GCM’s Industry News Digest: February 2022

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


Golf industry news February 2022
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 editor Megan Hirt.


Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022

The turf and irrigation division of the Singapore-based Jebsen & Jessen Group has launched SandStop, a porous rubber liner designed to ensure the long-term quality of golf bunkers. The company says the liner provides a more durable, cost-efficient solution for golf course operators and a safer golfing experience. SandStop has been installed at several golf clubs in Singapore and Malaysia, including Royal Selangor Golf Club in Malaysia, which reports the liners have helped lower bunker maintenance costs and improved sand quality. Learn more about SandStop.


A $1 million gift from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation to Michigan State University has launched a $5 million campaign to endow the Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology. “Endowed positions are a cornerstone for recruiting outstanding faculty and supporting innovative research,” says MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “We are fortunate to have the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation’s partnership in our efforts to advance solutions to pressing challenges in turfgrass science in ways that will improve lives and strengthen communities.” The endowment honors Joe Vargas, Ph.D., an international expert on turfgrass diseases, member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, and winner of the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award from GCSAA in 1997. Read more.

The USGA announced that The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., will host the eighth U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship May 13-17, 2023. Dennis Roque is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at The Home Course and an 18-year association member. Formerly the site of an explosives manufacturing plant, The Home Course features historic remnants and uncommon agronomic challenges. Read much more from GCM.

The USGA announced the North Course at Stonewall in Elverson, Pa., will host the 2023 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, scheduled for Sept. 9-14. Daniel Dale, a 31-year GCSAA member, is the superintendent at Stonewall.

GCSAA Past President Pat Finlen, CGCS, has been named executive vice president at Denehy Club Thinking Partners. From 2002 to 2019, Finlen worked at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, during which time he served as director of golf course maintenance operations, director of golf, and eventually general manager.

The city commission of Pierre, S.D., has named 26-year GCSAA member Bryan Tipton, CGCS, its new director of parks and recreation. Tipton will also continue to oversee the city’s Hillsview Golf Course, where he has been superintendent since 2017. Tipton was featured in a 2019 GCM article, Unlocked potential: Inmates in golf course maintenance, about Hillsview’s partnership with a women’s prison, which helped solved a labor shortage in the maintenance department.

Friday, Feb. 4, 2022

The National Golf Foundation published data showing that golf course closures continued to decline in 2021. Read the full report.

Leaders from “Make Golf Your Thing,” an industry diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, took part in panel discussions at last week’s PGA Show in Orlando, Fla., during which they shared results of an industry-wide workplace inclusion survey and discussed key priorities for advancing “Make Golf Your Thing” in 2022. Read more.

Reinders will host its 25th biennial Turf Conference March 9-10 at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Milwaukee. Educational tracks are available for golf course superintendents. Seminars include “Best Disease Management Practices,” presented by Joe Vargas, Ph.D., of Michigan State University; and “Fungicide Program Development,” presented by Jim Kerns, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University. Get more details.

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

The GCSA of New England has named Russell Heller, CGCS, the recipient of its 2022 Distinguished Service Award. Heller, a 28-year GCSAA member, oversees William Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass.

BASF has named Barbara Aguiar director of professional and specialty solutions, North America. She succeeds Stephanie Jensen, who recently moved into the role of vice president of global strategic marketing insecticides. Aguiar has been with BASF for 14 years.

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022

The USGA has honored 63-year GCSAA member Frank Dobie with its Green Section Award, which recognizes distinguished service to golf through an individual’s work with turfgrass. Superintendent, senior agronomist and retired general manager of The Sharon Golf Club in Sharon Center, Ohio, Dobie has promoted turfgrass research and education and innovative course maintenance practices throughout his career. Read much more about Dobie and his achievements in GCM’s article Frank Dobie looks back on storied career.

Frank Dobie

RightLine LLC has launched its Sulfencore herbicide, a combination of sulfentrazone with the herbicide metribuzin. While sulfentrazone alone controls many sedges and kyllinga, the addition of metribuzin expands label claims to include goosegrass and a total of more than 70 other weeds, the company says. Sulfencore is labeled for use on bermudagrass only. Learn more.

FMC Corp. has appointed Matthew Bradley as market specialist for the turf and ornamental Central Midwest territory. A graduate of Iowa State University, Bradley has over 20 years of experience in the chemicals industry, having worked with various manufacturers in sales, marketing and business development roles.

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

GCSAA announced that nine members will attend the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego through the Bayer Superintendent Grant Program. The grants provide airfare, hotel accommodations, full conference registration, registration for two education seminars, and $200 spending money. The recipients are:

  • Peter Grace, H. Smith Richardson Golf Course, Fairfield, Conn.
  • Jonathan Hollingsworth, Twin Bridges Golf Club, Gadsden, Ala.
  • Nolan Johnson, Makalei Golf Club, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Ryan McNamara, Kingwood (Texas) Country Club
  • Michael Osier, Northern Michigan University Golf Course, Marquette, Mich.
  • Joseph Postel, The Boca Raton (Fla.) Resort & Club
  • Gustavo Rodriguez, The Links of North Dakota, Ray, N.D.
  • George Thomas, Bridgton Highlands Country Club, Windham, Maine
  • Kris Wakeman, Sugar Loaf – The Old Course, Cedar, Mich.

The USGA announced that Daniel Island Club in Charleston, S.C., will be the host site for the 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur and 2026 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball championships. These will be the first USGA championships held at the facility, where 19-year GCSAA member Joey Franco, CGCS, is the director of agronomy.

Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich., recently completed a restoration of its South Course, host of six U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships and the 35th Ryder Cup in 2004. Following the renovation work by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, the golf course maintenance team set about elevating the course’s conditioning. “The ultimate complement to great golf course architecture is great conditioning,” says Phil Cuffare, director of agronomy at Oakland Hills CC and a 21-year GCSAA member. “As such, the most important aspect of our agronomic programs is turf health, and the cornerstone of achieving that is using our reel and bedknife grinding machinery to sharpen mowing equipment used to maintain our fine turf areas.” Read much more from Bernhard and Co. about the recent work on the South Course.

Rain Bird Corp. has appointed Michael L. Donoghue as its president and CEO. Since joining Rain Bird in 1990, Donoghue has held roles as quality manager, plant manager, engineering manager and business unit director of the company’s Golf Division. He became a vice president at Rain Bird in 2000. In February 2021, Donoghue was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. At different points throughout his 31-year career with Rain Bird, Donoghue has been responsible for each of the company’s six business units. He has also overseen the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations since 2006. Read more.