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Norman tabbed for
Greg Norman, who has had immense success in both professional golf and the business world and is also a champion of golf and the environment, is GCSAA’s 2008 Old Tom Morris Award winner.
A winner of 91 professional tournaments, including two British Opens, the 52-year-old Norman in recent years has become a hugely accomplished entrepreneur as head of Great White Shark Enterprises. Meanwhile, he has supported the superintendent profession and has been a strong proponent of golf’s relationship with nature while serving as a trustee of The Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA’s philanthropic organization that works to strengthen that relationship through research grants, support of education programs and outreach.
“Greg Norman truly embodies the spirit of this award,” GCSAA President Ricky D. Heine, CGCS, said in an association release. “A true friend to our profession and association, he has made countless contributions to the game.”
A native of Queensland, Australia, Norman was an accomplished all-around athlete as a youth, but didn’t take up golf until he was 15. Four years later he turned professional. Among his victories are 20 PGA Tour titles. He was a three-time leading money winner on the PGA Tour and was the first to surpass $10 million in career earnings. Norman was ranked No. 1 in the world for 331 weeks in the 1980s and ’90s. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
Great White Shark Enterprises, of which Norman is chairman and CEO, has interests primarily focused on golf and the golf lifestyle. Greg Norman Golf Course Design is a premier signature design group; Medallist Development builds top residential golf communities; Greg Norman Turf licenses proprietary turfgrasses for golf, athletic fields and home lawns; and Greg Norman Collection is a world-leading marketer and distributor of men’s sportswear and golf apparel. There is also Greg Norman Estates, a producer of fine wines.
Greg Norman Production Co. runs the Merrill Lynch Shootout, a PGA Tour event played at the Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., that has raised more than $10 million for the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation. He also has designed two other courses that host the PGA Tour — the AT&T Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga., and the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon Golf Club at Mayakoba in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Norman’s long-standing role with The Institute includes his work on its advisory council, which he currently chairs. The council provides guidance to the organization’s trustees in the areas of outreach, fundraising and strategic communications.
Norman is the 26th recipient of the Old Tom Morris Award, regarded as GCSAA’s highest honor.
“I have always had the utmost respect for the GCSAA, and I believe its members are truly the unsung heroes of our sport,” Norman said in the association release. “It is a distinct honor to be selected for the Old Tom Morris Award and to join the distinguished list of past recipients.”
The OTMA will be presented to Norman on Jan. 31 at the 2008 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Fla.
The deadline to submit proposals to GCSAA’s 2008 Research Grant Program is Nov. 16. The program funds new applied agronomic, environmental and regulatory research that will benefit superintendents and their courses.
The Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, will provide funding for research projects in 2008 in four separate programs — Aquatrols’ Robert A. Moore Endowment Fund, the Chapter Cooperative Research Program, the Mark Kizziar Research Grant and the Water Conservation Grant by
The Institute encourages superintendents and turf scientists to jointly develop the research proposals. For more details about submitting proposals to the grant program, go to www.eifg.org.
Prototype robotic mower
(Editor’s note: The following story first appeared on GCM’s blog.)
There was freshly mowed rough awaiting golfers on the Members Course at St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C., on Monday mornings a while back. That may not seem like huge news, but here’s the rub: The mowing was done by a robotic mower.
Conrad Broussard, CGCS, director of agronomy at St. James, was approached by one of the members, Tom Moore, about using a robotic mower on the course on a trial basis. Moore is president of Softee Manufacturing and lives right off the 12th hole at the Members Course. Broussard didn’t know exactly what this robotic mower was all about, but Moore offered to set it up in the rough that adjoins his backyard, and he’d even use his own electricity to power the thing — all he needed was to know how tall Broussard wanted the rough. Broussard told him he liked it at 1½ inches.
“I was a lot more impressed than I thought I’d be,” Broussard says. “All four of my superintendents here were also impressed and it’s not easy to impress all of us.”
The robotic mower — called the Bigmow — can cut up to 5 acres in a day. It was only used when golfers were off the course. It’s electric, so it mows until the battery gets low, then the Bigmow returns to the recharge station and powers up again.
One of Broussard’s favorite features is the weight of the unit. At 105 pounds, Bigmow doesn’t compact the grass and there’s no scalping. Also, because the grass was cut every day, there was less of the plant’s blade getting cut, so there were no brown stems from a deeper cut.
Meanwhile, Moore says he’s going to book his first Golf Industry Show, Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Orlando. Also, the Bigmow has caught the attention of some of the major equipment manufacturers.
“With the fuel costs the way they are today, there’s no way this unit isn’t going to go. It’s just too cheap,” Moore says, adding that based on his kilowatt meter, it was costing him 20 cents a day to mow the 1.5 acres of rough behind his house.
