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November/December 2011


2011 California GCSAA Annual Conference and Golf Championship By Michael Swing, CGCS

Inside this issue:

President’s Message


Meeting Schedule


GCSAA Meeting


Some Education Should be Required




Official Publication of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Central California. The purpose of this publication is information and education for the membership. Published bi-monthly by GCSACC 5322 N. Leonard Clovis, CA 93619 Phone (559) 298-4853 Fax (559) 298-6957 Email Bob Schneiderhan, Newsletter Chairman Mike Scott, CGCS, Editor

This year‟s event was held at the Silverado Resort and Spa, in Napa, California, and the feedback I received overwhelmingly described it as one of the best. If you were not able to attend, you missed a good one. Silverado is a first class resort and the North Course was recently renovated by part owner / designer Johnny Miller. The weather and course conditions could not have been better. If you wanted fast and firm greens, you got it, perfect fairway lies, always, and virgin white bunker sand, everywhere. Although golf was a real treat for many, I‟d like to review the education portion of the conference. All the topics were very timely. The new regulations concerning the American Disability Act are impacting golf courses now and potential lawsuits could

involve your facility. Also discussed was the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. If you have water on your golf course, you‟d better be informed about this regulation. Again, doing your homework can save your club a substantial amount of money and prevent a lawsuit. Robert “Bo” Links updated us on the lawsuits facing Sharp Park Golf Course. Robert is a lawyer fighting a big battle for us to save the golf course from extreme environmentalists who have an agenda against all golf courses. If you know very little about Sharp Park, like myself, please get on the web and research what‟s happening and the significance of saving this historic golf course. Steve Randall of GCSAA talked about Sustainability and added much clarity to its importance for the future of our

industry. One of the talks that I was really excited about was from our own Josh Heptig. Josh spoke to us about his new project regarding Zero Waste. Think about what going to zero waste would mean for your club. Josh is breaking the ground work for all of us to follow one day. He has developed a very comprehensive outline, including a Mission Statement, goals, and the steps to achieve desired results. He has involved many groups and organizations in this process, and has secured funding to assist in the program. The significance of this ambitious program is that no one else in the country is doing this, but interest in the program is growing substantially. Keep us posted Josh, we want to hear more. As for our Key Note Speaker, David Kidd, this (Continued on page 4)

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President’s Message by Michael Swing, CGCS

It wasn‟t too many years ago that, while cruising the golf course, I was always looking for affordable areas to improve. Maybe a different cut in the fairway or planting a few trees would make the difference. Now, as we all journey into repeated budget cuts, my mindset is on how to save money. Is it convert-

ing areas into roughs that require less mowing per week? Or perhaps reducing the size of the aprons to allow that operator to stay ahead of play? With fewer players on the bench, decisions can be very difficult. Adjusting priorities, changing crew work schedules and deferring maintenance (which we hope doesn‟t come back to haunt us) are just a few things we need to look at when faced with today‟s challenges. So maybe it‟s time we focus our attention on technology and discover what we can do to improve our operations. There are many products and numerous equipment options out there, and I don‟t believe we are tak-

ing advantage of their benefits. Let‟s face it, we can‟t possibly know everything. So why not solicit help from our affiliate members to resolve some of these issues? Say you want to research a different approach to your greens fertility program. You contact your local affiliate member, inform them of your budget and discuss several options. Or, you want to look into equipment that can save you labor during greens aerification. I don‟t believe that any of our affiliate members wouldn‟t be happy to demo their products. Once you discover something that provides a positive benefit, you‟ll need to put on Continued on Page 3


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President’s Message Continued from page 2 your sales hat. By that, I mean justifying the expense in regards to savings to the bottom line. Communicate in a language that management can appreciate, and be prepared. You have one shot at the judge, so give it your best. Or, perhaps you could enlist the help of a third party to assist in presenting your idea. We have many talented vendor representatives that can deliver a professional and informative presentation, which may help management understand your position more clearly. Yes, all this requires additional work and preparation, but that‟s our job, isn‟t it? Without proper, detailed information, management is unable to make educated decisions. Thus, the

consequences are continued budget cuts, which may lead to additional crew reductions, perhaps from the top down. Make note, these are tough times and we are stepping into a new, uncertain future. I‟m sure you all remember that the 3 most important things on a golf course are “Drainage, Drainage and Drainage”. Well, in today‟s world, it should be “Education, Education, and Education”.

