Monday, December 5, 2016

November in the South Central region

Warmer than normal temperatures were prevalent in November throughout the South Central region. The unusual weather extended the growing season a bit longer than normal but other than that did not cause any significant agronomic challenges to our members. The Thanksgiving holiday gave a much-needed break for members in the region who survived another testing growing season. My month was highlighted by a busy travel schedule as well as extensive member contact.

Two South Central Region members awarded Melrose Leadership Academy scholarships and will be attending the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando! Congratulations to Jeff Hansen from Squaw Valley Golf Course in Glen Rose, Tex. and Dade Wilson from Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark. These two, along with 16 other superintendents, received this opportunity as part of the Melrose Leadership Academy program, which supports the professional development of GCSAA member superintendents. It is administered through the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. The program was established in 2012 by Ken Melrose, retired CEO and chairman of the board of The Toro Co., and is supported by a $1 million gift to the EIFG from the Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation.  I have been in contact with both Jeff and Dade and they are both super excited about the opportunity and the chance to network with their peers in Orlando!

Two new Grassroots Ambassadors in the South Central region! I'm very happy to report that Jake Snyman from Central Texas and Kevin Girt from far south Texas have agreed to serve as ambassadors for their districts and will be a part of the winter 2017 class. These two members are very engaged and will be great additions to the ambassador roles. If you have thought about becoming involved, now is a great time to make the plunge!

Outreach activites

North Texas GCSA Board of Directors Meeting, Euless, Texas

On November 2, I attended the North Texas GCSA Board of Directors meeting to talk about a special event called “Earth Day Texas” being held in Dallas, Texas on April 21-23, 2017. The organizers of this event have expressed an interest in having the GCSAA and the local chapter involved along with many other organizations from the world of golf. The board was very positive about the event and feel that it would be a great opportunity for the chapter to become involved in a community-wide effort. It will be a great opportunity to display the great work that superintendents in the North Texas area do regarding environmental protection, water conservation, wildlife habitat, and the responsible use of fertilizer and pesticides. The chapter is identifying a committee and I will work closely with them to set up and organize the event. We are also going to try to coordinate participation from members of the Lone Star Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Texas Turfgrass Association. I'm very excited about this opportunity and feel that the chapter is committed to doing a really good job. More to come as the event draws near in 2017.

Central Texas GCSA Annual Meeting, Kyle, Texas

On Monday, November 7, I attended the Central Texas GCSA Annual Meeting held at Plum Creek Golf Club in Buda, Tex. The event included a great educational format provided by the Winfield Academy. I have attended several events this year that has included education provided by Winfield. They are providing a great service to chapters and have brought in headline speakers from around the country. This event included Dr. Thom Nikolai of Michigan State, Carmen Magro of Agronomy Management Solutions as well as a former Texas Department of Agriculture employee who spoke on laws and regulations.

The chapter elected Jared Heine as the 2017 President. This was a special moment for the Heine family as Jared's father Ricky has served as president of the chapter in the past. Matt Cowan from Barton Creek will serve as the vice president and Craig Felton will serve as secretary/treasurer.

Arkansas GCSA Chapter Event, Little Rock, Arkansas

On November 9, I attended the GCSA of Arkansas chapter event at Bass Pro Shops in Little Rock, Ark. This event was held on the morning after the presidential election so members were excited to hear about something other than politics! About 30 members attended the event which included an educational program provided by one of the chapter’s Platinum Sponsors, Ameriturf. Dale Miller of that company gave a very good talk on foliar nutrition and soil chemistry. Members in Arkansas are ready for a little bit of a breather over the offseason after a tough summer.

North Texas GCSA Scholarship Tournament, Dallas, Texas

On November 14, I attended the North Texas GCSA Scholarship fundraising tournament at Dallas Athletic Club. This event is a perennial sellout and raises money each year to fund Legacy scholarships for the children of NTGCSA members. Sponsorship is always very strong as vendors of the association provide support to make it a very special experience for participants. Many superintendents brought club officials, golf professionals, and guests from their courses. It is a great opportunity to display the great work being done by the chapter. At the event, I was privileged to play with good friends Jorge Croda and Chuck McCaskill, former North Texas chapter president. We had a great day on the golf course for a very worthy cause. It was estimated that close to $15,000 was raised for their scholarship fund and about $500 was also raised on a betting hole for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.  

Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, Texas

Following the North Texas event in Dallas, I made an across state trek to far south Texas to participate in the Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association Annual Meeting on November 15. The event was held at historic Victoria Country Club and hosted by former chapter president Andy Andress. It was well attended by about 40 members. The day started with a golf tournament and I was privileged to be paired in the same group as incoming president Kevin Girt.  Kevin is excited about being president in 2017 and has said that he has set a goal to grow membership. We talked extensively of how this could be coupled with what GCSAA will be doing as far as membership growth during the year. 

During the annual meeting, Kevin Girt was named the 2017 president. He was also awarded the 2016 superintendent of the year, a very prestigious award for this chapter. The chapter also awarded “players of the year awards” for vendors and superintendents. This chapter does a good job of promoting and honoring their members through their award program. 

Texas A&M Research Facility Construction Site

I took the opportunity while traveling through Central Texas, to visit the construction site of the
Texas A&M Turfgrass research facility. The project is near completion and could possibly be open before the end of 2016. While there, I met with the farm manager who gave me a complete tour of the site. The research program has been utilizing the acreage on the site for turf research. The new facility will include offices, a shop and equipment storage and a classroom. Scotts Miracle-Gro has been a major sponsor of this project and has provided funds to build a state-of-the-art facility that will rival all research programs in the country I look forward to attending the grand opening which will be held in early 2017.

Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation Conference, Stillwater, Oklahoma

On November 29 and 30, I attended the Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show. Shelia Finney, GCSAA senior director of member programs, also attended this event as part of her effort to work with field staff at high-profile events within their region. This event is well attended by more than 200 attendees as it provides outstanding education, and active trade show, and many networking opportunities. On the first day of the conference, Shelia and I were given the opportunity to address the conference attendees in the golf education session. Shelia did a great job of explaining her new role with GCSAA and providing her background. She discussed her passion for serving members and made it clear that she was available to all members. She encouraged members and the Oklahoma chapter to become engaged and to help grow membership for the good of the overall industry. I also made a presentation with Brad Joliff, the chapter’s delegate and gave a review of the recent chapter delegates meeting.

