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Excel Industries Inc., manufacturer of Hustler Turf Equipment, has announced a long-term strategic partnership with IHI Shibaura Machinery Corp. of Japan. The two companies will collaborate on marketing and development of multiple products and technologies in a mutually benefiting relationship that combines strengths, resources and technical expertise, according to the companies. Excel Industries manufactures zero-turn mowing equipment, while Shibaura specializes in diesel engines, four-wheel-drive systems and reel mowers. Several new products from the partnership will be unveiled to the U.S. and international markets in the coming months, the companies say.
This September, students pursuing a golf enterprise management degree at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, received scholarships from The Toro Co. The 2008 Toro Golf Enterprise Management Scholarships reward students pursuing degrees in golf business. The university’s GEM degree specializes in courses on managing the business of a golf course. Recipients of this year’s scholarships include Cody Buck, Joshua Fischer, Henry Mohr and Riley Worple.
For the third consecutive year, GCSAA served as a supporting sponsor of the Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament, held in September at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Nearly 200 golfers with intellectual disabilities from across the country participated in the event. GCSAA Class A member Doug Miller, director of agronomy at the club, and his crew hosted more than 500 athletes, family members and Special Olympics staff members over the weekend.
Tamarack Resort in central Idaho and the Wood River Ability Program recently paired up to host a group of injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to the resort for golf and mountain biking after the group spent six days whitewater rafting on the Main Fork of the Salmon. Brought to the region from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, the group of veterans golfed and spent time at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Osprey Meadows course at Tamarack. The Wood River Ability Program is an Idaho-based group that helps U.S. military amputees develop new skills in outdoor recreation.
Marriott Golf announced a number of promotional programs recently, including its “Play With the Pros” sweepstakes to highlight its new Web site. Those who enter the sweepstakes have a chance to win a private lesson with the 2008 European Ryder Cup captain, Nick Faldo, and play alongside PGA Tour professionals in the 2008 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. The sweepstakes is an effort to promote www.marriottgolf.com, an interactive reservation portal for its various golf properties worldwide. As part of its “Kids Golf-4-Free” program, the group also introduced this year its “Kids Rent 4-Free” program, which provides free rental sets of Accu-Length clubs when children take lessons or play golf alongside an adult at one of Marriott Golf’s 37 participating resort destinations.
Superintendents in Japan now have access to DryJect’s aeration services as Profile Products LLC has opened a DryJect franchise in Tokyo. Profile acquired DryJect last year. DryJect’s Tokyo franchise, Toyo Green, combines with a Korean DryJect franchise to provide aeration services to the Asian turf market. Toyo Green serves golf courses and sports fields in central Japan.
The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has chosen Aaron J. Patton, Ph.D., as the recipient of its 2007 Musser Award of Excellence. The award carries a stipend of $20,000 and was presented earlier this year to Patton, who serves as an assistant professor and Extension turfgrass specialist at the University of Arkansas’ department of horticulture. He also conducted award-winning doctoral research at Purdue University that focused on the development and use of zoysiagrass.
Eastman Industries has purchased assets of California Trimmer Inc., a Fresno, Calif.-based company that has manufactured powered reel mowers since 1935. Eastman says it will move all of California Trimmer’s inventory and equipment from Fresno to its manufacturing facility in Portland, Maine. It will continue full production of Trimmer mowers before the end of the year. Eastman manufactures lawn mowers, garden tractors and accessories.
Superintendents can now translate purchases of Phoenix Environmental Care LLC’s fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, growth regulators and aquatic products into charitable donations to turf-related or other types of entities through its PERKs incentive program. Incentives can be converted into donations, contributions or sponsorships of turf-related activities and organizations, including university turf programs. Examples include local and national superintendent groups, research foundations, charitable organizations and more. The reward can be made directly to the club or taken as a distributor credit, the company adds. End-users can earn up to 10 percent of their total purchase amount. Qualifying purchases must take place by Jan. 15, 2008, with delivery taken by April 15.
The Irrigation Association has named the California Agricultural Irrigation Association its 2007 Partner of the Year. The CAIA, which promotes irrigation efficiency in the world’s seventh-largest agricultural economy, will receive the award this month during the IA’s Irrigation Show in San Diego. The California association is honored for bringing irrigation education to California growers, encouraging agricultural equipment dealers to work with growers to optimize irrigation efficiency, relaying its message to elected officials and raising thousands of dollars to provide scholarships for students pursuing careers in irrigation.
Redexim Charterhouse Inc. has been selected as a certified member of the Synthetic Turf Council. Founded in 2003, the council recognizes certified member companies that have voluntarily committed to a high standard of quality, the group says. The company also introduces the newest distributor to carry its line of turf equipment, Vereen’s Turf Products in Long, S.C. Vereen’s will carry the company’s Verti-Drain, Verti-Seed, Verti-Core, Verti-Quake, Turf Tidy and the Verti-Drill System, in addition to parts and service.
The Toro Co. has completed a two-story, 15,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility in Tomah, Wis. The expansion includes a 3,000-square-foot training room, main reception area, health and safety office, and centralized HR department. The facility, which was originally built in 1975, will be used for associate training and improvement activities, employs around 700 people and manufactures Toro’s Groundsmaster mowers, Workman utility vehicles and Reelmaster mowers.
Aquatrols and Soil Reliever now supply their products to FarmLinks’ research and demonstration facility in Sylacauga, Ala. Soil Reliever’s deep tine aerification system now is in use on the 18-hole championship course, and Aquatrols lends its soil surfactant technology to the facility. FarmLinks specifically has used Aquatrols’ Revolution and Dispatch products, which FarmLinks says has helped it to maintain turf quality throughout drought conditions. The facility also employs Soil Reliever’s deep tine aerification technique three times a year on its greens, which makes a difference in the turfgrass systems’ longevity, says Mark Langner, FarmLinks’ director of agronomy and applied research.
