gals are using it, and what they think is important.
The other days I’m getting on a plane. I do about 50 trips a year, usually just for a couple of nights. I’ll be talking about proposed searches with clubs or doing interviews with prospects.
How do the searches usually work?
There is no typical arrangement other than we always work directly for the club. We’re not a placement service for people looking for jobs. It’s interesting that I do as many general manager searches as I do superintendent searches.
With superintendent searches, sometimes the GM is driving the bus, but usually I’m working with the GM and the search committee. We spend our time trying to figure out what kind of candidate would be best. I survey the group, visit the site, talk with the staff – try to get insights from every angle we can.
For some searches, I’ll narrow it down to six to eight really good candidates. I send out a questionnaire that’s maybe 10 pages or more. It’s a lot to digest so I tell the search committee they don’t need to read the whole thing but instead focus on the questions they care about and believe to be the most important. From there, we reduce it to a manageable number for interviews, probably three to five. GCSs like to visit the course and sometimes come up with extensive reports. During the interview, though, I want face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball discussions, not a presentation. That’s where we figure out the personal and cultural fit. There are lots of talented agronomists out there. Finding that fit between the candidate and the culture is where we really know we’ve done the job.
SEEMS LIKE, WITH THE BABY BOOMERS RETIRING, YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD BE STRONG FOR QUITE A WHILE.
True, but what’s scary is that I think we’re going to run out of talent in three to five years. Yes, kids are going to turf school, but also clubs have raised their expectations and there aren’t nearly enough to fill that demand. We also aren’t recruiting from communities and local kids anymore. It’s gonna be a crisis unless we begin to find different ways to bring young folks into our business.
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DO YOU JUST FOCUS ON THE TOP 500 OR SO FACILITIES?
No, we work with a pretty wide variety of clubs. We maybe have 3,000 potential clients.
A lot of leads come from our reputation in the industry. That started with Dick Kopplin, then Kurt Kuebler, then Tom Wallace. We’ve all been at great clubs so we get it. And it’s not just GMs and supers. We do golf pros, tennis and fitness, chefs, and assistant GM searches. We are the largest firm in the club world that does recruiting. We are big on education scene which really helps us build relationships.
WHY ARE MORE CLUBS USING SEARCH FIRMS FOR SUPERS THESE DAYS?
Why wouldn’t they? It always fascinated me that clubs felt they could do super searches on their own. To me, it’s one of the most technical searches out there. They don’t know what a good answer is to the questions they’re asking candidates, so they ought to get assistance with the search. Plus, it takes a lot of time and they’re volunteers. They have way too much on their plate already.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU PLACING A SUPER AT A CLUB WHERE KKW HAS ALREADY PLACED A GM?
A pretty high percentage – maybe half – are places we’ve already done a search. That said, I think that if they don’t retain us to help with their search, that they hire someone else to assist with their search. Clubs really need professional help.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST BENEFIT TO CLUBS?
Our finalists are often people who are not looking for a job until we go knock on their door. We look for the best talent, not just who’s available.
WHAT SHOULD CANDIDATES DO? I’M ALWAYS SURPRISED AT HOW RETICENT THEY ARE. SOMETIMES THEY JUST DON’T GET IT OR SOMETIMES THEY DON’T WANT TO APPEAR DISLOYAL.
Everyone asks, “How do I get on the radar scope?” One of the first things I do is tell them there are two kinds of people that look at applications: the ones who look at cover letters and the ones who look at resumes. You have three or four seconds to get their attention, so you need to make the most of the first few sentences of both the letter and the resume.
Remember that, ultimately, clubs hire you because of the person you are. You have to tell them why you’re the right person for them. I think of one guy who listed his three top personal values. Not his objectives or successes … his values. That’s great. Most people put their career objectives at the top of a resume. No one cares what your objectives are. The bottom line is they want to know what kind of person you are and they are busy people, so you better get their attention fast.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPICAL MISTAKES?