Following our talk at the golf session, we addressed the equipment managers’ education session and gave a short explanation of the benefits of GCSAA membership. Many of the attendees were enthusiastic about this opportunity and we provided membership applications to those who were interested. By the end of the conference, we had 9 new equipment managers. Welcome to the association!  

We also staffed a trade show booth at the conference and had very good activity with members and non-members regarding GCSAA programs and services. During the two days, we probably talked with close to 100 individuals who stopped by the booth for information. Overall it was a very good experience for me as a field representative to spend time with Ms. Finney and learn more about her goals and objectives. I'm excited to be a part of the initiatives and look forward to great things to come. 

Oklahoma GCSA Chapter Social Event, Stillwater, Oklahoma

While in Stillwater, I also attended the Oklahoma GCSA chapter social event held at a restaurant near the Oklahoma State University campus. It was a fun event and close to 80 members attended. It was a good, informal way of networking with members, and no trip to Stillwater is complete without a visit to Eskimo Joes!

December travel schedule

On December 5, I will attend the Central Texas GCSA Annual Toy Drive tournament being held at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin. This is a terrific event where attendees are required to bring an unwrapped toy that will be donated to a local hospital or charity. I've heard they've already sold out so that means more than 120 toys! Wow! As a Texas Aggie, I'll have to be on my best behavior being on our biggest rival’s home turf. Looking forward to a great day but you won't catch me wearing burnt orange!

On December 6, I will attend the North Texas GCSA Crew Championship and Assistant Championship held at Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound, Tex. This event has been going on for a long time in this chapter and it brings out crew members from courses all around DFW. I've heard there are well over a hundred signed up so far but I bet if you call the office you could still get your crew signed up to enjoy the great day. I love going to this event and interacting with the hard-working folks that make our members look great. Jay Tinsley and his hard working crew will have the course in excellent condition, I am sure.

The following week, I will be attending an event that I have been privileged to attend for more than 30 years. The Texas Turfgrass Association conference will be held December 12-15 at the Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. This event is always the highlight of the year for all types of turfgrass managers from around the state. There will be cutting-edge education, a terrific trade show and lots of social events for networking and developing new friendships. Bruce Burger will host the golf tournament at The Quarry Golf Club on Monday, December 11. I know the tournament committee has worked hard to make the tournament a can’t miss event so plan on attending for a little winter golf. Visit for more information regarding the entire event and I hope to see you in San Antonio. Seeing the Riverwalk lit up for Christmas and enjoying all of the great restaurants is absolutely worth the trip.

December will be a busy month with lots of other end-of-the-year activities. I'm also looking forward to taking a little time off to spend with my family and I hope you are too. The Clouds had a very special new addition this year, our first grandson Abram Joshua Cloud and I don't know who's more excited about Santa coming this year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Busy fall in the South Central region

Chapter Delegates Meeting

October is highlighted each year by the Chapter Delegates Meeting held in Lawrence, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. It is a great opportunity for field staff to interact with the most engaged members from their regions, as well as the entire country. This year was no exception. We were able to play a significant role in the event. We also appreciate the opportunity to interact with the GCSAA headquarters staff in person.

The South Central region was very well represented by six veteran delegates as well as two first-time delegates. Jorge Croda and Kevin Girt represented the North Texas chapter and Texas Gulf Coast chapter respectively. They did an outstanding job representing their chapter and learning the ropes of serving as a delegate. Both provided very positive feedback regarding their experience and seemed very encouraged about returning as their chapter’s delegate in the future. All of the delegates were positive about the presentations and information they received at the meeting.

Outreach Activities:

Chapter Outreach – Central Texas GCSA Crew Appreciation Championship, Kyle, TX

On Monday, October 3, I attended the Central Texas GCSA Crew Appreciation Tournament at Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin, Tex. These type of events have turned into some of the most rewarding. More than 100 crew members from around the region attended for a great day of fun golf, great food, cool prizes and networking with their peers. I helped out at the event with registration, some cooking, and took pictures and videos while the crews were out on the golf course. Many teams were headed up by the superintendent member from the courses who sincerely appreciated the work the chapter did to make it a special day.

Grassroots Ambassador activity, Wichita Falls, Tex.

On Friday, October 7, I accompanied Texas Grassroots Ambassador Chris Brunner to a meeting with his congressman from the 13th District, Mac Thornberry. Chris set up the meeting in Wichita Falls and invited me to participate. Chris was very prepared and had done research on the congressman. The meeting included Congressman Thornberry and his assistant. They were very cordial and we had a very good meeting. I started with an introduction to GCSAA and our Grassroots Ambassador program. Then, Chris introduced himself. Then, we tag teamed to discuss several issues. He did a great job. Chris was most concerned with the Department of Labor overtime rule, pesticide labeling, the EPA restrictions, and general labor issues. We also discussed the H-2B program, Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), and National Golf Day. The congressman was not aware of National Golf Day and seemed interested in attending in 2017. I promised we would send him information prior to the event and he said he would try to attend.
The congressman agreed with our position on every issue we discussed and also provided good insight into the challenges he has had as a Republican working with a Democratic President. We invited the congressman to attend any West Texas chapter event he would like to be a part of. He is not a golfer but sounded interested in potentially providing educational resources for the chapter.

Chris explained that his golf course hosts the longest-running Junior Golf Tournament in the state. The Texas - Oklahoma Championship is well-known in junior golf circles and has a significant impact on the Wichita Falls economy each year. Chris did a great job representing his golf course and explaining the significance of the event, and the value of golf to the local, state and nationwide economy.

Chapter Outreach – Rio Grande GCSA Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, N.M.

I attended the Rio Grande GCSA Annual Meeting at the University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque on October 17. The event had very good attendance with about 60 members who were excited to hear guest speaker Rhett Evans, GCSAA's CEO. Rhett delivered a presentation encouraging members to find ways to connect. Feedback was extremely positive regarding Rhett’s attendance.
At their annual meeting, the chapter voted to change their bylaws to rename the SM membership classification to B as required by the GCSAA affiliation. The chapter also elected new board members. President Matt Urban will serve a two-year term, as is customary for the chapter. The chapter delegate, Jimmy Rodriguez did a great job of reviewing the delegates meeting. He was very positive about his experience and all of the initiatives discussed in Lawrence.

Rhett’s attendance at this meeting served as a huge message to the Rio Grande GCSA that GCSAA is committed to all members. Rhett took the time to play golf with the members, as well. His attendance brings credibility to those of us in the field who have been delivering the same message.

Chapter Outreach – North Texas GCSA Annual Meeting, Grapevine, Tex.

