Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cactus & Pine GCSA hosts inaugural Water Summit at Desert Mountain

Summit focuses on the golf industries efficient use of water, sustainability efforts and the future of the game in Arizona
The Cactus & Pine GCSA inaugural Water Summit was held on June 21 at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. The summit was organized to provide Arizona politicians, government agencies, leading water experts and municipalities and allied golf organizations with an overview of the golf industries efficient use of water, sustainability efforts, water supply and demand, the upcoming release of the Arizona Golf Industry Economic Impact Study, community outreach and the future of the game in the state.
“It’s important that the golf industry educate our water providers, public, and particularly our politicians on the sustainability efforts that the industry has undertaken,” said Rory Van Poucke, Cactus & Pine GCSA president and general manager/Class A superintendent of Apache Sun Golf Club. “With increased government regulations, increased operating costs and expectations for the proper use of natural resources, it’s paramount that they understand the issues and difficulties that our industry is facing now and in the future.”
Speakers included Rick Amalfi of Aquatics Consulting, golf course architect Gary Brawley of Gary Brawley Golf Design, Paul Brown, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona, Class A superintendent Rob Collins on Paradise Valley Country Club, golf course superintendent Shawn Emerson of Desert Mountain, Warren Gorowitz of Ewing Irrigation, Ronald Klawitter of the Salt River Project, Blaine Miller of APS, Hunter Moore from the Office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, golf course superintendent Nathan Nuemann, Troon vice president of agronomy Dave Nicholls, Pam Pickard of the Central Arizona Project, golf course architect Andy Staples of Staples Golf Design, Jeff Tannler of the Arizona Department of Water, Brian Whitlark of the USGA, Ian Williams of Rain Bird and golf course superintendent Jonathan Williams of Sewailo Golf Club.
The featured speaker was Moore, who serves as the natural resource policy advisor for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Moore focused on current and future water use as well as challenges that Arizona will face in regards to potential cutbacks in the near future.
Pictured from the left is Cactus & Pine GCSA Executive Director Carmella Ruggiero, Cactus & Pine GCSA President Rory Van Poucke, Hunter Moore from the office of Governor Doug Ducey and Desert Mountain superintendent Shawn Emerson.
“In my opinion, the Phoenix/Scottsdale area is the premier golf destination in the country,” said Desert Mountain superintendent Shawn Emerson, who also served as host for the day’s activities. “The game is critical to tourism and the health of our communities who rely on golf to create jobs and consumer spending. Education, projects like the economic impact study and continued community outreach will protect our industry and ensure a bright future for the game in Arizona.”
The event was attended by 104 participants including staff members from the offices of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Sen. John McCain, staff members from the office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and numerous policymakers from local municipalities, state agencies and water districts including the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona Fish and Game, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, Arizona Public Service, Central Arizona Project, Office of Pest Management – Aquatics Division, Salt River Project and Scottsdale Water.
“Our association’s goal is to educate our members and represent the turf and golf industry in Arizona,” said Cactus & Pine GCSA Executive Director Carmella Ruggiero who organized the event at Desert Mountain. “Events like the summit and town hall meeting that was held in 2015 give us the opportunity to showcase our industry and convey our message to our water providers and policymakers in the state.”
For more information on the association, visit the Cactus and Pine website.

Pictured from left is Cactus & Pine GCSA President Rory Van Poucke, Central Arizona Project President Pam Pickard and Desert Mountain superintendent Shawn Emerson. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Support turfgrass research in California by joining the California Turfgrass and Landscape Foundation

The California Turf and Landscape Foundation (CTLF) is seeking members to help support critical turfgrass research in California. 

I urge you to consider supporting the organizations efforts throughout the state.  CTLF was formed in 2011 and under the leadership of Executive Director Bruce Williams, CGCS, and chairman Brian Sullivan, CGCS, at Bel Air Country Club, the foundation has made terrific strides in raising funds for important research projects. 

A large portion of those funds have gone to Dr. Jim Baird at UC Riverside.  Over $100,000 has been distributed annually with additional amounts coming from groups like the Metropolitan Water District to support conservation research.  It takes in excess of $200,000 per year to fund Dr. Baird’s graduate program and without further support, he will continue to be at risk of losing research and extension positions. 

Dr. Baird and his team are working hard to meet the evolving needs of both the golf and landscape industry.  With California still in the midst of a severe drought, there is some new and cutting-edge research addressing water and salinity management issues.  Examples include best management practices for turf under drought restrictions, effects of fungicides and wetting agents on drought stress, evaluation of products for alleviation of salinity and drought stress and the evaluation of natural and hybrid turf for water conservation. 

Without CTLF’s financial backing, some of these research projects would not be undertaken.  In addition to Dr. Baird’s work, CTLF has established relationships with Dr. Jim Kerns and Lee Butler of North Carolina State University for turfgrass diagnosis services as well as Dr. Doug Soldat from the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Bill Kreuser of the University of Nebraska who will assist with soil management issues and testing (those not covered by Pace Turf/Dr. Larry Stowell). 

Research plots at last September's UC Riverside Turfgrass & Landscape Field Day

Annual dues are $250 and your membership will help support projects crucial to the golf industry.  Invoices are available by contacting Executive Director Bruce Williams, CGCS, at  More information is also available at

We appreciate your consideration and thank those that have already contributed including our local GCSAA chapters, PGA sections and regional golf associations. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Golf Industry makes visit to the California State Capitol

The California Alliance for Golf (CAG), the unified voice for the golf industry in California, visited the California State Capitol in Sacramento on April 27. 

The delegation was made up of representatives from the California GCSA, Englander Knabe & Allen, GCSAA, Moore Minister Communications, Northern California PGA and the Southern California Golf Association.   

The California GCSA and GCSAA were represented by Jim Ferrin, CGCS at Sun City Roseville and CAG secretary; former GCSAA President and CAG board member Bruce Williams of Bruce Williams Golf Consulting; Kurtis Wolford, Sierra Nevada GCSA President and Class A Superintendent at Cherry Island Golf Course and I. 

The group met with Keali’i Bright, Deputy Secretary to Natural Resources Agency; John Casey, Communications Director to Speaker Anthony Rendon; Kip Lipper, Office of Pro Tempore; Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, Assemblyman Phil Ting, Josh White, Legislative Director for Minority Leader Chad Mayes and key staff members of Governor Jerry Brown. 

Topics included a current overview of Governor Brown’s emergency drought declarations as well as the possible easing of those restrictions in the coming weeks due to ample snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the State Water Resources Control Board’s continuing changes to the state’s Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance (MWELO), growth of the game and youth initiatives in the state with a particular focus on the SCGA’s Youth on Course Program, golf’s efficient use of water in the state (less than one percent of the total fresh water), the industries outreach efforts with local government agencies and municipalities and an ask on the industries behalf for a resolution proclaiming a Golf Day in California. 

Additionally, the delegation held in depth discussion on the economic impact of the game. The state’s nearly 900 courses have a total impact of more than $13 billion, employ 128,000 creating $4.1 billion in wages and contributes nearly $365 million to charitable causes. 

The event marked the first of two yearly visits by CAG to the State Capitol. For more information on the organization and its efforts, visit   

Pictured are members of the California Alliance for Golf at the State Capitol in Sacramento, CA during CAG’s Legislative Day