Golf Course Management

FEB 2019

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

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22 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.19 Though participants arrived with a range of experience, the SBI Class of 2018 was unusual in that the average ten - ure among its members was 21 years, a program high. "You can always learn. Whether they're three years into the role or 30 years, they'll tell you they've attended or been invited to agronomic training, but they don't get invited to attend leadership training," says Stephanie Schwenke, Syngenta's turf market manager. "Whether they're new or experienced, this is the training they're looking for." In Alonzi's case, the sessions on managing across cultures and generations stood out. "That's the stuff that really piqued my curiosity," he says. "On the budgeting and financial-management side, that was a good re - fresher. There were a few things that really brought me up to speed. But leading across cultures and generations and creating an inspiring, high-performance work environment ... those were the ones I was most interested in going in." Opposite Alonzi on the experience spectrum was Steve Juhring, superintendent at Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf and Country Club in Waretown, N.J., just a couple of hours from Alonzi's course. Juhring, 30, has been a su - perintendent for four years and a GCSAA member for five, though he has been in the golf industry since he was 16. He has been at Greenbriar Oceanaire for two years. "I think the thing that stood out to me was, they weren't things directly related to turf," Juhring says. "It was the sub - jects of talking about how to handle employees, leadership, negotiation — that was intriguing. Those were all kinds of subjects I hadn't experienced before in a classroom. ... You learn things that I never really sat down to learn before. You used to just do your best to handle yourself as a manager and did what you hoped was right. The program opened your eyes to areas you could really improve yourself. "It wasn't typical golf course talk per se. It was a unique opportunity to just discuss and network about is - sues that we're facing that don't directly relate to the golf course itself. It's more about the underlying issues." And there were as many relative rookies as veterans. Schwenke says Syngenta seeks that variety. Though the judging of application materials is relatively blind, judges do have a sense for the applicants' experience. "It's important to have diversity and a mix," Schwenke says. "We need the more experienced guys here to mentor the younger ones, whether they know they're doing it or not. We want this to be sustainable." Smack dab in the middle of the experience spec - trum sat Brent Downs, superintendent at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind. Downs, 37, has been in the golf course industry for 19 years. A superintendent for five years, he has been at Otter Creek since April. He says his greatest takeaways from the Syngenta Business Institute came in the realm of leadership and management. "A lot of the things we do are more based on motivat - ing people," Downs says. "I learned a lot about how to un- derstand how other generations think, and other cultures, Pollinators poll When it comes to pollinators, most folks naturally think bees and butterflies, and rightly so. The United States Department of Agriculture says three-fourths of the world's flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world's food crops depend on animal pollinators to produce and says one of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators . According to the Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project, the U.S. grows over 100 crop plants that are pollinated by insects and animals, including almonds, apples, pears, citrus fruits, cherries, pumpkins, cucum- bers, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, melons, tomatoes, soybeans and sunflowers. Insect- pollinated crops produced in the United States were valued at an estimated $20 billion to the U.S. economy in 2000. When it comes to golf's role in preserving pollinators, most efforts are geared toward butterflies and bees. From natural-area set-asides to designated butterfly gardens to the installation of beehives and bat boxes, courses around the world have recognized the need to play a part in protecting these vital resources. Bees and butterflies aren't the only natural pollinators, though they do take up the top half of the slots on a top-10 list of top pollinators. In fact, bees dominate, ranking 1-4: in order, wild honey bees, managed bees, bumble bees and other bee species. Butterflies rank No. 5. Rounding out the top 10: moths (6); wasps (7); other insects, like flies and beetles (8); birds, especially hummingbirds (9); and bats (10). Sources: The USDA, Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project The

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