I attended the North Texas GCSA Annual Meeting held at Grapevine Municipal Golf Course on October 18. The event was very well attended with over 90 members. The president of the chapter, Kevin Redburn, gave a very informative presentation describing the chapter’s activities for 2016 and a complete financial status review. The board of director’s election was held following the presentation. Two new directors were elected. In addition, two incumbents were re-elected to their positions. Michael Epps of Mira Vista Golf Club was elected as president of the association for 2017.

Chapter Outreach – West Texas GCSA Annual Conference, Lubbock, Tex.

On October 24 and 25, I attended the West Texas GCSA Annual Conference and Tradeshow held in Lubbock, Tex. The opening day of the conference consisted of a golf tournament held at Lubbock Country Club. I participated and played a great day of golf with West Texas board member, Kenny Dierschke, an affiliate member, and a student from Western Texas College studying golf course management. 

The second day of the conference was held at the Lubbock Convention Center and consisted of a trade show, educational sessions throughout the day, and the chapter's annual meeting held at lunch. The trade show was well attended. The chapter has done very creative things to entice members to participate in the trade show by awarding raffle tickets and sponsored giveaways. They also conducted a silent auction with lots of prizes and products.

The educational session provided by Winfield was excellent. Winfield is a fertilizer and chemical distributor who has offered chapter’s education for their meetings through their “Winfield Academy” program. Through Winfield's support, the chapters are able to provide very high-profile speakers including Dr. Thom Nikolai of Michigan State University, Carlton Layne of the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation, and other notable speakers. Dr. Frank Rossi was scheduled to attend but had travel issues. Attendees earned GCSAA and Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education points.

At the annual meeting, board elections were held and recognition given to chapter sponsors. The chapter delegate for West Texas GCSA, Jason Barrington, and I provided a recap of the chapter delegates meeting. Jason reviewed the items of discussion. He was very positive about his experience and all of the initiatives he heard about. The chapter voted on the required-by-law changes to Class SM. The change was passed unanimously. In addition to the delegates report, I spoke to the members about our drive to increase membership and asked members to consider referring non-members to me.

Allied Outreach – Southwest Turfgrass Association Conference, Las Cruces, N.M.

I traveled overnight from Lubbock to Las Cruces, N.M. to attend the opening day of the Southwest Turfgrass Association annual conference on October 26. It was my first time at the event. I was impressed with attendance and participation among Rio Grande GCSA members. The event consisted of a trade show, educational sessions, and a visit to the New Mexico State University Turfgrass Research Center.

The trade show was well-attended by conference attendees. The organization did a good job of allowing attendees breaks and encouraging them to visit trade show booths. At the educational sessions, New Mexico State University personnel provided a review of the program's research in progress. The program is focused on water conservation and has several notable projects underway at their laboratory as well as golf courses in the state. One terrific presentation described a drip irrigation system that has been installed and tested at Las Campanas Golf Course near Santa Fe. The innovative test consists of a drip irrigation system placed under tee surfaces. The results have shown a considerable amount of water savings. Dr. Bernd Leinauer has been instrumental in these types of projects and has made terrific progress. Brian Whitlark of the USGA gave a very good presentation on the current status of the golf industry. While not all the news was good, there were several positive trends regarding new players and industry business.

Following lunch and more trade show time, the group traveled to the New Mexico State University Turfgrass Research Center. There were several good demonstrations at the center that focused on the university's focus on water conservation. Attendees learned about drip irrigation system options, a salinity test of warm-season and cool-season turfgrasses. Attendees also participated in a sprayer calibration workshop delivered by university personnel.

November travel schedule:

November will continue the busy travel schedule. Following are the events I will be attending in the South Central region. I look forward to seeing many members at these events. Please look me up at these events and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

November 7 - Central Texas GCSA Annual Meeting, Kyle, Tex.

This will be a great educational opportunity for members in Central Texas. Kyle is located between Austin and San Antonio, so relatively easy travel for most members. Winfield Academy will be providing education and attendees will earn GCSAA and TDA Education Points. More information.  You can also find out more at the Central Texas GCSA website.

November 9 - GCSA of Arkansas Chapter Event, Little Rock, Ark.

Looking forward to making a return trip to Arkansas and seeing the good folks in Little Rock. Ameriturf agronomist Dale Miller will be providing education. Dale's talk are most informative and if you're lucky, you might get an unfiltered opinion out of him. And since it is the day after the election, there is no telling what will be on his mind. Should be fun. Check out the meeting info and RSVP

November 14 - North Texas GCSA Scholarship Tournament, Dallas, Tex.

I have been fortunate to have participated in this event for more than 20 years during my time as a superintendent and as a chapter executive in North Texas. It is a very special event and has raised many thousands of dollars for Legacy Scholarships for children of NTGCSA members. There is a very long list of children who have benefited from these opportunities and excelled in their education. Sign-ups are at a premium but you might get in last minute at the North Texas GCSA website

November 15 - Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, Tex.

I will travel almost the length of the state overnight to make this meeting in far South Texas. Host Andy Andress always rolls out the red carpet for TGCSA events and I am sure this year will be no exception. The chapter will be electing new officers and will recognize outgoing President Pete Ledezma for the great work he has done in 2016. The chapter always awards their Player of the Year awards as well as the coveted Superintendent of the Year award at this meeting. There are many deserving candidates this year as always with this outstanding chapter. Learn more about the meeting at the Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association website.

November 29 – 30 - Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation Conference, Stillwater, Okla.

After a much-appreciated break for family, great food and a little (a lot) of football, it is off to this annual conference which brings together turf professionals from all around Oklahoma. The event is held on the campus of Oklahoma State University which is always a great venue for learning. The OTRF always puts on a great program and I am looking forward to being a part of the education sessions. New GCSAA Member Programs Senior Director Shelia Finney will be joining me at this conference and is looking forward to meeting everyone. Together we will be speaking at the conference and hosting a booth at the trade show. Please stop by so I can introduce you to Shelia. You can find more info about the conference and register at the Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation website

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and hope to see you on the road! BC

Brian Cloud | Field Staff – South Central Regional Representative
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
1421 Research Park Drive | Lawrence, KS  66049
800.472.7878, ext. 3634 | 785.832.3634 Direct | 817.296.9117 Cell

Monday, July 11, 2016

Congratulations, Mr. Jim Curlee!

