Golf Course Management

FEB 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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36 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 "We work in a product business. Our reaction to disease and trouble has always been, 'What product will take me out of this?'" says Jeff Carlson, the former superintendent at The Vineyard Golf Club and Widow's Walk Golf Course, two Massachusetts properties that stand as landmarks in the sustainable turf movement Rossi helped create. "You see something, you decide how to best combat it, then you go out and spray for it. I've found that managing without the benefit of pesticides changes your whole perspective." Rossi has been integral in developing that perspective. Which is not to say that he is some kind of agronomic bomb-thrower. The security of a traditional university/research position may have allowed for that sort of radical opposition, but Rossi has never walked that path. From his days as a working golf course manager to his undergraduate studies at the University of Rhode Island to his position today as an associate professor of turfgrass science and Extension turfgrass specialist at Cornell University's School of Integrative Plant Science, Rossi has developed and couched his views in the practical. Indeed, Rossi's Extension work has been central to this approach. Not all academics get out there — on the ground, in the trenches — and interact directly with such a wide variety of golf course superintendents and land managers. For 30 years, Rossi has reveled in this responsibility, in the same way he has stayed abreast of the research conducted by his academic colleagues. "Frank's a forward thinker," says Norm Hummel, Ph.D., Rossi's former colleague at Cornell and today a distinguished turf academic and consultant in his own right. "He really gets into the research — not just his own, but that done by others — and that has always impressed me. He's always really current about what is going on, and he formulates his own opinions based on that. Sometimes people disagree, and that generates some controversy. But that's what makes him a leader in the field." What sets Rossi and his life's work apart — from giving intellectual heft to terms like "stewardship," "sustainability" and "best management practices" to riding herd with his colleague Jennifer Grant, Ph.D. on 13 years' worth of groundbreaking

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