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Nearly 80 members gathered at Aldarra on August 20 at the WWGCSA Annual Meeting. Superintendents and their Assistants, as well as sponsors and friends of the Association met to go over some business, eat some lunch, play some golf and, most importantly, reconnect face to face to celebrate the brethren of the world Golf Course Superintendents.
Scott Phelps (Newcastle), outgoing President of the Board, delivered a few words to summarize the goings of the Association over the last 12 months. He stressed a renewed emphasis on communication and getting together, despite the growing benefits of a digital learning environment, and the challenges of increased traffic congestion that is especially prevalent in Western Washington. Scott was roundly thanked by those in attendance for the yeoman’s effort he has put in the past two years as Board President, even serving as interim Executive Director when there was a vacancy in the position earlier this year.
Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra) was elected to be the new President of the Board by those in attendance. Sean has had a lot of interaction with the GCSAA, serving on its Education Committee as well as being the WWGCSA’s voting delegate. He is encouraged that the new Board will include members from public courses such as Jackson (Greg Van Hollebeke) and Maplewood (Steve Meyers), as “they bring a different perspective on the challenges that Superintendents face every day,” Reehoorn said.
The day was wrapped up on the fabulous course that is Aldarra. Seventeen foursomes teed it up with prizes for closest to the pin, low net and low gross. While many, by their own account, had a difficult time scrubbing off the rust on their games before their round was done—there was not a shortage of smiles by the time they reached the 19th hole.
Room blocks have been reserved at the Embassy Suites in Lynwood. You can call in your reservation to 425-775-2500 and reserve your room under the Washington Turf and Landscape Show 2018 Block.
Reservations need to be made by midnight, Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
The special rate of $119 includes:
Daily hot buffet breakfast that includes a chef made to order omelet station
Nightly two hour reception with complimentary hard & soft drinks and appetizers
On site restaurant and lounge
Indoor pool & whirlpool
Precor fitness facility
Complimentary scheduled shuttle service within 5 mile radius
Congratulations to Meridian Valley Country Club, this year’s winning team at the WWGCSA Fivesome Scramble at Fircrest Golf Club.
In a close competition, their margin of victory was less than a full stroke over both Rainier Golf & Country Club and Kitsap Golf & Country Club. With a similar score, Western Equipment won the Industry Team division.
A good time was had by all, as the team at Fircrest provided a magnificent course in excellent condition. A big shout-out goes to Superintendent John Alexander and his crew, as well as PGA Professional Greg Talley for providing a great environment for this year’s tourney. As always, General Manager Jeff Hillen’s staff were top notch hosts for this year’s rendition of the Fivesome, an important fundraiser for the WWGCSA and the Northwest Turfgrass Association.
Sahalee will be the host of the 2019 WWGCSA Fivesome.
Cornelius, OR (July 02, 2018)—As of July 1, 2018, Crop Production Services’ Cornelius retail branch is rebranding as Nutrien Solutions™. The Cornelius branch is one of more than 1,500 retail locations aligning across North and South America as part of Nutrien Ltd. (Nutrien)’s international network, strengthening the company’s long-term mission to help local turf and landscape managers meet increasing demands profitably and sustainably.
“Our rebrand as Nutrien Solutions enhances our ability to deliver custom, personalized solutions for golf and landscape managers—backed by the resources and reach of Nutrien’s global network,” said Jake Browning, manager of Nutrien Solutions’ Cornelius, OR branch. “This allows us to stay ahead of our customers’ evolving needs, connecting them with the latest best-in-class technology, tools and expertise to support the needs of our golf course superintendents and landscape managers.”
The rebrand also features the launch of a new digital platform designed to amplify Nutrien Solutions industry-leading distribution network, agronomic advice and support services. The platform provides turf and landscape managers with an easy to use, all-in-one customer experience hub, allowing customers to interact with agronomists and field service representatives seamlessly. This new platform will be rolling out in the Oregon and Washington market in phased updates from now to mid-2019.
For more information, visit nutrienagsolutions.com.
Nutrien is the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner. We produce and distribute over 26 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products world-wide. With this capability and our leading agriculture retail network, we are well positioned to supply the needs of our customers. We operate with a long-term view and are committed to working with our stakeholders as we address our economic, environmental and social priorities. The scale and diversity of our integrated portfolio provides a stable earnings base, multiple avenues for growth and the opportunity to return capital to shareholders. For further information visit us at nutrien.com.
Idaho-Based J.R. Simplot Company Has Acquired Gene Editing Licensing Rights. A multinational agricultural company based in Idaho has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer.
J.R. Simplot Company on Monday announced the agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of the nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license.
“We think this is a transformative technology—it’s very powerful,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We’re delighted that Simplot is the first one to take advantage of the licensing.”
There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are unsafe to eat, but changing the genetic code of foods presents an ethical issue for some. For example McDonald’s had declined to use Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes for its French fries.
The food industry has also faced pressure from retailers as consumer awareness of genetically modified foods has increased.
J.R. Simplot officials declined to say how much the company paid for the licensing rights acquired through a process intended to prevent the technology from being used unethically. The technology allows scientists to make precise changes to the genome of living organisms and has wide-ranging applications for improving plant food production and quality.
“The issues are about getting the right kind of food produced in the right kind of way,” said Neal Gutterson, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont’s agriculture division. “It’s important to be able to produce enough food for the nine to 10 billion people who will be on the planet in 30 years.”
The gene editing technology is called CRISPR-Cas9, the first part an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” The technology speeds up the traditional process of breeding generation after generation of plants to get a certain desirable trait, saving years in developing new varieties that are as safe as traditionally developed varieties, scientists say.
Essentially, if an organism’s genome is made analogous to a large manuscript, CRISPR-Cas9 allows scientists to edit specific words in the manuscript using a “search and replace” function. One of the remaining challenges, scientists say, is getting the complete genome for particular food crops. Or, to use the analogy, to not only have the complete manuscript but to have it translated so scientists know where to make the edits.
