Turfgrass Matters Summer 2019

Page 1



President’s Report Equipment Manager Tips 12th Annual National Golf Day Chesapeake Challenge David McGregor

Dean Graves Feature GCSAA Assistants Certificates USGA Update MAAGCS Match Play Letter from the Editor


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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

President’s Report – Ryan Kraushofer As always, summer in the Mid-Atlantic has been full of surprises. The past twenty days in Carroll County have been hot and humid, with our nighttime lows averaging around 68, and evening thunderstorms causing havoc for our courses! Some courses received as much as 7 inches of rain in 2 hours while courses just miles away only received an inch. As I was scrolling Twitter one morning, I saw the perfect tweet from Bill Springirth at Clustered Spires that summed up this week’s weather- “Theme of the week in MD #washout”. Is it too early to start counting down the days to fall?! With all the extra bunker work I’ve had, it makes me wonder how everyone else’s staffing situation is this season. I know I’ve been getting by with the just the bare minimum, however I did find one high school kid who’s been a rockstar! Our bunkers were a disaster this week and I gave him the daunting task to push sand and rake edges by himself and he knocked it out of the park! Now I just need to convince him to go to college for turf and to help fill one of the 116 open assistant jobs currently on turfnet. Three years ago, in Chris Harriman’s Presidents message, there were 150 openings for assistants. Does this mean we’re heading in the right direction or are guys just giving up looking?

Ryan Kraushofer

Blue Mash Golf Course ryan@bluemash.com @GolfSuper2Gm

The MAAGCS board is dedicated to making sure our members have all the resources they need to help recruit the next generation of Assistant Superintendents. We applied for the Community Outreach Grant from GCSAA and was awarded $3,000 to help promote our profession to local kids in our community. This fall, MAAGCS will be working with a video production company to create a video that shows future employees what to expect from day 1 on the job as a high school student, up through an assistant superintendent position! We will be able to utilize this video when we meet with local high school students to help promote our career fields! As we start looking towards fall, I want to remind everyone to get out and network as much as possible. We have several upcoming events in the area in October! On October 2, our Annual Championship will be held at Gibson Island. This tournament has a limited field so be sure to register early. October 10th will be the Assistants End of Year Tournament at Mt. Vernon Country Club. I strongly encourage everyone to let their assistants get away from the course for the day to participate in this event. Finally, on October 28th, The Stewards of The Chesapeake will be at Westwood Country Club. Finally, for those of you who haven’t heard, I’ve accepted a new position as the General Manager at Blue Mash Golf Course in Laytonsville, MD. Mark Allman has the course looking amazing and I’m excited to join the team. GCSAA has given me the okay to carry over my class A membership, therefore allowing me to carry on my presidential duties. If anyone needs to contact me, my email address has now changed to ryan@bluemash. com and I’m now @GolfSuper2Gm on Twitter. I wish everyone the best of luck this summer!

On the Cover: Westwood Country Club, Site of the 2019 Stewards of the Chesapeake

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 3

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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

Equipment Manager Tips - Anthony Lewis My first year being an Equipment Manager on my own (not an assistant) was in 2010, the Assistant Superintendent and I did an intense cleaning of the Sprayer in July during a wet period. Sure enough, the Sprayer did not operate properly afterwards. We would build pressure and subsequently flow after about 15 seconds of the pump running full out and we’d drop pressure after turning the nozzles back off. Before this, I knew how to do the basics like service the traction unit, replace nozzles, even installed a pump rebuild kit previously. Admittedly, parts were replaced by basic logic to no affect and we lost a good day or two of spraying. The culprit was a damaged O ring I had overlooked in the suction side. Nonetheless, this in-season scramble to find a solution on such an important part of our operation led me to make sprayers a top priority of understanding. As Sprayer Technology advances and the increased standard for turf health, Equipment Managers have a responsibility in my opinion to calibrate, troubleshoot, and repair this vital tool. Whether it is training a new operator or checking the calibration following a repair, a consistent person handling these matters will translate into uniformity of applications on the course. Being a registered pesticide applicator and able to operate a sprayer with confidence allows you to address a complaint or tell what exactly is not operating properly. Like mechanics, math is constant and definitive. Below are a few examples of common steps in the calibration process to demonstrate we can all do this. Remember travel speed, flow, and width are the determining inputs on the total rate per area you are spraying. Hopefully this motivates you to seek further understanding in how Sprayers work and the ability to give your Superintendent comfort that they leave the shop functional and accurate! Example Sprayer travels 100 feet in 20 seconds.

