Friday, January 29, 2016

Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California recognizes Boyer as Superintendent of the Year

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California (GCSANC) recently held their 2016 GCSANC Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. 
The event was attended by over 100 GCSANC members and guests.  In addition to electing the new board of directors and officers who will oversee the chapter in 2016, the chapter gave out their yearly awards highlighting the best of the superintendent profession in Northern California.
Brian Boyer, Class A superintendent at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, California. was honored as GCSANC Superintendent of the Year.
Boyer, who serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the chapter, was elated upon hearing of the honor. “It was unexpected and I truly appreciate my fellow members recognizing my efforts,” said Boyer.  “This is a team award and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my staff and the management at Cinnabar Hills.  It’s truly a humbling experience.” 
For Boyer, the award is an accumulation of his work at Cinnabar as well as his efforts advocating on behalf of the superintendent profession and the golf industry.
Boyer got his start in the golf business as a cart attendant at Cattails Golf Club in South Lyon, Michigan.  As Brian likes to tell it, all the “cool kids” at the course worked on the maintenance staff.  He approached superintendent Doug Palm to see if he could work part-time on the crew and thus began his career in turfgrass. 
He attended Michigan State University and received a B.S. in Turfgrass Management.  During his time at Michigan State, he interned at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, AZ. and the renowned San Francisco Golf Club.  This was Brian’s first introduction to the Bay Area golf scene and he worked under the watchful eye of superintendent Bob Klinesteker for four years. 
In 2005, Brian got an opportunity to interview at Cinnabar Hills and was hired as the superintendent just before his 26th birthday.  During his tenure at Cinnabar, the facility has received numerous awards including the “Water Saving Hero” award from the Santa Clara Water District, Top 45 golf facilities in the USA for 2009 by Golf World Readers and Best Public Golf Course in the Silicon Valley for ten years by the San Jose Mercury News.  Additionally, he was awarded the 2009 Turfgrass Excellence Award for Public Courses from GCSANC.
“Brian is an amazing asset to our facility,” said Cinnabar Hills general manager Ron Zraick.  “His work on water issues in the San Jose area has been exemplary.  Due to the drought, our local water district's conservation requirements went well beyond the state mandates.  Brian stepped up to the plate, worked with the Santa Clara Water District and assisted with a solution that is beneficial to our facility and the community.  He sets a great example for our industry on how to work with our policymakers while protecting golf’s best interests.”

Cinnabar Hills Class A Superintendent Brian Boyer receiving the "Water Saving Hero" award from the Santa Clara Water District. 
In 2014, Cinnabar exceeded their 20 percent water reduction requirement and reduced usage 31 percent in 2015.  The facility participates in monthly conservation and recycled water committee meetings and attends water district board meetings twice per month. 
Boyer has also been an active participant with GCSANC. He hosted the 2010 Clifford and Myrtle Wagoner Scholarship and Research Tournament which peaked his interest in board service.  In 2010 he ran for the board of directors and has never looked back, currently serving as Secretary/Treasurer.  “I really enjoy the behind the scenes work of the chapter and working with my fellow board members to assure GCSANC’s continued success,” said Boyer. 
His work has also left an impression on GCSANC and California Golf Course Owners Association executive director Marc Connerly.  “Brian is very diligent in his duties as Secretary/Treasurer and puts the chapter’s best interests ahead of his own,” said Connerly.  “He has the respect of his fellow board members and superintendents in Northern California and I’m elated that he received this prestigious award.”  
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California is dedicated to serving its members, fostering communication, advancing the profession, improving the environment and enriching the quality of golf. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter (@GCSANC). It is an affiliated chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Recommendations on extended emergency regulations for urban water conservation from California SWRCB

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently released draft comments and staff recommendations concerning the extended emergency regulations for urban water conservation that are scheduled to run thru October 31, 2016.

California urban water suppliers had proposed further refinement to the conservation tiers that were originally adopted May 5, 2015 and then extended on Nov. 13, 2015. Some of the factors that the urban water suppliers and other stakeholders sought refinement for included consideration of temperature, population growth/seasonal population, use of drought resilient supplies and groundwater credits.

If adopted, some of these recommendations could have a beneficial effect on golf courses using urban potable water supplies.