Manufactured by a company in Belgium, the Bigmow is popular in Europe, being used primarily on sports fields and on driving ranges. Moore is hustling to get the product introduced to the American market.
“After we had it at St. James for six, maybe eight weeks, Conrad told me that this thing should pay for itself in two years,” Moore says, factoring in fuel, equipment and labor costs.
“We’re a little ahead of our time — not a lot, a little,” Moore says of the skepticism concerning robotics. “People don’t think about robotics when they think about mowing. They think about improving their mowing time and they think zero turn. They don’t think that there’s something that cuts 24/7 and they don’t even have to go out there.”
Broussard says he’ll probably get serious about purchasing a Bigmow once a couple of improvements are made. The Bigmow operation currently is based on an underground wire, such as an invisible fence for a dog. He’d like to see the mower work on GPS data. Also, he’d like to see the docking station switched over to solar power.
Moore believes he also could have success with the Bigmow Ball Picker at a place like St. James. That machine mows the driving range while picking up 300 golf balls per trip.
“We are in the process right now of trying to pick our market, see where there might be interest,” he says. “We’re ready to improve the product even further and put them in place.”
— Seth Jones, GCM senior associate editor
A new television series on Fox Sports Net that began Sept. 30, “SportScience,” includes a segment featuring GCSAA members.
The show uses high technology to explore the biomechanics and mysteries behind athletic activities. One of this season’s episodes, “Golfing Investigation,” focuses on the conditions surrounding the game of golf that are outside the control of the golfer. Part of that episode deals with the playing surface, the course, and presents experiments with grass lengths and moisture.
Producers worked with James Ward, CGCS, golf manager for the city of Los Angeles, in filming that segment at Griffith Park’s Wilson Golf Course. Technical assistance was provided by Ron Binkier, senior supervisor for Griffith Park’s five golf venues, and Sergio Guzman, superintendent at Wilson Golf Course.
Tiger Woods will design his first golf course in the United States — The Cliffs at High Carolina, part of large collection of private, master-planned residential developments near Asheville, N.C.
GCSAA president travels Down Under
Heine, the general manager and director of grounds at The Golf Club Star Ranch in Austin, Texas, was the all-expenses-paid guest of the New Zealand GCSA. He made a trio of separate presentations during the three-day conference, focusing on current issues and trends in American golf course maintenance, course design in the U.S. and human resource trends facing American superintendents.
“The people of New Zealand are unbelievable, so friendly and caring,” Heine says. “The people at the conference appreciated the educational opportunities that were offered, and I developed a respect for the professionalism that was exhibited by everyone there.”
The conference attracted more than 600 attendees and offered targeted sessions for turf managers working in golf, sports fields, cricket, lawn bowling and horse racing. The conference took place at Westpac Stadium, a 34,000-seat facility that hosts soccer, rugby and Australian Rules Football matches in addition to events at its conference facilities.
Heine was invited to take part in the conference by Brett Burgess, the past president of the New Zealand GCSA and superintendent at Hutt Golf Club in Wellington. During his stay, Heine visited Burgess and Hutt GC, talking with staff and observing work around the golf course.
American golfers apparently let their fingers do the walking. According to the Yellow Pages Association, the heading “Golf Courses - Public” ranks 58th out of more than 4,000 Yellow Pages headings and generates more than 39 million references annually. YPA research also shows that more than 91 percent of Yellow Page searches for golf courses result in a transaction.
Anthony Williams, CGCS, director of grounds at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort and Stone Mountain Golf Club near Atlanta, is the first person in 37 years to repeat as Marriott’s Golf Grounds Manager of the Year. Anthony, national overall winner of the GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, also is the first golf course manager to win Marriott’s Crystal Achievement honor for excellence in public relations.
Trees and the First Tee
Junior golfers learn course-care etiquette
AJGA officials say the initiative was developed as a way to help keep the host courses at junior events in the condition in which they were found. The program was launched in conjunction with GCSAA, the PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association and included Care Fore the Course player meetings at tournament courses where players learned the correct ways to fix ball marks, repair divots and rake bunkers. The superintendents at the respective courses also participated in the meetings, talking about course features, environmental qualities and careers in golf course maintenance.
The AJGA players would then implement what they had learned in post-round Care Fore the Course parties where they went back out on the course and practice range to fix ball marks and fill divots.
Downing tops 2008 GCSAA election candidates
The candidates include:
Remaining on the board with one year left on a two-year term is Keith A. Ihms, CGCS at Country Club of Little Rock in Little Rock, Ark. Ricky D. Heine, CGCS, general manager and director of grounds at The Golf Club Star Ranch in Austin, Texas, will serve one year as immediate past president, while Sean A. Hoolehan, CGCS at Wildhorse Resort & Casino on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, will retire from the board as immediate past president.
