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Background

Mike Forsey has more than 30 years in golf soft goods product creation and brand development including stints at FootJoy, Reebok Golf, Nike Golf, Ping, UnderArmour and now PAYNTR Golf.

The Forsey Story

I love the product creation process. Being involved with golf footwear product creation for 30 plus years, it has allowed me to do something I have loved for my entire career.

There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a brand and product from inception to consumer delivery and watching the fruits of your labor have a positive effect on golfers and their performance. I’ve been fortunate to have a lifetime of experience in golf footwear, and prior to establishing PAYNTR Golf, I saw a huge void in the market.

The pendulum of fashion versus function has swung too far to the fashion side of the business. Golfers were missing a key performance advantage as manufacturers focused too much on footwear aesthetics and not enough on foot in contact with shoe, shoe in contact with ground – the biomechanics of the golf swing.

At PAYNTR Golf, we’ve filled this void by delivering our SPEED technology which allows golfers to harness ground reaction forces more efficiently and effectively by bringing greater speed to the ball. Our efforts have successfully filled the performance void in the golf footwear market.

***

What was the genesis for PAYNTR GOLF?

We think of golf footwear as equipment and understand the biomechanics of the golf swing as well as the on-course needs of the golfer. Our goal is to always deliver a true performance advantage.

 

How does PAYNTR GOLF differentiate itself from your key competitors and should consumers opt for your offerings versus those already on the market?

Our product creation philosophy is different than our competitors in that we think about footwear as equipment, and not as a fashion item or a complement to an apparel line.

We incorporate our SPEED technology into every model we bring to market and allow golfers the ability to more effectively harness ground reaction forces to bring more power and speed to the ball.

How have your business efforts changed / evolved from the pre-pandemic time frame to now?

We established PAYNTR Golf during the pandemic, so we don’t know any other way of operating. Timing can be important in business and golf’s popularity boomed over the last few years.

 

Who is your customer?

Our customer is the golfer who plays often. But it’s not about playing ability, where they play, or if they play competitively. Our focus is on the golfer who plays frequently and who is looking to progress. PAYNTR Golf’s footwear can help this golfer improve their footwork and more effectively work the ground during the golf swing.

 

In what specific ways are you identifying and reaching out to them?

Directly from all of our social media platforms as well as our outreach through our green grass account partners. In addition, we have our marketing partners Golfzon-Leadbetter, Mike Weir and targeting more ambassadors moving forward. We try to work with other industry leading brands that deliver superior products, for example, we did a collaboration with Vessel Bags and our first spiked product launched with Softspikes’ newest technology.

Mike Weir

Companies routinely tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow.

PAYNTR Golf considers itself in-service to many, including but not limited to, our wholesale partners, our customers, our athletes, and our employees.

Our customer care goes beyond the support we offer both before and after purchase, but more importantly, we want to make sure our customers have an enjoyable experience with our brand.

 

How do you handle customer feedback and what specific role does it play in future product development?

Consumer insights have driven our product creation agenda from our inception and will continue to refine the products we bring to market now and in the future.

 

From the standpoint of sales -- what is the approximate percentage of your efforts via green grass shops, online sales and brick and mortar retail outlets?

40% green grass, 30% direct to consumer, and 30% off-course specialty retail outlets.

Mike Forsey Interview - PAYNTR
X003 Collection

The 2023 PGA Show is coming up next month in Orlando. Will you be present and how do you plan on using the event to elevate your brand awareness?

Yes, we will exhibit at the 2023 PGA Show with our marketing partner, Golfzon -- booth number 3127. We plan to introduce the trade to “Operation Speed” and a new product called the 005 X.

We will have 15 of our 20 territory sales managers presenting our Spring 2023 offering to green grass golf specialty accounts from North America.

 

Biggest challenges going forward -- short and long term -- and what actual steps are you taking to address both now?

Similar to 2022, when our revenues were up 680%, our short- and long-term challenge is keeping up with demand.

For Spring 2023, we’ve made some big bets, but mid-way through our booking season, we have needed to go back to our suppliers for more inventory. It’s a really nice problem to have.

***

For more info go to:

www.payntrgolf.com

Photos courtesy: PAYNTR GOLF

Here are 22 media memories to close out 2022 – on December 22, no less. There is a book called Forgive Us Our Press Passes (a history of the Association of Golf Writers) published in 2005, a collection of stories about golf writing by golf writers… which gave me the idea for this end-of-year blog.

The press pass collection

It won’t be immediately obvious what’s what here (in part depending on how good your eye-sight is!) so I’ll explain. They are in chronological order from the top. Here goes…

1976: The first Open I attended as a reporter, the one where Seve Ballesteros became famous and Johnny Miller became the champion at Royal Birkdale

1979: Seve’s first win in the Open at Royal Lytham, which made him even more famous

1981: My first Ryder Cup, at which the Seve-less European team was thrashed by the might of America at Walton Heath

1984: The Monte Carlo Open… a great week, especially if you were Ian Mosey, who won it

1984: The only Amateur Championship final I attended. What a one to choose. At Formby that summer, José Maria Olazábal beat Colin Montgomerie by 5&4. I stopped off on my way back to London after a week of playing golf in Scotland. Bliss!