The CRISPR-Cas9 technology is so new that in March the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates how food is produced, issued a statement clarifying its oversight of foods produced with gene editing. “Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques,” the agency said.
Simplot markets products in more than 40 countries, and it has major operations in the United States, China, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The company, which is a top producer of avocados grown in Mexico and sold in the U.S., is perhaps best known for potatoes.
The company has already used other genetic techniques to adapt genes from wild and cultivated potatoes to produce commercially sold potatoes that resist bruising and late blight, which caused the Irish Potato Famine and continues to cause problems for potato farmers. Gene editing is expected to further the company’s expertise in potatoes.
“That’s part of our vision for Simplot—to be the knowledge leader for potatoes,” said Susan Collinge, vice president of plant sciences at Simplot, where she supervises about 95 plant scientists.
Idaho produces 13 billion pounds (6 billion kilograms) of potatoes annually—a third of the nation’s potatoes—worth about $1.2 billion.
Gene editing likely wouldn’t result in new varieties of potatoes for at least five years, and probably longer before the potatoes could be sold commercially, Collinge said.
We have decided to discontinue the GHIN program at this point. If you want to continue to maintain your handicap through the USGA GHIN system you can join at your local club or you can call or email Shari Jacobson with the Washington State Golf Association and she will get you pointed in the right direction. She can be reached at 253-214-2925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are attempting to reach everyone by email who this might affect.
We have lost a family member of our golf course maintenance team at Sahalee, Glen Charleston. Glen passed away suddenly on Wednesday, June 27th. He was an integral part of our operation and will never be forgotten!
Glen started at Sahalee Country Club in October of 2002, he was our Equipment Manager. Prior to joining our team, he spent 6 years at The Golf Club at Newcastle as the Equipment Manager which began during construction of the development. Before that, he was employed as the mechanic for numerous years with the City of Bellevue’s municipal golf operations. He was well-respected by his peers and friend to many through the years of hosting tournament events and attending seminars. Glen was a native to the Puget Sound area, in fact, grew up on Lake Sammamish in a cabin and attended Issaquah High School.
For those who knew Glen, he was “rough on the edges” but kind at heart. He never denied the opportunity to crack a joke or offer a helping hand. Glen was passionate about golf and the maintenance of courses, however, his true love was fishing and spending time on the water.
Glen is survived by his parents, two sons, and three daughters. He was devoted to his family.
Glen, we miss you!
For those of you who attended the Fivesome this is old news. For those who didn’t, please welcome Bill as our new Executive Director of the WWGCSA.
In February of this year we put out the notice that we were looking for a new Executive Director. We formed a search committee consisting of board, affiliates, members at large and Brian Coury; the Executive Director of the Western Washington PGA. The committee was tasked with narrowing the field from over ten applicants to three finalists. Those three finalists interviewed with the board before Bill was chosen. We feel Bill will help take our association to the next level and be an outstanding face of our organization.
For those of you who don’t know Bill or recognize his name, here are some things about him. Bill is a member at Wing Point and is a past president of the club. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and received his MBA from Cornell. He trained with American Airlines as a financial analyst. He then became a lead executive with KJR radio, Horizon Broadcasting, and the Seattle Supersonics to name a few.
Bill and his wife Carolyn have been involved with coaching their kids and youth sports for the last two decades. This includes the Bainbridge High School boys baseball team and the area swim team. Bill is an avid golfer and looks forward to combining his executive leadership with his love of sports and golf to help our organization. We feel lucky to have Bill on board with us and hope everyone gets a chance to meet him soon. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
We appreciate everyone’s patience with this process and look forward to a bright future with Bill.
All WWGCSA Members, your Board is pleased to announce the following nominations for your consideration at our upcoming Annual Meeting (August 20 at Aldarra Golf Club):
Class A, B, and C Board Positions (3 to be selected to 3-year terms):
Assistant Superintendent (1 to be selected to a 2-year term):
Affiliate Member (1 to be selected to a 1-year term)
Nominations can be taken from the floor at the time of election.
See you all at Aldarra on August 20!
Serial Number TC203AT0020372, along with custom Baby Bowie hydroseeder serial number 28131 belonging to Greenshield Systems. They were taken at 1 a.m. July 13, 2018 from Stahl Jr Hi, Puyallup.
We are now needing a 2030A progator (with or without a bed) to replace the stolen one.
If you have one for sale or loan, please contact Greenshield Systems 360-466-0406.
Sean Reehoorn, the superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club and the vice-president of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association, recently attended his first GCSAA Delegates Meeting back at GCSAA headquarters.
Click here for his report that includes updates and information on GCSAA endeavors such as BMPs, membership drive, government advocacy, Grass Roots Ambassadors, Round 4 Research, certification programs and by-laws and Code of Ethics revisions.
Steve Kealy was the recipient of the annual award at this year’s Fivesome Tournament and Auction at Fircrest Golf Club.
Our host Superintendent John Alexander and his staff put on a show this year with their superb course conditions! After a beautiful day of golf at Fircrest, Steve was handed over the award presented by the WWGCSA Board, which was accompanied by some tears in the crowd. This is just the most recent award in Steve’s 30 year career as the superintendent at Glendale Golf & Country Club. Over the years he has proven to be one of the best communicators in the industry for environmental stewardship and the importance of the superintendent in the golf community at large. Steve has also played an important role in the development of the First Green Program which is dedicated to the education of youth with regard to turfgrass management and the world of agronomy. Steve provides numerous hours of community service, donating his time and talents to educate local area high school students on agronomic and environmental issues.
This award was extra special to Steve as he was a very close friend of our late Director Paul Backman, who worked tirelessly to promote our profession in the local golf industry. Steve seemed to think this award was far too soon in his career, however everyone that knows him thinks it has probably come too late. Congratulations Steve, you deserve it!
The 4-man team from Tacoma Country Club went to a lot of effort to lug the rather large traveling trophy up north to Willow’s Run for the Annual Crew Tournament.