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Hope to see you at the next Chapter Meeting.


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2011 California GCSA Conference and Golf Championship Continued from page 1 was a home run! As many of you may know, David designed the first course at Bandon Dunes. However, he has also done many golf courses in Europe and the U.S. with great success. It was very interesting to learn about his design concepts and project planning. The superintendent is his key person in making the project a success. His participation started in the office at a drafting table, moved to course staking, grading, and grassing, and finally maintenance operations. Just imagine having that complete experience and how it shaped your involvement in the project. David believes that a turn-key operation is essential to the overall design in achieving his expectations. His key component to this is hands-on construction and constant, small adjustment in completing the picture. I

would like to continue this topic, but you really needed to be present to truly appreciate a great experience. Let‟s go back to golf, and more importantly the winners. Yes, as expected and highly publicized, Mike Stieler won Superintendent Low Gross with a 76. As many of you know, Central GCSAA won the Tri-Chapter event at Stockton CC between Nor Cal and Sierra Nevada. The momentum of that event propelled us to the California GCSAA Team Chapter Championship. Yes, we won with the great players we have: Mike Stieler, Mark Cantrel, Josh Heptig and Rafael Barajas, CGCS. Great shooting guys! Irene Cline will bring the “Cup” to our next general meeting for all to see.

Many thanks needs to be given to President Rafael Barajas, CGCS, the board of directors, our state association managers Irene Cline and Kim Milne, and our ever present sponsors. We would not be able to host such an event if were not for Hustler Turf Equipment, Bayer, Crop Production Services, Ewing, Wilbur Ellis, Syngenta, Farm Load, West Coast Sand, Turf Star and the many others who donated auction items and continually support our association and our members. Thanks to all for a great conference and I hope you will make plans to attend next year‟s event to be held in the San Diego area.

TEE-OFF News Meeting Schedule December 10, 2011 Holiday Event “Windows on the Water” Morro Bay

March 2012 La Purisima Golf Club

January 2012 Alisal Ranch Course

April 2012 Visalia Country Club

Host Superintendent Dave Rosenstraugh, CGCS

Date to be confirmed Host Superintendent Jason Pautsch

Date to be Confirmed Host Superintendent Mike Swing, CGCS

February 27 —March 2 GCSAA Golf Industry Show/Conference Las Vegas February 29 California Room Las Vegas Country Club

May 2012 Riverlakes Golf Course Date to be Confirmed Host Superintendent Harry Dawson

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GCSAA Chapter Delegates Meeting “Ask and you shall receive” was the theme for the 19th GCSAA Chapter Delegates Meeting, conducted Oct. 28-29-30 at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., and the Airport Hilton in Kansas City, Mo. Association executive staff and elected leaders solicited feedback and frank discussion on a multitude of topics and charged attendees to communicate with their respective chapters upon their return home. GCSAA Vice President Sandy Queen, CGCS set the tone in his welcome to the delegates saying “we want to hear from you. It is vital that you share this information with your chapters.” Second-year delegate Tim Powers, CGCS representing the

GCSA of Northern California appreciated the forum which gave him the opportunity to learn more about GCSAA programs and the priorities of the association. “It‟s obvious that we have terrific leadership that is extremely qualified and doing good things during these challenging times,” Powers said. As is traditionally the case, approximately one-third of the delegates were attending the meeting for the first time. The mixture of experience among attendees created a positive environment for interaction, learning and information sharing. “It gives you a sense of ownership and having a say,” said first-time attendee Class A member Troy Martin of the Miami Valley