Loyal, professional, committed, dedicated, trustworthy, outstanding:

Words any of us would cherish if someone used them to describe us in a personal or professional manner. These, and many, many more were used when I asked friends and colleagues of Mr. Jim Curlee to describe him following his retirement from Corpus Christi Country Club and the superintendent profession earlier this year. There probably isn’t anyone in the Texas golf maintenance industry who doesn’t know Jim personally, played his course, has worked or learned from him, or who doesn’t know of his great reputation. Jim has touched too many people to include them in this article but I wanted to share some of the comments I received when asking around about Jim.
Jim enjoying his "retirement pose"
Of course, those of you who know Jim will believe that he just couldn’t believe anyone would write an article about him. That sums up his humble and unassuming nature very well. But with the help of his terrific wife Darlene, we even got a few comments out of “Mount Rushmore.” I also did a little fishing and was amazed at the life that Jim and Darlene have lived and the beautiful family they have created together. Darlene was the true “author” of this article providing all of the great details and information about Jim and from their 35 years of wedded bliss.
Spiced within the information are quotes from a few of Jim’s friends and colleagues. I hope you enjoy this information and will join me in congratulating Jim on a very well deserved retirement!

Jim’s early life

Jim was born in Victoria, Tex., the eldest of four children, to Thelma and William Curlee. When Jim was born the family lived in Edna, Tex. After living in Edna and the surrounding area for several years, the family moved to Kerrville when Jim was 14. He graduated from Tivy High School in 1964. He has two sisters, Queeta Hoffpauir from Kerrville and Karen Baker from Round Rock. His brother Bill passed away in 2011.
In 1965, he enlisted in the Navy. He served with the 26th Marines in Vietnam for 13 months from 1966-1967 as a corpsman. After returning stateside, he finished his service in Norfolk, Va. It was there he met a fellow Texan and together they got serious about and developed a love for the game of golf.
Brent Ratcliff — AmeriTurf, Inc
Very seldom in life do we meet people that have the all the traits you look for in a friend and business partner.
Jim Curlee meets all of the requirements! Jim has been a great friend and customer for over 20 years. His professionalism, consistency, and loyalty as a friend and customer are something we should all inspire to be. It showed on his course, with his members and with anyone who showed up just to visit.
Jim kept himself open to new technologies and always strived to produce the best product for his members and guests at Corpus Christi Country Club, proven by his longevity that is rarely achieved in this industry today. In Jim’s 25 plus years at CCCC he was always the ultimate professional.
Jim will be missed by his friends and the TGCSA where he basically ran the organization for his entire career at CCCC. Hopefully, we will continue to see Jim at all the TGCSA and Lone Star meetings. If you have the chance to talk, play or just hang out with Jim….enjoy the moment! Thanks for all you did for me and the Turf Industry!

Jim’s start in the industry and early career

In the early 70’s, after his military service, Jim was living and going to college in Victoria, Tex. During that time, he worked part-time at Riverside Golf Course where he got his first experience working on a golf course.
Jim started his superintendent career at Meadowlakes Country Club in Marble Falls, Tex. in 1976. When Jim started at Meadowlakes, he had no formal training or education specific to golf course maintenance. His education and previous experience was with computer programming.
Jim prides himself on being a self-taught greenskeeper. Soon after starting at Meadowlakes, he drove to Texas A&M in College Station and bought all the books he could pertaining to golf course care. He studied everything he could get his hands on. And, remember, this was before the internet and Google. He started attending Texas Turfgrass Association conferences back when they were all held at A&M. He learned a lot from Richard Duble, Ph.D., taking all of his educational sessions and workshops.
Jim says about his career path, “These days, working your way up the way I did is nearly impossible. I don’t advise doing it this way now, but things were different back then and I worked hard at it.”
While at Meadowlakes, he supervised the construction of the second nine holes. He worked there until 1981 when he was let go. Darlene says, “See, it happens even to the best.”
He worked briefly at the former Packsaddle Country Club in Kingsland and then at Live Oak Country Club in Weatherford, before moving to Brownwood Country Club in January 1983. He was at Brownwood for almost seven years when he was hired at Corpus Christi Country Club in November 1989 where he served as superintendent for more than 25 years.
Jim Brown, CGCS — La Gorce C.C., Kemper Sports Management
I would like to offer some words about Jim Curlee and his dedication to Corpus Christi C.C and impact on the golf course superintendent profession in the Gulf Coast Superintendents Association.
Jim Curlee served as Golf Course Superintendent at Corpus Christi C.C for over 25 years, was president of the Gulf Coast Chapter too many times to count, recipient of the Superintendent of the Year award three times, and active board member of the Lone Star GCSA for many years.
Jim was, in my view, the model for the profession. Professional in the way he conducted course business, committed to providing the members of his facility a first-class experience, and dedicated to elevating the educational and professional development of fellow superintendents in the Gulf Coast Association and the state of Texas.
Jim Curlee, simply, is my great friend and mentor. He guided me through the early years of my career on the many nuances of what makes a superintendent successful in his career and, more importantly, successful in his personal life. We have spent many days together playing golf or enjoying each others company fishing in the bays of South Texas. For my part, those were some very special moments. What makes our profession special is people like Jim Curlee.

Career accomplishments and service to the industry

Jim earned his GCSAA certification status, CGCS, in 1993. He has renewed this certification four times and still holds this designation today. He earned a Texas Irrigators License while superintendent at Brownwood Country Club.
Jim has been a member of West Texas GCSA, Central Texas GCSA and, of course, his home chapter, the Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association (TGCSA). He served as president of TGCSA for four one-year terms, the first in 1993 and has served on the board as an officer or director thirteen years. He has served on the Lone Star GCSA board multiple times in his career and was appointed to the Texas Turfgrass Association board in 2014. He has been awarded the Superintendent of the Year Award three times by TGCSA most recently in 2015.
Jim (left) receiving the Superintendent of the Year award from TGCSA President Andy Andress

Andy Andress — TGCSA past president, Victoria Country Club
Jim has always done a great job keeping Corpus Christi Country Club maintained at the high level the membership has come to expect. His course is always well kept and I always look forward to our visits there. He is well-respected throughout our state and very active within our association.
Ricky Heine, CGCS — Star Ranch Golf Club, GCSAA past president 2007
Jim Curlee has been an outstanding golf course superintendent for many years. He exemplifies the qualities that I have strived for in my life and career. Jim is patient, kind and his character is revealed in every single thing that he does. It has been a privilege to serve with Jim on so many association boards and it is an honor to call him my friend.
Keith Ihms, CGCS — Bella Vista Village POA, GCSAA past president 2014
Even though I have been away from Texas, I remember Jim always representing his area and profession very well as part of the various association's he was involved with over the years. He was a man who would always step up when asked. Congratulations to Jim and Darlene on a well-deserved retirement. Enjoy!
Rod Hruza — Helena Chemical Company
Over the years, it was always a pleasure to make a sales call on Jim Curlee. Jim is someone that, in my opinion, is at the upper-echelon of golf course superintendents. He is always respectful, professional, and receptive to all people in the industry. His accomplishment of 27 years at a high-end country club is a testament to his abilities as both a golf course superintendent and a person. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention his involvement in the Golf Course Superintendents Association. He has been a cornerstone in the Texas Gulf Coast Superintendents Association for many years. I wish Jim a happy retirement and hope we continue to get to see him at some of the meetings in the future.

