Monday, February 8, 2016

Civic Pride, the USGA, and GIS!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Monday, February 8th and a lot of folks in the Queen City right now are feeling blue!  Our hometown Carolina Panthers may not have been victorious in Super Bowl 50, due in large part to the impressive defensive performance by the Denver Broncos, but the Carolina Panthers did give the city of Charlotte and all the Carolinas much to be proud of this season.  The magnitude of civic pride on display the past few months has been awe inspiring and I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to live here and witness it.  And although our team lost, the sun did rise over the Queen City this morning thus signifying life goes on... so we Keep Pounding!

Last week Assistant Superintendent Ben Albrecht and I traveled to Pinehurst for a workshop sponsored by the USGA Green Section.  The topic was fairway colorants and the program brought together several superintendents that have been painting fairways for a number of years.  It was a great opportunity for us to see first hand and learn tips and techniques from guys that have been doing it better for longer (this is year two of coloring fairways at Carolina).  Anyway, I found the workshop to be very informative and hopefully you will notice improved results in future applications as we continue to strive for high standards.

For golf course superintendents managing cool-season putting greens in the humid southeast (a.k.a. transition zone) the start of football season usually signifies cooler nighttime temperatures and an end to summer wilt watch.  Weekend afternoons begin to revolve around cheering for your favorite team rather than chasing the end of a hose and stress levels switch from worrying about turf survival to worrying about stopping your opponent's blitzing linebackers.  With the conclusion of yesterday's big game comes the realization winter is slowly coming to a close and the busy growing season is just around the corner.  And just like the onset of football season means something to professional turfgrass managers, the end of football season also signifies something of great importance too, the Golf Industry Show (GIS).    

The GIS is the single, largest assimilation of education and turfgrass management product showcasing in the world.  Presented in partnership by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association the GIS brings together folks from all over the professional turfgrass industry for lectures, seminars, presentations, and a one-of-a-kind trade show.  This year's GIS is taking place in San Diego, California where I will be joining my fellow superintendents later this evening.  Over the next several days I will be attending seminars, meeting with industry representatives, and networking with fellow superintendents from all over the country.  I even managed to schedule a couple of up close turfgrass inspections before I return.  Who would have guessed when John Morley helped found the National Association of Greenkeepers of America in 1926 for the purpose of establishing a brotherhood of camaraderie and information sharing it would eventually become our present day GCSAA and we would gather together annually at the GIS.

Tomorrow morning I will attend two seminars, Preparing for and Managing Turf through Water Shortages and Drought and Optimize Soil Health to Enhance Turf Growth and Quality.  I know, riveting and exciting but think about how appropriate that first seminar is considering last summer's severe drought and our irrigation water supply.  Tomorrow evening is the Opening Session where many superintendents will be recognized for their leadership, stewardship and advocacy and Herb V. Kohler, Jr. will receive the Old Tom Morris Award for his contributions to the game.  Wednesday is a full day of the trade show but I carved out time to attend this year's #GCITweetup16 to show my support for this year's winners of the Super Social Media Awards.  As a recipient last year it's important to continue to engage and help grow the community.  Besides, I think I nominated half of them. CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF 2016 WINNERS! 

Before I go I would be remiss if I didn't share this tweet below.  It has been an absolute privilege working with Steve Stahl at Carolina Golf Club.  His passion for instruction and the youth of the game comes as no surprise and I know everyone here is proud of him for this achievement!  Steve was recognized by US Kids Golf as one of the top 50 instructors at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida just less than two weeks ago.  Way to go Steve!

That's all for now, time to set the obligatory Out-Of-Office reply on my email, grab my bags and head to the airport.  Here's hoping for a smooth flight and a productive week with all the best in the business at #GIS16.  Feel free to follow along as I post updates from the Golf Industry Show.  I'll be back next week so until then stay warm and Keep Pounding.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS