Golf Course Management

JUN 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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THE INSIDER: assistants Jeffrey Thoman NEWS & notes The Auburn University College of Agriculture's distance education program is expanding its offerings to include a new online master's degree in turfgrass management pending final approval by the Alabama Commission of Higher Education (in 2014). Following its approval, the online master's degree in turfgrass management will be the first of its kind offered in the Southeast. The college's fall 2013 distance learning plan also includes a new master's degree in soil, water and environmental sciences offered through the Agricultural Interactive Distance Education Alliance, or AG*IDEA, a consortium of universities such as Auburn, Clemson, North Carolina State, Texas Tech University and the University of Georgia. The distance learning program in the College of Ag is designed to provide professionals in such fields as agriculture, environmental management, landscape and construction, turfgrass and golf course management, and agribusiness the opportunity to take classes and earn an advanced degree while working. To learn more about opportunities with Auburn's College of Agriculture distance education programs, visit www.ag.auburn.edu/distanceeducation or contact Megan Ross at mhr0001@ auburn.edu or 334-844-3201. 32 GCM June 2013 A major moment in the heartland This July, the 2013 U.S. Senior Open Championship will be held at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. This major returns to the American heartland after successful stops in neighboring states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. Omaha Country Club (OCC) will be a new host site for the USGA and a new market for championship golf. The staff at OCC is thrilled that this opportunity has come along for our Midwestern golf course. The response from the community has been unprecedented so far with regard to volunteering, hospitality and ticket sales. To ensure the championship is successful, the help from maintenance staff volunteers for the week is a must. For many in the golf course industry, especially assistant superintendents, the opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes action of a professional golf tournament is rare. I know of only a few assistants in my region who have had volunteer experience at such a large event. It is understandable how assistants may pass on such opportunities because of cost, location, timing or availability issues that arise. People from this area who have volunteered, including myself, have worked tournaments outside of our home states with great beneft. As a volunteer, whether I was simply raking bunkers or recording Stimpmeter readings for a professional agronomist, the knowledge I gained was invaluable. Seeing all the preparation and work that goes into the making of a successful televised event has left a lasting impression on me. I have been able to apply certain techniques and processes to beneft my own course. A large tournament also creates an excellent chance for local superintendents, assistants and industry representatives to meet and network with other turf professionals from around the country. The contacts and friendships made during an event can be benefcial down the road — whether the former volunteer learns about new employment opportunities or simply shares stories of challenges and successes. I would encourage all turf professionals, especially assistants, to take advantage of any volunteer opportunity to increase their knowledge and further advance their career. I am hopeful that this U.S. Senior Open will offer our volunteers an invaluable experience, just like other tournaments have provided for me. Our staff is confdent the championship will leave a lasting impression on the volunteers. Hopefully Omaha will help open the door for future tournament sites here in the heartland for years to come. GCM Jeffrey Thoman is an assistant superintendent at Omaha Country Club in Omaha, Neb., and a six-year member of GCSAA.

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