GCM’s Industry News Digest: March 2021

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


Golf industry news March 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.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Arborjet and Ecologel Solutions LLC announced the results of recent research involving Ecologel’s flagship brand, Hydretain. The field study examined the effect of various product treatments on turfgrass quality parameters under a 50% reduction in irrigation. The company says Hydretain was found to be among the top-performing treatments for quality ratings and turf density throughout the study. Read the full report.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Through its Torrent 2 giveaway during the 2021 virtual Golf Industry Show, Turfco raised $5,000 for GCSAA’s Disaster Relief Fund. The donation will help GCSAA provide financial assistance to members who have suffered personal loss from a natural disaster or COVID-19. Read more.

Turfco donation

Yamaha Golf-Car Co.’s Drive2 QuieTech vehicle has been awarded Golf Digest’s 2021 Editors’ Choice Award for Best Gas Golf Car. The Drive2 QuieTech EFI gets 45 miles per gallon and has the lowest decibel output of any gas golf car, the company says, delivering a smooth, quiet ride.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech published a report on national golf rounds played in February 2021. Rounds were down 4.7% nationwide in February 2021 compared with the year before. February is a relatively low-volume month, accounting for less than 5% of annual U.S. rounds, and year-to-year fluctuations are very weather-dependent. Learn more in February 2021 National Rounds Played.

Stephenson Custom Case Co. unveiled its new mobile beverage station, a self-contained unit that unfolds into a full beverage-serving station. The station is collapsible, mobile and weather-resistant, includes a sink, and connects to turf utility vehicles. Built-in power sources boost versatility, allowing for on-site preparation of snacks and more drink options. Learn more.

Stephenson Custom Case Company mobile beverage station

Friday, March 26, 2021

Fore the Ladies

The USGA announced a collaboration with Fore the Ladies, a nonprofit, female-based community that brings women together to participate in golf through accessibility and approachability. The USGA will work with Fore the Ladies to introduce listeners of the Fore the Ladies podcast to women who work in, play and love the sport across the USGA network. The collaboration is the latest in a series of USGA initiatives to actively elevate and highlight the role women play in the game. Read more.

Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md., has selected BrightView Golf Maintenance to maintain its par-72 championship golf course. BrightView will be responsible for all aspects of course maintenance at the northern Baltimore County club, which was founded in 1923. Read more.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Three GCSAA members recently completed the association’s Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series: Brigido Miguel, assistant superintendent at Olde Hickory Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla.; Justin Miller, assistant superintendent at The Landing Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga.; and Jared Reinke, assistant superintendent at The Players Club at Deer Creek in Omaha, Neb.

Two GCSAA members recently completed Level 1 of GCSAA’s Equipment Management Certificate Program: Cody Burnsed; and James Davis, equipment manager at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Fla. Two members also recently completed Level 2 of the program: Mike Gray, equipment manager at the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Club in Annapolis, Md.; and Francis Paquette, equipment manager at Derrick Golf & Winter Club in Edmonton, Alberta.

Hunter Industries has introduced its TTS-800 Series of golf rotors, which the company says simplify irrigation management and provide maximum uniformity and longevity in the field. High-torque gear drives mitigate potential challenges from reclaimed water use or poor water quality, and the inlet valve includes a patented system that scours the filter clean during every cycle.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A new episode of the GCSAA Podcast is available. GCM Editor-in-Chief Scott Hollister chats with newly elected GCSAA President Mark F. Jordan, CGCS, about his long career in golf course management and his goals for the association in the coming year. Listen now.

Syngenta has published new GreenCast Advisory articles for golf course superintendents:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

National Golf Day 2021 will take place virtually May 10-12. This will be the event’s 13th year. Registration is now open. Learn more.

The USGA announced Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va., will host the 43rd U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, Sept. 21-26, 2024. Independence Golf Club, a nearby public facility in Midlothian, Va., will serve as the stroke play co-host course. Kinloch Golf Club was originally slated to host the 2020 U.S. Mid-Amateur, but the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trevor Hedgepeth, CGCS, is the director of golf course management at Kinloch Golf Club and a 17-year GCSAA member. Dan Taylor, CGCS, is the director of agronomy at Independence Golf Club and a 34-year member of GCSAA.