EPA cleans up Special Review agenda
For more on these decisions and the Special Review process, visit www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/special_review/.
Rocky Mountain GCSA joins green alliance
“Our board feels strongly that we not only need to participate in the process, but agrees that the collective power of the various segments of the industry helps us all at the capitol,” RMGCSA executive director Gary Leeper said in an association press release.
The RMGCSA, which represents industry professionals in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico, is the eighth organization to join GreenCo. John Madden Jr., the Class A superintendent at Green Gables Country Club in Denver, is the RMGCSA representative on the 2007 GreenCo board of directors.
Early bird lands a big one
Hook, line and sinker
That result included three NGF myth busters:
In the meantime, golf rounds played in the U.S. were up this year over 2006 in the key summer months of May, June and July, bringing 2007’s total through July to -0.4 percent.
Best known as Arnold Palmer’s design partner for 35 years, Seay was credited with nearly 300 new golf courses and more than two dozen renovations, including Palmer’s Bay Hill Club in Orlando.
Seay, who began his career in 1964 working for noted designer Ellis Maples, was president of the ASGCA in 1976-77 and was given the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2006.
Seay is survived by his wife, Lynn, and two adult children.
In the news
A fresh face
Assistant superintendent wins license plate contest
Planting the gift of green
Getting a facelift
The USGA has approved an amendment to the 2008 Rules of Golf regarding additional forms of club adjustability. Any such adjustment cannot be made during a stipulated round, and all new forms of iron and wood adjustability must be approved in advance by the USGA.
“Did you hear about the player who spent so much time in a bunker that he got mail addressed to Hitler?” — BadGolfer.com.
Kansas GCSA aids tornado-stricken golf course
Located on the east edge of town, the golf course incurred damage from the May 4 tornado that virtually wiped out the southwestern Kansas community. The clubhouse sustained damage, and debris was strewn over the 36-year-old nine-hole course. Volunteers, including area golf course superintendents, provided initial assistance in cleaning the course and readying it for high school graduation ceremonies.
In September, Kansas GCSA members, including superintendents, assistant superintendents and vendors, helped Cannonball superintendent Gerald Morehead finish the restoration efforts. The greens and tees were aerated, verticut, seeded and fertilized, along with various other work to enhance the quality of the golf course. All materials, labor and equipment were donated.
“The city of Greensburg will persevere, thanks to the spirit of its residents and the support we have received from others, such as members of the Kansas Golf Course Superintendents Association. Restoring the golf course is vital to rebuilding the community. It provides a place for the residents to recreate and engage in fellowship. It is a place to experience and enjoy the nature. It is a piece of our economic infrastructure. There was great excitement when the Kansas GCSA approached us,” said Stan Robertson, president of the board of directors for the semi-private golf facility in a GCSAA release.
“This is our small contribution to bettering the lives of the residents of Greensburg,” said Matt Miller, Class A superintendent at Carey Park in Hutchinson and coordinator of the project. “We approached the community with the idea of sprucing up the golf course and they could not have been more receptive. The golf course is an important piece of the fabric of their lives. The response from our members and vendors has been overwhelming.”
Cannonball Golf Course is named after a stage coach line that stopped in Greensburg during the days of the Wild West.
GCM staff was on hand to chronicle the Kansas GCSA’s efforts in Greensburg on the GCM blog. The community outreach effort also will be featured in the November issue of the magazine.
GCSANC institute marks 27 years
The institute serves as an educational retreat, conference and trade show for superintendents, affiliates and allied members. Last month’s event also featured a joint meeting between Northern California and Sierra Nevada GCSA chapters.
Keynote speaker for the institute was Bradley S. Klein, Ph.D., architecture editor for Golfweek and editor-at-large for Turfnet, The Magazine. Also, Wente Vineyards superintendent Glenn Matthews hosted golf outings at the Greg Norman-designed layout.
Grants await another lucky five
The grants are designed to assist superintendents with their professional development through participation in the conference and show. The stipends cover expenses for airfare, including international; hotel accommodations for six nights; full-pack conference registration; two education seminars; and $200 in spending money.
The deadline for entries is Oct. 26. Superintendents who have not attended the last two conference and shows are eligible for the grants. The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be notified in November. Entrants must complete and submit the on-line application on either www.gcsaa.org, www.eifg.org or contact GCSAA member services at 800-472-7878.
Sam McEarl, Class A superintendent at Magellan Golf Course in Hot Springs Village, Ark., recently directed 50 volunteers and staff with buckets of sand to fill divots from tee to green and also on the course driving range. The practice of cultivating the golfing membership’s awareness of course conditions was started by a former course manager at Magellan, and McEarly, an 18-year GCSAA member, plans to make it a spring and fall tradition. Photo by Jamie Federick.