The SWRCB recommended a climate adjustment in the Emergency Regulation that reduces the conservation requirement by up to 4 percentage points for water suppliers located in the warmest regions of the state. The climate adjustment would be based on each urban water supplier’s approximate service area ET for the months of July through September as compared to statewide average ET for the same months.

Additionally, a formula was recommended to adjust urban water supplier conservation standards to account for water efficient growth since 2013. The adjustment will be equal to the ratio of the additional volume of water used since 2013 to the baseline water use for 2013, multiplied by the water supplier’s conservation standard.

Lastly, the SWRCB recommended a one-tier (four percentage point) reduction to the conservation standard of urban water suppliers using new drought resilient water supplies. The credit would apply to urban water suppliers that certify, and provide documentation upon request, that at least 4 percent of its potable supply is comprised of indirect potable reuse of coastal wastewater (the creation and use of which does not injure another legal user of water or the environment) or desalinated seawater developed since 2013.

All credits and adjustments are capped to allow up to a maximum of a four percentage point decrease to any individual water supplier’s conservation standard (tier).

The recommendations did not include additional credits for non-potable recycled use, relaxing conservation requirements for isolated hydrogeological regions or changing the process for assigning conservation tiers to account for year round residential per capita water use. View the draft comments in their entirety. A final draft and formal vote on the refinements to the extended regulations is expected in early February.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Consider serving on your chapter board of directors or volunteering for a committee in 2016

I hope this finds all of our GCSAA members enjoying a happy holiday season.  As 2015 comes to a close and we look forward to a new year, I urge all of you to consider assisting your affiliated GCSAA chapter by running for a board of director position or serving on one of the numerous committees that assist the chapter in establishing policy, running events and promoting the chapter.

The golf industry has faced its share of challenges over the last decade and courses continue to close across the country at an alarming rate. A declining middle class and uncertainty undermining the national economy have contributed to the struggles of the industry.

Over the years, GCSAA has felt this wrath through declines in national membership and diminishing participation at the affiliate chapter level.  While the membership numbers have now stabilized, many of our 98 affiliated chapters are experiencing difficulty with meeting attendance, filling board of director positions and obtaining members to volunteer for committee positions.

Your current board of directors is hard at work offering members a multitude of benefits that foster your career success and that of your golf facility, including:
  •  Providing resources for you to advance your career
  •  Providing relevant information to stay ahead of the game
  •  Tools to effectively manage your facility
  •  Widespread community of peers in the industry to keep you connected
  •  A voice in industry-wide initiatives to sustain the future of golf
Support their time and hard work through attendance at events and volunteering a little bit of time to help the chapter grow and continue to succeed. Serving on a board or committee will improve your leadership skills, provide a sense of duty and accomplishment and extend your professional and personal networks.

I understand that your free time is at a premium.  Increased demands at work, family commitments and civic responsibilities can make chapter participation difficult.  However, as a golf industry professional, I urge you to make a commitment to your future, the superintendent profession and to the game of golf.  I guarantee that you will get more out of it than you put into it.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit to be held Jan. 18 at PGA West

The Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit will be held in conjunction with the PGA TOUR’s 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge.  The summit will take place Monday, Jan. 18 at the Palmer Private Course at PGA West.  The event is open to golf industry representatives, media, policymakers and the general public.

The goal of the summit is to provide a venue for the key players in the Coachella Valley golf industry to further enlighten the public about the massive economic and charitable impacts it has on the region, directly address the latest in the water issues facing California and impacting the industry, generate positive publicity for the local golf industry and the tournament, and continue to enhance a cooperative spirit and goodwill among a wide range of key golf industry players.
Organizers of the event include the Club Managers Association of America Desert Chapter, Desert Classic Charities (organizers of the CareerBuilder Challenge), GCSAA, Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hi-Lo Desert Golf Course Superintendents Association, Southern California Golf Association and the Southern California PGA. 

