Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 becoming a superintendent for the first time at Plymouth (Ind.) Country Club. He returned to Elcona as its superintendent four years ago. He is a past president of the Michiana GCSA and of the Midwest Regional Turf Founda - tion. He and his wife, Monica, have two children, Matthew and Zoey. Cummings developed an interest in woodworking at a young age, a hobby that was handed down from his father, Steven. Those skills now pay dividends at Elcona. "I made a jewelry box in mid - dle school. It might've been for a girl- friend; I don't know," Cummings says. "I'm planning a dining room table now." The nearly 80-pound bee hotel that Cummings built from non-treated scrap lumber resembles a three-story house. Sta - tioned on a retaining wall nearly 2 feet above the ground and mounted on two vertical posts that are buried 3 feet into the ground, the hotel stands nearly 4 feet tall. Cummings drilled ap - proximately 300 holes in various blocks and logs inside the frame for queen bees to lay their eggs. He has no major concerns about the bees (including mason bees and leaf-cutter bees) causing an issue for golfers. "These are solitary bees. They're very unlikely to sting because there's no nest to defend," Cummings says. "We're providing them a habitat instead of just an old log on the ground." Members are kept abreast of the bee hotel, a rain garden that protects groundwater, nesting boxes, ever-growing natural areas and the club's participation in Audubon's Monarchs in the Rough program, which is geared toward the preservation of the declining pollinator. All of these doings are available at Cummings' blog at . (He also has hosted a First Green event for 300 middle school through high school students, where they learn that golf courses also serve as environmental learn - ing labs.) Cummings' efforts are noticed. "Ryan works way too hard, puts in too many hours," Elcona's golf professional, Tom Thome, says. "He cares about the place. He has a lot of pride, a lot of knowledge." The interest in his work makes it worthwhile for Cummings, who wants to stay as busy as a bee when it comes to enhancing the experience at Elcona. "Membership has always been supportive of our Audubon program," says Cummings, adding that former superintendent Tom Zimmerman deserves credit for register - ing Elcona for the Audubon Sanctuary program several years ago. "One of our older members wanted to bring out his grandson to see the bees. What we do is definitely a talking point for our members. They're like, 'What is Ryan building now?'" Three or four more bee hotels, that's what. At least, that's his plan. "Stewardship is a huge part of what we (superintendents) all do," Cummings says. — Howard Richman, GCM associate editor At Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, Wash., assistant superintendent Josh Cheney, a 12-year GCSAA member, participates in demonstrations for youths during a First Green field trip. Photo by David Phipps It's official: GCSAA now overseeing First Green GCSAA has officially assumed leadership for First Green, with a new logo and website to promote the pro - gram centered on golf courses as environmental "learning labs" for students in middle school to 12th grade. GCSAA brought the 21-year-old First Green under its umbrella of member programs five months ago in cooper - ation with its philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf. With its nearly 18,000 members from 78 countries and its 99 local chapters, GCSAA has committed resources to expand and enhance several aspects of First Green operations and marketing. First Green provides hands-on STEM (science, tech - nology, engineering and math) education at golf courses. Studies fall within the focus of schools' environmental sci - ence and horticulture curriculums. Teachers and golf course superintendents work to - gether to tailor lesson plans to the school's curriculum. First Green field trip kits and study guides make it easy to organize and host field trips quickly. When the students arrive, the golf course environment becomes the star. Put - ting greens morph into math problems; sand, clay and silt offer lessons in soil science; and small streams transform into living laboratories for experiments with water sources, quality and flow rate. "Growing the profession and the game of golf among future generations is a vital part of our mission," says Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. "Our members' scientific knowledge base that enhances the enjoyment of the game for so many golfers will now be shared with students around the world with GCSAA's expansion of First Green's network beyond its roots in the Pacific Northwest." Founded in 1997, First Green is the only STEM edu - cation and environmental outreach program that uses golf courses as learning labs. Each field trip averages 75 stu - dents who learn about golf and the environment. For most students, these "outdoor classrooms" represent their first exposure to a golf course. Club managers get a new name The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) changed its name to the Club Management Association of America. Beatles legend John Lennon wrote the lyrics for "Strawberry Fields Forever" in Almeria, Spain. As a young boy, Alejandro Reyes studied there. He must have learned a lot in Almeria and other places in his journey. This month, Reyes will see how well his knowledge traveled. Reyes — a Spaniard — is making a splash in France. He serves as course and estates manager at Le Golf National near Paris, a hotbed of professional golf this month. Le Golf National's Albatros Course is the site of the Ryder Cup, scheduled Sept. 28-30. He was groomed early for this. Reyes went to a school that specialized in agronomy when he was 13. "It was quite atypical when all my friends went to the normal high school, but I knew that I wanted to do it," he says. "The course covered the more practical aspects of agricultural engineering." He continued his education at University of Almeria in Spain before leav - ing home for the United Kingdom's Cranfield University to earn a master's degree in sports surface technol - ogy. He went to work for Polaris World, which joined forces with Nicklaus Design to create a cluster of resort courses in Spain. In less than two years, under the guidance of agronomy director Sylvain Duval, Reyes was promoted to superintendent at one of the courses. He was only 25. "Yes, I had a lot of education and some good experience, but it was a huge chal - lenge," says Reyes, a four-year GCSAA member. "It is difficult when you are young and have to make your own decisions for the first time." To land the job at Le Golf National, which also hosts the European Tour's HNA Open de France, Reyes had to learn to speak French, which he accomplished for his job interviews. A major agronomic challenge for him there is microdochium nivale on the greens. "Spray con - tact fungicide is not allowed in France, so our man- agement approach combines both best practices of considering the environment and using a systemic preventive program," he says. Reyes, 35, says the Albatros Course is made for the best players from the U.S. and Europe to tangle. "Without question, its design (makes it special). It was designed not just for challenging the best players in the world, but to also provide a unique spectator experience, which is most important for the Ryder Cup," Reyes says. — H.R. ACT ON COURSE OF 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18

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