GCM’s Industry News Digest: February 2021

The latest golf course product and industry news, curated for golf course superintendents and other turf industry professionals.


Golf industry news February 2021
Editor’s note: The GCM team will be doing our best to maintain an up-to-date feed of announcements on this page. If you have news you think belongs here, please email GCMOnline.com editor Megan Hirt.


Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

Christopher Claypool, former general manager of Jacklin Seed Co., has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering as part of multiple schemes to defraud Jacklin’s former owner, the J.R. Simplot Co., and its customers. Read more from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Foley Co. has named Smith Turf & Irrigation of Charlotte, N.C., its Distributor of the Year for 2020. Smith Turf & Irrigation is celebrating its 96th year of business.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

Bayer announced it will divest from its Environmental Science Professional business, which includes the company’s turf and ornamentals portfolio. Bayer says the change is intended to allow for greater focus on its core agricultural business, and the company also announced leadership changes within its Crop Science division. Read the full news release from Bayer.

FMC Professional Solutions has donated $25,000 to GCSAA chapters through the kickoff event for its “Give Back to Local Golf Course Chapters” program, which was held at the 2021 Golf Industry Show. More than 600 GCSAA members participated, and the Connecticut chapter took home the top $5,000 prize.

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

Target Specialty Products will host a free Turf Fuel Master Class on Thursday, Feb. 25, entitled “Four Ways to Step Up Your Soil & Plant Health Game,” developed specifically for assistant superintendents. The webinar will be led by Steve Loveday, turf fuel nutritional product development manager for Target Specialty Products. Register for the webinar.

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

Cameron M Stephens

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected Cameron M. Stephens (right) as the recipient of its 2021 Award of Excellence. The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who have demonstrated overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research. Stephens received his B.S. in agriculture with a focus on turfgrass science from Ohio State University, and went on to earn his M.S. in agronomy from Penn State University, where he focused on turfgrass pathology and fungicide resistance. Stephens earned his Ph.D. in plant pathology at North Carolina State University, where he pursued a dissertation entitled, “Etiology, Epidemiology, and Management of Take-all Root Rot on Golf Course Putting Greens.” Stephens will defend his dissertation in March and has already accepted a position as the technical market manager for turf and ornamentals for BASF Corp. in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

Mike Whan has been named the new CEO of the USGA. Whan, who was previously LPGA commissioner for 11 years, will take the helm in summer 2021, becoming the eighth top executive in the USGA’s history. Current USGA CEO Mike Davis will leave the organization later this year to team with Tom Fazio II in a new golf course design venture, Fazio & Davis Golf Design.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

Wilbur-Ellis has introduced its new Perfection line of blended fertilizers. Perfection includes more than 40 formulations ranging from value-based nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium sources to high-quality, premium nutrition blends that feature a range of proprietary branded technologies.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

AMVAC Environmental Products has hired two new regional sales managers for its turf and ornamental and pest teams. Richard Spigler joins AMVAC Environmental Products as the regional sales manager for the Eastern Territory and will work out of Bel Air, Md. Spigler is a 20-year industry veteran who most recently worked for FMC Corp. as a market specialist in the Northeast region. Brett Gagner has been named the regional sales manager for the Southeast Territory and will work out of Pelham, Ala. Gagner has more than 16 years of experience in sales and related roles, and spent the past six years with Veseris as a technical sales representative, supporting pest control customers in Alabama and Mississippi.

Soil Scout announced its new off-grid-capable base station that delivers year-round subsoil insights. The BST200 base station has been designed to give agriculture, golf and sports turf maintenance professionals an uninterrupted view of their lands during the critical growing season months. The BST200 receives real-time moisture, soil temperature and salinity data, and it is fitted with an integrated solar panel and high-grade lithium-ion battery that allow for off-grid use during the growing season, when sun radiation is typically sufficient for charging the device.

Monday, Feb. 15, 2021

FMC Corp. announced an exclusive supply agreement with Nisso America to market and sell picarbutrazox fungicide for use in the golf market. Picarbutrazox is a new-mode-of-action fungicide for control of Pythium diseases. EPA registration is anticipated in 2021, and FMC expects to formally launch the product at the 2022 Golf Industry Show in early 2022.

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Standard Golf has introduced 20 new products now available for the 2021 golf season. The new products cover three main categories: No Touch Golf, a rerelease of 2020 new products, and continual improvements to some old favorites. Among the new and newly spotlighted offerings are the Ultimate Utility Vehicle Tool Rack, the MagnaTech Budget Cup, and the Oak and Timber tee markers.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021

John Deere announced its top golf dealer and sales representatives of the year during a virtual ceremony Feb. 1. Beard Equipment Group was named John Deere Golf Dealer of the Year. Ralph Brannin of Beard Equipment Co. received the Sales Manager of the Year award. The Salesperson of the Year recipients were Mike Muzio, Stotz Equipment; Russell Montgomery, Revels Turf and Tractor; Jim Leiseberg, Everglades Equipment Group; Steve Lebsack, Pacific Golf & Turf; and Pierre Morin, Martin Deerline Ltd.

Echo has released the PB-9010T backpack blower. The company says the blower is lightweight, durable, and has the power to tackle heavy, wet debris in large areas. The machine is equipped with a number of features for user comfort.

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

The USGA announced today that SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis., will be the host site for the 43rd U.S. Senior Open Championship, June 29-July 2, 2023. It will be the facility’s first Senior Open and third USGA championship. Matt Smith, a seven-year GCSAA member, is the superintendent at SentryWorld.

PBI-Gordon has introduced a new product training website. Registered users have access to an ever-expanding library of knowledge “modules” designed to simplify the product training process. Training modules for SpeedZone EW Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf and Union Fungicide SC are currently available. New modules will be added each quarter.

Advanced Turf Solutions is offering free online courses and live virtual seminars to support continuing education for turfgrass managers. The Virtual Education Series, which provides access to dozens of self-paced online courses taught by industry experts, is free and available to the public. Participants can earn GCSAA education points.

Spectrum Technologies has introduced the FieldScout TDR 250, a simplified, economical soil moisture meter that the company describes as perfect for courses with lower technology budgets.

John Deere announced an agreement with aeration solutions provider Wiedenmann Corp. that enables John Deere dealers to sell and support the Wiedenmann line of products. As of Jan. 29, 2021, select golf and sports dealers carry Wiedenmann products in addition to the existing line of John Deere golf solutions.

News from the 2021 Golf Industry Show

The Toro Co. continued its longtime support of GCSAA’s Environmental Institute for Golf with a $50,000 donation to the Rounds 4 Research program. With this contribution, Toro has now donated $450,000 to the program over the past nine years.

The Toro Co. unveiled a pair of partnerships with prominent golf facilities. First, the company announced a long-term agreement with Pebble Beach Resorts to make Toro the official supplier of golf course maintenance equipment for Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay and Del Monte Golf Course. Toro has also reached an agreement to be the turf and irrigation partner for the Omni PGA Frisco Resort in the Dallas suburb of Frisco.

John Deere announced its support for four GCSAA programs targeted at students and assistant golf course superintendents. For assistants, the company is supporting GCSAA’s Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series and will back an education track specifically designed for assistants at the annual Golf Industry Show. Deere is also supporting an effort to introduce high school students to careers as equipment managers through GCSAA’s First Green program, and reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to the GCSAA student membership program and the Future Farmers of America outreach initiative.