Golf Course Management

APR 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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Page 23 of 159

22 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.18 and the binding on the neck and body are curly maple from northern Michigan. As a youth, Wright gained an understanding and pas - sion for woodworking from his grandfather, Hans Rasmus- sen, who was a master woodworker from Denmark. It also triggered a musical interest in Wright, who first played the drums at the age of 5. Twenty-five years ago, Wright made his first guitar. "I still have it. It's kind of clunky and over-engineered," he says. By his estimates, Wright has completed and sold 40 guitars. He continues to seek perfection when he builds them. "To this day, every time I make a guitar, I think I can make the next one better. It's a never-ending quest to build the perfect instrument," Wright says. He sure still loves to play them, too. "I'm no Jimi Hen - drix, but I can make noise come out of them," Wright says. — H.R. Focused group If you are unfamiliar with the Top Agronomic Officer (TAO) group, you're not alone. However, that is about to change. In fact, the first thing you need to know about TAO members is that they are just like you. "Every member of TAO is a GCSAA member," says Ted Horton, a 50-year GCSAA member whose storied past includes overseeing famed Winged Foot Golf Club in Ma - maroneck, N.Y., for more than 13 years. Horton is part of TAO's beginning, as is Mike Tinkey, who had more than two decades of service at the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA). In 2002, the two helped launch TAO as an offshoot the NGCOA. TAO's acronym comes from meshing the positions of chief ex - ecutive officers, chief financial officers and agronomists. The TAO group has approximately 30 members, including representatives from The Toro Co., Marriott Golf, Kemper Sports and Audubon International. Let TAO member Luke Beardmore, senior vice pres - ident of agronomy, construction and landscape for OB Sports Golf Management, briefly summarize what TAO epitomizes. "The industry should know we're a group of people motivated to help this industry," says Beardmore, a 13-year GCSAA member, whose company's platform focuses on the management, construction, development and design planning of golf courses across North America. The formal mission statement of TAO is "to enhance golf course ownership through active leadership that ad - vances and promotes the art, science and business of sustainable golf course maintenance." TAO members — representing nearly 1,000 golf courses — are major pro - ponents of sharing industry ideas and knowledge. "If you spend some time with these people (TAO), you learn that they value superintendents at their properties," says Dick Stuntz, CGCS, a 40-year GCSAA member who recently was elected president of NGCOA. TAO sessions feature brainstorming and deep-dives on significant topics of interest in the industry and have been attended by members of GCSAA, USGA, the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), and the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). "Even though they (golf course operators in TAO) are competitors, they can learn from each other," says Walt Osborne, key account manager for golf turf and landscape for Syngenta and also a six-year GCSAA member. "One of the big objectives now is to promote and get our arms around BMPs. That's beneficial to all of us." Right AS RAIN It leads the weather forecast, serves as muse for many a poet, and is the magical substance that keeps golf courses quenched. Here, just in time for April showers, a few quick droplets of information on precipitation. According to NASA, falling raindrops are not shaped like teardrops, but more closely resemble hamburger buns — round on top and flat on the bottom. The wettest place on earth is the village of Mawsynram in northeast India, which has an average annual rainfall of 467 inches. For comparison, the famously rainy city of Forks, Wash., gets an average of 119 inches per year. The word "petrichor" describes the smell of rain . (Although technically, that pleasant scent is the result of oils from plants plus chemicals from soil-dwelling bacteria that get released when it rains.) The speed of the average raindrop is the topic of lively online debate and depends on several factors, but is generally estimated at about 20 mph for a drop the size of a housefly, and at about 4.5 mph for smaller, drizzly drops. The waterproof fabric for the first modern raincoat was the brainchild of Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh, who patented his invention in 1824. The Members of Top Agronomic Officer (TAO) gathered midweek of GCSAA's Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. Photo by Roger Billings

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