Dumb stuff like spelling mistakes or factual errors about club. Also, if they have a hard time reaching you or they try to call you and your voicemail is full or you haven’t set it up. Not good.
I also see lots of candidates pitch their renovation experience. That’s really secondary to most clubs. They are far more interested in the championship conditions you provide every day.
But I’ll tell you the biggest mistake is not asking for the job. Imagine that, you get the interview, have a great interview and don’t close by asking for the job and explaining why you believe that you are the right person. Mindboggling.
OK, WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR WINNERS?
In your cover letter, show you did some homework. You’ve read between the lines of the job description and added something you learned that’s special about the club.
Also, Ritchie Valentine always said lots of guys could grow grass, but few were good communicators. I think that almost always comes up in superintendent searches.
We don’t offer services to candidates – we’re only compensated by the clubs – but I get calls from guys all the time and I coach them the best I can. One thing I always says is that if there are two equal candidates, the passionate one is gonna get the assignment.
Hmmm … that suggests the job might be open because the previous superintendent lacked that passion.
Every super should take this to heart. When you start driving by little problems you would have never driven by when you were younger, it’s time to reassess. When you stop playing your own course, it’s time to reassess. When you lose that passion, it’s time to reassess.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS CHANGED MOST ABOUT THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GOOD SUPER OVER THE YEARS?
It’s interesting with golf being less of a draw for clubs than it used to be – it might not be the No. 1 or even No. 2 amenity for members – supers who have a global vision of where they fit in the club and they’re part of the team become even more valuable. Those are the ones that fit in the organizations.
We grew up with the whole “man vs. nature” philosophy in our profession. That was the mindset of supers, to be rugged individualists. And that impacted their relationships with other managers, the us vs. them mentality. Plus, being geographically removed down in the barn didn’t help. The ultra-successful people today understand that they’re on a team and have great relationships. There’s no more room for curmudgeons working in silos these days.
I’ve interviewed three supers with MBAs in the past couple of years. That really grabs the imagination of successful business leaders on search committees. A turf manager who thinks like a businessperson!
HOW SHOULD A CANDIDATE TALK ABOUT COMPENSATION?
A lot of clubs have survey information about average salaries for superintendents in their area via the CMAA or whatever, so that’s going to be par. The market is the market. If you think you’re worth X and the market doesn’t agree, the market wins. That said, superior candidates will always get a second look.
Super salaries are definitely starting to climb and they’ll be climbing quite a bit more. We’re starting to see some big increases and the market is very competitive.
WHAT DO YOU TELL ASSISTANTS WHO ARE LOOKING TO BUILD THEIR CAREERS?
I don’t tell, I ask. What are your aspirations? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? They get enamored with having big-name clubs on their resume, but that isn’t all that important in searches run by firms like ours. It might help you with clubs that aren’t using a search firm, but we try to educate clubs about what’s important and not important.
We’re getting back to the point where they’re coming out of school and they’re going to get assistant’s jobs right away. The questions is, “What kind of training are you going to have before that?” I was spraying greens when I was 14 and making chemical plans when I was 18. How much time do they spend on their tech know-how? A ton. How much on careers? Hardly any. That’s why I encourage mentorship for these AITs and assistants within the club to learn about the other aspects of the organization.
YOU MENTIONED TWITTER EARLIER AND I OBVIOUSLY AGREE IT CAN BE A GREAT TOOL IF YOU’RE SAVVY. DOES YOUR FIRM CHECK OLD FACEBOOK PAGES OR TWEETS TO SEE IF CANDIDATES HAVE SAID STUPID THINGS?
We check open sources. We also have a company that does background checks and occasionally they turn up something that’s a problem. You have to be responsible about what you post. It’s not a reason not to do social media, it’s a reason to do it wisely. One other thing for all searches: not having a particular degree or certification might not disqualify you but lying about it will.
TELL ME THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT SEARCH COMMITTEES FROM TOP 100 COURSES REALLY WANT.
They have to feel good about you and you have to feel good about them. It’s gotta go both ways. They have to believe that you can take them to the promised land.
