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.

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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.18 Leah Brilman, Ph.D. Charles Moore would often turn on his TV and immediately follow it up with a phone call to his daughter. "Dad called me when he was watching golf and asked, 'Is that your grass?' When I told him 'yes,' he was very proud and quite pleased," the daughter says. You may know the daughter by her married name — and for the impact she has had on the game. Leah Brilman, Ph.D., has played an integral role in the development of turfgrass breeding for products that are used throughout the world. "If a turfgrass is seeded on a golf course, Dr. Brilman was probably involved in its development," says Shawn Emerson, director of agronomy at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a 27-year GCSAA member. "Her 30-plus years of work in turfgrass breeding has made her the go-to person for information on seeded turfgrass installation and management." Brilman, the director of product management and services for DLF Pickseed in Halsey, Ore., says that her mother, Gladys, told her a long time ago that she was destined to work with growing, living things. The Moores lived on Arcadia Street, which in those days was on the edge of town in Bakersfield, Calif., in the foothills, where prickly pear reigned along with creatures that a young Leah would collect. "Mom always said I'd be a biologist. I planted flowers — larkspurs, zinnias, marigolds — and I collected lizards and insects. The insects were for feeding the lizards," she says. Mom proved to be correct. Her daughter earned a biology degree from California State University, Bakersfield, before completing her master's degree and Ph.D. in agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Arizona. "Genetics, to me, was applied math, and I like math," Brilman says. Brilman was enthralled by seeds. "Seeds are fascinating. They are like plants in a little tiny package. You want to see what Leah Brilman has spent countless hours in the field, including in this area in Brawley, Calif., that features Royal Bengal bermudagrass (top). She has also been a staple at DLF Pickseed, formerly Seed Research of Oregon. Here she is (center, left) with Dave Kopec, Ph.D., from the University of Arizona. Brilman's family members (center, right) have been her biggest supporters. Here she is with husband, Howard (back); daughter, Larissa; and son, Ian. And that's Brilman incognito, doing her "MythBusters" presentation (bottom). Photos by Mike Hills

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