The event will feature three panels focused on golf course water use/conservation/management, economic impact of the game in the valley and what is right with the game of golf.  Featured speakers include Nicole Castrale, LPGA Tour player; Marc Connerly, executive director of the California Golf Course Owners Association; Kevin Heaney, executive director of the Southern California Golf Association; Pat Gross, USGA West Region Green Section director; Paul Levy, general manager at Toscana Country Club and vice president of the PGA of America;  John Powell, president of the board of directors for the Coachella Valley Water District; Stu Rowland, Class A superintendent at Rancho La Quinta Country Club; Craig Surdy, general manager at The Reserve Club and president of the Club Managers Association of America Golden State Chapter and Scott White, president of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Numerous sponsorship opportunities are available and packages range from $2,500 (Supporting Sponsor) to $10,000 (Presenting Sponsor).  All sponsorship packages include credentials to the 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge as well as access to select hospitality areas during the event. 

Registration will open in December and for those interested in sponsoring the event, please contact me at and I will forward you a sponsorship package. Net proceeds from the summit will go to Desert Classic Charities. 

We look forward to you support of the summit and seeing you in the desert in January. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Longtime Southern Nevada superintendent overseeing grow-in of The Club at Sunrise

Course will be first in Southern Nevada to feature Platinum TE paspalum turfgrass

With more than 30 years in the Las Vegas golf industry, GCSAA Class A Superintendent Scott Sutton has seen his share of challenges. A superintendent at numerous facilities, including Durango Hills Golf Club, Red Rock Country Club, Sunrise Country Club (now Stallion Mountain) and Wildhorse Golf Club, Sutton’s newest project might be his most formidable. 

Designed in 1964 by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee, The Club at Sunrise, formerly Desert Rose Golf Club, was one of the first golf facilities in the Las Vegas valley and served visitors and locals alike for 49 years before closing in June of 2013. The course, owned by Clark County, received extensive damage in a 2012 flood and the decision was made to temporarily close the course and embark on a mega-renovation of the entire facility. 

As part of a $150 million flood control project implemented by the Regional Flood Control District, the facility has undergone a complete facelift including a course redesign, construction of a new state-of-the-art maintenance facility and a 4,400 square foot clubhouse featuring a golf shop, the Winterwood Grille and extensive patio areas for special events and weddings.

Golf course architect Randy Heckenkemper of Heckenkemper Golf Course Design was brought in to oversee the redesign. A veteran architect who has worked on numerous projects including renovations at McDowell Mountain Golf Club and TPC Scottsdale, Heckenkemper envisioned using paspalum turfgrass on the playing surfaces.

Platinum TE paspalum is a drought and salt tolerant variety of turfgrass that does well with recycled water, has a shorter dormancy period than Bermuda, can handle hard frosts and is excellent in regards to wear and traffic tolerance. Paspalum is often used in coastal and tropical climates that deal with salt water, but its unique qualities also make it an excellent choice for desert golf courses that play a significant number of rounds. 

Seeking out advice on paspalum use in the desert, Heckenkemper turned to Sutton who was using the turfgrass with some success in high salt areas at Wildhorse Golf Club in Henderson, Nev. 

“When Randy reached out to me and indicated that he had interest in using paspalum at The Club at Sunrise, it was a project that I became interested in quickly,” said Sutton. “I had experimented with the grass at Wildhorse in some areas and I knew the potential that existed if you were willing to use it on greens, fairways and tees.”
The Club at Sunrise's Scott Sutton

The early results have been positive. “The paspalum is a great surface to play off,” said Sutton. “The conditions are fast and firm and the ball sits up beautifully on the fairways and in roughs. High handicappers and seniors will really appreciate it as it allows you to sweep the ball.”

In addition to the paspalum, the bunkers have been completely renovated and the facility has removed large areas of turf and replaced it with desert landscaping that provides increased water savings. “Everything we have done has been focused on reducing water use and our environmental footprint,” said Sutton.  “As a golf course superintendent I take that responsibility very seriously.” 

Operated by Northbrook, Ill. -based KemperSports, who builds, owns and manages golf courses, resorts, athletic clubs and lodging venues across the U.S., Caribbean and Central America , The Club at Sunrise is scheduled to reopen to the public in early December.  “It’s a terrific project for the Clark County community and KemperSports is honored to be chosen to oversee it,” said Matt Kalbak, PGA Class A member and director of operations for the project.  “Golfers are going to get a great experience at an affordable price and I know they will be impressed with the changes.”
For more information on the project, or to book a tee time, visit the website at