GCSA. “The board and staff have done a fantastic job in creating an environment to contribute and share ideas. I attended the Leadership Academy last year and I left impressed with what GCSAA was doing for the members. This meeting only reinforces that. I‟m energized to go back to my chapter to share the information.” Value of Membership GCSAA President Bob Randquist, CGCS repeated a message that he has emphasized throughout his term in office: GCSAA must enhance the value of membership and demonstrate it to the members. He outlined several new programs implemented in the past year including expansion of the field staff pro(Continued on page 7)


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GCSAA Continued from page 6 gram, creation of a new job board, growth of social media, a new website, new resources to enhance sustainability of the golf facility and the online Self Assessment Tool to measure member competency and identify resources to facilitate improvement. This discussion and an open town hall meeting format generated many suggestions as to how GCSAA might increase and demonstrate value, with many ideas focused on delivering value at the chapter level through field staff and enhanced use of technology. Second-year delegate Jeff Berg, Class A member representing the Virginia GCSA said the many ideas offered were a by-product of the board‟s willingness to listen and engage the delegates. “Sometimes it‟s good to shake things up a little,”

Berg said. “Stirring the pot is not necessarily a bad thing if it‟s done positively. We came out of the weekend with items on which both GCSAA and the chapters can take action.” Field Staff Expansion Randquist elaborated on the field staff program, noting that four regions (Florida, Great Lakes, South Central, Southwest) were staffed and two more would be assigned by the end of 2011 (Northeast, Northwest). All nine GCSAA regions are slated to have resident field staff by the end of 2013. He said the directive for the program remains unchanged: to create a greater link between the association and its chapters – something he believes is happening “to an even greater degree” than he had expected this early in the program. GCSAA staff also provided several examples of the activities where field staff have helped to facilitate chapter effectiveness through association programs including strategic planning, advocacy, membership growth and allied association relations. A roundtable discussion was conducted among smaller groupings of delegates to examine areas for opportunity and measures of success for field staff. The feedback was loud and clear that the program had great potential to create an even greater impact in the future.

“I was one of the early naysayers,” Minnesota GCSA delegate Kevin Clunis, CGCS said. “But once we began hearing about the successes and how it was helping chapters, my president asked me „how fast can we get ours?‟ I‟m sold on it.” Member Standards: 10 Years Later For Randquist, the meeting featured a bit of a “Back to the Future” moment with the introduction of the Member Standards Advisory Group which has been formed to take a strategic look at the impacts the membership standards have had on the association and its members. It has been 10 years since members approved the implementation of member standards by a 3 to 1 margin. Randquist, who served on the group that coordinated the development of those standards, said the current board felt the review was prudent, but not based on any preconceived notions. “Ultimately there may be no changes to the standards,” Randquist said. “But the board felt enough time had passed since the implementation that we could get some feedback on the impact. We selected the advisory group, but that is as far as we went. What they find will not be directed by the board.” The group, which will work independent of the board, will review the impact of the standards to determine if the goals are being met, if there have been any unintended consequences, and make recommendations to the board on a future course of action in regards to standards. The 11-member group will be chaired by GCSAA Past President Sean Hoolehan, CGCS and with GCSAA Past President Tim O‟Neill, CGCS serving as vice-chair. It will feature a diverse cross section of the (Continued on page 8)


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GCSAA Continued from Page 7 membership including certified members, Class A, SM and C representatives. There is no firm deadline for the group‟s report, but an update on the group‟s progress will be delivered at the 2012 Chapter Delegates Meeting. Additional Discussion Items/ Activities It was announced that beginning Nov. 1, GCSAA webcasts would be free of charge for all members. It was announced that members wishing to apply for certification can now do so immediately upon attainment of Class A status. The additional requirements of one year as a Class A and 5.0 education points have been removed. GCSAA continues to grow its collaboration with allied golf associations to strengthen the game of golf. It is imperative that representatives of those organizations on the facility level work in the same fashion to affect positive change as well. Newly appointed chief operating