Operations Formula: speed (mph)= Work:

To find flow with the following: 2 gpk, 4 mph, 20” nozzle spacing

You catch 0.95 gallons in one minute from one nozzle at 4.5 mph with 20” spacing.

0.682×100 20


68.2 20

2×4×20 136


160 136

0.682×feet (distance) seconds

= 3.41 mph

Formula: flow (gpm) = Work:

You catch 1.20 gallons in one minute from one nozzle at 5 mph with 20” spacing.

Anthony Lewis Chevy Chase Club alewis@chevychaseclub.org

gpk×mph×width (nozzles) 5940 (acres) or 136 (gpk)

= 1.176 gpm

To convert gallons to ounces: 1.176 × 128 = 150.528 per minute per nozzle Formula: gallons per acre =


5940×1.2 20×5






5940×gpm per nozzle nozzle spacing×mph

= 71.28 gallons per acre

136×gpm per nozzle

Formula: gallons per 1000 ft 2 = nozzle spacing (inches)×mph


136×0.95 20×4.5


= 1.43 gallons per 1000 ft 2

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Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 5

Golf Industry Comes Together for 12th Annual National Golf Day Event Brings Stories of Positive Economic and Community Impact to Washington D.C (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Golf industry leaders participated in a record-high 244 meetings with members of Congress representing 41 states to discuss the game’s economic, social and environmental contributions to the United States during today’s 12th annual National Golf Day on Capitol Hill. Coordinated by a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners under the banner of WE ARE GOLF, National Golf Day brings together more than 300 industry leaders from across the U.S. to support the game’s $84.1 billion economy, nearly $4 billion annual charitable impact, close to 15,000 diverse businesses and two million jobs impacted. National Golf Day, May 1, 2019: Record-High 244 Meetings with Members of Congress from 41 States Showcase the Game’s Value & Importance Across U.S. MAAGCS Members Volunteer for Community Service Project “The game of golf is growing and evolving, and it is important that we come together collectively in Washington to share stories of impact the game is having on business and featured more than 200 communities across the United States,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of World participants demonstrating Golf Foundation, the organization that coordinates WE ARE GOLF activities. the industry’s commitment to “From athletes from every corner of the world competing each week on the collaboration on beautifying PGA TOUR and LPGA, to global companies investing billions of dollars in and and preserving historical around the sport, to healthy participation in traditional and emerging ways, landmarks between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Golf industry leaders, coordinated by Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, volunteered to lay sod, rake, edge, overseed, aerate, mow, mulch, brush Tyler Bloom with Sprayer walkways and spruce gravel pathways across 17 projects the game of golf is a strong and vibrant part of American culture.” along the National Mall. The four hours of work saved the U.S. National Park “We are here to educate our elected officials that the golf industry is made Service nearly four months of labor costs. up of many small businesses that contribute to our national economy,” said Numerous golf courses and industry businesses are celebrating and Jay Karen, CEO of National Golf Course Owners Association and Chair of the recognizing National Golf Day in their own communities through activities WE ARE GOLF Board. “The importance of fair and good taxation policies is and special offers. Included is Topgolf, which is offering complimentary paramount to the success of our businesses.” group golf instruction lessons at 50 locations across the U.S. “Sports have always been an important part of American culture, and in To join the social media conversation, use #NationalGolfDay and tag @ my hometown of Augusta, Georgia, golf is at the heart of our town’s wearegolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to support the industry as traditions and identity,” said Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA). “On National Golf Day, well as share why golf is more than a game to you. we renew our commitment to ensure Americans not only play the game for About World Golf Foundation decades to come, but also ensure golf’s economic, social and charitable The mission of the World Golf Foundation is to unite the golf industry in support of impacts are effectively communicated and protected.” initiatives that enhance the growth of and provide access to the game of golf worldwide, “So many golf courses in the US, including courses in my district, are while preserving golf’s traditional values and passing them on to others. Its board is comprised of European Tour, LPGA, The Masters, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, R&A and public facilities operating as small, locally owned businesses,” said Rep. Bill USGA. World Golf Foundation oversees the collaborative industry initiative, We Are Golf, Keating (D-MA). “National Golf Day highlights the industry’s importance to as well as World Golf Hall of Fame. American society, including business, recreation, hospitality and tourism. More information: www.wearegolf.org. Anything that brings people together is great, and golf brings people together.” On Tuesday, April 30, the third-annual Community Service Project

