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!