Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Reflection Bay Golf Club to host Girls Junior Americas Cup

54-hole competition to be contested over Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Henderson, Nev.

As we move into the summer golf season, one of the events that I’m excited about volunteering for is the Girls Junior Americas Cup (GJAC).

GJAC, established in 1978, is a premier international team golf tournament that encourages sportsmanship, friendship, personal growth and development of young women golfers.

Reflection Bay Golf Club - Henderson, NV.
This year’s event will be contested July 30 – Aug. 3 at Reflection Bay Golf Club in my hometown of Henderson, Nev.  The 54-hole competition features 18 teams representing Alberta, Arizona, British Columbia, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Mexico, Montana, New Mexico, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, San Diego, Southern California, Southern Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 

Each team consists of the top four girls from each city/state/country with teams counting three scores and throwing out the highest score from each day of competition.  The lowest three-day totaled score will determine the winner. There is no individual competition. 

GJAC is a major stop on the college recruiting circuit and being chosen to play for your state/country is one of the highest honors in girls’ junior golf. Former champions of the event include six-time LPGA winner Pat Hurst and World Golf Hall of Fame member Lorena Ochoa who won the tournament three consecutive years (1997-1999).

Al Greenhall is the superintendent at Reflection Bay and the Southern Nevada Golf Association (SNGA) is host golf association for the event. The tournament needs volunteers in all areas of operations and anyone with interest can contact Ann Sunstrum with the SNGA at It’s a great opportunity to help junior golf and see some of the future stars of the LPGA Tour.

For complete information, visit the GJAC website.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors vote 3-2 against purchasing supplemental water to irrigate Dairy Creek Golf Course

Hundreds of golfers show up to support keeping facility as an 18-hole course

On June 6, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against purchasing potentially potable water to supplement irrigation efforts at Dairy Creek Golf Course in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Costs for the supplemental irrigation would have ranged from $1,500 - $2,000 per acre-foot.

Supervisors Lynn Compton, Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill voted against purchasing the supplemental
County Supervisors Meeting in SLO
water with Chair John Peschong and supervisor Debbie Arnold voting in favor.

Hundreds of golfers from around the San Luis Obispo area as well as numerous allied golf industry representatives showed up to speak on behalf of Dairy Creek and the water purchase which would have allowed the course to remain an 18-hole facility.   

Dairy Creek, a county facility located in El Chorro Regional Park, is irrigated with recycled water from the neighboring California Men’s Penal Colony.  A decrease in the prison population due to realignment over the past several years has resulted in 60 percent less recycled water deliveries for the course leaving only 100 acre-feet per year available for irrigation. 

Dairy Creek is not scheduled to receive another delivery of recycled water until Dec. 1.  Even with record-setting precipitation during the winter of 2016-17 and stormwater capture efforts, the reduction in recycled water leaves only enough irrigation for greens and select areas on tee boxes.  The reduction in irrigated areas has had a devastating effect on Dairy Creek’s ability to attract and maintain golfers in a competitive marketplace. 

"Keep Dairy Creek Green and 18"
What’s next for Dairy Creek?  While an opportunity may be available to use well water from the California Men’s Penal Colony, Dairy Creek will most likely be looking at reducing the number of holes from 18 to 9 (keeping the practice facility) to accommodate the reduced recycled water deliveries that will be 100 acre-feet for the foreseeable future. 

Golf course architect Andy Staples was brought in by San Luis County Parks and Recreation (working closely with County Golf Course Superintendent Josh Heptig) to create numerous master plans based on water availability.   Using his Community Links concept, Staples has put together a plan to reduce the facility to 9-holes and a state-of-the-art practice facility (which would be home to the Cal Poly golf team) while incorporating programming that includes mountain biking, disc golf, trails, camp/cabin sites, zip lines and batting cages that would enhance an already active regional park.

The programming provides the highest-and-best-use of the Dairy Creek property (at 100 acre-feet of water) while maintaining a golf-oriented amenity that can be accessed by 100 percent of the community.

While the outcome of this meeting was not what the golf community had hoped for, the efforts of Josh Heptig, Andy Staples and the golfing community should be applauded.  

For more information on Dairy Creek including updates on the water situation, visit the website.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nevada revised statutes to impact the use of pesticides by golf courses

Nevada Department of Agriculture will require licensing of golf course pesticide applicators 

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) recently announced that per Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 555, if any maintenance or management company bids or contracts for golf course (or any landscape) maintenance, they are considered by the NDA to be a pest control business. The business and all employees applying pesticides must possess pest control licenses from the NDA.

The business license fee is $250 annually and individual licenses (primary principal, location principal, principal and operator) are $50 annually.

Courses advertising (includes bidding for maintenance that involves pesticide applications, i.e. third-party management companies), soliciting for pesticide applications, or using power equipment to make pesticide applications will need licenses 

A brief presentation, FAQ sheet and application are available in a PDF format Please email me at and I can forward those documents   

As is the case with most regulations, they can be complex in the interpretation It is the intent of the NDA to work with each golf facility to determine an individual course of licensure.  

To begin the process, e-mail your club name, address, contact name and phone to  A staff member from the NDA will then contact you You may also address any questions concerning the revised statute to the below:

Jay Steele, PCO Licensing 702-668-4561 or

Scott Cichowlaz, Continuing Education 702-668-4570 or

Ron Balsamo, Pest Control Program manager 702-668-4574 or

The above contacts have been very helpful to the golf industry, including by providing education at the recent Southern Nevada GCSA meeting held at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club in Las Vegas Don’t hesitate to reach out to them as they are glad to assist and have made it a priority to work with golf courses throughout the state 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GCSA of Northern California strategic planning session held at Claremont Country Club

Session establishes a roadmap of activities for the upcoming year

GCSAA's Associate Director of Chapter Outreach Steve Randall and I recently conducted a strategic planning session with the GCSA of Northern California (GCSANC) board of directors and Chapter Executive Marc Connerly at Claremont Country Club in Oakland, Calif. 