The third-annual Community Service Project featured more than 200 participants demonstrating the industry’s commitment to collaboration on beautifying and preserving historical landmarks.


Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents



Once again, Queenstown Harbor played host to the Chesapeake Challenge, the annual Ryder-cup style matches between the ESAGCS and MAAGCS. The River Course was in spectacular condition and the clouds broke following a short rain shower just before tee-off. Prior to the competition, special guest speaker, Stacey Kingsbury, gave an update on the Delaware BMP project and also touched on how you can get started on your facility BMPs. Please visit the “BMPs and Facility Adoption” page on the MAAGCS website to get started. Following Stacey’s presentation was Jerry Duffy, MSGA rules official. He presented an entertaining look at the new rules of golf. After the traditional BBQ lunch and group picture, it was time for the main event. The MAAGCS was coming off of back to back wins, looking for a three-peat and ESAGCS was fired up to break the streak. There were 18 matches of which only two of them ended in a tie. Both sides fought hard, but it was MAAGCS that came out victorious with the final score, MAAGCS 9 and ESAGCS 7, securing our third victory in a row! A special thank you goes out to all of the players, sponsors, Queenstown Harbor staff, and everyone involved with making this another unforgettable event. Event Sponsors: McDonald & Sons, FAIRWAYiQ, Pro Arbor, Luck Ecosystems, Newsom Seed, Aquatrols, Davisson Golf Inc.

ESAGCS President Bill Reil presents the President’s Trophy to MAAGCS President Ryan Kraushofer

SAVE THE DATE - Wednesday, October 2, 2019 MAAGCS Annual Championship | Gibson Island Golf Club Presented by

(Superintendent and Open Divisions) 534 Broadwater Way Gibson Island, MD 21056

Hosted By William Reil

Featured Speaker Tony Pann Meteorologist

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 7

Congratulations David McGregor – Master Greenkeeper 78 by Karl Hansell, BIGGA | Communications Manager

David McGregor

In May 2019, UK-born David McGregor of Westwood Country Club in Virginia became the 78th BIGGA member to be awarded the Master Greenkeeper Certificate.

First awarded in 1991, the Master Greenkeeper Certificate is awarded to those BIGGA members who have reached the highest standards of greenkeeping and golf course management. To be eligible, a BIGGA member must have spent at least 10 years working in greenkeeping, with a minimum of three in a head greenkeeper, course manager or superintendent role. They must also have been responsible for their current golf course or courses for a minimum of two years. “Master Greenkeeper has always interested me as it’s an elite group to be in. Everything is possible if you really work hard and apply yourself. I sadly lost my mother 12 years ago and I know she pushed herself in her Nursing career (RN to Nurse practitioner), so in her memory I will always do the same in my own career. I’m 34 and have been in the industry since finishing school in 2001. I started at Abbey Hill Golf Centre in Milton Keynes, before moving on to Woburn Golf Club. I came to the USA in 2006 on the Ohio State Program. Placed at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, I became assistant superintendent later that year. During this time I attended Moulten College (NVQ 2 and 3) and continued with Ohio State (Turfgrass management certificates) in the USA to build my education to equal a four-year degree in the USA system.