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Hay golf course

On April 16, Pebble Beach Co. will unveil The Hay, a new nine-hole short course and the resort’s first-ever putting course. Created in partnership with Tiger Woods and his TGR Design firm, The Hay aims to attract and engage golfers of all abilities and ages. It also features a new restaurant with an expansive outdoor patio for taking in the property’s views of central California’s Monterey Peninsula. Located on the site of the former Peter Hay Golf Course, The Hay carries forward the legacy of its original creator, Peter Hay, longtime head professional at both the Pebble Beach and Del Monte golf courses. Learn more.

M. Ali Harivandi, Ph.D., of the USGA Green Section has been honored as a 2021 Ike Grainger Award recipient. The award is given to individuals who have served the USGA as a volunteer for 25 years. An environmental horticulturist who specialized in turf, soil and water for the University of California Cooperative Extension for 33 years, Harivandi has been involved with the USGA’s Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee since 1998. He is regarded as an expert on recycled water use on golf courses.

Escalante Golf announced golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw will revitalize the Pines Course at The International in Bolton, Mass., a 36-hole facility. Work is scheduled to begin in 2022. The Pines Course was originally designed by Geoffrey S. Cornish with input from 1913 U.S. Open champion Francis Ouimet. It opened in 1957. Robert Trent Jones Sr. modified the layout in 1972, and it’s considered one of the nation’s longest golf courses, at 8,325 yards from the tips. Read more.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

GCSAA announces four members’ continuing education achievements. Three members recently completed the association’s Assistant Superintendent Certificate Series: Stefan Carter, assistant superintendent at the West Course at Wentworth Golf Club in England; Brian Gibbs, Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Fla.; and Kalman Zaranec, assistant superintendent at Circling Raven Golf Club in Worley, Idaho. Francis Paquette, equipment manager at Derrick Golf & Winter Club in Edmonton, Alberta, recently completed Level 1 of GCSAA’s Equipment Management Certificate Program.

Tackle several tasks with a single machine: The new STrac 700 from Maredo is a multipurpose pedestrian machine that can be outfitted with different heads to aerify, verticut, seed and more. The unit features a 6.5-hp engine and ultra-short turning radius.

Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply has hired Pat Gross in the newly developed role of Ewing Golf Inside Sales. Gross recently retired from the USGA after a 28-year career with the organization as an agronomist and director of the West Region of the Green Section. During his tenure with the USGA, Gross conducted more than 2,000 on-site consulting visits to golf facilities throughout the Southwest U.S. and Mexico, with a focus on providing practical information to help courses conserve water and improve course conditions. Read more about Gross and his new post.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Trey Kemp has been elected a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Kemp is a golf course architect with Kimley-Horn and Associates in Fort Worth, Texas, and has worked on more than 100 projects in 15 states. Read more about Kemp and his portfolio.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The USGA announced that Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., will host a pair of future USGA championships: the 61st U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, scheduled to be played Sept. 30-Oct. 5, 2023, and the 44th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, scheduled for Sept. 13-18, 2025. These will be the second and third USGA championships for the club, which hosted the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1990. Seth Miller is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Troon Country Club and an 18-year member of the association.

Troon has been selected to manage Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill. Atkins Golf Club is an 18-hole public course and has long served as the home course of the Fighting Illini men’s and women’s golf programs. The facility was formerly known as Stone Creek Golf Club. In 2020, The Atkins Group, an Urbana-based real estate development firm, donated 300 acres to the university, including the golf course property. The university renamed the course in recognition of the gift. Atkins Golf Club is currently closed to undergo renovations; it is expected to reopen for public play this fall.

Atkins Golf Club

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Club Management Association of America (CMAA) announced its 2021 elected officers and board of directors.

Executive committee:

  • Chairman Brian Kroh, CCM, general manager, John’s Island Club, Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Vice Chairman Mitchell Platt, MCM, CCE, general manager, Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.
  • Secretary-Treasurer Michael Seabrook, CCM, CCE, general manager/chief operating officer, Belle Meade Country Club, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Immediate Past Chairman Mark Bado, MCM, CCE, general manager, Myers Park Country Club, Charlotte, N.C.

