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September 2017

President Matt Urban Vice President Jimmy Rodriguez Secretary / Treasurer Matt Hughes Board of Directors: Matt Alcala Roy Johnson Max Johnson Paul Kerr Caleb Buckley (Past Pres.) Vendor Representative Bryan Klock Chapter Executive Carol Cloud GCSAA Field Rep John Walker

President’s Message In this “do more with less” atmosphere the turf maintenance industry finds itself in these days, it is becoming increasingly important to be as efficient as possible with the resources provided us. That begs the question: Do we operate cautiously or take risks that may cost us our job? Personally, I believe that the most successful people on this earth operate with little or no fear at all. That is not to say there aren’t times when one should proceed with caution or better yet solicit the advice of someone who has walked that path previously. Our friends and colleagues in the RGGCSA can be an asset we forget about. Lets face it, we meet a handful of times a year and in between meetings, as busy as we all are, it is just easier not to think about it. If you are new to the association or a long time veteran, the friendships gained in being a part of a fellowship such as the Rio Grande is invaluable. Even the best and most successful turf professionals rely on help from others more often than you might think. Perhaps the best feeling of all is when you can pass along your experience to another superintendent. Participating in meetings and giving feedback is an important part of that experience. In September, you received a survey from the Rio Grande which will give you the opportunity to provide the board with information from the people it serves on how to make the association better. I urge all of you as members to take the time to give us your thoughts on a few short questions. Your board has worked very hard in getting this out and feels it is an important step forward. Your opinion counts! At the annual meeting hosted by Rob Clark at Canyon Club in Albuquerque, we will have our annual elections. If anyone wishes to be a part of the board or wishes to nominate an individual, please contact us so we can get you, or them on the ballot. It looks like your current board all wishes to run again and serve in the same capacity if elected. We have some exciting plans for 2018 and hope that all of you will make it a point to not only come to meetings, but aid in the effort to increase our membership by reaching out to those who may have stopped coming to meetings or have never attended. The RGGCSA wants to welcome our new GCSAA Field Staff Representative John Walker. John has been a superintendent in Texas for over 30 years and now brings his knowledge and expertise to the GCSAA Field Staff. Walker has also served as president for two associations in Texas as well as serving on the board of directors for the GCSAA before joining the Field Staff. John attended our July meeting to share a little about himself and provide information on our continued partnership with the GCSAA. Our former representative Brian Cloud has moved on to work in the turf industry in his home state of Texas. I wish to thank Brian for his years of service to the GCSAA and to the Rio Grande. We wish Brian great success in his new endeavor. Enjoy the cooler temperatures and have a great fall. See you all in October at Canyon Club!

Matt Urban RGGSAA President

Superintendent Article Fox Run Golf Course

by Max Johnson

In November of 2014, New Mexico State University and the city of Gallup, NM came to an agreement that two students, one from the turfgrass science program and the other from the PGM program, were going to run the City’s golf course for the summer to try to put the golf course in a positive direction. Dr. Ryan Goss, professor of turfgrass science and management had expressed to me that I could be the “turfie” that could go to Gallup for the summer and be the acting superintendent for a few months. Naturally, I chose to take the opportunity because for a brief moment I would get to be something that I was pursuing as a career. I had never been to Gallup before in my life, I hardly knew anything about growing grass in New Mexico for that matter because I grew up and lived on the Oregon coast for 22 years. I first believed that growing grass in New Mexico wouldn’t be all too difficult; I mean it wasn’t very hard in Oregon? Needless to say, very soon into the internship, that mindset changed very quickly.

Driving Range - November 2014

#1 Green - November 2014

View from the pro shop - November 2014

May – 2015

Well, where do we start? There was so much to do in such little time; I was completely overwhelmed with what I was looking at. So I called Dr. Goss, yes 15 minutes on the job I’m already calling Dr. Goss asking for direction. He and I agreed that getting the putting greens back to being puttable was the most important aspect of the course that needed to be addressed. In May we aerified, topPractice green - May / June 2015 dressed, and overseeded all the greens, something that hadn’t been done in years. We fed the greens with granular and foliar applied products and even added a little acid and flushed about three times in two and a half months. Constantly working on the greens every day, we started seeing some real progress with their health and appearance as the weeks went by. At the end, the greens were far from terrific, but they were much better than when we began.

Same practice green after cores were removed

Same practice green - June 2014

Practice green - August 2015 and end of internship

We had a great time at Paa-ko Ridge in July! Thank you to our great host Rob Murray who provided a great golf course and a beautiful day. Turnout was very good thanks to all the RGGCSA members who took time during a very busy time of year to attend the event! Our event sponsor, Austin Turf and Tractor presented a very good educational program featuring Mr. Walt Norley of On Golf USA who covered a very interesting new management system known as OnLink. Thank you Caleb Buckley and Austin Turf for sponsoring our event and making it a very special day! Photos on page 9 and 14!

