Golf Course Management

APR 2013

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

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Page 41 of 141

Plugged In with William Brown, CGCS The times they are a changin' Another edition of the GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show has come and gone, and I'm still amazed how prevalent technology has become at this event. I can remember the frst time I was asked by GCSAA to demonstrate the capabilities of the iPhone at GIS. The iPhone 3GS had been released that previous summer, and the App Store was seeing some growth. I gave my demonstrations in a little booth called the Test Drive Technology Center, which at the time included a few iMacs, a touch screen PC and a table with some giveaways. The iPad hadn't even been talked about yet, and if you asked 99 percent of the industry professionals gathered for GIS what Twitter was, they would have probably asked what grass it affects. It was a unique experience for me as so many were intrigued by my use of the iPhone as a superintendent. People were blown away that you could sync your email, calendars and contacts to your iPhone, and that real-time radar and weather forecasts were available as well. How far we have come! Fast-forward to the 2013 conference and show in San Diego, and technology was everywhere. The frst thing attendees saw when they walked into the door of the convention center was a real-time Twitter board, highlighting the comments and conversations about GIS that were taking place on that social media platform. I also took notice of the level of socialmedia activity of people who weren't able to be in San Diego. Many tweeted that they felt they were actually at conference and show simply by following along on Twitter. From the host associations and the trade show exhibitors to the educators and attendees, social media was everywhere in San Diego. Another big change I noticed was in the number of tablet computers being used at conference and show. Many attendees seemed to have ditched their heavy shoulder bags in exchange for an iPad; taking notes and exchanging contact information with exhibitors or colleagues. The companies on the trade show foor really stepped up their iPad games, too, and it certainly seemed like you were in the minority if you didn't have one in your booth. The use of tablets went beyond product demonstrations; these were being used as the primary tool for communication and marketing. Transformation also came to the Test Drive Technology Center, another must-see spot in San Diego. I personally demonstrated some really fantastic new tools for superintendents 40 GCM April 2013 that many have already incorporated into their maintenance operations. One was the AR Drone quadracopter, a remotecontrolled machine with 720p video camera that buzzed the crowd a few times to demonstrate how it can allow superintendents to begin incorporating aerial videography into their arsenal of tools. Another was the Swivl, touted as the "personal cameraman" that allows you to use your iPhone or iPad Mini to create some fantastic course training videos or take your blogging videos to the next level. The Test Drive Technology Center also featured some fantastic speakers with important take-home messages. The From the host associations and the trade show exhibitors to the educators and attendees, social media was everywhere in San Diego. use of Evernote by industry professionals was discussed at length, as was the introduction of Google Docs and Forms into your programs. It is great to see the continued integration of all these innovative tools into the golf course management industry. I recall several conversations with early critics, who told me smartphones and tablet computers were just toys and fads. I would have loved to walk the show foor with these folks this year and get their reaction to some of the great new digital products out there, from IPM programs to digital scouting systems. Yep, it was another great year with so much great information to take home with you. I know the planning for the 2014 event in Orlando will begin soon, and I look forward to seeing what the "next big thing" will be. GCM William Brown, CGCS, heads maintenance at Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, Pa., and is a 15-year member of GCSAA.

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