Newly elected directors:

  • John Dorman, CCM, general manager, The University Club, New York, N.Y., elected to a one-year term
  • Casey Newman, CCM, club manager, River Oaks Country Club, Houston, Texas, elected to a three-year term

Re-elected directors:

  • Richard LaRocca, CCM, CCE, general manager/chief operating officer, Beechmont Country Club, Cleveland, Ohio, re-elected to a three-year term
  • Michael S. Wheeler, MCM, CCE, general manager/chief operating officer, Cherokee Town & Country Club, Atlanta, re-elected to a three-year term

Directors continuing to serve on the CMAA board:

  • Janine Budzius, CCM, CCE, general manager/chief operating officer, Philadelphia Country Club, Gladwyne, Pa.
  • Eric Dietz, CCM, CCE, PGA, chief operating officer, Mountain Lake, Lake Wales, Fla.
  • Joseph Krenn, CCM, CCE, general manager/chief operating officer, Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Joe Mendez, CCM, CCE, general manager, Riverton Country Club, Cinnaminson, N.J.
  • William Shonk, CCM, CCE, general manager, Princess Anne Country Club, Virginia Beach, Va.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Based on trends in the latest annual bluegrass weevil (ABW) research, Syngenta has expanded its WeevilTrak monitoring efforts into Kentucky for the 2021 season. Three Kentucky golf courses have been added as monitoring sites, and new researchers have joined the WeevilTrak team. Get all the details on the WeevilTrak program and learn about Syngenta’s ABW monitoring and control tools.

The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) is bringing back its “Great Junior Golf Design Challenge” for 2021. The program, which debuted in 2020, encourages children to design their own golf holes. This year, a top design will be selected, and the winning designer will receive $250 from the ASGCA Foundation. All submissions will be eligible to win merchandise from U.S. Kids Golf. Get all the contest details.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Kubota Tractor Corp. introduced its gas-powered RTV520 utility vehicle. The RTV520 features a variety of performance, appearance and comfort upgrades over its predecessor, the RTV500. The liquid-cooled Kubota engine delivers more than 17 horsepower, while the VHT transmission provides single-pedal operation and hill-hold support. The heavy-duty cargo bed with dump capabilities has a towing capacity of 1,168 pounds.

Kubota RTV520

Escalante Golf announced golf course architecture firm Tripp Davis and Associates will renovate the 18-hole Oaks Course at The International in Bolton, Mass. Scheduled to begin this spring and be completed by summer, the revitalization project will consist of improving tees and bunkers as well as the property’s expansive practice areas. Tom Fazio originally designed and built the Oaks Course in 2000.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The USGA will invest $1.8 million in more than 70 research grants in 2021 through the Green Section’s Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program. The 2021 grant recipients will receive an average of $25,000 in funding. Notable projects include a multi-year effort with the University of Minnesota to more efficiently irrigate golf courses based on site-specific data; ongoing support of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to advance the creation of new cultivars of buffalograss that require fewer resources; and a collaborative effort between North Carolina State University, Purdue University and the University of Georgia-Tifton to develop new cultivars of zoysiagrass that improve the stress tolerance and resource-use efficiency of roughs in varying climates. Learn more.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

GCSAA announced a final total attendance of more than 9,500 for the 2021 virtual Golf Industry Show. After the live portion of the event Feb. 2-4, education sessions and the trade show were available on demand through March 6. The 88 education sessions received 46,900 views, and the more than 200 trade show exhibitors saw a total of 229,434 booth visits. The 2022 Golf Industry Show is currently scheduled to be an in-person event Feb. 5-10, 2022, at the San Diego Convention Center.

The Palm Beach GCSA donated $2,500 to support the research and advocacy efforts funded by the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic organization of GCSAA. The chapter made an additional $2,500 gift to First Green, GCSAA’s STEM education program. Read more.

Loch Lomond Golf Club

Loch Lomond Golf Club (right) in Scotland is nearing the completion of a four-year renovation project in which 85% of the golf course has been sand-capped (apart from the USGA greens), its drainage infrastructure rebuilt, its irrigation system completely renewed, and its bunkers reconstructed using the Capillary Concrete bunker lining system. Read much more about the project in Golf Course Architecture.

