Golf Course Management

APR 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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Page 19 of 165

18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.14 I knew I was just a kid at heart. A trip to Orlando confrmed it. It has nothing to do with Disney World or checking out dolphins, although that would have been delightful if there had been time. Instead, my playground was the mam - moth Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), which is 7 million square feet. That, by the way, makes it larger than The Penta - gon. A hefty chunk of space at the OCCC housed the Golf Industry Show (GIS) the frst week of February. The sprawl of humanity and machinery awes me at GIS. It almost feels like being at a high school reunion; seeing old friends that you cross paths with perhaps only once a year makes for lots of catching up, whether it is at a trade show booth or in a hallway outside of an education session. The number of humble, nice and honest people in our industry speaks volumes about who we are. And, although I am a relative newbie at the GIS (this was my third show), each experience has delivered in a big way. Let's start at the end. Late on the afternoon of the fnal day, the show room foor was abuzz. As I perused the landscape, a familiar face entered my feld of vision. Suddenly, I pictured myself 13 again, contemplating my next move, which in those days so many years ago meant I would seek an autograph. Now, though, I was on the clock, a giddy youth trapped inside an adult, with a job to do. So, I went to work. "Hello, Mr. Jaworski," I said. I mean, who would have imagined a Super Bowl quarterback was in the house for this oc - casion? Yet there he was, Jaws himself, Ron Ja- worski, who led the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl that season. Now the owner of multiple golf courses, Jaworski was in the OCCC at GIS to check out the goods. He even took a few minutes to chat, which was a thrill, if not an honor, for yours truly. It was wonderful to hear Jaworski speak so highly of the importance of superintendents to his operation. A similar message was delivered by golf legend Annika Sorenstam, who was in attendance that week to receive her 2014 Old Tom Morris Award. And, yes, in my youth I certainly would've hounded Sorenstam for an autograph to add to my collection that fea - tured George Brett, Len Dawson and Nate "Tiny" Archibald, each a Kansas City sports icon in my elementary school and junior high days, when packs of baseball cards cost a dime and Mom hollered to me from the front porch to come inside for dinner as darkness envel - oped the basketball hoop. "You want a course that is in good shape," Sorenstam said. "You (superintendents) know what it takes to get it in good shape." It wasn't only the people, though, that got me fred up. Rows of equipment, shiny and new, big and small, is an impressive scene. I got to hop on a new John Deere mower and take it for a ride at a nearby golf course (luckily for the folks at John Deere, I don't possess a lead foot). That moment was a pre - lude to the trade show extravaganza, in which I saw a portable toilet encased in what appears to be a tree stump. The company that man - ufactures this product, Nature Calls, says a master Hollywood set designer had a role in designing it. There is no doubt it was a conver - sation piece at GIS. Before I knew it, several others had gathered to take a peek. I tried my luck in the Monsters of the Fair - way challenge at the Direct Solutions booth. There you tried to shoot monsters with a Nerf gun (speaking of Nerf, wonder what hap - pened to my Nerf football that came in the form of a birthday present in 1973?). My eyes, and my aim, obviously must not be as sharp as they were 40 years ago. I missed the target with each shot, which is just another sign that I'm not a kid anymore. Decades ago, before my hair turned to a shade of salt and pepper, I would have done anything to slip into the seat behind the wheel of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car that driver Justin Allgaier was showcasing on be - half of his primary sponsor, Brandt. Who's kidding whom? I would do it now — in a heartbeat. Howard Richman is GCM 's associate editor. Howard Richman twitter: @GCM_Magazine Chalk one up for the kid The number of humble, nice and honest people in our industry speaks volumes about who we are. (inside gcm) 018-019_April14_IGCM.indd 18 3/18/14 2:41 PM

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