THANK YOU! RGGCSA President Matt Urban traveled to Las Cruces to present former Rio Grande Executive Director Mary Armstrong a plaque in appreciation for her contributions to our association. Mary was instrumental in helping us move forward to where we are today as an association. We wish to thank all of those who have served on the board and as Executive Director in our long history.

We wouldn't be here without you!

Caleb Buckley New Mexico and El Paso Account Manager (505) 710-3477 or toll free: 800-528-4290

Matt Hughes was all smiles after winning the Scholarship Fund 50/50 pot!

Walt Norley of OnGolf USA provided education for the event at Paa-ko Ridge.

1st Place - L to R: Larry Fairchild, Paul Kerr, and Matt Dusenbery. Not pictured - Jonathan Ipiotis

2nd Place - L to R: Paul Cassidy, Matt Hughes, and Jimmy Rodriguez. Not pictured - Roy Johnson

Johnny Walker (L) of GCSAA made his first visit to NM as the new Field Staff Rep.

3rd Place - L to R: Brian Cloud, Robert Farmer, and Tony Chaleunphonh. Not pictured - Steve Hendley

Everyone who attended was a winner by enjoying a great day at the beautiful Paako - Ridge course. Every view was a postcard!

Thank you to all our wonderful 2017 Sponsors.

Without your support we would not have a successful association!

It is time to wrap up our 2017 season! Join us for the 2017 Annual Meeting where elections for the Board of Directors will be held. If you are interested in serving your association as a board member, please contact Carol Cloud at or any board member.

SCHEDULE 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Social Hour / Registration 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Business Meeting 9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Title Sponsor Presentation Aquatic Consultants 9:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Education Kevin J. Ross, CGCS Consulting Agronomist ONCOURSETurf, LLC 11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Lunch 12:00 p.m. Golf

Cost Meeting and lunch are free! $40 for Golf

Title Sponsor - Aquatic Consultants is a group of aquatic biologists and construction professionals who are passionate about lake, pond, and stream design, lake construction, pond construction, stream construction, and lake and pond management for trophy fishing lakes, landscape lakes, irrigation lakes, and recreation lakes, as well as stream habitat restoration and stream fish management throughout the world. We invite you to view our portfolio, and look forward to hearing how we can help create or enhance your aquatic resources. Meet the Speaker - Kevin J. Ross, CGCS - Consulting Agronomist - ONCOURSETurf, LLC Topic - Tips and Tactics, 40+ years in the Business

Click here to visit ONCOURSETurf blogspot by Kevin J. Ross CGCS The Canyon Club at Four Hills - The initial talks about Four Hills Country Club, known now as The Canyon Club at Four Hills, began as early as 1955 when it was still a gleam in the eye of club founder, W.D. "Bill" Brannin. Having ridden horses in the area, Mr. Brannin pursued the Speakman Ranch as a possible site for the Club. While searching for the owner of the Speakman Ranch, he met Marshall Wylie and Harry Driver, who would soon become the financial backbone of the project. CLICK HERE for the full history 911 4 Hills Rd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123


GOLF ENVIRO SYSTEMS, INC. “Your source for experience-based solutions”

We can provide: 

Plant Nutrients (Liquid & Granular)

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Soil Amendments

Barenbrug Seed

Wetting Agents

Golf Course Accessories

Cover Tech Turf Covers

Ice Melt

Sports Turf Pro’s Choice Infield Conditioners Field Marking Paint & Chalk

“Where Trust is Everything”


Thanks again to the entire staff at Paako Ridge for rolling out the red carpet! And thanks to all of our sponsors and especially Austin Turf and Tractor for being the Title Sponsor. We had a great time and look forward to the opportunity to visit the course again some time soon!

August - 2015

The progression that was made in that short time caught the eyes of the golfers and Mayor of Gallup, and then talk started to happen about renovating the golf course in Gallup. Shorty after the internship was over in early August, It was to be determined that the City of Gallup was going to fund a $3.5 million renovation for the golf course, and I was asked to be their superintendent after graduation from NMSU in December of 2015. I was very excited about the opportunity right out of college but, it hit me shortly after that I was going to do a grow-in. I had never grown in a golf course before and I didn’t even know how for that matter. A lot was already on the table and construction hadn’t even started yet, I was nervous and my anxiety had reached its breaking point, or so I thought.

Fast forward to February – 2016

Meetings were set, plans were drawn up, the construction crew was on site, and the renovation began. The renovation would start with a new irrigation system. New pumps, pump house, new irrigation lines, and finally a new automated system. Following that was new and much needed drainage and lots of new shaping. The construction crew that performed all of this was Mid – America Golf and Landscape, they were very talented and excellent to work with. I learned a great deal from them and hope to work with them again someday.

