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