Jim and Darlene — 35 Years

Jim and Darlene, his wife of 35 years, have three children. Stephen and Allie, both of Corpus Christi, and Sadie a student at Texas A&M, College Station. Allie has given them their first grandchild, Ava, and another granddaughter will make its arrival any day as of this writing. Jim also has a son, Duane, in Michigan and daughter, Shannon, of Austin.
When Darlene was asked how in the world Jim landed such a catch, she laughed, “I moved to Texas from upstate New York in 1979 and lived with a high school friend who had married a Texan. Her husband was working for Jim at Meadowlakes at the time and we met two weeks after I got to Texas. We married two years later. Yeah, I married an older man that my parents hadn’t even met yet. Now that I’m a parent, looking back, I can imagine now how my mom must have felt. But, they had a nice reception for us when we went to New York a couple months later.”
Darlene also says of her husband of 35 years, “Jim is pretty humble and not one to like much attention but he deserves it. He’s worked hard and I think the recognition and appreciation would be meaningful to him. He has probably had a greater impact on other people than he knows.”

Jim’s retirement plans

He plans to fish during retirement, and enjoy the things he didn’t have time for when he was working. He’s got several projects to do at their new place in Blanco, like rebuilding the carport shed and tend the land. Jim and Darlene are both looking forward to living in the Texas Hill Country, away from the hustle and bustle of city living to the serenity of small town country living.
He also plans to keep his golf game sharp and would probably welcome an invitation to play from anyone in the Central Texas area. Just make sure he doesn’t talk you into giving him strokes and keep your wallet close to your vest.
This is their retirement home in Blanco. The rocking chairs were a gift from Brent Ratcliff, Jeff Smelser and Jim Brown. Darlene says that anyone is welcome to stop by and rock with them, noting the chairs are really nice and comfortable. As of this writing, Jim is getting the house ready in Blanco and Darlene is packing and getting their house of 17 years ready to sell. She says after that many years, “It’s a project. There’s lots to clean out, sort out and get rid of in addition to packing. Plus, I’m waiting for Allie to have our grandbaby, don’t want to get too far away right now.” 
Jeff Smelser, CGCS — Galveston Country Club
As in any field, learning from a textbook is only part of the process. It’s not just what we learn in the classroom but what we learn from each other that help us to develop into the professionals we are today. I was fortunate enough to have Jim Curlee as a mentor, colleague, and friend for over twenty-five years.
Jim has taught me many things over the years. We have had long talks over everything from financial matters to staffing issues as well as pesticide and cultural practices. We would discuss our local and national associations and the direction we felt they were going whether it was good or bad. Even though Jim is a quiet man by nature, he is a man of many words. There have been many more discussions that have helped me throughout my career and, for that, I will be eternally grateful.
Over the years we have traveled all over Texas, California, South Carolina, Las Vegas, and Florida attending industry shows and chapter meetings. We have had a lot of fun along the way and we have many great memories and stories to tell.
Jim told me years ago, “You can be a great superintendent with knowledge, but you have to be a great leader to succeed in this industry.” I have carried this with me through my own professional journey.
Thank you, Jim, for everything you have taught me over the years and congratulations on your retirement.
Jason Kelly — Superintendent, Corpus Christi Country Club
When I think of Jim Curlee, I think of a man who is respected by so many people. I think of him being a walking book of knowledge. I think of him being a mentor to so many of his past people. I think of a man with so much pride and passion. I think of him as a father figure to so many. Above all, he is one of my closest friends in the golf course business and someone that I could lean on if I need some advice. I know I have some very big shoes to fill at Corpus Christi Country Club and feel as if I have fallen short every day that I leave the course. If I can leave this earth with an eighth of the knowledge that Jim has then I will have lived a very good life. I want to thank him for all the support that he has given me and I wish him all the best with his retirement.
Doug Desive, PGA — Corpus Christi Country Club
I’ve been the Head Golf Professional at Corpus Christi Country Club for the past twenty-five years. During that time I have worked with one superintendent. As I began my career, I dreaded the confrontational aspect of my relationship with my superintendent when I came to CCCC. The horror stories and the past confrontations that I had witnessed between other golf professionals and superintendents had definitely jaded my approach to what I was about to incur.
Much to my surprise, Jim Curlee was easy to work with and a total team player. We had lunch at least once a week and talked on a continuous basis. Ours was a ham and egg friendship. I’m not saying I was perfect, and I am sure there were times when I drove Jim crazy. He made my life easier and I’d like to think I made his a little easier, too. It was a great relationship and while I am sad to see him retire, he really deserves the freedom of retirement. I look forward to the relationship with my new superintendent, Jason Kelley. Jason is a new, higher tech version of Jim. The future is bright at Corpus Christi CC.
Kelly Schmidt — Former General Manager, Corpus Christi Country Club
Jim, you are, without any doubt, the best golf course superintendent with whom I have ever worked. It was a profound honor and a very special privilege to have shared those years at the Club with you. You have my deepest respect and I shall always treasure your friendship.
You are a gentle, giant of a man, Jim. A giant heart filled with goodness, kindness, meekness, gentleness and trustworthiness. A gentle, quiet soul filled with wisdom, skill, honesty, knowledge and humility.
Quite simply, you are a very special “stand-up” guy!
As you continue your life journey into retirement, may you be blessed with joy and with peace. May the windows of Heaven be opened unto you and God’s blessings overflow in your life every moment for the remainder of your days.
Play a lot of golf. Catch a lot of fish. Smell the roses and have fun and laugh out load — a lot!
I love you, my sweet friend, Jim. Take care of yourself and we will be coming to see you after you are moved and settled in. I will bring lots of sweets and desserts for us to share!
God bless you. Sending you a great big hug!