The mission of the session was to assist an already organized and successful chapter in designing a roadmap of activities for the upcoming year. 

Those in attendance included GCSANC President Sean Tully, Vice President Stacy Wallace, Secretary/Treasurer Brian Boyer, Josh Clevenger, Phil Brown, P.J. Ringenberger, Gavin Dickson, Pete Bachman, Bubba Wright and Past President Gary Ingram. 

Following the board expectations for the session, we conducted a SCOR (Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, Risks) analysis and identified numerous items in each category.  Through a democratic process, the board narrowed down the list to two priority items in each category with a focus on financial stability, labor issues, engagement of members and working with the Northern California Golf Association. 

GCSANC SCOR analysis
After the SCOR analysis, we moved into a discussion on the mission statement.  The mission statement ultimately communicates what the organization does. Following an in-depth discussion, the group decided changes were needed to better reflect the current mission of the association.  Below is the updated mission statement:

The GCSA of Northern California is dedicated to serving its members through promotion and advancement of our profession.

Following the mission statement discussion, we moved into the vision statement for the chapter. The vision points out how the chapter should be viewed by its members. It also provides a forward-thinking thought process to uncover a bigger picture perspective.

Following a brief discussion, the group decided to update the vision statement.  Below is the updated vision statement:

The GCSA of Northern California brings together turf professionals to support each other while preserving golf and the environment. 

To close out the session, we established a list of goals and action items for the chapter to achieve in the next 12 months.  Those included developing a comprehensive financial plan for cash reserves, increasing turf students and opportunities to join the profession, discussion of collaborative opportunities with the Northern California Golf Association and an increase of superintendent participation in events for the 2018 calendar year. 

We thank the GCSANC board and Marc for participating in the session.  GCSANC is a large and financially successful chapter, but still sees the need for continued improvement. 

If your chapter is looking for assistance in conducting a similar strategic plan, please don’t hesitate to call me and I would be glad to schedule a date this summer for a session.  The sessions last approximately three hours and in addition to laying the groundwork for the chapter, they are a great team building exercise. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

California golf industry’s voice is heard in Sacramento

Allied golf industry gathers at the state capitol to discuss issues of critical importance to the game

The California Alliance for Golf (CAG), the unified voice for the golf industry in California, visited the California State Capitol in Sacramento on April 19 to discuss issues affecting the industry to members of the California State Legislature.

The delegation was made up of representatives from the California Golf Course Owners Association, California GCSA, Englander Knabe & Allen (lobbyist for CAG), GCSAA, Latina Golfers Association, Moore Minister Communications, Northern California PGA and the Southern California Golf Association.

CAG representing the golf industry at the California State Capitol
The California GCSA and GCSAA were represented by GCSA of Northern California executive director Marc Connerly, Tilden Park Golf Club superintendent Kevin Shipley, GCSAA student member Steven Spatafore (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), former GCSAA President and CAG board member Bruce Williams of Bruce Williams Golf Consulting and I.

The group met with Alf Brandt, Legislative Director for Speaker Anthony Rendon, staff from the office of Senator Steven Bradford, Kip Lipper, Office of Pro Tempore; staff from the office Assemblyman Chad Mayes, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva and Assemblyman Phil Ting.

Topics included the formation of the California Golf Commission (a commission that would be self-funded through an assessment on greens fees and membership fees), growth of the game programs in the state focused on youth, women and minority groups; the GCSAA/California GCSA BMP template and continuing water conservation goals as the state recovers from five years of severe drought. 

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 third consecutive year that CAG has visited the State Capitol. For more information on the organization and its efforts, visit

Monday, April 10, 2017

Encanterra Country Club plays host to First Green field trip

Program uses golf courses as environmental learning labs

Encanterra Country Club in San Tan Valley, Ariz. recently played host to a First Green field trip.  First Green is an innovative environmental education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs – the only program of its kind in the world.

The field trip marked the inaugural First Green event in the state of Arizona and featured 22 sixth grade students from Navarette Elementary School in Chandler, Ariz. 

Encanterra superintendent Scott Anderson (center) speaking to students
Encanterra’s Class A superintendent Scott Anderson oversaw the proceedings with assistance from USGA West Region agronomist Brian Whitlark, University of Arizona area extension agent Kai Umeda, Encanterra director of golf Mark Black and I. 

The field trip provided students with an introduction to the game of golf and the superintendent profession while providing numerous STEM based learning activities. 

Learning stations included a stream flow calculation, use of a prism and soil moisture meter, a Stimpmeter demonstration, walk mowing demonstration, cup cutting, bunker raking and the opportunity to play a 9-hole putting course set-up by Anderson and his staff. 

The trip was three hours in length and the students were split up into three groups with a school instructor/chaperone also participating in each group. 

This marked the third First Green field trip that I have participated in and the trips illustrate the environmental and community benefits of golf courses while introducing potential players to the
Encanterra director of golf Mark Black discussing the short game
 game (students, teachers and parents).  It also provides an outstanding media/public relations opportunity for participating facilities.

First Green was established in 1997 and over 15,000 students have participated in field trips.  The organization originated in Washington, but field trips are now offered in all regions of the United States. 

First Green has extensive resources for golf course superintendents, including online lesson plans, as well as facilitating the connections between golf courses and local schools and science/horticulture teachers.

For more information on First Green (including how to videos) or to schedule a field trip, visit the website at or call at 425-746-0809.