WHAT’S MOST UNDERRATED BY SUPERINTENDENTS APPROACHING A JOB SEARCH?
Probably their mentoring and leadership skills. How did they go about the process of developing people? Give specific examples of how you’ve done certain things. Don’t just say, “I’m a great mentor.” Instead say, “Let me describe my program and how this works.”
HOW ABOUT PRESENTATIONS AND PORTFOLIOS AND PICTURES OF YOUR CURRENT COURSE?
Everybody knows that every golf course looks great when you take the pictures well. Pretty pictures don’t matter. If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s good information and it’s going to educate them. This is all for the pre-interview, too. The interview is about a conversation and for the committee to get to know you and to understand what it would be like to work with you
Towards the end of the process, the follow-up interview might include a 20- to 30-minute presentation on a specific topic. We’ll ask them to prepare a white paper or presentation on one topic that’s important to the club. After last year, one topic might be: “What would you do to prepare for a difficult summer?” Could be a soft topic or hard topic. Whatever the committee thinks is relevant.
WHAT ARE SOME CRITICAL THINGS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUPERS AND GMS YOU’VE OBSERVED IN YOUR RECRUITING ROLE?
Again, it’s so important to have a global vision. They are part of the success of the club, but it takes a team to make it work. Cross-department exposure and training is very, very important. For example, an assistant pro shadowing a super for the morning and learning what life is like for the maintenance crew and vice versa. It creates one team going forward.
If a young ambitious turf professional is reading this right now, what’s the ONE thing you’d scream at them to do in order to move up the ladder?
It’s not a thing the need to do. It’s a trait they need to establish. They must be CURIOUS. Joe Duich told us never to just drive by anything you think is interesting. Not just on the golf course, but anywhere. I’m inherently curious, but hearing that come from Joe was profound. I preach that all the time. Never stop being curious!
Many clubs and their Superintendents want to increase their bentgrass populations when they've got Bent/Poa greens. There have been many successes with the various combinations of overseeding, irrigation management, plant growth regulators and aeration/dethatching. What's missing?
What's missing is the vegetative introduction of mature bentgrass into existing turf stands! The ultra dwarf bermudas and paspalums are almost always sprigged for greens, we just have no need to sprig bentgrass when we can seed with great results on new greens. It's been many decades since anyone vegetatively stolonized bentgrass on greens.
Think about what you may be able to do by pulling small bentgrass cores from a bentgrass nursery and then dragging and brooming them into to a Poa or Poa/Bent green that has been aerated to no more than an inch deep with much larger hollow or even solid tines. Once the smaller cores are dragged and broomed into the larger aeration holes, the green is topdressed to smooth and seal the Bent cores in and protect them. This will allow you to mitigate the usual challenges of overseeding into greens that are being mowed and played on and having tender bentgrass seedlings competing with mature, aggressive Poa turfs. These mature bentgrass plants/cores will not only survive but thrive in their new environment.
There are Superintendents with winter or summer damaged Poa/Bent greens or renovated greens, that were sodded with pure bentgrass while the rest of the greens were Poa/Bent greens. Some of these Superintendents have purposefully "contaminated" their pure bentgrass by dragging cores from their existing Poa/Bent greens or nurseries into the aeration holes and beginning the process of matching the newly sodded Bent green with the Poa/Bent greens.
We know that it works and this "new" approach to establishing bentgrass into an existing stand of Poa/Bent on greens will give Superintendents one more tool to assist them in getting more bentgrass into greens.
An image from the iPhone Magnifying Application/Setting
Some of you may remember that 6 years ago, I let you know about a
wonderful new shade application called SunSeeker. A smart twenty-something had shown it
to me when I was working on a shade problem with my "old school"
techniques. Sometimes new technologies are indeed more than hype.
