Monday, December 5, 2016

Hi-Lo Desert and Sierra Nevada GCSA hold annual election meetings

Hoyer and Dickson elected to lead respective associations

The Hi-Lo Desert GCSA and Sierra Nevada GCSA recently held their annual election meetings at the Club at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. and The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, Calif.

The Hi-Lo Desert GCSA elected Class A superintendent Chris Hoyer of Bermuda Dunes Country Club to serve as president, Class A superintendent Tyler Truman of Mountain Vista Golf Club to serve as vice president and Class A superintendent Tyler Tang of the Club at Morningside as secretary/treasurer.

Others elected to the board included Class A superintendent Nick Hanson of O’Donnell Golf Club, Roger Compton of Thunderbird Country Club and Andy Means of Stotz Equipment/John Deere who will serve as the affiliate liaison.

The Sierra Nevada GCSA elected Class A superintendent and regional director of maintenance Scott Dickson of BrightView Golf Maintenance as president, Class A superintendent Bill Hamilton of Lake Wildwood Golf Club as vice president and Class A superintendent Rob Williams of Schaffer’s Mill Golf Club as secretary/treasurer.

Other newly elected board members include John Farley of Teal Bend Golf Club and Matt Graves of Stotz Equipment/John Deere who will serve as the affiliate liaison.

I’d like to thank Hi-Lo Desert and Sierra Nevada outgoing president’s Jon Maddern and Kurtis Wolford for their exceptional service to their respective associations.

Jon is a past president of GCSAA (2003) and took the time to come back and provide veteran leadership for a young but talented group of officers and board members in the Coachella Valley. His efforts on water management in the valley are exemplary and his successful term is also marked by the completion of the Coachella Valley Golf Industry Economic Impact Report and his assistance with the creation of the annual Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit.

Kurtis assisted in forming the Sacramento Golf Industry Water Conservation Task Force during his time on the board and serves as co-chair (with Del Rio Country Club Class A superintendent Dave Bermudez) of the Sierra Nevada GCSA Scholarship & Research Committee which raises nearly $35,000 annually for deserving students in the region. As an alum of the GCSAA Melrose Academy, Kurtis selflessly promotes the program to other superintendents, resulting in a Sierra Nevada representative being elected the past three years.

Congratulations to all of the above members and thank you for your service to your association and the golf industry. I look forward to working with you in 2017.

Find more information on the chapters: Hi-Lo Desert GCSA and Sierra Nevada GCSA.

Monday, November 14, 2016

2017 Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit set for Jan. 16, 2017

Presented by Toro/Turf Star, the summit serves as the kick-off event for the PGA TOUR’s CareerBuilder Challenge

The PGA TOUR’s CareerBuilder Challenge and Desert Classic Charities recently announced that the 2017 Coachella Valley Golf Industry Summit will take place Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.

The inaugural summit in 2016 generated attention and participation of the local, national and international media and highlighted the economic and charitable impacts that the game of golf has on the Coachella Valley economy as well as addressing the latest key industry issues. 

Presented by Toro/Turf Star and in partnership with the Desert Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Hi-Lo Desert Golf Course Superintendents Association, Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) and the Southern California PGA (SCPGA), the event focuses on water management and conservation, growth of the game initiatives and provides an overview of daily fee, resort and private golf club operations in the valley. 

The Coachella Valley is home to 121 golf facilities providing a total economic impact of $1.1 billion and employing over 8,000 local residents.  The 121 facilities represent nearly 14 percent of California’s total. 

Speakers for the 2017 event include Jonas Conlan, Class A superintendent at Desert Princess Country Club; Z. Gordon Davidson of Z. Gordon Davidson & Associates Inc.; Nikki Gatch, player development manager with the SCPGA; Kevin Gigax, executive director of SCGA Junior Golf; Rick Menard, Class A superintendent and director of agronomy at Indian Wells Resort; Bill O’Brien, Vice President Operations with Troon, Tim Skogen, executive director with The First Tee of Coachella Valley; Kevin Smith, junior golf director with the SCPGA; Josh Tanner, general manager/COO with Ironwood Country Club and Bruce Zahn, general manager/COO with La Quinta Country Club. Paul Levy, president of The PGA of America and general manager at Toscana Country Club will serve as the keynote speaker.