1984: The Million Dollar Challenge at Sun City in the December. Another win for Seve in the year of that one at St Andrews

1985: Sandy Lyle wins the Open at Royal St George’s

1986: Jack Nicklaus wins the Masters at the age of 46

1987: Europe’s first Ryder Cup win in the United States, inspired by Seve (again!) and at the golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus (again!)

1988: The Australian Bicentennial Golf Classic over the extraordinarily classic composite course at Royal Melbourne, won by Rodger Davis

1989: The German Open at the Frankfurter Golf Club, won by Craig Parry (and no, that was not my passport pic!)

1991: Ian Woosnam wins the Masters, the fourth Brit in a row after Lyle and Nick Faldo (twice)

1993: Bernhard Langer wins his second Masters

1995: The last US Open I attended, won by Corey Pavin at Shinnecock Hills

1996: Nick Faldo wins his third green jacket…

1997: … whereas one year later Tiger would be claiming his first

1999: José Maria Olazábal wins his second Masters

2000: The Millennium Open at St Andrews was won by Tiger Woods…

2001: … who completed the ‘Tiger Slam’ at Augusta National the following spring

2012: Europe’s last Ryder Cup victory in the US, inspired by memories of the late Ballesteros and captained to an incredible comeback at Medinah by his old pal, Olazábal

June 2022: The inaugural LIV Golf tournament at the Centurion Club, St Albans

July 2022: The 150th Open Championship over the Old Course at St Andrews

 

You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog  f-factors.com plus you can read more by him on golf at robertgreengolf.com

LITTLE FERRY, NJ. The ubiquitous nature and ever-increasing role of technology is shaping the global world in far faster ways than many might conceive. Golf, for many years, stayed in a predictable silo. Learning the game meant allocating large chunks of time --often by oneself with the hope of finding a passionate teacher fully capable of taking you through the necessary steps towards clear improvement,

Simulators have been in existence for a number of years but the evolution in the offerings is rapidly growing. Millennial golfers have come of age at a time when such technological improvements are not an afterthought, but a given.

Consider this -- in South Korea today there are more indoor simulator locations than Starbuck's franchises. That's mind boggling given the start-up costs associated with such state-of-the-art establishments.

With daily life becoming more frenetic and people overbooking personal calendars, the amount of available time for golf has been squeezed. Given today's world, traditional golf often finds itself outside the available time box for personal recreation.

For many golfers in South Korea the availability and cost to play traditional golf is prohibitive -- simulated golf has become the main connection to the sport. Amazingly, there are South Koreans whose only connection to golf comes from using simulators. The profusion of locations has even meant professional events now played solely through simulator usage.

Golfzon - improvement and fun

The South Korean reality is impinged by having less available land for 18-hole course development and the related associated costs in maintaining the varied aspects such actual clubs provide.

Simulators have become the quintessential connection -- checking off a range of important boxes. First and foremost, simulators are never weather dependent. The business model is time sensitive -- you're never waiting for the group in front of you to speed matters up. It's also ideal for social meetings and getting one's golf fix satiated.

Originally started in South Korea, Golfzon opened for business in May 2020. The brainchild of Kim Young-chan, a former senior executive with Samsung Electronics --the company has become the dominant presence in the growing category. The mission statement is simple and straightforward -- "make golf enjoyable for everyone."

Last week Golfzon opened its first location in the New York metropolitan area -- located in Little Ferry, NJ -- just 15 minutes west of Manhattan. Two upcoming locations in the same region are planned for 2023.

"Golfzon Range is the equivalent of a gym for golf -- a dedicated place to train your golf swing so that you can have more fun and success when playing on the course," said Ben Riches, CEO for Golfzon Leadbetter. "We've taught golfers of every ability all over the world but always at a golf course. Now we can take that same knowledge and use Golfzon technology to offer it in more convenient locations. This is the future of how the golf swing will be taught."

The Little Ferry site provides an upscale vibe. 22 individual stations for golfers seeking improvement whether specifically for individual practice, private lessons and group classes. However, the establishment features a golf centric component first and foremost. Other companies using simulators have brought forward more of a party atmosphere where food and drink have as much emphasis as hitting that round sphere.

Golfzon is tying its identity to those wanting to fully understand their swings more so than whether the white or red wine is preferred with certain food offerings. The New Jersey location is concentrating on ramping up skill levels for all those walking through the doors.

Golfzon added firepower to its offerings in 2018 acquiring Leadbetter Golf Academy and having its leader David Leadbetter become the focal point for instruction efforts. Leadbetter's success at the highest levels of golf has been demonstrated by such golf stars as Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Se Ri Pak, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie, among the most notable.