Well, here is another great piece of technology. Your iPhone and iPad
have one of the best tools that I've seen in a long time, a magnifying
HERE'S HOW TO ADD IT TO YOUR DEVICE:
1. ENABLE MAGNIFIER IN SETTINGS
Open the Settings app
Tap ‘General’, then the ‘Accessibility’ tab
Tap ‘Magnifier’ and tap the toggle to enable it
Optionally tap the toggle for
Auto-Brightness to enable automatic brightness and contrast adjustments
based on ambient light while using Magnifier
2. TRIPLE-CLICK HOME BUTTON TO ACTIVATE
Once enabled, you can now open the Magnifier from anywhere with a
quick triple-click of the home button, including from the lock screen.
THEN YOU CAN SCREEN SHOT IT:
You can capture the screen on your iOS
device using the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.
and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top or side of your device.
press and release the Home button.
your screenshot, go to the Photos app > Albums and tap Camera Roll.
The 13th hole at the Presidio faced a significant challenge until Mother Nature intervened. A beautiful Coastal Live Oak had grown over the years and was blocking the view of hole. Eventually, gravity and heavy rains toppled the tree and enabled the renovation of this wonderful hole to be completed.
After the Renovation in 2016
Without the tree in 2013
With the tree in 2009
The team of Superintendent, Brian Nettz, General Manager, Don Chelemedos, and contractor Kaminski Golf Construction, once again, did some tremendous renovation work. The bunker changes are plainly evident but take a look at the ridge in back of the green and the subtle movement that was added. Prior to the renovation, it was one of those, all too common, Northern California, overtly uniform dike-like earth forms.
Would you risk being ridiculed to play better golf?
Richard Zokol did.
On our latest Swing Thoughts podcast, Zokol talks about taking a risk that not only propelled him into the lead of a PGA Tour event, but also helped him to learn how to use his mind to play better golf.
On Episode Eight of ST, the Canadian Golf Hall of Famer tells engaging stories about his 20-year adventure on the PGA Tour and shares great insights that can help you play better golf.
The native of White Rock, British Columbia was a rookie on the tour in 1982, but by July he had still failed to make a cut. “I was climbing the walls with frustration because I wasn’t able to perform,” he said. “I was playing well but my thoughts were getting me ahead of me.”
At the Western Open in Chicago, he bought a Walkman, which for you younger folks was a portable cassette tape player and radio that fit on your belt that you listened to with headphones.
He was sure that listening to music while playing might help him stay calm, but the idea of wearing headphones during a PGA Tour event was “radical. I thought, What if I shoot 80?”
He “chickened out” in Chicago and didn’t wear the headphones. He missed yet another cut and kicked himself for failing to take the risk.
Feeling extremely nervous, Zokol teed off in the first round in Milwaukee on the 10th tee at 7:30 a.m. “with no one around.” He let partners Ronnie Black and Larry Rinker get ahead of him, unzipped his golf bag and put the headphones on. The Eagles were playing; he thinks the song was Hotel California, which features the perfectly ominous line for the risk he was taking: “This could be heaven or this could be hell.”
Coming down his 18th hole, he was seven-under par and leading the tournament. He could tell his headphones were generating some excitement because of all the photographers snapping his picture, yet he felt calm. “I was in my own little world.”
Zokol was chill but the PGA Tour was alarmed. Tour officials phoned the United States Golf Association for a ruling and learned that it was legal to wear headphones if the player was listening to music.
He shot 69 and 70 in the second and third rounds, and came down the stretch Sunday in the lead with four shots to play. Alas, the 23-year-old rookie became overwhelmed when he thought about winning and he made double-bogey and bogey to finish T5.
Regardless, Zokol’s bold move paid off. He gave himself a chance to win, and the media excitedly told the story, christening him Disco Dick and vaulting him into the limelight.
More importantly, he became more competitive. “I wore headphones on tour for a year before I stopped. I needed to learn how to control my thoughts without listening to music. I didn’t want to be dependent on the distraction that the Walkman provided,” said Zokol who won two PGA Tour events in 1992, including the Milwaukee Open.
Zokol said the Walkman experiment launched him on a journey of self-discovery, working with mental coaches, learning how to meditate and developing skills in the mental game, which remains a passion since his retirement from the tour. He now works as Golf and Real Estate Specialist at Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon, British Columbia.