Turns out they ended up returning it from whence it came, as Tacoma’s team of Miguel Hernandez, Kevan Kenna, Joe Monteleone, and Richard Young beat the field by four shots after carding a 55. Three teams finished tied for second with a 59, forcing a playoff won by Suncadia over North Shore Golf Club and one of the four teams representing Sahalee.
Tacoma Country Club repeats Crew Title at Willow’s Run
In all, 31 teams competed at Willow’s Run. Tacoma and Suncadia will go on to represent the Western Washington Crews in a competition versus the Oregon Crew Tournament winners sometime toward the end of the summer.
Many players, all of whom should know what they’re talking about, were heard praising Superintendent Ryan Semritc and his team for the fantastic condition the course was in. The Willow’s crew has certainly been busy, as it followed up the Crew tournament by hosting the USA Special Olympics golf event this July.
Greg Van Hollebeke, the superintendent at Interbay Golf Course in Seattle, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Van Hollebeke will replace John Hicks of Canterwood Golf & Country Club, who resigned from the Board because of health concerns. Van Hollebeke, the former superintendent at The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, will complete Hicks’ term on the Board, which runs through to the Annual Meeting in August.
WWGCSA President Scott Phelps of The Golf Club at Newcastle appointed Van Hollebeke to the position, and the appointment was approved in a vote of the Board of Directors.
During a strategic planning session Tuesday administered by the GCSAA, the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association developed a new mission statement.
Here is the new mission statement:
The WWGCSA is a professional organization established to unite golf course superintendents, provide value to members, and to enhance the profession.
The WWGCSA spent six hours discussing strategic planning and traditional Board business at Tam O’Shanter Golf & Country Club in Bellevue and wants to thank host superintendent Jerry Thompson and his members for all their hospitality.
Sean Reehoorn, Superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club, was elected the new Board President of the WWGCSA at its Annual Meeting. Held August 20, coincidentally at Aldarra Golf Club, Reehoorn was elected along with new Board Members Steve Meyers, Superintendent of Maplewood Golf Course, and Rick Michel, Assistant Superintendent at Broadmoor Golf Club. Meyers and Michel join Reehoorn, Greg Van Hollebeke (Jackson Golf Course) and Jason Otto (Wilbur Ellis) each of whom were re-elected to the Board.
Scott Phelps (Newcastle), though stepping down as President after two terms, will remain on the Board in the post of Immediate Past President. Rolling off the Board after completing their terms of service are Thaddeus Lalley (Assistant from Everett Golf Club) and Michael Goldsberry (Immediate Past President, from Wing Point GCC).
Returning to the Board with remaining terms are Ryan Semritc (Willows Run), Clint Goold (Druid’s Glen) and Jason Krogman (Kitsap Golf and Country Club).
The air was smoky around Aldarra Golf Club, with ash falling from the sky and sticking to anything in its way, just as it was across the entire Puget Sound region in late August from the wildfires in the Cascades, Olympics and Canadian ranges. But that didn’t dissuade 70 golfers from taking on a tough golf course as part of the festivities surrounding the WWGCSA’s annual meeting.
Alex Hedlund, Assistant Superintendent in Training from Sahalee, overcame a strong field of golfers shooting a 9 over par score of 80, defeating Tom Robinson (Bellevue Golf Course) and Jon Fullmer (Jackson Park Golf Course) by a single shot. Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra) was three shots back. Hedlund’s name will be added to a new perpetual trophy that he will get to display at Sahalee until at least next year’s rendition of the Superintendent’s Cup.
Ross O’Fee of Empire Turf finished with the lowest net score of 72, beating Chris Thornton of Auburn Golf Course by two strokes.
The GCSAA recently hosted the Annual Delegates meeting in Kansas City/Lawrence, Kansas in November. The GCSAA is made up of 99 chapters that has a voting delegate to represent the 18,000 plus members of the association. Most delegates arrive on Tuesday for dinner and a “State of the Association” address from Rhett Evans, CEO of GCSAA. The association is under great leadership with Rhett at the helm. Partnerships with other industry organizations continue to grow in both exposure and strength. Our association continues to endeavor to be the leader in the global golf industry as many know the dedication and time Superintendents put into their jobs and organizations.
Leadership of GCSAA is focused on two large initiatives, first Best Management Practices (BMP) and membership growth and expansion. BMPs will give each chapter a seat at the table as environmental restrictions are passed down through state, and even federal, legislation. Being ahead of the curve here has already benefited many chapters and will benefit more in the future. Membership growth strengthens our presence as there is true strength in numbers.
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"email@example.com or 425-222-3662.
New for 2019: The WWGCSA will be holding a series of Coffee Breaks across our region throughout the year. The concept is to enable Superintendents to gather for informal conversation with their peers without a lot of travel or any cost. The Coffee Breaks will be supported by various Association Partners. What’s in it for the Partners? We will invite them to get the conversation going with a 5-10 update on what’s new with their assortment of products and services, and then they get to sit back and enjoy learning about what’s on your mind. The range of topics are unlimited. At least one WWGCSA Board Member and our Executive Director will be present to keep the conversation flowing. The range of topics is entirely up to you. It may focus on how all of the rain and wind has put stress on your labor hours and then divert to how exciting it is that the Seahawks turned a rebuilding year into a playoff appearance. It’s entirely up to you. The number one objective is to get you together with fellow Supers, maybe even ones you don’t know, even though they’re close in proximity.
Expect the Coffee Breaks to last somewhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours (again, that’s up to you). Coffee and small food items will be provided. There is no charge to you as a member of the WWGCSA, thanks to our Association Partners. You just need to get there, wherever a convenient opportunity may present itself. We will have enough coffee breaks that you will be able to get to at least one over the course of the year without driving more than 30-45 minutes. We are targeting attendance to be 8-10 Supers per Coffee Break. Small enough that everyone can participate.