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officer Richard Konzem was introduced. Candidates running for board and officer positions made presentations and hosted breakout discussions An in-depth presentation on GCSAA government relations efforts revealed collaboration among staff, chapters and allied associations is having a positive impact. Four chapters made presentations on programs they have instituted with the assistance of GCSAA resources in the areas of BMP development, media/ public relations, strategic planning and government relations. The GCSAA promotional package on the Golf Channel was wellreceived and supported as an important investment of

funds. Outlined were new features for Conference and Show, and the National Championship and Golf Classic including education programs, networking opportunities and cost-saving options available to attendees. This includes a chapter incentive program for golfers who have not participated in the tournament in the past two years. Presentations Available Online The meeting‟s presentations are available online at:


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Some Education Should be Required by Josh Heptig

Josh Heptig

The California GCSA Conference is still clear in my mind. Those of you who attended know how great the educational opportunities were regarding legislative and sustainability issues for our state and industry. For those of you who did not make it to Napa, you missed a great opportunity to network and receive important information that WILL af-

fect your facility in 2012 and beyond. Since the event, I have been contacting superintendents and asking them why they did not attend, as it was a great event and a spectacular venue. I have received many responses stating that budgets are tight and it is difficult to find time to get away. Many of you reading this may feel the same way and my response is, “Can you afford to miss these types of opportunities to learn about current issues and topics that will better prepare you for the year ahead?� We all know that our jobs are difficult and stressful. I liken our profession to that of an NFL coach because if we do not perform for just one season we could be replaced. Unfortunately, our contracts are not bound by labor negotiations to be

bought out for millions of dollars upon termination. So, do you know about the new ADA laws and requirements that will be in place and imposed upon your golf course in 2012? What happens if a disabled individual shows up at your facility and you have not handled the various requirements for accessibility? Will your job be in jeopardy if tens of thousands of dollars in fines are accessed? This is just one of the topics that was presented at our State meeting that could save your club serious money and be the justification for the expense of your attendance. It is easy to think we know everything we need to know because the basics about turf management (Continued on page 10)


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Some Education Should be Required Continued from page 9 really don‟t change, but the finer points of our industry are important to learn and re-learn each year so that we can make informed decisions for our staffs and golf facilities. What you have done in the past may have worked or not worked. Do you need to change something to resolve these problems and how do you know what will work? You could spend money to experiment for yourself costing you time and resources or you might be able to find the answers at a local chapter meeting or seminar by talking to your peers or industry professionals. Think about it, do you really not have time to invest in yourself and your future to improve your knowledge to better resolve issues that will surface over the next year?

I would encourage each and every one of us to make an effort to attend one or more educational events this year. Go to the Golf Industry Show that is being held in Las Vegas in March and sit in a seminar regarding leadership, Poa control BMP‟s, water use concerns, or budget control. Perhaps you can make it a priority to experience our State meeting for yourself next November or maybe, a local event is more your style. Then participate in a few of your Chapter events and network with sales staff and your peers to keep up to date on issues that are affecting your local area. Our association relies upon participation and the opportunities are literally endless. There are many industry professionals who no longer attend conferences and lack a thirst for

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information. This situation can change a productive turf manager into one that is less effective. Quench your thirst by bringing your General Manager or golf chairman to an event and prove to them why education is in your customers‟ best interests.

Happy Holidays From your GCSACC Association Office Staff


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California GCSA Golf Championship Winners Central California Team Wins 2011 California Golf Championship Team Members: Rafael Barajas, CGCS, Josh Heptig, Mike Stieler, CGCS, and Mark Cantrell.

Mike Stieler, CGCS wins 2011 California Golf Championship for 3rd Year

5322. N. Leonard Ave. Clovis, CA 93619










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November/December Issue 2011