And, a little fun

For fun, we asked a few of the contributors to answer a few questions. Some are heartfelt and some are aimed directly at embarrassing our esteemed honoree. Some names have been changed or omitted to protect the innocent. Thanks for all who helped!
How do you think Jim will spend all his free time now that he’s retired?
Jeff Smelser: Rocking in chair on front porch.
What advice do you have for Jim’s golf game?
Jim Brown: Take lessons.
Jeff Smelser: Incorporate aiming fluid: Coors Light.
What is Jim’s most serious pet peeve?
Jim Brown: Putting mud in his boat.
Jeff Smelser: Losing bet on first tee.
How long will it take before Darlene sends him back to work?
Jeff Smelser: She already has him working on honey-do list.
What is his most “guilty pleasure”?
Jim Brown: I visited him in ICU right after his heart attack and his first words were, "Well, I will be eating boiled chicken from now on.”
Jeff Smelser: Ice cream sandwiches
Favorite music:
Merle Haggard
Next job?
Walmart greeter
If you would like, is there a funny story you would like to share?
Jim Brown: He was mistaken for a famous golfer at the U.S. Open but signed autographs anyway.
An oldie but a goodie from the US Open at Southern Hills.
Smelser (left) Curlee (center) and Brown (right).
Tulsa has never been the same.
What’s the craziest thing you found in Jim’s office so far?
Jason Kelly, new superintendent at Corpus Christi CC: Boy, he really cleaned out pretty much everything! The only thing he left was his cell phone and it has been ringing off the hook since he left.
Does his crew miss him?
Jason Kelly: Hang on, I’ve got to go answer that phone…

Friday, May 20, 2016

TARO: Working on behalf of the Texas golf industry

Earlier this month, I contributed an article about Texan Ken Gorzycki, CGCS, to the GCSAA Government Affairs blog. I wanted to provide more in-depth information about the Texas Alliance of Recreational Organizations (TARO). TARO is a very important organization serving the golf industry in Texas by serving as a “watch dog” for legislative and regulatory issues that impact the golf and club industry in Texas. They have been serving in this important role since 1993. 

In addition to the great legislative work the organization does, TARO provides the Texas club industry with an opportunity to hear from industry experts on important regulatory and legislative matters by conducting Allied Association Regional Meetings. These events are open to all allied association members, including, but not limited to: CMAA, PGA, GCSAA, NGCOA, USTA, ACF and club board members. Generally, there is no registration fee to attend.  Instead, TARO asks attendees to make a voluntary contribution to TARO PAC.

The next event will be held on October 11 at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas. The lineup for the event is terrific and a can’t-miss opportunity. Click here for details and to RSVP. The highlight of the day will be a panel discussion titled: Working Together for Successful Club Operations. John Cunningham, CGCS, is the golf course superintendent at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo., and will be a part of the panel. In addition to the panel sessions, TARO Lobbyist and former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Gib Lewis, will provide a legislative update. 

Ken Gorzycki (L) on Capitol Hill meeting with
Senator Ted Cruz's staff on National Golf Day.

What is TARO?

The Texas Alliance of Recreational Organizations is a non-profit alliance of clubs, other organizations, and individuals interested in recreational activities within the State.  Its purpose is to participate effectively in the state’s legislative and regulatory processes for the benefit of its supporters and their constituents.  This participation involves a high quality lobbying effort with the Legislature, monitoring regulations under existing laws, a continuing communication program with its supporters centering on legislative and regulatory issues affecting them, and maintenance of an action network which is mobilized as necessary to advocate Alliance positions.  The further purpose of Texas Alliance of Recreational Organizations is to educate its supporters on issues affecting them and to foster good will among its supporters by preparation and circulation of periodic publications and sponsorship of educational programs.

What are the ongoing issues that TARO is involved with?

As the trade association for the Texas club industry, TARO does two things:
1.  Be involved in the political world
2.  Shape polices that come from it

The following issues remain high priorities for TARO and our allied associations:

Greenbelt Act

In Texas since 1977 property taxes on restricted recreational lands have been based on the appraised value of the land as used and not what it might be used for.  This saves clubs in Texas tens of thousands of dollars every year.  This is known as the Greenbelt Law.  It is fair and entirely justified by the aesthetic and environmental advantages realized by the areas blessed with such recreational land.  Moreover, much of the value of property adjoining recreational land is attributable to the existence of the recreational land.  You should know that clubs and other owners of recreational land do pay taxes on buildings based on regular appraisal values.  In recent sessions there have been attempts, sometimes just threats, to repeal the Greenbelt law.  TARO has successfully defended Greenbelt and will continue to do so.

Some non-golf clubs mistakenly believe TARO is only about Greenbelt and does not benefit them.  A financially healthy private club industry is important to all clubs, whether city clubs, golf, tennis, fishing, sailing or other clubs.  However, many clubs that own recreational land would be taxed out of existence without the protection of Greenbelt treatment in valuing that land.  Thus the entire club industry benefits from Greenbelt. (Greenbelt Overview)


As the state’s population continues to grow, the demand for water will remain a high priority issue for recreational clubs.  TARO works closely with the Lone Star GCSA and allied associations to educate regulators and lawmakers that we, as an industry, are good users of water and are proactive in taking conservation measures and employing best practice measures.

Public accommodation laws

One important reason TARO was formed was to protect the right of free association.  In recent times clubs have been targets for so called “public accommodation” laws.  These laws sought to open membership in social organizations by defining them as public accommodations, which would have to be open to everyone.

Alcohol regulations

TARO has fought efforts to increase the fees charged for the many permits required for private clubs under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.  This also included bills to require the posting of cash conduct security bonds.  Many private clubs in Texas cannot afford any increase in permit fees and are struggling to meet current expenses.


TARO retains Gib Lewis, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, as a full time legislative consultant to represent the club industry before state agencies and the Legislature.  For many years now, all clubs have benefited from TARO but relatively few have furnished financial support.  It is time for all to contribute a fair share!

How can clubs become involved?

TARO depends on the support and funding of clubs throughout the state to maintain our resources that help protect the Texas club industry. TARO contributions subsidize operating costs and expenses related to our lobbying staff and industry research.

A minimal investment towards supporting TARO now, is guaranteed to pay dividends in the future!  We understand the dilemma clubs face in these turbulent economic times, therefore contribution amounts may vary from club to club.  Regardless of the amount of your contribution, it is imperative that the legislature recognizes the strength of TARO’s constituency.