Contractor Heritage Links has applied the finishing touches to three renovation jobs in Florida. The company completed practice area renovations at both Sailfish Point Golf Club in Stuart, Fla., and Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., in late 2020. “It’s one of the things we hear most from course managers and designers these days — that practice facilities are critical to building community,” says Heritage Links project manager Jorge Huerta, who has led Heritage Links’ efforts in Florida since 2014. “Most clubs just didn’t see this coming when they were first developed — so they’re addressing it now. That’s the trend we see.” In addition, in January 2021, Heritage Links concluded an 18-hole renovation at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Maulana Dotch

Maulana Dotch (right) has been named general manager at Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston, making her the first African-American woman PGA member to also serve as a general manager for a golf facility. A native of Irving, Texas, Dotch earned her PGA membership in 2010. She was the second-ever African-American woman to become a PGA member, following in the footsteps of PGA Hall of Fame member Renee Powell. Dotch spent the past 12 years at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas and served as PGA head professional there beginning in 2014.

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) announced its Festival of Turf will take place July 21 and 22 in the predominantly outdoor setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre in England. The event was rescheduled from June to later in the summer, when the association anticipates social distancing restrictions will be removed. Learn more.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) has released a new version of its “Cost Estimating Guide,” a Microsoft Excel-based tool. “Since it was first introduced in 1996, our cost guides have been a must-have for everyone involved with golf course construction and renovation,” says Justin Apel, GCBAA executive director. “Version 7 has everything developers, designers, architects, superintendents, appraisers and builders would need to estimate costs. It’s just an excellent tool to use in developing a budget for a project on any scale.”

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Yamaha Golf-Car Co. and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. of America recently donated a new golf car to Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Newnan, Ga. With the opening of the hospital’s Piedmont Medical Plaza II and the increase in patient volumes, the additional golf car allows the hospital shuttle service to provide rides to more people on the hospital campus who may need mobility assistance, without long wait times.

Cherokee Country Club in Madison, Wis., announced plans for a sweeping renovation of its 18-hole golf course. The project will adhere to Wisconsin Golf Industry Best Management Practices (BMPs), prepared by the Wisconsin GCSA, and the course is aiming to become a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Thirteen-year GCSAA member Eric Leonard is the golf course superintendent at Cherokee Country Club. Learn more about the Cherokee Country Club project.

Profile Products announced the promotions of Adam Dibble and John Martin to the company’s newly formed Biotic Soil Media sales group. Dibble takes on the role of director of marketing and environmental business development, and Martin is the new business development manager. The pair will lead strategic growth for the company’s Biotic Soil Media technologies, which include hydraulically applied ProGanics Biotic Soil Media and ProGanics DUAL.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Toro Co. has acquired Left Hand Robotics Inc., a Colorado-based developer of autonomous solutions for turf and snow management. Toro says the acquisition of autonomous capabilities advances its technology strategy.

The USGA and Sentry — a Wisconsin-based insurance company — have formed a five-year corporate partnership to invest more deeply in recreational golf and engage more golfers in communities across the U.S. The agreement establishes Sentry as the USGA’s official insurance partner and its sixth corporate partner. Sentry has operated SentryWorld, a golf and recreational complex, since the early 1980s in its home community of Stevens Point, Wis. Learn more.

Kenwood Country Club, just northeast of Cincinnati, announced it will hold a grand reopening in June 2021 for its Kendale Course, a Golden Age layout where Dublin, Ohio-based Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has completed a comprehensive $5 million renovation. The Kendale Course is one of two 18-hole courses at the club that was designed by Bill Diddel and opened in 1930. Fourteen-year GCSAA member Kent Turner is director of grounds and golf course operations at Kenwood Country Club.

Bernhard and Co. reported success at the virtual 2021 Golf Industry Show, where it championed education and high-tech turf management. The company was able to demonstrate the latest features on its grinding machines and showcase new products that use market-leading technology, such as contactless RFID (radio-frequency identification), laser surveying, intuitive touch screens, wireless handsets and remote service modules.

Monday, March 1, 2021

The Rutgers University Board of Governors appointed professor James A. Murphy to the Ralph Geiger Chair in Turfgrass Science. Murphy, who joined the Rutgers faculty in 1991, is an authority on turfgrass tolerance to traffic stress, cultural management of stress-induced diseases, and nutrient management of cool-season grasses. He was elected a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America in 2014 and the American Society of Agronomy in 2015, and has also received the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award.