“I discovered just how much psychology is involved in the game,” said Zokol, who is working on bringing a technology product to market to help players to evaluate their decision-making and execution.
“What most golfers don’t realize is that the best golf equipment they can ever have is their mind. But not too many people realize this premise.”
If you want to learn more about the Turfgrass Zealot, Dave Wilber, listen to his show but with a twist; I'll be interviewing Dave. You'll learn more about Dave as a person and as one of the preeminent eco-ag turf consultants. Many of today's turf soil and fertility concepts and products are based on Dave's efforts in consulting and educating Superintendents. Listen here:
I know what you're thinking, the USGA has been changing courses free of charge for decades.
But this is actually a program geared toward courses no hosting championships and hosting the everyday golfer. Certainly something like this is a long overdue use of the Green Sectionand of architects, though I do fear for courses receiving recommendations designed to generate pricey re-construction of greens to USGA specs.
What also is missing: the USGA maybe commiting some of its $400 million in reserve to the occassional restoration of a worthy muni. Oh well, a great start...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USGA, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO SUPPORT PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE GOLF COURSES
FAR HILLS, N.J. (Dec. 8, 2015) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) have launched a collaborative program to help publicly accessible golf facilities improve the design and maintenance of their courses and deliver a better experience for their customers.
Combining the expertise of ASGCA member architects and USGA agronomists, scientists and researchers, the program will provide pro bono consulting services to facilities that need assistance to achieve their goal of making their layouts more enjoyable and reducing their maintenance costs.
“Course design and maintenance form the foundation of a golf facility’s operations,” said Mike Davis, USGA executive director. “With the knowledge that the ASGCA and USGA can offer, more publicly accessible facilities will be able to strengthen this base, while promoting resource efficiency, a better golf experience and a stronger connection to the local community.”
Starting today, facilities can submit an application for the service, which will include an on-site evaluation, professional analysis and a report outlining recommendations for improvement. Recommendations can cover course design, agronomy, environmental stewardship and golf course operations, with the goal of lowering costs while also improving the golfer experience.
“The ASGCA, along with the ASGCA Foundation led by John LaFoy, is pleased to partner with the USGA on this initiative,” said Steve Smyers, president of the ASGCA. “Golf facilities have long benefited from the efforts of ASGCA members and USGA agronomists. Collaboration between our experts will have a positive impact on the facilities we support. ASGCA members are excited and proud to bring their expertise to this program.”
Interested facilities must submit an application by one of three deadlines over the coming year: March 15, Aug. 15 or Dec. 15. The application can be found here.
Canal Shores Golf Course, a community-owned and operated facility in Evanston, Ill., is the first course to receive a pro bono evaluation through the program.
“This has been an incredible opportunity,” said Jason Way, of the Canal Shores planning committee. “We have some great ideas about how to improve the course, but the assistance from the USGA and the ASGCA allows us to get past the initial planning process, so we can move forward with our vision for making Canal Shores a multi-use community green space that the maximum number of people can enjoy.”
Selected facilities must express a willingness to carry out the recommendations from the USGA and ASGCA. Facilities will be expected to track and report the effectiveness of their improvements based on specific metrics.
A video that shares more detailed information on the program and Canal Shores can be found at usga.org via the following link.
The partnership complements the USGA’s course consulting services, which deliver implementable solutions to support a healthier future for golf facilities. In October, the USGA also announced a five-year master research partnership with the University of Minnesota to study and develop solutions to golf’s present and future challenges, including environmental sustainability.
The video features Hunki Yunexplaining the program from the USGA's new Far Hills TV set. Love the echo chamber vibe!
I don't know whether we should laugh or cry. It's kind of like hearing those words, "We're the government and we're here to help." "We're the USGA and the ASGCA and we're here to help." A bit of skepticism is warranted.
Hopefully, these "agronomists" will steer courses away from building USGA greens. In my opinion, the USGA green is a costly mistake and is the highest source of pollution per square foot of turf in the world.