Many clubs contribute to TARO out of their annual budget but that is not the only way.  Other club's Board of Directors have approved the addition of a voluntary contribution line on the member's club statement raising as much as $10,000 each year through $10.00/$15.00 annual member contributions.

Who are the allied associations that support TARO?

Lone Star GCSA 
Texas Lone Star Chapter of CMAA
North Texas PGA
Texas Turfgrass Association
South Texas PGA
USTA Texas Section
Texas Golf Association

The Texas Alliance of Recreational Organizations (TARO) was formed in 1993 by some fourteen major Texas private country clubs, to protect our interests in the Texas Legislature.  Through the years over one hundred clubs have supported TARO and that support is still growing.  In an effort to provide education to state legislators, TARO has an affiliated Political Action Committee, which can accept contributions from private individuals.

TARO cannot afford to ignore activities in the legislature, as it could have dramatic impacts on club operations.  TARO PAC is employed to educate elected officials on the importance of our issues and support the election of those friendly to our cause.  This is an essential and legal way to protect our interests and we need your help!

How can individuals support the work being done by TARO?

By rule of law, TARO PAC can only accept personal checks from private individuals.  Personal contributions of as little as $25 can go a long way towards preserving a positive business environment for private clubs.

The Executive Director of TARO is Sam Brewster and can answer any questions you might have. You can reach him at 214-871-9800 or Visit TARO’s website for excellent information about the organization and an advocacy center that can help you understand the important issues that are affecting our industry. I encourage golf course superintendents and all related industry professionals to learn more about TARO and GET INVOLVED!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ultradwarf Summit 2016

Willy Plowman, golf course superintendent at Willow Fork Country Club in Katy, Texas, has a passion. A passion for learning more about Ultradwarf Bermudagrass and sharing knowledge with his peers. The former South Texas GCSA president will host the Ultradwarf Summit 2016 at his course on June 7, 2016. He has spearheaded this project that has been conducted in some form or fashion since 2000. With the support of the South Texas GCSA and several affiliate companies, he has assembled a great agenda of topics, demonstrations and opportunities to share knowledge and information.

Bud White of Bud White Golf Solutions has also been instrumental in putting the project together and will kick off the day with a talk titled "The Evolution of Ultradwarfs and Management Practices." Also slated to speak during the day are Dr. Bruce Martin of Clemson University, Dr. Brad Shaver of Helena Chemical, and Gary Brooks of Bayer. Bud White will also do a demonstration on the putting green showing ultradwarf management strategies, including aerification, verticut, top dress, brush, groom, and roll. Plowman also recognizes Scott Dunham of BASF who has helped organize and plan the event.
He notes, "It's been a team effort and I appreciate all of the help I have had to put together a special day. Our hope is that superintendents, affiliates, growers, turf managers and even golfers will consider joining us at Willow Fork for this important summit. This isn't just for folks in South Texas, we are hoping people from all across the South with an interest in ultradwarfs will join us".
The agenda has been submitted to the GCSAA and TDA and CEUs will be awarded pending approval. Registration is only $25 per person to cover lunch and meeting room costs.
You can register for the event at the South Texas GCSA website.
I look forward to participating in the event and hope to see a great crowd in Katy. These types of grassroots (pun intended) education events are the best way to share information among members and we are proud to be a part of it.

More about our host, Willy Plowman

Willy Plowman began his golf course management career in 1975 at The Chaparral Club, a 9 hole private club located in Dickinson, Texas. In 1982 he entered into Pipefitters Local Union 211 Trade School out of Houston, Texas to attend a four year trade school and graduated in 1986, Willy’s dad was a pipefitter for Monsanto in Texas City, Texas for 35 years. Well, after graduation it didn’t take long to realize the profession Willy really enjoyed and missed. In 1987 he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and worked at Rolling Hills Golf Resort. In fact, he was there while Caddy Shack II was being filmed. Willy returned to the Great State of Texas in 1990 to Willow Fork Country Club as the Assistant Golf Course Superintendent. The facility was currently under construction and opened in June 1990; Willy remained there for eight years. In early 1999, he went to Cypress Lakes Golf Club in Cypress, Texas. The facility was currently under construction and was completed in October 1999. 419 Bermuda was planted on tees, fairways, and roughs; Ultradwarf variety “Champion” Bermuda grass was planted on the greens. In 2001, Cypress Lakes Golf Club was rated number one for the best greens in Southeast, Texas. In fact, Willy has managed to remain at number one for six straight years. In 2005, the Houston Chronicle stated “Cypress Lakes’ Plowman has the right touch with turf”. In 2006 and 2007 Avid Golfer stated “they were blown away by the bentgrass quality of the club’s putting surface”. Willy’s involvement as a Superintendent goes well beyond the golf course maintenance level. He is continuously hosting seminars for other Superintendents and college students, sharing his knowledge and cultural practices. In 2000, The Champion Summit was formed, an annual seminar for Superintendents managing Ultradwarf Bermuda grass variety “Champion” in south and southeast Texas. In 2003, the Champion Summit expanded to the South Texas Ultradwarf Management Summit, open to all Ultradwarf growers including Champion, TifEagle, and Miniverde. A 2016, Ultradwarf Summit is currently put together. Willy has over 30 years of golf course maintenance experience including the construction and grow-in of two separate courses. He also has experience in management of Ultradwarf grasses including Champion and Mini Verde along with experience in bunker renovations and course beautification projects. Willy currently serves on the Board of Directors for the South Texas Golf Course Superintendents Association for a 2nd run; he is a Former Board of Directors for Texas Turfgrass Association, Former Advisory Board for Harris County Extension Agency and Houston Community College, Former 2010 South Texas GCSA President and 8 year Board member. Willy enjoys the outdoors especially rock hounding for fossils, petrified wood, and artifacts of our past. He keeps all of his finding on display at his home whether it is on the shelf in his office, rock garden, or displayed in form of art work. Willy is always on the hunt for a new location to go hunt for rocks, fossils, artifacts, and explore. One person particular Willy recognizing and is thankful for his beginning to Turfgrass Management at The Chaparral Club. Willy started in 1976 (13 years old) through 1982;  looking 40 years back, "I now realize one of my greatest life time heroes, Jerry Rohacek".

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Meet new GCSAA member Sarah Glenn

Sarah Glenn is a new GCSAA and North Texas GCSA member and the assistant superintendent at Plantation Golf Club in Frisco, Texas. She is a 2014 graduate of Texas Tech University where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis in Turfgrass Science.