The first Coffee Break will be hosted at Aldarra Golf Club, presented by Wilbur Ellis, on January 10 in the morning. Exact times will be posted on the website calendar as the date gets closer. If you’re nearby, we’ll want to see you. If not, a Coffee Break will be coming to a Spot near you sometime over the course of 2019. Happy New Year!
The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) is hosting the Canadian Golf Course Management Conference within the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta, known for its hospitality and adventure. The conference runs from March 4–7, 2019.
We are hoping you would share this information with your members as we feel The Canadian has lots to offer. Beside the top-notch education in an intimate setting; this year we are honouring Mark Kuhns, CGCS, Superintendent at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey and former GCSAA president, with the prestigious John B. Steel Award. The John B. Steel Award is the CGSA's Distinguished Service Award. Although an American, Mark has been a CGSA member for 12 years and has enjoyed attending the CGSA's events throughout those years. We hope that some of our colleagues from the US will be able to join the CGSA in celebrating Mark during the awards ceremony.
Registering for an All Access conference package includes over 15 hours of education sessions; including some familiar names from the US as well as numerous networking opportunities including food & beverage and the largest trade show of its kind in Canada. All this for only $559 Canadian, (approximately $418 USD).
Please visit the conference website at (https://golfsupers.com/en/banff2019) for conference details or contact Barb Manifold at 416-626-8873 ext. 25 (Ontario) with any questions.
This may be hard to read, but it’s true: 22 a day. That’s the number released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February. 22 veterans take their own lives every single day. The fear is, the actual number may be even higher. What’s a country to do? What are we, as individuals, to do?
Veterans, over the course of their career, take on a heavy toll. They deal with things on a daily basis that us regular folk insulate ourselves from. We read and hear on our local news about individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder related to horrific events that they are exposed to in their domestic lives. Now multiply that by an unknown number, and we begin to understand what is asked of our veterans of conflicts away from home, who are exposed to gruesome stuff time and again, with little or no refuge.
VA hospitals are set up to take care of veterans who suffer not only from physical injuries, but emotional and psychological wounds as well. Once such hospital is the VA Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. Thousands of U.S. service men and women have returned from active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam and Korea with severe physical and psychological wounds that will haunt them forever. Some are single or double amputees, trying desperately to learn to use prosthetics or to survive without limbs. Some have intact bodies, but their minds are shattered by the traumas they have experienced. Lakewood’s VA Hospital has served them all. Like the rest of us, the VA Hospital is always looking for ways to help their veterans find a comfortable transition back to domestic life. Too often, the injuries suffered during their service get in the way of that transition.
One asset that the Lakewood VA Hospital has at its disposal: a golf course on its own grounds. Built in the 1950s, and situated on 377 acres, it was originally viewed as simply a place of relief for those that could enjoy the game. But over the years, American Lake Veterans’ Golf Course has also become a source of healing, as it helps with the rehabilitation and needs of the disabled veterans as well. Nonetheless, in 1995, the US government withdrew its financial support for the operation and maintenance of the course. After a decade of decline, the course began to bounce back thanks to the efforts of a cadre of volunteers.
By 2003, a non-profit organization was formed to help raise funds for the course. Sometime in or near 2010, Ken Still, a former PGA Tour Pro, sought help from Jack Nicklaus to design a new nine holes, and renovate the original nine. Nicklaus Design did so, providing its design services at no charge. In 2015, the course ranked Number One on Golf Digest’s list of the “the 9 most cheerful courses to play in America.” In 2016, the new nine opened, serendipitously becoming Nicklaus Design’s 400th golf course worldwide. Today, according to Nicklaus Design, American Lake is the nation’s only golf course designed “specifically for facilitating the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans.” The course is run by 200-plus volunteers without any federal funding or paid employees. By 2020, the improvements on the original nine should be completed to provide greater accessibility to disabled players. The course is open to all veterans, their families and guests.
The stated mission of the golf course is “ to provide much-needed rehabilitation and recreational outlet for the growing population of veterans, many of whom are disabled . . .”
This is where we try to answer “What are we, as individuals, to do?” It starts with a special collaboration of as many as 40 Golf Course Superintendents from the states of Oregon and Washington who will be gathering at the American Lake Veterans’ Golf Course on March 14, to provide volunteer labor and equipment to help get the course ready for the upcoming Spring and Summer Seasons. Don’t you want to be a part of it? You can, by simply registering here.
It's always interesting to look back at how certain ideas come to fruition. When it came time in the Fall of 2018 to plan a retreat for this fiscal year’s WWGCSA Board, our President Sean Reehoorn suggested that we find a way to hold a joint meeting with the Board of the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association. The OGCSA was up for it, and so the WWGCSA Board drove to Corvallis in October and broke bread with their counterparts in Oregon. The goodwill from that gathering led to the desire to start more than a new tradition of getting together, but rather a new tradition of working together for the betterment of those associated with the golfing world in our region.
A joint service project was suggested, to be held in each state in alternating years. Helping the American Lake Veterans’ Course get ready for their Spring and Summer seasons was a natural first project. Gabe Hughes, the President of the OGCSA, puts it this way, “not only does this joint service project give Superintendents from Oregon and Washington a chance to interact and get to know one another, it affords us the opportunity to share our professional knowledge in a way that will help support and enhance the lives of those who were willing to give all in the defense of our great nation.”
As many as 40 or more Oregon and Washington Superintendents, crew members and industry suppliers will team up with 25-30 of the volunteers who maintain the American Lake Veterans’ Course on a regular basis. “We hope to be able to grow the bond between our two associations as well as help educate the many volunteers outside of our organizations who maintain the Veterans Course on a daily basis throughout the year,” said Scott Phelps, the Immediate Past President of the WWGCSA. “We have the skillset, tools, and people who appreciate the service all of the men and women of the armed forces who have secured our freedom and defended others around the world. It is a very small gesture on our part, to try and help provide the veterans and our active military with a beautiful place to recreate, rehabilitate, and play the game we all love.”