Landing on what would be the pump house

Pumps being delivered

June - 2016

Grading and shaping was now in effect and it’s starting to resemble a golf course again. You might be asking how we kept the greens alive during this renovation with no irrigation. Well, the renovation did not call for renovating the putting greens, so we decided to keep them alive until the irrigation system was up and running. We irrigated by hauling a 2000 gallon water truck around the course; all day, every day until the system was functioning in early August.

Watering greens April - Early August

Applications are now available for the 2018 Alan Salter Memorial Scholarship. These scholarships are available to RGGCSA members and their families. Application deadline is December 1. Click here for info and application

IMPORTANT BYLAW CHANGE INFORMATION In compliance with our affiliation agreement with GCSAA, the following amendment to the Rio Grande GCSA bylaws will need to be voted on and approved at the 2017 Annual Meeting. Proposed Amendment 1 1. The current bylaw: Superintendent Member: To qualify for Superintendent Membership, an applicant shall have, at the time of application for membership, less than three (3) years experience as a golf course superintendent, and shall be presently employed in such capacity. Superintendent Members shall have all the privileges of the Association. 2. Proposed amendment 1: Remove the Class SM definition from the bylaws and change it to read as follows: - Class B: An individual with less than three years' experience as a golf course superintendent. 3. The bylaw after proposed amendment 1 is adopted: Class B: An individual with less than three years' experience as a golf course superintendent. Class B Members shall have all the privileges of the Association.

Proposed Amendment 2 1. The current bylaw: The Board of Directors shall have general charge and management of the affairs of the Association. Qualifications: Only members of the Association actively employed as golf course superintendents. All officers and the majority of the Board of Directors must be members of GCSAA and the RGGCSA. All Officers and Board of Directors must be Class A or Superintendent Members. 2. Proposed amendment 2: Update Board Composition requirement to read: The control and management of the association and its affairs and its property shall be entrusted to the Board of Directors, consisting of its officers and at large Directors. All officers and a majority of the entire board of directors shall be GCSAA Class A or B members actively employed as golf course superintendents. 3. The bylaw after proposed amendment 2 is adopted: The control and management of the association and its affairs and its property shall be entrusted to the Board of Directors, consisting of its officers and at large Directors. All officers and a majority of the entire board of directors shall be GCSAA Class A or B members actively employed as golf course superintendents. For questions or more information contact Leann Cooper, Senior Manager of Chapter Services at 800-472-7878, ext. 3648 or

August, 2016

The time had finally come to put some pre-plant fertilizer and seed down. We used a mixture of CSI Perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass as our choice. Our elevation is relatively high in Gallup (6,400) so the rye did pretty well in the fall. On top of the seeding and fertilizing, we put down mulch on every golf hole as well.

September - 2016 #14 fairway

A few days later

Getting closer!

#14 Fairway

#18 September 23 2016

#8 October 9th 2016

October – 2016 Everything was slowly coming to an end as winter was nearing. We ended up planting a few holes a little late in the season and I was pretty worried they weren’t going to make it through the winter. But, we had some help from the weather and got snowed on pretty good throughout the winter.

December 2016

Dear RGGCSA Members, Its time once again for the membership to nominate candidates for the Board of Directors. The RGGCSA is currently accepting nominations for it's 2018 Board of Directors. In case you didn't know, per our by-laws, board members are elected to a one year term and can run in consecutive years. Our association needs people like you who are hard working and passionate about the turf industry. A very special thanks to all past Board Members who served the Rio Grande and to our outstanding Executive Directors who keep the association moving forward. With these individuals working as a team, the RGGCSA continues to grow and has much to offer its membership. We wish to continue growing this great tradition through our meetings and education and could use your help. If you or someone you know has an interest in serving please contact Carol Cloud at Or, just let one of our current Board Members know......we are listed in your directory!!! We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the annual meeting October 23, 2017 hosted by Rob Clark at the Canyon Club in Albuquerque. Enjoy the rest of your summer and Thank you!

Spring – 2017 The renovation was a terrific project to be a part of in the end, I learned a great deal from the construction phase through the grow-in phase. I had a lot of help, particularly from my peers in the RGGCSA throughout the whole process. We still have a long ways to go here but I’m happy to say I went through a grow-in and did it with some very terrific people along the way.

#2 Green

#2 Green



#18 Green Before and After

Driving Range Before and After

That’s all for now! Max Johnson Fox Run Golf Course - Gallup, NM

RGGCSA 3rd Quarter Super News 2017  
RGGCSA 3rd Quarter Super News 2017