I met Glenn at the NTGCSA February Education meeting at Royal Oaks and asked her to tell us about herself. This interview was originally published in the North Texas GCSA newsletter.

We welcome Sarah to the GCSAA and the NTGCSA. We look forward to your participation and seeing you at events in 2016.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Garland, Texas, and number three of four children. I have an older brother who is 30, a 27-year-old sister who is 15 months older than me, and my baby brother who is 20 years old.

And we hear there are wedding bells in your future?
Yes. I will marry my college sweetheart Nicklas Jackson. When I first met him, he was a rookie gas and diesel mechanic and now he's in the medical field working in the OR at Parkland Hospital. Our wedding is during Memorial Day weekend this year! We wed on Saturday, the 28th of May in Port Aransas, Texas. In just two months y'all will know me as Sarah C. Jackson.

What do you do with your spare time when you aren’t working on the course or making wedding plans?
My hobbies have grown and changed since I moved back to Dallas last March. While living in Lubbock, there wasn't much to do except keep yourself busy with school, work or happy hour. I absolutely love being outdoors, especially hiking with my two dogs. The thing I look forward to the most is shooting sporting clays every other weekend with my fiancé at our favorite range. I play golf occasionally but plan to really get into it once I'm older.

Tell us about your decision to pursue a career in golf course / turfgrass management?
After two major changes at Tech, a friend of mine suggested the turf program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. After my first plant ID class, I was hooked. Plus, the perk of being outside was the main selling point.

Were there challenges along the way?
Sometimes I get mistaken for a cart girl. Hey, it happens. I've been presented with interior personal challenges. For example, how to suppress certain emotions. I don't want to be viewed as weak or vacuous, so I keep my emotions at bay. Whether it be excitement, happiness, or even anger.

How was your experience working with Rodnie Burmea at the Rawls Course in Lubbock?
I was employed with The Rawls Course which is affiliated with Troon Golf during and after college. Once I graduated in August of 2014, I was switched to full-time employment and became their spray tech until I moved to Dallas. Rodnie and the rest of the staff were completely supportive of my goals and soon made me feel like I was "one of the guys". None of them had ever worked with a woman before and at times it was apparent, but as time went on, me being of the opposite sex didn't seem as much of an issue. The crew at The Rawls was the best group of guys I could have the honor to work with. They were patient, respectful, great teachers, and my friends.

I relocated back to the DFW area for a job in horticulture at the Dallas Arboretum to better familiarize myself with additional plants not typically associated with golf courses. It was a fun job and I gained more experience with irrigation and the designing of large areas with diverse species of plants. But, deep down, I missed the smell of fresh cut grass in the morning and the solitary time I gained with doing specific tasks on the golf course.

And how did you end up working with one of the top superintendents in the DFW area, Tony Rodriguez?
I applied at a golf course for the assistant superintendent position at Plantation Golf Club, and not even six hours later I received a phone call from Tony offering me an interview. The next day I was offered the job, and in less than three years I went from raking bunkers to the current position I hold today.

Please talk about the challenges of working in a male-dominated field?
I learned from my previous employer that it's professional to look a little feminine on the job. Women are considered a minority in this industry, no doubt. My defense mechanism was to wear loose-fitted clothing and to refrain from wearing perfume. Anyone who knows me well knows I never go anywhere without my perfume on. I used men's deodorant so I could blend in while trying to divert any attention to myself. Now, I make an effort to appear — and smell — less masculine, like having my nails done. Usually, there's no doubt in people's mind when they see red or orange nails.

What advice do you have for other women considering a career in the golf maintenance industry, or for that matter, any other male-dominated field?
There have been many instances where I have been welcomed and accepted. A few other times, I was met with stiff rejection and cold expressions. All of those experiences have desensitized me and prepared me to meet just about anyone. If a woman wants to pursue a career in this field, she needs to have a thick skin and a rock solid support system. You will encounter negativity and doubt sometimes, but how you handle yourself in those situations will speak volumes about your character.

Great stuff, thanks very much for your candid comments and for letting us get to know you better. Good luck with your position at Plantation Golf Club and your future career. Any final thoughts?
I've worked hard to get where I'm at and I won't stop until I've reached my final goal of becoming a superintendent. I thank the people who have motivated and helped me get to where I'm at, but it goes to prove that a female can make it in this career with hard work and dedication. Thank you very much to the NTGCSA for making me feel welcome and this opportunity to share my story!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sic 'em Joe and Camo

North Texas GCSA board member Joe Todaro and his son, Camden, made a commitment at the beginning of the 2015 football season that they would show their allegiance and love for the Baylor Bears by attending every Baylor game — home and away. It started with a promise Joe made to Camo that they would definitely attend their hottest rival game with TCU in Fort Worth. Then, he started looking on Stubhub for tickets and began thinking about a couple other games they might be able to swing.

Soon, they added a couple additional games to their wishlist, and eventually realized they were close enough to make it a father-and-son season of a lifetime and attend every single game. 

During the regular season, their travels have taken them on road trips to Dallas, Manhattan, Kansas, Stillwater, Oklahoma, Lawrence, Kansas, and a very very cold and wet Fort Worth in late November. Joe estimates they traveled about 3500 miles to watch their beloved Bears win nine games and score 576 points. 

While the season hasn’t gone quite as well as Joe and Camo would have hoped (can you tell an Aggie wrote this?), they wouldn't have traded their experience for anything. 

The whole Todaro clan at the Orlando Citris Bowl

The whole Todaro family crowned the season off in high style by attending the Russel Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Baylor made the Todaro's trip a happy one with a 49 - 38 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels. They parlayed their time in Florida and made it a family trip to remember which include a stay on a beautiful Florida beach.  

Joe says it started out about the football and turned in to a special experience that he and his son will cherish forever. Their trips have been documented on Facebook and have even been featured on a local Waco news story. That story is included below with some great pictures from along the way. After each game, Joe and Camo have taken a photo with the final scoreboard in the background.


Since the end of the football season, Joe is very excited to start a new chapter in his turf career working for Baylor University! He is now working for Baylor Athletics Facilities and Operations primarily charged with the management of the Bailey golf facility at Twin Rivers, as well as the construction and management of the new campus practice facility for Baylor's men's and women's golf teams. Congrats, Joe. Can't think of a better fit for such a loyal Baylor alumni and fan. 

Thanks for sharing your story and for setting a great example of a father and a son making great memories that will last a lifetime!

(Read the KWTX - Waco story about Joe and Camo's adventure.)