Up for debate at GIS 2019

At the whim of a spinning wheel, a panel of superintendents dished on an array of hot topics during Tuesday’s “The Great Debate.”


GIS Great Debate
“The Great Debate” gang, from left: Matt Gourlay, CGCS; Sean Reehoorn; Ian Daniels; Leasha Schwab; T.A. Barker, CGCS; Mark Prieur; Moe Robinson; and Rodney Crow, CGCS. Photo by Howard Richman

Moe Robinson was living a pretty good life, if money were all that mattered.

“I left a $32-an-hour job in a factory to take a job making $8 and change. And I couldn’t be happier,” said Robinson, who took a pay cut to join the golf industry and has since climbed the ladder to become superintendent at Summerlea Golf Club and Western Trent Golf Club in Ontario.

Robinson made her point during a discussion of labor at “The Great Debate,” a free session on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego in which the spin of a colorful wheel determined what topic pertaining to the profession a group of superintendents would tackle. T.A. Barker, CGCS, from Fore Lakes Golf Course in Taylorsville, Utah, hosted the event that proved lighthearted, fast-paced and informative.

Great Debate golf
Photo by Roger Billings

The topics ranged from height of cut (leave it alone all year vs. alternate seasonally) to hand watering vs. overhead watering to achieving work/life balance. On the latter, Sean Reehoorn from Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash., summed up his at-home approach: “I want to spend time with my wife, not my phone.”

Among the issues was “Twitter shaming,” and debaters seemed in agreement that calling out members on social media should be avoided. Leasha Schwab, superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Uxbridge, Ontario, added that such matters can always be handled tastefully. “You want to shame the behavior, not the individual,” Schwab said.

Other debaters were Matt Gourlay, CGCS, director of golf course operations at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kan.; Mark Prieur, superintendent at Trafalgar Golf Club in Milton, Ontario; Rodney Crow, CGCS, superintendent at Mount Vintage Golf Club in North Augusta, S.C.; and Ian Daniels, superintendent at Teugega Country Club in Rome, N.Y.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.