March 14 is the day when the seed of a fresh idea to simply renew old bonds sees the fruit of Superintendents getting together with a group of volunteers to make a season of golf more enjoyable for Military Veterans. “American Lake is not simply there as a leisure retreat, but a place for rehabilitation, therapy, and socialization, to assist our Veterans,” says Hughes “[so] any way that we can give back to them, is an honor for me and my fellow Superintendents.”
Nearly 65 volunteers, a collection of Golf Course Superintendents from the states of Oregon and Washington working together with Military Veterans, prepared the American Lake Veterans’ Golf Course for Spring in a large, collaborative effort on March 14th. This all- volunteer labor force provided time and equipment to aerate greens and tee boxes, while also cleaning the debris remaining on the ground from a harsher winter than normal. In less than 5 hours the course was ready for its spring rush of golfers.
The effort was a collaboration of the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association (OGCSA) and the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association (WWGCSA). Each is a regional chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). 40 members of the two chapters were joined by 25 volunteers, veterans of American Armed Forces, who regularly help maintain the course – and they do so for no compensation, other than seizing the opportunity to provide a refuge for both active and retired, abled and disabled, military personnel.
American Lake Veterans’ Golf Course, which was built after World War II in the mid-50s, is on the grounds of the VA Hospital in Lakewood, WA. Its mission is to “provide much-needed rehabilitation and recreational outlet for the growing population of veterans, many of whom are disabled…” It has served patients healing from all types of injuries for many years. In 1995, after the US government withdrew all funding for the course’s operation and maintenance, volunteers offered to take up the challenge of keeping the course going.
Gabe Hughes, president of the OGCSA, expressed it this way: “American Lake is not simply there as a leisure retreat, but a place for rehabilitation, therapy, and socialization, to assist our Veterans. Any way that we can give back to them, is an honor for me and my fellow Superintendents.” Hughes’ counterpart, Sean Reehoorn, the president of the WWGCSA said simply, “ . . . an amazing day at American Lake Veterans’ Golf Course, Oregon and Washington members working together, I’m so proud to be a part of this group.”
Randy Moen is the Superintendent at the American Lake Veterans’ Course, and he’s also a volunteer. His reaction to the special day? “The course is in great shape thanks to unselfish professional generosity of the Washington and Oregon Superintendent Associations. Our Veterans that we serve, are most grateful. [The Superintendents] have made me an instant Rock Star with all of the “Heroes” I get to serve, for this, I THANK YOU!!!”
Getting the course ready for Spring with the help of the Golf Course Superintendents, who greatly admire the veterans that the American Lake course serves, is symbolic of the thanks that all Americans have, and a chance to provide some extra hope in an environment as beautiful as a golf course.
Watch this video produced by Washington Rock Quarries to get a feel for the day: Veterans' Service Project Mission Accomplished.
WWGCSA’s second Coffee Break took place last month at Kitsap Golf and Country Club, thanks to the support of Planet Turf USA. Coffee Breaks have been created as smaller, “closer to your course” events to foster face to face networking for Superintendents. Corporate Partners of WWGCSA get involved to underwrite the gatherings, and get their own face to face time with multiple Superintendents at once. “I think these coffee breaks are a great idea,” says Jason Krogman, Superintendent of Kitsap Golf and Country Club. “The main thing I liked was just getting to meet others in the area. I’m still trying to get to know other Sup’s in our area. Learning some tricks from some of the older guys also helped. It got me thinking of a few things to do differently.” Ryan Hammer, Superintendent at Trophy Lake Golf and Casting, adds “I enjoyed the fact that it was close to me and not an all-day meeting that would keep me away from my own course for the day. It was great to meet some of the local Superintendents that I had not previously met and pass around some ideas.” Planet Turf USA was represented by Justin Ruiz, who enjoyed the chance to meet with multiple Superintendents in a roundtable setting. Planet Turf USA will present another Coffee Break sometime this year in the Olympia area. Also planned is a Coffee Break in the northern part of our region that will be presented by Wilbur Ellis. There’s room for a couple more before the end of this calendar year, so if you would like a Coffee Break to come to your club, let Bill Ackerley (WWGCSA Executive Director) know. Because, as John Hicks, Superintendent at Canterwood says, the benefit of the Coffee Breaks for Superintendents is “the ability to talk with fellow superintendents in my area on what they are experiencing and also learn about new products or services from vendors [without] tying up your whole day.” A Coffee Break can come to you simply for the asking. Let the WWGCSA know if you’re interested.
The WWGCSA Annual Fivesome Tournament will be played at Sahalee Country Club on May 9th. Sahalee has a rich, albeit not so long, history . . . especially for a course in the Northwest. It has hosted major championships for the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour. It has also been a highly sought after venue for Northwest golf championships. Golf Digest routinely lists Sahalee as one of America’s Top 100 Courses, and ranked it #1 amongst Washington courses for 2017-2018.
The course was originally designed by Ted Robinson and has gone through multiple renovations by Rees Jones—in part to get the course ready for the many championships it hosts. As you may be aware, the name “Sahalee” comes from the native Chinook meaning “High Heavenly Ground”, which seems very appropriate given Sahalee’s geographic and topographic location. The Club opened in 1968, and its first golf course Superintendent was Louis Schmidt, who served in that capacity for ten years. Today, Tom Huesgen is the Director of Golf Course Operations, working with Superintendent Marcus Harness. The two of them work the other key members of the Sahalee management team: General Manager Jim Pike, Head Golf Pro Mike Montgomery and Clubhouse Manager Justin Keener.
Tom Huesgen looks forward to seeing you all, “As Turfgrass Managers, we pride ourselves in providing quality golfing conditions on a regular basis at our facilities. This pride and gratification is elevated with the honor of hosting fellow industry peers and operation managers to enjoy our club. We are excited to welcome everyone to Sahalee for this year's Fivesome event!" Don’t miss your chance. Sign up for the Fivesome, to be played on May 9th, by registering here.