I was very lucky to work under two great course managers and superintendents – Ross Edmonds in England and Scott Furlong CGCS in the USA. These two always pushed me to excel. Following Robert Trent Jones, I became superintendent at Potomac Shores Golf Club. This property was built but never opened during the economic downturn. I took over in 2012 with a new owner and we transformed the property from being partially grown over, with trees growing in bunkers, no power to irrigation and running on generators, to now being the home to thousands of residents. We built the property up with a clubhouse, new maintenance shop, schools, homes and plans to build a train station that will transport people in to Washington DC. This property is incredible and we were lucky enough to have Jack Nicklaus visit and tour for our grand opening. Since then I have moved to Westwood Country Club, located on the western tip of the Washington DC beltway. It’s a private club with strong membership. I have a wife and three kids. All are American and were born here. They are Gavin (11), Mary Ella (9) and Hannah (7). Like my mother, my wife, Kimberly, is a nurse. I became an American citizen in 2012 and really enjoy living in Northern Virginia, close to Washington DC.”

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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

SAVE THE DATE - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Assistants End of the Year Tournament | Mount Vernon Country Club 2018 Sponsors BASF, Pocono Turf, Syngenta, Turf Equipment and Supply Company

5111 Old Mill Rd. Alexandria, VA 22309

Event Overview MAAGCS Assistant Superintendents will gather at Mount Vernon Country Club for an end of the year tournament and networking event. The event is open to ALL members and guests, so join us for a fun day!

Hosted By Chris Sandels

GIS Orlando - Hotel Reservation Available DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

The DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld will be our host hotel and venue for our annual social event at the Golf Industry Show. The rate for each room is $176 and the deadline to book is December 10, 2019. Go to: https://book.passkey.com/event/49914648/owner/14227/home to access the housing website Access Code: GISGCS0120648FJJ Once you enter the website using the access code, please enter your arrival/departure dates in the top right-hand corner and only the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld will appear to book a reservation.

Our social event joint with MAAGCS and ESAGCS will be on Wednesday, January 29th from 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm, so SAVE THE DATE! Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 9

GCSAA launches final certificates for Assistant Superintendent Series GCSAA has been working to create greater opportunities and engagement for the career development of Assistants, and that effort has come full circle with the release of the final two certificates within the Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series (ASCS). The latest certificates to be added to the program include Principles of Golf Course Environmental Stewardship, and Principles of Golf Course Leadership & CommuChase Rogan nications. GCSAA Field Staff, Previously, the program included Mid-Atlantic Region. Principles of Golf Course AgronoCRogan@gcsaa.org my, and Principles of Golf Course @GCSAA_MidAtl. Business, which round out the program to include 4 certificates in all. Unlike the first two certificates that launched in 2018, the two new certificates will be earned by watching a series of webinars, taking short quizzes, and then doing outside activities that demonstrate the proficiency in the competencies covered by the certificates. These will be done through the Learning Hub. Details can be found by logging in to your account at gcsaa.org  Education  Certifications and exams  Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series Like the other certificates in the ASCS, these are stand-alone certificates. A participant can earn just one or work towards completing all of them, working at their own pace. In speaking with members who have engaged this program, I can say that these certificates are certainly not a cake walk, even for experienced assistants who have a wide breadth of knowledge in these areas. These certificates were designed to be challenging, which makes them more valuable and powerful when leveraging them in the marketplace. We offer member and non-member pricing. Member pricing is $50.00 per certificate, and non-member pricing is at $75.00 plus the price of the webinars ($60 per webinar). Remember, access to webinars is free of charge for GCSAA members. In all, it is much more economical to complete these certificates as a member vs being a non-member. Currently, we are offering an incentive to complete all four certificates in 2019. Koch is offering GCSAA gift certificates to the first 150 participants who complete all four, and this program is set to expire on 12/31/2019. Diana Kern is the Manager of Education Certificates and Program Validation at GCSAA HQ, and she can be reached at dkern@gcsaa.org with any questions pertaining to this program.