Numerous sponsorship opportunities are available for companies looking to support the summit and increase their brand awareness while raising funds for charities. In 2016, the summit raised over $22,000 for Desert Charities to distribute to the greater Palm Springs community.

Registration for the summit will open in mid-December and cost to attend is $30 per person including lunch.  The summit is open to allied golf industry representatives, the general public and media.  For more information on sponsorship opportunities and registration visit my homepage and click on the PDF located below the field staff report.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Limited number of complimentary one-year GCSAA memberships now available

Memberships available to assistant superintendents and equipment managers who have not been a member of GCSAA in the past three years

GCSAA recently made available a limited number of complimentary one-year GCSAA memberships for assistant superintendents and equipment managers. The memberships are sponsored by GCSAA’s valued partners: Anderson’s, Barenbrug, Baroness, BASF, Bayer, Civitas, Club Car, EZ-Go, Floratine, Foley United, Koch Turf & Ornamental, Jacobsen, John Deere, Lebanon, Nufarm, Par-Aide, PBI Gordon, Quali-Pro, Rain Bird, R&R, Standard Golf, Syngenta, Tee-2 Green, Toro and VGM Club.

Thirty memberships are available in the Southwest region (AZ, CA, HI, NV) and assistant superintendents and equipment managers who have not been a member of GCSAA in the past three years are eligible.

The complimentary memberships provide an opportunity for assistant superintendents and equipment managers to experience the numerous benefits of GCSAA membership including education, access to the GCSAA Job Board, government relations correspondence and advocacy representation, career coaching services, online forums, networking opportunities, social media outlets, field staff representation and a vast library of online materials (agronomy, business, communication, compliance, environment) to assist in the complete management of your golf facility. 

For equipment managers, GCSAA offers a Turf Equipment Technician Certification Program. The program consists of six key areas including hydraulic troubleshooting, electrical troubleshooting, internal combustion engines, drivelines, sprayer troubleshooting and cutting units. Additionally, GCSAA offers hundreds of hours of online and Golf Industry Show (GIS) education dedicated solely to equipment managers.

These memberships are going fast, so please contact me today at to obtain the one-page application (approximately five minutes to complete).

A special thanks goes out to our above-mentioned partners for their financial backing of these memberships. Please consider using their products as they support your industry and livelihood.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to call me and I look forward to having you as a member of GCSAA.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Northern California Golf Association to host Assistant Superintendent Boot Camp

Event scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at Poppy Hills Golf Course

The Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) "Big Iron" Assistant Superintendent Boot Camp will be hosted at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Monterey, Calif. Oct. 24-25.

The two-day event is packed with speakers who will address many of the latest agronomic, managerial and career development trends in the golf industry.

Poppy Hills superintendent Matt Muhlenbruch has assembled a lineup of speakers including Steve Argo, regional vice president of operations for KemperSports; Dean Mosdell, Ph.D., regional tech manager for Syngenta; Kevin Rendueles, Northern California regional service manager for Turfstar; Justin Sims, superintendent of The Alotian Club in Roland, Ark.; Joel Simmons, founder of Earthworks; Armen Suny, search executive at Kopplin and Kuebler and yours truly.

The boot camp also features a welcome dinner on Oct. 24, equipment demos from Jacobsen, John Deere and Toro, and golf following the morning seminars on Oct. 25.

Cost of the event is $85 per person and includes lunch and dinner Oct. 24, breakfast on Oct. 25 and all seminars. A special $170 package is available for those needing lodging and includes all of the above plus one-night lodging at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. There is an additional fee of $25 for the golf (walking) on Oct. 25.