When it comes to pillars of the NW golf industry, one name stands alone. Larry Gilhuly has served superintendents, green committees and state golf associations as the NW agronomist for the USGA over the last 35 years. A strong resume for certain, but for so much more, Larry
Gilhuly was deemed the 2019 recipient of the Paul Backman Distinguished Service Award, presented at Sahalee Country Club to close the Annual Fivesome festivities.
A native of Kelso Washington, Larry began his golf career in 1968 at the Longview Country Club. Larry earned the Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies in 1970, then he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and turf science from Washington State University. In 1973 he became an intern at Seattle’s Broadmoor Golf Club, then became Assistant Superintendent] at the Seattle Golf Club in 1975. Larry then joined the USGA Green Section in 1983 where he has remained since.
In his career, Larry has visited courses in fourteen states and eight countries including the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. He has easily tallied over two million miles by car and air and has seen over 1,100 unique golf courses.
David Phipps, the GCSAA’s Northwest Regional Representative, was asked to present the honor to Larry, and explained how it was the “so much more” than Gilhuly’s résumé which defined his contributions to the WWGCSA. “Larry’s warm personality and incredible sense of humor has endeared him to everyone whom he has met. His insight into golf course maintenance has been instrumental in assisting the superintendent, and has assured the success of those whom have had the privilege to work with him.”
Phipps continued, “Larry has been a proponent of junior golf in the State of Washington and helped ward off a tax that would have put a burden on all high school golf teams who received complementary access to local golf courses. He has also been a huge proponent of The First Green, assisting in field trips wherever and whenever he could. However, retirement will probably not keep Larry away from that. It is with great honor that on behalf of the Western Washington GCSA, this award is given to Larry for his extraordinary career in the golf industry.”
New to your website—on the home page under Sponsor Contacts—is a new section we call “On the Move.” This section will highlight some recent changes in the lives of the people who are part of our Association: Superintendents, Assistants, Equipment Managers, Vendors and the like. We don’t always learn about changes of scenery of our fellow members until well past when we’d like, “On the Move” is an attempt to change that. See what’s happening, learn some stories, reach out and say “Congrats!”. Many thanks to Ryan Rosevear of Foster Golf Links for being the first entry into our new section of the website. Just look to the right under our Sponsor recognitions to learn what Ryan’s up to.
And if you are on the move, or made a recent move, or promoted someone in your crew, tell us about it. People will want to reconnect with those in new roles, and letting us know at firstname.lastname@example.org will help us all stay connected. Don’t be shy, be like Ryan!
Everything has a beginning. . . . and you might say that the beginning of Wing Point was in 1902! Some may argue for 1903 and others for another year, but the Scott Fitzgerald types who summered on the Point around the turn of the century scooped a few holes in the apple orchard for their first "game" in the vicinity of our present 14th tee.
By 1916, the Wing Pointers of the time became more serious about golf and developed more of the orchard and meadow property into a six-hole course, most of it skirting the lower portion of the present course, south of the county road (Wing Point Way).
In 1920 they incorporated the original Wing Point Golf & Country Club with a capital of $10,000, which a few years later was enlarged to $15,000. They were now able to enlarge the course to a 9-holer and to build a clubhouse in 1925 (which was situated just east of our present 14th tee). The course had sand greens which some of our old-timers still mumble about. Apparently it wasn't St. Andrews. But the clubhouse? It became headquarters for some of the most convivial merrymaking the next 37 years ever knew!
The Wing Point Golf & Country Club, as we know it today, was conceived in the 50's and officially formed March 6, 1961, with Mr. Archie Taft, Jr. becoming the first president. (Archie was the chief dreamer and doer . . . author of the idea.) Incorporation papers were filed in Olympia on April 18, 1961.
Two years later, July 3rd and 4th, 1963, a gala dedication of the $300,000 course, clubhouse, and facilities was celebrated by 232 proprietary members and 12 social members and with what seemed like all of Bainbridge Island present to share in this important new asset to the island . . . but the pride of our club didn't stop then, we've been "fine-tuning" it ever since!
Wing Point expanded to 18 holes in 1991. Then, after the turn of the century, Mike Goldsberry became the Superintendent of the Golf Course and raised the expectations of how the course was to be maintained. Today, the course is in the middle of a Master Plan directed renovation. To delight of the members, despite significant changes to what is now the front nine, the renovation has been taking place without any financial impact to the members. Goldsberry has been able to accomplish this using his own crew plus his affinity for shaping. Next up will be renovating the bunkers on the second nine to match the new bunkers on the front nine. The result of the changes is that Wing Point has become one of the top private golf courses in the West Sound region of Washington State.
Ryan Semritc of Willows Run will become the next president of the WWGCSA Board of Directors, succeeding Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra) effective January 1, 2020. Also elected were new Board members Marcus Harness (Sand Point CC Superintendent), Justin Jones (Broadmoor GC), and Shawn Frisbee (Turf Star Commercial Sales). The three new members will participate in transition activities before becoming voting members of the Board at the start of the new year.
The WWGCSA membership also approved a proposal by its Board of Directors to save a position on its Board for an Equipment Manager. The WWGCSA Board recognizes the vital role equipment managers play on any golf course maintenance crew, and it is important support this role with continuing education and networking opportunities, while also providing equipment managers with a voice on the association’s Board of Directors. The proposal passed unanimously.
The program at the Annual Meeting included two presentations. Kevin Sunderland, a member of the GCSAA Board and a superintendent from Tampa Florida, spoke to WWGCSA members about the benefits of taking advantage of the different resources that GCSAA offers. In particular, Sunderland mentioned online webinars and a new program which provides certification for equipment managers. Sunderland’s encouragement to get equipment managers more involved was welcomed support of the WWGCSA’s adoption of a board seat for EMs. Brian Moore, President of Wing Point GCC, the meeting’s host course, spoke along with Mike Goldsberry about Wing Point’s recent execution of its master plan, while relying primarily on its own crew to do the work, and therefore saving the membership close to half a million dollars and avoiding financial assessments of its membership. The talk included a walking tour of the course’s par 3 tenth hole, one of the holes that was recently completely remodeled.