As an Assistant Superintendent, over the last seven years, I have learned that there are steps that can be taken to advance your career and demonstrate a drive and desire to be better within the business. One of the ways that you can demonstrate your drive is through certifications. The GCSAA has a total of four certifications available to Assistant Superintendents; overall, these certifications that were put together Mark Jones for us allow us to utilize the teaching Assistant Superintendent tools they have provided, improve Baltimore Country Club our practice, and ultimately advance mjones@bcc1898.com our careers. Personally, I have completed the Principles of Golf Course Agronomy and the Principles of Golf Course Business. I am currently in the process of completing the Principles of Golf Course Leadership and Communications and plan on continuing to Principles of Golf Course Environmental Stewardship. The first two certifications involved two 70 question timed tests with two opportunities to pass them. As a test of my own knowledge, I had not read the material provided for the certification prior to the exam for both the Principles of Golf Course Agronomy and Principles of Golf Course Business. I had wanted to challenge myself and see where I stood with my knowledge base. I would recommend, if you feel comfortable, to take the test to see where your weaknesses are and then focus on that material for the retest and to be able to apply it to your practice. Once the tests are passed, it is a great boost to your self confidence that you have a good understanding of your industry. The last two certifications are more expecting of you as an individual and want to see participation in the industry on a local level. For instance, the Principles of Golf Course Leadership and Communications requires completion of two of four listed activities: i.e. a published article for a newsletter or GCM or volunteer as a member of a committee. I was able to apply being the liaison for the Mid-Atlantic and my published articles to meet the requirements and am currently just working on completing the webinars and tests for each. Through my practice I could work toward the certification with activities I was already participating in while being able to network within the industry. Overall, these certifications are beneficial on many different levels. I would recommend that you challenge yourself to complete at least the first two certifications. Having them on your resume demonstrates the eagerness to learn and improve daily while giving you the confidence that you have the skills and knowledge of current practice and industry standards. If you have any other questions or want to hear more about my experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

See Something/Do Something by Dean Graves , CGCS There are two very disappointing and alarming topics I frequently hear about in our profession. First is the difficulty involved in finding assistants, not to mention “good” assistants. The other is that most university programs are struggling to attract enough students to justify keeping their golf course management programs open. Some have ceased to exist or are considering closing. Whatever the reason, the future for educating young students Dean Graves looks bleak and therefore being able to hire desirable and competent assistants will likely not improve, but unfortunately will probably worsen over the long term unless strategies are changed. The MAAGCS is doing something about this by proactively promoting our wonderful profession to high school students. They have asked, and I have accepted the responsibilities of “Outreach Ambassador”, primarily focusing on junior and senior high school students throughout the state who would be interested in golf course management. Concentrating on high school counselors and students with the focus being on what we do, educating them about the career, and the great livelihood that can be achieved. The Maryland State Department of Education has created a Career and Technology Education program [CTE] with the motto being that not all students need to go to college, but they all need a job. I think this is an awesome addition to our state’s education system. This program is not just focused on golf course management but also careers like HVAC, auto mechanics, engineering, etc. Its fundamental premise is to introduce students to various careers that they would not necessarily even known existed. The connection with the students comes from introducing golf course management to HS career counselors and educating them about our daily tasks and responsibilities. They in turn suggest to students, whom they think would be a good match, that they investigate a respective career. Educating HS counselors about our profession will take time. The chances are counselors don’t know what we do, and the education process will be time consuming. I reflect on past experiences when I have tried to explain to laypeople about our roles and daily responsibilities. I often hear, I had no idea it was so complicated, I thought it was simply mowing grass. Changing this mindset with counselors and students may take time; that is understandable.

