Golf Course Management

MAR 2014

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

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76 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.14 In a world where information is available immediately via the Internet, I believe the turfgrass conference is still the most reliable method to stay up to speed on the newest ad - vancements in our industry. The conference has several advantages over other forms of information gathering. The most obvious ad - vantage of attending conferences is the trade show foor. Yes, you can look at equipment on the Internet, but there is nothing like being able to touch all the new machines and make product comparisons at one site or chat with fertilizer and pesticide representatives about advancements in their products. After chat - ting with industry reps, the attendees can compare notes with their peers to make an educated investment. Another less obvious advantage, unbe - knownst to most superintendents, is that re- search is almost always presented live before it is published in trade journals. This is because most groundbreaking research is not available to the public until it is initially published in a scientifc journal. Unfortunately, earning publication in a scientifc journal not only takes months, but often years. The fact of the matter is that by the time many research re - sults appear on the Internet, many of the fnd- ings are old news to those who regularly at- tend conferences. This fact is not lost on turfgrass research - ers. This conference season I was brought up to speed by Chas Schmid, a graduate student at Rutgers University, presenting data on how he achieved decreases in anthracnose with proper potassium fertilization. I was equally enlight - ened as Aaron Patton, Ph.D., from Purdue Uni- versity, demonstrated how to kill bermudagrass in cool-season grass — remarkable — and how to use new chemistries to prevent dandelions from fowering. The scariest presentation I sat in on this past season was given by Jim Bros - nan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, who was citing cases of herbicide resistance. Fortunately, those in attendance were taught how to avoid this problem on their golf courses or how to remedy the problem if their weeds were already showing signs of resistance. With that said, the presentations that capti - vate me the most are often given by golf course superintendents. This conference season I saw Mike Morris, CGCS at Crystal Downs Coun- try Club in Frankfort, Mich., lead a conversa- tion about the benefts of HDPE pipe. Other presentations that stuck with me include Cur - tis Tyrrell, CGCS, from Medinah (Ill.) Coun- try Club, demonstrating his preparations for the Ryder Cup; Aaron McMaster recapping the complete renovation of Orchard Lake (Mich.) Country Club; Kyle Sweet, CGCS at The Sanctuary Golf Club, talking about aeri - fying into seashells on environmentally sensi- tive Sanibel Island; and innovative (or crazy) Matt Shaffer of Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., who rolls his fairways, double-rolls his greens and rarely topdresses his putting sur - faces. These professional testimonials keep me in touch with the industry more than anything I can fnd on the Internet. This brings us to one of the most important advantages of attending conferences, which is socializing with peers. At lunch the tables are full of debate about the morning presentations. Obviously, these conversations continue fol - lowing the afternoon sessions and, with little effort, the presenter can be engaged in the dis - cussion. The scrutiny that takes place is an in- tegral part of the unique experience that allows participants to decide if it is possible for them to implement any of the strategies discussed during the conference at their golf facility. Don't get me wrong, the Internet is a tre - mendous communication tool, but nothing beats the sheer volume of knowledge and ed - ucational resources that can be gained from a well-planned conference. Certainly, cost to at - tend conference is a legitimate concern and the Internet is far less expensive and a tremendous tool. But remember, you get what you pay for. Thomas A. Nikolai, Ph.D., is the turfgrass academic spe- cialist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., and a frequent GCSAA educator. Two for the show! In a world where information is available immediately via the Internet, I believe the turfgrass conference is still the most reliable method to stay up to speed on the newest advancements in our industry. Thomas A. Nikolai, Ph.D. nikolait@msu.edu (up to speed) 076-077_Mar14_UptoSpeed.indd 76 2/18/14 1:46 PM

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