The day concluded with a round of tournament golf, which included the Annual Superintendents’ Championship. Mike Goldsberry repeated as the WWGCSA Champion, carding a 74 on a course with greens that were stimping at 13, while played under clear blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s.
1st Place: Scott Mutchler (Horizon Distributors), Chris Seibel (Interbay Golf Center), Gary Enholm (Interbay Golf Center), William Wallace (Turf Commander) 2 under par
2nd Place: Reed Perry (Lynnwood GC), Bob Adams (Turf Star), Jacob Close (Sudden Valley), Sean Watts (Simplot) EVEN
Note: 1st Place teammates each receive $50 gift certificates, 2nd Place teammates each receive $25 gift certificates. Please send your mailing address to email@example.com in order to have your prize sent to you. Jacob Close and Sean Watts benefitted from a blind draw in order to fill out the foursome. Scores from other teams ranged from +1 to +36. We have not listed them here in order to protect their reputations.
1st Place: Mike Goldsberry (Wing Point GCC)—74
2nd Place: Sean Reehoorn (Aldarra GC)—79
3rd Place: Greg Hall (Fairwood GCC)—80
Many thanks to all of the participants. It was another gorgeous day on the golf course.
One of our own is going through a serious health challenge. John Leslie, the Superintendent at Tapps Island Golf Course, is headed for surgery this coming Friday. It came to our attention because John has been a key cog these past few years at WTLS, helping speakers with their technological needs. This year, John won’t be able to make it. We felt it important to explain John’s absence, and figured it best that we hear from John in his own words, which we are sharing with our fellow WWGCSA members as follows:
The last couple weeks have been some of the scariest of my life. I have lost my sense of smell, and although I was joking it off, during a physical the doctor sent me to a specialist to find a reason. During a CT Scan of my sinuses, a tumor was found.
Luckily, it’s not connected to the brain and this type is almost never cancerous. The tumor has been there for quite a long time and has pushed into the nerve that is used for smelling.
On December 6th I will be having a 6-hour surgery to remove the tumor at Harborview Hospital. I will then be in the hospital for around 4 or 5 days to recuperate before heading home. They’re telling me I won’t be able to return to work for 6 weeks or so.
The prognosis is very good that a tumor should not grow back. And other than my sense of smell, no permanent damage should come of this.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you want. This was the easiest way I could explain what is happening without having to have lots of uncomfortable phone conversations. I’m excited to get this situation behind me and my family and move on with our life. Thank you for letting me share this with you all.
Participants attending the Pesticide License Recertification Seminars will receive one WSDA recertification credit for each talk that they attend. There are 6 credits available on Wednesday, and 4 more on Thursday. For those attending the Professional Development Seminar on Tuesday, 0.50 GCSAA Education Points will be earned. Below are the lineups for each day:
Tuesday—Professional Development Seminar:
Speakers to include Dr. Frank Rossi (Cornell), Dan Dinelli (North Shore CC), Dr. Frank Wong (Bayer) and Mike Huck
Wednesday—Pesticide Recertification Seminar:
Speakers to include Danny Vandecoevering, Mike Huck, Sarah Olson (Kitsap County), Geraldine Saw (Snohomish County), Terry McNabb (Aquatechnix), Gwen Stahnke (Walla Walla College)
Thursday—Pesticide Recertification Seminar:
Speakers to include Dr. Zac Reicher, Rusty Sauls and Gwen Stahnke
The WWGCSA took over the main floor of the Lynnwood Convention Center last week, delivering its standard collection of seminars for Turf Managers in Western Washington to earn valuable WSDA Pesticide Recertification credits and ISA points. WWGCSA members also took home GCSAA Education Points, while Equipment Managers met offsite at Inglewood Country Club. Close to 600 Turf Managers attended the event over three days, and industry vendors were able to show off their services and wares in the middle of it all.
Additional Seminar Categories included Sports Turf and Irrigation Management, Landscape Maintenance and Environmental Sustainability, Professional Development and Pesticide Licensing Test Preparation. Speakers came from all over the country, including Chicago’s North Shore Country Club, Cornell University, the University of Nebraska, Orange County and San Jose. However, the majority of the Speakers were experts in their field from right here in the state of Washington.
Next year’s Washington Turf and Landscape Show is tentatively scheduled for December 15-17, 2020.
Many thanks to Justin Ruiz of Planet Turf and Joel Kachmarek of Tacoma Country and Golf Club for hosting the last Coffee Break of 2020. Issues and Products for the coming year were discussed, as well as some good old-fashioned banter, helping distract all in attendance from the torrential rain that has beset our region these last few days.
Be aware of more coffee breaks coming in 2020, hopefully at a location near you.
Turf Star Western and Pacific Golf & Turf are presenting this year’s WWGCSA Winter Meeting, with additional support from Helena Agri Enterprises and Walrath Trucking and Specialty Sands, so that WWGCSA Members and their invited guests may attend at no charge. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Brian Horgan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. Dr. Horgan will be presenting a talk on the value of golf courses as a natural resource to any community or municipality. The perspective he will discuss is not from the point of view of a golf course as a place to play a game, but a golf course as open space, a habitat for plants and animals in the middle of an urban jungle, even as a place which reduces the temperature of its surrounding community.