The Programs’ Specifics

Currently there is an Intern and Apprentice program. Simply stated, the Intern program is an introduction to a career, whereas the Apprentice agenda would be more education and detail oriented. A key to success for both formats is the high need for mentoring the student by the employer. These positions are not to be considered “summer jobs” for students. Both programs are scheduled during school hours and monitored by their respective career counselors for attendance, growth, learning, and true enthusiasm. There is a work and school based formal education segment. Both are highly customizable for each respective career! The Apprentice scheme will have a final certification attached once the program is completed. Fortunately, the association has been introduced to CTE at a time that allows us to have input, thus building a successful program together. Baltimore County Department of Education [BCDE] has made impressive advancements implementing CTE. I am having active conversations with BCDE to formulate the Intern program and making connections with high school counselors about golf course management. Mr. Tyler Bloom has really gotten his mentoring program activated and attracted numerous students from neighboring high schools. He has very successfully connected with counselors and therefore students, facilitating an introduction to our career. My hopes are to expand Tyler’s program and philosophy throughout the state. My focus will be to concentrate my efforts with all Baltimore County High Schools [BCHS] during the 2019-20 academic school year. Why BCHS? They are the most active, best funded, have quite competent staffing, and are very willing to help. In addition to this reasoning, I have been advised by Mrs. Jennifer Griffin, MSDE’s Careers Programs and Apprenticeship Specialist, to formulate a successful program in BCHS, and then expand to other school districts throughout the state. Dr. Michael Grubbs, not a pun on words, and Ms. Alicia Grimes from the BCDE have been very helpful. We have had several meetings at Baltimore Country Club with Mr. Tim Kennelly CGCS and his team for show and tell dialogues. After each gathering the educators leave with increased enthusiasm! The bottom line is MSDE and BSDE want this program to be successful, and so does the MAAGCS. I am very excited to represent the association during this endeavor, returning something back to our great profession, and grow a strategy that can help support academic initiatives. Rest assured that updates will continue throughout the upcoming school year.

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 11

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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

SAVE THE DATE - Monday, October 28, 2019 The Stewards of the Chesapeake | Westwood Country Club Presented by

800 Maple Ave East Vienna, VA 22180

The event is limited, and will sell out fast, so be sure to register ASAP to guarantee your spot in the tournament. Tournament History Hosted By David McGregor

Featured Speaker Douglas Linde, Ph.D Professor of Turf Management, Delaware Valley University

The Stewards of the Chesapeake event was established in 2000 by the MAAGCS in order to develop a primary source of funding to support local research projects, support environmental efforts, and government relations as they pertain to the golf industry. The tournament has also provided a great opportunity for MAAGCS members to invite their club or company officials to participate in the event for the preservation and improvement of both the game of golf and our environment. The tournament has raised over $200,000 since its inception, and proceeds benefit the Maryland Association of Green Industries (MAGI), various Universities, the GCSAA and other groups supporting environmental issues, such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In 2017 the proceeds from the Stewards of the Chesapeake were used to help fund the Maryland Association of Green Industries. MAGI advocates on our behalf to help endorse the benefits of our industry with local, state and federal legislators. In addition, beginning in 2018 the MAAGCS committed $25,000 over 5 years to The University of Maryland Turfgrass Pathology Research Fund. The purpose of this fund is to support turfgrass research infrastructure, such as campus labs and the Paint Branch Turf Research Facility. The fund also directly supports the turfgrass pathology position.