After months of searching, the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association found someone worthy of lending his namesake to the association’s highest honor. The group announces the development of the Edwin Budding Award to recognize those who have contributed to the golf course equipment industry and specifically excelled in the business, history, design, engineering and maintenance of golf course equipment. Edwin Budding invented the reel mower in 1830 and the adjustable spanner/crescent wrench. The award committee is made up of industry leaders and a member of IGCEMA. The winner of the first-ever Edwin Budding Award will be announced at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando next month.
Kubota Tractor Corp. and Land Pride have announced an alliance in which participating Kubota dealerships in the U.S. will offer Land Pride implements with Kubota tractors. Specifically, customers buying Kubota loaders, backhoes and Kubota-branded implements will be offered such three-point implements as Land Pride’s rotary cutters, grooming mowers, rotary tillers, rear blades and more. Larry Nenneman, senior director of marketing for Kubota, says the alliance is meant to give Kubota customers a one-stop shop for easy purchasing of tractor and implement packages.
Continuing its long-standing support of Rhode Island’s Camp Davis, E-Z-Go donated a four-passenger golf car to the nonprofit organization owned and operated by the Boys & Girls Club of Providence, R.I. Camp Davis uses the electric-powered golf car to transport staff and campers around its 106 acres. E-Z-Go has raised more than $600,000 over the past dozen years through its annual Boys & Girls Clubs Golf Classic in Augusta, Ga.
Boston Irrigation Supply now carries Rain Bird Corp. Golf Division products in Vermont and western Massachusetts. An established Rain Bird Golf distributor in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, most of Connecticut and eastern Massachusetts, BISCO won Rain Bird’s Top Flight award in 2005 and 2006 for top-performing distributors.
Golfasian, a Thailand golf tour operator, has expanded its Bangkok operations after a 126 percent increase in business growth. A rise in the golf travel market in Thailand has prompted the growth, and the company provided services to more than 1,300 golf travelers to the region over the past year, it says. The company operates more than 65 championship golf courses and offers multi-city customized golf packages with optional excursions. Golfasian also more than doubled its Bangkok headquarters and expanded operations in several other Thailand cities.
Alex Withers has been named director of new media at the USGA. In the newly created position, Withers will oversee online and new media functions of the USGA and develop online advertising, partnerships, e-commerce initiatives and industry events. Withers previously served as the marketing director for ESPN’s new media.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has promoted Brian Kura to senior vice president of North America sales. Kura will oversee relationships with all the company’s retail partners to ensure quality sales and in-store service. Kura began working with Scotts in 1997.
Dow AgroSciences has named Matt Benson its North America market sell and U.S. business services leader. Benson replaces Jack Mitenbuler, who retired. Benson, who began working for Dow in 1982, will continue to lead marketing and sales training for the company and manage both marketing research and marketing communications managers.
BASF Specialty Products Department has named Todd Burkdoll its market development specialist supporting turf and ornamental markets in the western United States. Burkdoll will work with BASF sales reps, distributors, university cooperators and end users. He previously worked for BASF’s agricultural products division as a technical service rep.
David Aronowitz, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., has stepped down from the position, the company announces. A replacement has not yet been determined.
ValleyCrest Golf Course Maintenance, a division of ValleyCrest Cos., recently hired Terrance Mayo as a regional superintendent. Mayo, a Class A member of GCSAA, will support ValleyCrest superintendents at courses under contract in the Los Angeles area. He previously worked as superintendent at California courses Brookside GC in Pasadena and Knollwood CC in Granada Hills.
Dave Heatwole, a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, has started his own design firm, Heatwole Golf Design Inc. Based in State College, Pa., the firm specializes in new course designs and renovating existing courses. Current projects include The Presidential GC in Dulles, Va., and a renovation and master plan for Bonnie Briar CC in Larchmont, N.Y. Visit www.heatwole golf.com for more information.
A comprehensive rebuilding of Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford Township, Pa., was completed this summer. Originally built in 1895, the course was revamped by A.W. Tillinghast 20 years later and retooled by Donald Ross in 1923. Forse Design Inc. and Frontier Golf oversaw the renovation while preserving and integrating these three vintage design styles. Every green, tee and fairway was rebuilt and under-girded with drainage, irrigation and soil profiles. Period photography from the National Archive was used to restore a Tillinghast green at No. 14, and a stream bed was restored to its original depth to guard against erosion. Dave Swartzel, a Class A GCSAA member who has overseen three new course developments, is the superintendent at Bedford Springs.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Orange Tree Golf Resort celebrated its 50th anniversary recently with a series of enhancements to upgrade the golfing experience. The course offers an electronic tee sheet that allows guests to book tee times online months in advance. If the weather is uncooperative, golfers can use the resort’s AboutGolf indoor simulator, which serves as an indoor driving range and golf course. The program can measure club path, club head speed, ball speed, spin rate, distance and critical impact points. The course also purchased 90 new Club Car Precedent golf cars equipped with ProLink’s global positioning satellite system. Gary Hickerson, a Class A GCSAA member, is superintendent at Orange Tree.
This year, Jacobsen Hardy Golf Course Design broke ground on a renovation of Wellington (Fla.) G&CC that included a polo field and practice range and a golf course whose length will vary according to whether the ponies are running. The golf course shut down in April and reopened around Thanksgiving with a new name — The Wanderers Club at Wellington. Renovations of the private club also encompassed its tennis courts, clubhouse and other amenities.