The event will be held at the Glendale Country Club in Bellevue on February 13. The Board of the WWGCSA believes that Dr. Horgan’s message is important for a wide audience to hear. As a result, there will be no registration fee, although RSVP’s are strongly requested. The event will be underwritten by industry partners of the WWGCSA, and is produced in cooperation with the Golf Alliance, which includes Washington Golf, the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, the Evergreen Chapter of Club Managers Association of America, and the Western Washington Chapter of the PGA of America. In addition to Dr. Horgan, Matt Amundsen, the City of Seattle’s Manager of Golf, will speak on the current status of the City’s review of the best use of their golf course land going forward. A roundtable will follow, with additional appearances by Troy Andrew of Washington Golf, Evan Johnsen from the First Tee of Seattle, Steve Kealy (Glendale CC Superintendent) on First Green, and industry legislative advocate Heather Hansen.
The full agenda will be:
Registration and Continental Breakfast
Dr. Horgan's Presentation
Matt Amundsen's Presentation
Presentation of WWGCSA Distinguished Service Award
Roundtable with Dr. Horgan, Matt Amundsen, Troy Andrew, Evan Johnsen, Steve Kealy, and Heather Hansen
We hope you’ll come and bring anyone you like, including public officials and golf media. As stated above, there is no charge to attend. You can register here.
The 2020 WWGCSA Spring Meeting will be held at Tacoma Country & Golf Club on Tuesday March 24. Along with Gearhart Golf Links in Oregon, and Victoria Golf Club in British Columbia, TCGC is one of the original golf courses west of the Mississippi River. Created in 1894, the course and club have become part of a short list of highly respected Golf Clubs in the Pacific Northwest. For this reason, and many others, the WWGCSA is excited that our 2020 Spring Meeting will be held there—hosted by Superintendent Joel Kachmarek.
At almost 7,000 yards, the course is known for its impeccable maintenance and exceptional greens. Please join us for a program on career development, lunch and a little golf on one of the finest courses in Western Washington. To be part of the fun and camaraderie, be sure to sign up here.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Ryan Gordon has turned his hearing loss into a positive by focusing on communication at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge
This year's finalists for the TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta come from a variety of backgrounds. These experiences include opening an entire industry to the once-taboo subject of mental health, following a legend, dealing with the effects of a devastating natural disaster, managing a sprawling property under tough conditions and overcoming personal challenges most others take for granted.
The finalists for this year's award are: Kyle Callahan, Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana; Matt DiMase, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in Abaco, Bahamas; Ryan Gordon, the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington; Paul MacCormack, Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, Prince Edward Island; and Jake Mendoza, Detroit Golf Club.
Meticulous planning and organization help overcome limited budget and staffing and wall-to-wall bentgrass at a sprawling 400-acre facility in southwestern Indiana - an area where all other courses are growing zoysiagrass. Click here to read more.
Stayed on the island during Hurricane Dorian and used his knowledge and experience as a superintendent to head up relief efforts on the golf course, for members of his team and for locals in his community. Click here to read more.
Rather than let hearing loss hold him back, Ryan Gordon has used it to his advantage to redefine effective non-verbal communication at this Seattle-area course that is home to an annual Champions Tour event. Click here to read more.
Evan Johnsen of First Tee and Troy Andrew of WA Golf and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association will join our keynote speaker, Dr. Brian Horgan, at WWGCSA’s Winter Meeting to participate in a roundtable to discuss further resources that golf courses provided to their surrounding communities. The Roundtable is part of a larger program led by Dr. Horgan’s presentation addressing the Science of the Green.
Evan served as varsity captain of his golf teams at Skyline High School and Claremont McKenna College in California, before beginning his career in the field of Real Estate development and finance. In his spare time, he started volunteering with The First Tee of Greater Seattle and developed a huge appreciation for the program and connected with its mission to help young people develop character through the game of golf. In 2012 Evan made a career change and became First Tee’s Director of Programs and Development, responsible for operations and fundraising at the chapter. Evan is a First Tee nationally recognized Coach and Program Director, a National Trainer, Level 3 PGA Associate, and serves on the Player Development Committee of the Western Washington Chapter of the PGA.
Troy grew up working and playing golf at Oakbrook G&CC in Lakewood, Wash. He is a graduate of Central Washington University and he spent several summers working on the maintenance crew at Oakbrook to help pay for school. Troy started working for WA Golf in 1999 when he was hired as the Director of Rules and Competition. After seven years in the Championship Department, he became the Director of Communications until 2007, when he was named Assistant Executive Director. In 2011, Troy was named CEO/Executive Director of the Associations and The Home Course.
Join your fellow colleagues and friends of the Golf industry at the February 13 WWGCSA Winter Meeting, jointly presented by Turf Star Western and Pacific Golf & Turf, with additional support from Helena Agri Enterprises and Walrath Sand Products, as part of the Washington Golf Alliance. Our sponsors’ help is allowing us to present the event at no cost.
We reached out to John Leslie, Superintendent at Tapps Island Golf Course and WWGCSA member, to see how he was recovering after surgery to remove a tumor in December. In his own words, here’s how he’s doing:
“My surgery was on December 6th to remove a benign brain tumor, that was discovered after I lost my sense of smell. I went through an eight-hour procedure where they were able to remove the tumor with no complications.
I spent about four days in Harborview, before going home for recovery. The staff there was fantastic, but the food wasn’t! It was a difficult time for me and my family, but through the incredible support of friends, family and community we were able to slowly get better.
I am now fully back to work with just some minor restrictions. And like most of you, gearing up for the year ahead.
I will have a gamma knife procedure this spring to treat a small piece of the tumor that was left behind. It should take care of whatever is left, and I’ll be back to work the next day. That should be the last thing I have to do. And hopefully down the road, I can recover at least some of my sense of smell.
I want to sincerely thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this period. And especially those that reached out to check on how I was doing. It really meant a lot!
And a special thank you to David Phipps and the WWGCSA Board, for helping me get some assistance from the GCSAA to help cover some of my medical expenses. They worked as an advocate for me to get a benefit that I didn’t know was available. Hopefully none of you are in a medical situation like I was, but if you are, there may be some help to get you and your family through difficult times.
Cheers, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2020 for everyone!”
John, from everyone at the WWGCSA, we’re so glad to hear you’re doing well!