2018 Sponsors

Aqua-Aid, BioBoost, BASF, Bayer, Davisson Golf, Inc., ESAGCS, Floratine, Genesis Turfgrass, Helena Chemical, Landscape Supply, Luck Ecosystems, Noble Turf, M&M Consulting, Nufarm, Nutrien, PoconoTurf, PondHawk by LINNE Industries, Rain Bird, Syngenta, Textron, Turf Equipment and Supply Company

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 13


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USGA Update – Paul Jacobs The USGA article, “Labor: By The Numbers,” outlined several reasons why superintendents are struggling to find and retain staff for golf course maintenance. Labor challenges are affecting many industries besides golf, and solutions will vary from one industry to another. If your course is facing labor shortages, consider implementing one or more of the following strategies:


The idea of spending less time and money on nonessential maintenance practices has been discussed in many USGA publications and it makes sense to focus resources on priority areas such as putting greens, fairways and tees. Removing intermediate rough, eliminating flower beds and reducing the number of course accessories are great ways to free up resources for other areas. Additionally, developing low-maintenance areas that are only mowed one or two times per year can reduce labor requirements for mowing rough.


Several courses are hiring part-time employees and allowing them to work the hours and days that work best for them. The traditional model requires employees to show up early in the morning, but scheduling a later shift increases the number of potential candidates to hire. One downside to staffing evening shifts is that a manager must be available to coordinate and manage the shift later in the day.


This method involves raking only the bottoms of the bunkers on a regular basis while leaving the faces smooth. It helps to save time because the faces should only be smoothed again if they are disrupted. This practice also helps to firm bunker faces and reduce the likelihood for buried lies.

Paul Jacobs Agronomist Northeast Region pjacobs@usga.org @Pauls_twitter


Fairway regrassing and renovating bunkers are two opportunities to reduce labor requirements and maintenance costs. These changes cost more money than the above solutions, but they should be viewed and analyzed as investments instead of costs because they can pay for themselves through decreased spending after they are implemented. Here are a couple of things to know about these improvements: New bentgrass varieties have been developed for improved performance and disease resistance. Regrassing with these varieties can reduce the total number of plant protectant applications that need to be made annually. As a result, less time is spent spraying and less money is spent on these products. Bunkers can be expensive to maintain, so simplifying the design and eliminating bunkers that are unnecessary, or that primarily target high-handicap players, can help reduce maintenance costs. For courses with steep-faced bunkers, installing porous aggregate bunker liners will reduce the frequency and severity of washouts during heavy rain events. Facilities that have installed these liners are certainly experiencing the benefits this spring. Renovating with a flat-bottom design can also help to reduce washouts.


Autonomous mowers are increasing in popularity, especially in regions where the minimum wage has increased significantly and entry-level staff are difficult to find. With autonomous mowers, one employee can perform several tasks – e.g., blowing, bunker raking and ball mark repair – while the green is mowed to improve operational efficiency. GPS-guided sprayers are being used by more superintendents and can decrease the amount of product used by 10-20 percent in most cases by applying products more accurately. These savings can be reallocated to other areas of the course or used to help increase wages to become more competitive with other industries. Hopefully, one or more of these techniques can improve operational efficiency at your facility so playing conditions can remain similar with less staff. Or perhaps reducing spending in some areas will make more money available to increase wages, helping to attract and retain staff.

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 15

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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

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Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents

