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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44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.18 comes up," she says. Numerous people in the business can attest that Brilman has taken the industry to new heights. "I cannot emphasize enough the genuine, generous and tireless efforts that Leah Brilman has given to the turfgrass industry throughout the world," says Stacy A. Bonos, Ph.D., a member of the plant biology department at Rutgers University. Pat Finlen, CGCS, a 33-year association member and the general manager at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, says, "Long before others started to look at drought- tolerant grasses, Dr. Brilman was there, continuing to push for better grasses that keep their color and require less water. She has spent the last three decades working to make the lives of superintendents better through her research." She has done it all while being allergic to grass. "My second year with tall fescue, I thought I was going to die when it was pollinating," Brilman says. "Now, I am on my fourth set of shots. I wasn't going to let allergies control my life, so I went ahead and did what I wanted to do." Her employment résumé includes serving as a turfgrass breeder and researcher at Jacklin Seed; two years as an instructor at her college alma mater in Bakersfield; and researcher and breeder at Seed Research of Oregon, which, in time, became DLF Pickseed. "I've managed to make it through four ownership changes," she says. It may not have been possible without and superintendents alike — is Brilman's ultimate legacy. "I asked Dr. Brilman in 2008 to help make critical decisions concerning turfgrass varieties for a $13 million renovation project, and she spent countless hours making sure our decisions were the correct ones," says GCSAA Class A superintendent Thomas Lipscomb, a 19-year association member at River Bend Club in Great Falls, Va. "She slammed it out of the park. My course now is constantly one of if not the best-conditioned course in our region. Even now, she is still highly interested in how we can continue to make it better. That's true commitment and passion to helping people achieve goals they never knew were attainable." Rick Latin, Ph.D. In his office at Purdue University's Lilly Hall in West Lafayette, Ind., Rick Latin, Ph.D., imagined what would happen if he put his vast store of knowledge, his years of work, on paper. "I'd be invited to talk at various meetings and conferences. With each presentation, I fielded questions that I could not answer. So, I'd come back to the office, come back to the lab, go out to the research center, to see if I could find solutions to these problems. As years went by, I started including new findings in my talks," Latin says. Then, he had an epiphany. "I thought to myself, 'I bet I could put something together, make a news bulletin (technical bulletins on fungicides for turf disease control, each two to four pages) out of it.' I just started writing," he says. By 2011, Latin's idea for a "little" news bulletin had blossomed into something much larger. "I thought we needed a work of compiled research on turf disease control in a book that addressed it from a chemical standpoint rather than a disease standpoint," he says. Seven years ago, Latin's book, "A Practical Guide to Turfgrass Fungicides," was published. "His textbook is the go-to guide for superintendents," says Michael Fidanza, Ph.D., a professor of plant and soil sciences at Penn State University and a 16- year GCSAA member. Latin, a professor in plant pathology and a 17-year GCSAA member, has authored quite a career. A native of Teaneck, N.J., Latin attended Waynesburg (Pa.) University with the intention of pursuing a business degree. "During the first semester, I knew it the support of her husband of 41 years, Howard, who took care of their son, Ian, as Brilman was starting her job there (they also have a daughter, Larissa). Brilman's accomplishments all these years later have obviously affected many. "When I think of an award focused on service, there is really no other person in the academic, public or private sector who has been more committed to service to her industry than Leah. She has traveled to the far corners of the globe to discuss new genetic technologies and has mentored and advised countless superintendents," says Mike Richardson, Ph.D., professor in horticulture at the University of Arkansas and a 19-year GCSAA member. As much as Brilman has focused her efforts on the here and now, she's also remained a constant in looking ahead to the future of the industry. She's served as co-coordinator of the annual GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl at the Golf Industry Show for many years, and also as a supervisor of the graduate student oral and poster competition at the annual meeting for the Turfgrass Science division of the Crop Science Society of America. Brilman's reputation and visibility in those endeavors have followed her. "I'll walk onto a golf course and hear 'Hey, I know you — you're the Turf Bowl lady.' It's kind of funny," Brilman says. That kind of impact on others in the industry — students, fellow researchers Rick Latin has been a help to superintendents in managing turfgrass diseases. Here he is (left) with John Daniels, a former graduate student who is currently an agronomist with the USGA. Photo courtesy of Rick Latin

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