More information and registration is available at the NCGA website. Find information on Poppy Hills, NCGA's home facility. I look forward to seeing many of our Central California, Northern California and Sierra Nevada assistant superintendents at the event.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

University of California Riverside hosts annual Turfgrass and Landscape Research Field Day

More than 150 golf and landscape professionals on hand to learn about research activities in California

The University of California Riverside (UCR) Turfgrass and Landscape Program held their 2016 Research Field Day in Riverside, CA. on Sept. 15. More than 150 golf and landscape professionals attended the event including superintendents from the Hi-Lo Desert, Northern California, San Diego and Southern California GCSA chapters.

Steve Ries discussing Zoysiagrass

Headed by Dr. Jim Baird, CE Specialist at UCR; the day provided an overview of UCR's research efforts and featured numerous field tours through areas designed to study water and salinity management issues on turf and landscape. The UCR program, funded in part by the California Turfgrass and Landscape Foundation (CTLF), provides the only university-based turf research in the state of California.

Highlights of the day included the improvement of bermudagrass, kikuyugrass and zoysiagrass for winter color retention and drought tolerance, postemergence control of crabgrass in tall fescue, evaluation of products for salinity alleviation, evaluation of turfgrass species and cultivars under deficit irrigation, evaluation of groundcovers, growth regulators for bermudagrass, kikuyugrass and seashore paspalum management and a trade show featuring numerous industry vendors.

Field plots at the UCR Turfgrass Research Facility

Of special interest this year were field trials on Indemnify, a next-generation nematicide that controls key nematodes and has been effective against the Pacific Shoot-Gall Nematode Anguina Pacificae. Anguina Pacificae can have a devastating effect on putting surfaces, particularly on courses located in the Monterey Peninsula area. Bayer announced the federal registration of the product in June and hopes are that it will be registered in California for use in the summer of 2017.

On behalf of the California GCSA Chapters, thanks to Dr. Baird and his team for a research program that meets the interest and continuing needs of the golf industry.  To learn more about the field day or to view the yearly reports, visit the University of California Riverside's turfgrass page or donate to the program by visiting the California Turfgrass and Landscape Foundation website.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lakes Country Club director of operations Jim Schmid running for Coachella Valley Water District board of directors

Hi-Lo and California GCSA board member seeks four-year term in Division Two

On Aug. 4, GCSAA Class A superintendent Jim Schmid announced his candidacy for the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) board of directors. Schmid, who serves as the director of operations for The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, Calif, will seek a four-year term in Division Two running against incumbent Ed Pack and two other candidates.

A resident of Palm Desert with his wife Gaby and daughters Scarlet and Stephanie, Schmid is committed to serving the residents and businesses located in Division Two. “We are facing serious water issues in the Coachella Valley,” said Schmid. “Rising costs, accessibility issues and increased regulation at the state level threaten the water needs of the valley. The cornerstone of my campaign is making sure we have a safe, resilient and affordable water supply.”

A current board of director for the Hi-Lo Desert and California GCSA as well as a member of the Coachella Valley Golf and Water Task Force, Schmid has taken on a leadership role for the golf industry and its water conservation efforts in the greater Palm Springs area. The valley is home to 121 golf courses representing roughly 14 percent of California’s total.

While the valley sits atop a vast aquifer and receives deliveries of Colorado River water, industry; particularly agriculture, golf and tourism have come under media scrutiny concerning use. The Coachella Valley Golf and Water Task Force has set a goal of reducing their total water footprint 10 percent below 2010 levels by 2021.

“Golf has gotten off to a slow start in terms of reaching our reduction goal,” said Schmid. “However, we are working diligently on conservation efforts including switching to non-potable water sources and making funds available to facilities who participate in turf reductions programs. Since January of 2015, 94 acres of turf have been removed at 14 local facilities saving approximately 580 acre-feet of water. Additionally, the CVWD just received a $1 million WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency grant that will further assist courses in this endeavor.”

