Golf Course Management

JAN 2018

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

Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/918033

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If you are unfamiliar with FLL, so was Ken- nedy. Before the participants arrived at Iron- horse, he went online and learned that FLL is a program designed to allow students to research and develop solutions to real-world problems in areas such as energy, recycling, etc., all while com - peting with other teams globally in regional, national and worldwide events. "I did Science Olympiad when I was younger, but not anything like this," Kennedy says. "I was thoroughly im - pressed with these kids, how prepared they were. They asked a lot of questions." The project for the Seaberg-Mann team — named H2OV - ERDRIVE — was to find ways for golf courses to be more cost-ef- ficient and conservative in their water use. H2OVERDRIVE's solu- tion was to utilize rain barrels with a mesh netting on top (to prevent debris from contaminating the water) and strategically place them to collect water in areas of the golf course that receive more rain/ irrigation than is necessary. The barrels, fitted with pipes, will funnel water to the irrigation system, which can then be used to irrigate the golf course. Their plan perfectly fits the FLL model, which focuses on real-world challenges and solutions. FLL encourages teamwork, critical thinking, and the concept that discovering is more import - ant than winning. "FIRST Lego League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers, and that's exactly what they did here," says Gretchen Neis, an FLL partner at KC STEM Alli - ance, which is a collaborative network of educators, busi- ness partners and affiliates inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. "They looked at all types of water usage before ze - roing in on ways to help reduce overall water use by golf courses. Then they brainstormed ideas, researched options, and checked their pro - posed idea with industry pros before final- izing their solution." Seaberg's children have been ac - tive in FLL for many years. Her oldest son, Sajon, was on a team that advanced to the FLL World Festival and FLL North American Open at Legoland Cali - fornia Resort, and now he's paying it forward as an FLL youth mentor. No wonder, then, that his mother is rightly proud of both her children's and her team's efforts. "They learn how to be responsible, accountable, and learn how to apply those things in their everyday lives. They learn it's OK to fail and keep trying again," she says. Thirteen-year-old Nathan Binshtok loves the process. "It has helped me grow as a person, learn how to be inno - vative, and be a good team member," he says. Mann has two children, Elena and Liam, in FLL. She has seen what this experience has done for them. "They are more thoughtful and understanding of how their ac - tions affect other people," Mann says. On the Ironhorse expedition, Kennedy showed H2OVERDRIVE the pump station and the creeks that provide water for the course, including one that is right below a county wastewater treatment plant. Seaberg's son, Mason, peppered Kennedy with questions. "He wanted to know more about the sprinkler heads, did we have the best kind that are available, and he wanted to know when we checked them," Kennedy says. "How we manage water dictates the quality of the golf course. It's got to be playable. We try to find a balance between keep - ing the plant healthy and playability." Asa Maker, 13, gave Kennedy high marks for his efforts "He's working hard to conserve water," Maker says. "And I know now that every golf course doesn't need to be all green." Kennedy was thrilled to be of service to H2OVER - DRIVE, which got some good news on their project. In December, the team advanced from a qualifier to the Kansas City championship, scheduled for this month. "Anytime we can get people out or educate them about the golf course, it is good," Kennedy says. — Howard Richman, associate editor 20 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.18 20 Although he didn't receive a paycheck, Craig Haldane got a big pay- off from his first experience with golf course management. While he took college classes in his native South Africa, Haldane needed to find a six-month work placement program to accompany his schooling. Having worked in his youth as a starter and pro shop attendant at nearby Fancourt, Haldane asked the resort's director of golf Jeff Clause if he could use him. "He said, 'I don't have a place for you in our golf opera - tions, but you can come and work on the golf course with the greenkeepers. And, oh, I can't pay you anything either.' That's where it all started for me," Haldane says. "I literally fell in love with golf, and the rest, as they say, is history." Haldane, a 12-year GCSAA member, has been a major player in history-making Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he is director of golf course maintenance. The first all-grass golf course to open in the Middle East, Emirates GC pio - neered professional golf in the region. It hosted the first European Tour event held outside of main - land Europe in 1989, one year after it opened, and that tradition continues this month as the Omega Desert Classic comes to town Jan. 25-28. It will mark the 11th professional event that Haldane has prepared for. Mentored by superintendents such as Greg Leckie at Fancourt, Haldane spent five years in Bahrain, growing in another all-grass course. "The environment we were growing turf in was just so harsh. We needed to have a very good appreciation for the specific man - agement practices required. I guess you could say it was the turning point for me," says Hal - dane, who with his wife, Aneisha, are parents to Zahra and Haydn. A single-handicap golfer years ago ("When the decision to become a greenkeeper was in the cards, I thought my golf could only improve. Boy, was I wrong," he says), Haldane now has a prime view of the world's best players. Past champions of this tournament include Seve Bal - lesteros, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. They play on bermudagrass, and Haldane uses treated effluent water as he keeps a close eye on soils and leaf tissue. It's his honor to do it. "I think having been the first event to be held outside of mainland Europe was what made it what it is today. The fact that this was quite literally an oasis in the middle of the desert made for unbelievable footage that went worldwide and got people talking," Haldane says. — H.R. ACT ON COURSE OF Ironhorse Golf Club GCSAA Class A superintendent James Kennedy welcomed a group of middle school students to learn about golf course water conservation. Pictured (left to right) are Kennedy, Nathan Binshtok, Mason Seaberg, Liam Mann, Madeline Lingenfelser and Elena Mann. Photo courtesy of Heidi Mann

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