Letter from the Editor – Tyler Bloom The dog days of summer are upon us. The 2019 season has been overall favorable in comparison to the last two summers, but never any easier. There always seems to be new challenges or the same re-occurring ones given the state of our irrigation system. Thanks to our irrigation distributors for keeping me sane in 2019! One thing that is becoming more and more apparent to me is the quality of our MAAGCS community. In the June edition of Golf Course Management, five current members were featured in some shape or form. I can’t remember a time when one association received as much press coverage. We’ve created purpose within our association, and each one of you has an opportunity to continue shaping our profession in our own backyard. Have an idea that could strengthen our offerings? Feel free to share with your Board. Our efforts and community outreach is setting benchmarks for other associations across the industry to follow. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and make an impact. One initiative that fires me up is youth engagement. Dean Graves will be representing the MAAGCS to help partner with school systems throughout Maryland to engage youth into our great profession. Roughly six months ago, Dean and I shared time together discussing the programs developed within Sparrows Point community. Month to month we both recognized the value mentoring and engaging high school students could provide for our members and the game of golf. Dean and I have met with leaders within Baltimore County and the state education system. A lot of work to be done to formalize a proper program. Dean’s foresight, mentorship and diplomatic presence will help strengthen our position into a more global presence within the state. We’re behind the game, but I believe we’ll quickly emerge as leading business partners within each of our communities. Even better, we can serve as catalysts for our own Club’s employee development plan. Our industry as a whole is adapting to a different workforce, and we will continue to exhaust all options to attract, develop and retain good quality people. Most are forced to change their personnel management practices to keep butts in seats. A different approach is embracing youth into your operation. Let me discuss my experience and knowledge as a soft opening to the MAAGCS initiative. Nearly five years ago, a guidance counselor from Chesapeake High School walked into my office to discuss work-based learning. In its simplest terms, a co-op program where students attend school for of the half-day and attend work for of the half-day. My first year using this program was an absolute whiff. As I matured in my position, I recognized this could be developed into a true internship program under the right framework. Tough to compete for college interns without an established program in combination with lower enrollment numbers. Working with other Baltimore County Public Schools, I was able to develop and organize a system that benefited both Sparrows Point Country Club and the students. Leveraging industry relationships to discuss career opportunities, finding niche projects and roles, and providing consistent feedback channels were some original practices that we used. The best part is we can hire students in the fall and have nearly 9 months to develop them before the next golf season. Guidance counselors don’t hold any punches that sometimes students may not work. However, when a grade is associated with their performance, there’s some leverage we have not had with these employees. As I developed more relationships, I began to dive into Maryland Career and Technical Education (CTE). Maryland CTE provides students the skills and knowledge to jump start their professional careers. Connecting education to employment opportunities allows students to grow their skills through a structured framework. Maryland has 10 career clusters ranging from art, media, communications, information technology, hospitality, human resources, environmental, agriculture and others. Maryland’s CTE program has had a long reputation and is a national model that provides a diverse array of programs. We need to tap into this and replicate for our industry. There are varying levels of CTE - work-based learning, internship and youth apprenticeship. Every student’s pathway is different based upon their level of interest in a specific field. Some students need to develop basic employment skills, while others are focused on a niche industry. You will learn to adopt each type of student into your operation as a best fit. Conversely, the requirements from the school systems change depending on level of CTE. Youth Apprenticeship is in pilot stages, but will include formal education training to the specific industry. I’ve had great discussions with multiple post-secondary institutions to provide technical materials. It is a win-win for our industry. I have been a part of job fairs and speaking engagements at our local high schools. I’ve been taken back by the passion and professionalism of many students. This is not reflective of the stereotypical millennial. Every operation could use this type of energy to rejuvenate your workforce. What I have found challenging at times is balancing the needs of each student with the demands of our operation. However, that is a great problem to have. Engaged and career driven people is what we have been missing. The conflict is I don’t have the time to devote more than I do in my primary role. I look to provide guidance and any advice how to start this program, and will be speaking on this across the country this upcoming fall and winter. Directly or indirectly, I will continue to grow our program at Sparrows for our own business purpose. Discussions are in place with the GCSAA and other supporting organizations on youth development. What we as an association needed was someone who could devote at least part-time hours to formalizing a program for other clubs or our business partners to replicate. This is no part-time task. Our association has accomplished many goals, but this could serve our members with a solution to the #1 issue in our industry. This is where Dean is a perfect choice to take on the initiative, but he will need the support from our existing members. I am sure there will be more to come in future MAAGCS Newsletters about the evolution of the program. I am happy to work alongside Dean, and learn a few things from him along this journey. Our membership will continue to benefit from Dean’s efforts in our industry for years to come.

Tyler Bloom Superintendent, Sparrows Point Country Club @tbloom_SPCC tbloom@sparrowspointcc.org

Turfgrass Matters | September 2019 19

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