The California golf industry is well aware of the importance of Schmid’s campaign and is working to assist on the campaign trail. “One of the golf industry’s own has taken the courageous step of standing for election to the governing board of the water agency that serves more golf courses than any other single water agency in the nation,” stated Craig Kessler, director of government affairs for the Southern California Golf Association. “For the industry to fail to reward that courage would be unconscionable; to fail to take advantage of the opportunity would be unforgivable.”

While golf is certainly a critical component of conservation in the valley, Schmid is well aware that it is going to take a team effort to reduce overall use as the valley continues to grow and expand.  “Agriculture, commerce, tourism and resident’s all play an important role in conservation moving forward,” said Schmid.  “By working together we can develop a water management plan that is achievable, equitable and provides for continued economic growth in the valley.”

For more information on Schmid or to donate to his campaign, visit his website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Allied golf organizations hold fundraiser to support Arizona Golf Industry Economic Impact Study

Study to estimate contribution of the golf industry to the state economy

The Cactus & Pine GCSA and the Country Club at DC Ranch held a golf tournament on Aug. 15 in Scottsdale, Ariz., to raise funds for the Arizona Golf Industry Economic Impact Study. (Special thanks to Kyle Draper, CCM/COO; Dick Hyland, PGA director of golf; Bill Kostes, Class A superintendent.)

In a collaborative effort, the Cactus & Pine, Greater Southwest CMAA and the Southwest Section PGA have secured the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to oversee the research project that will estimate the contribution of the golf industry to the Arizona economy. The last study was conducted in 2004 and found that Arizona’s more than 300 golf facilities had a total economic output of $3.4 billion and employed nearly 54,000 people accounting for $1.4 billion in wages.

One hundred and twenty players participated in the tournament and $5,000 was raised for the study which has an estimated completion date of December 2016.

“I cannot overstate the importance of this study to the golf industry,” said Rory Van Poucke, Cactus & Pine GCSA president and Apache Sun Golf Club general manager\Class A superintendent. “Golf is such a major contributor to the economy and the study assists in telling our story to the media and policymakers in Arizona.”

The study will include information on golf facility revenue by areas of business (greens fees, cart fees, membership fees, range fees, merchandise, food & beverage, etc.), golf facility expenses (payroll, maintenance costs, capital investments, taxes) golf-related spending, charitable contributions, total employment, golf-generated taxes and an environmental report that will culminate with a total economic impact (indirect, direct and induced) attributable to the Arizona golf industry.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came out to support the event at The Country Club at DC Ranch and to those organizations who previously donated,” said Carmella Ruggiero, Cactus & Pine GCSA executive director. “Raising funds for projects like the study is a challenge, especially as we did not want to exploit our relationships with our already tenured and dedicated sponsors. We still have a way to go, but with the support and commitments we have received, it’s becoming more achievable.”

Along with the Cactus and Pine ($6,000) and Greater Southwest CMAA ($5,000), other major contributors to the study include Antigua ($2,500), Arizona Country Club
($2,500), Arizona Women’s Golf Association ($2,000), Apache Sun Golf Club ($500), Communication Links ($500), Johnson Ranch Golf Club ($1,000), OB Sports ($2,500), Paradise Valley Country Club ($500), The Estancia Club ($1,000), The Mirabel Club ($1,000), The Thunderbirds ($5,000) and Troon Golf ($5,000).

Verbal commitments have also been received from Desert Mountain, Grayhawk Golf Club, Southwest Section PGA and The Country Club at DC Ranch.

For questions or to donate to this study that will benefit everyone within the Arizona golf industry, please contact Carmella Ruggiero with the Cactus & Pine GCSA at 480-609-6778 or email

Pictured on the right is Desert Mountain director of agronomy Shawn Emerson presenting the 1st place prize to the DC Ranch team at the Arizona Golf Industry Economic Impact Study Fundraiser.