"Training at a Golfzon Range will be the most effective way to learn golf. Our research shows golfers learn the swing faster indoor than at an outdoor range or on a course," said the English born instructor based now in Florida. "A purpose-built indoor golf training center like this will allow golfers to improve more quickly and that's what golf needs to continue to grow as a sport."

Improvement and fun are now the center point -- welcoming new golfers and keeping those already involved actively engaged. For those living in northern climates the role of simulators keeps interest going when plunging temperatures make outdoor golf not feasible.

Being located in Little Ferry also provides a central location to an avid base of Korean golfers who live throughout the immediate NY / NJ area. That passion for the game is notable and emanates from its founder.

Golfzon offers a range of different price options and services. The cost factor is competitive with other non-golf entertainment options.

Golfzon - improvement and fun

Nonetheless, simulator golf cannot replicate varying wind patterns and lies of the golf ball encountered throughout a traditional round of golf. Short game situations -- notably bunker play is obviously not possible. Working on putting skills has improved noticeably but being able to test skills with lengthier putts is held back because of space limitations.

Golfzon is moving ahead with a bold effort in ramping up how technology can provide a far deeper connection through golf. Players today have a range of connection points available  in which the manner by which they swing a golf club can be analyzed through the lens of different interactors. Today's cellular phone provides a constant feedback loop with golfers at the center point of attention.

Understanding specific mechanical aspects and getting ongoing swing improvements both tracked and ingrained is a front and center dimension where simulators excel. Like an MRI, the stats you see on the screen don't lie.

Interpreting the data correctly is essential. Misinformation has always plagued the sport with a range of quick fixes that have only held back golfers from achieving a far higher level of play.

The mechanical side of how to swing the golf club is a big part of any golfer's desire to improve. But golf is also played through a mental component -- knowing full well how to bring to the forefront the needed strategies where the lowest score with each and every hole is attainable.

Far too many teachers and the instruction they provide only serves to confuse and hold back student progression. Golfzon's model realizes hitting a ball into a screen accomplishes little if qualified instruction cannot be truly integrated into a continuous feedback loop.

Millennial golfers today have little desire to remain with a sport if a promising track for improvement cannot happen within a reasonable amount of time. Patience was a virtue past generations had in supply. The current crop of younger players can quickly gravitate to other leisure pursuits if results are not achievable.

There is an old business adage -- never truer when it comes to golf. One cannot manage without measurement.

Having the brand name of Leadbetter brings front and center a clear commitment in securing Golfzon as a true game changer. Legitimacy and credibility are central in providing the critical intersection point between teacher and student. Having the Leadbetter name front and center is meant to show the commitment of Golfzon in achieving ultimate customer satisfaction.

Simulators are the latest golf technology rocket that has lifted off. The opening act has been quite impressive. Golfzon's ascension has brought to the forefront a serious game plan. Rolling out a pledge where aspiring golfers can find a permanent home.

Embracing the future and pushing failed past practices aside is the focal point of attention. Undoubtedly, the ever-evolving embrace of golf and technology bears close watching with actors like Golfzon forging new pathways. Golfers, like all other consumers, are now monitoring what companies value their satisfaction in the never-ending journey in improving one's golf game. Golfzon believes the formula it has created will be the optimum choice for golfers.

One can only imagine what Old Tom Morris would think of how golf has evolved since his prime playing days.

***

For more info go to:

www.golfzongolf.com

Additional photos courtesy Golfzon Range Leadbetter

Players who have joined LIV Golf will not be barred from competing in next year’s Masters, tournament organisers have announced.

The PGA Tour has suspended members who have competed in the Saudi-funded breakaway without permission, while the DP World Tour fined players £100,000 and banned them from the Genesis Scottish Open, but saw that temporarily stayed on appeal.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said in July that banning LIV players from next year’s Open was “not on the agenda”, but did not rule out changing the championship’s entry criteria.

Masters chairman Fred Ridley took a similar stance on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the entry criteria for 2023 would remain the same, with any possible future changes announced in April.

Former Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson are among the top players to have joined LIV, while others who remain inside the world’s top 50 – despite LIV not currently being allowed to award ranking points – will still be eligible to compete at Augusta National.

Ridley’s statement read: “From its inception in 1934, the purpose of the Masters Tournament has been to benefit the game of golf.

“Each April, the Masters assembles the world’s leading golfers to compete for the Green Jacket and a place in history.

“It provides a stage for fans to experience dramatic moments of competition at the highest level and promotes the sport domestically and abroad.

“Through the years, legends of the game have competed and won at Augusta National Golf Club.

Sergio Garcia
Spain’s Sergio Garcia is one of the former Masters champions who have joined LIV Golf (Richard Sellers/PA)

“Champions like Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have become heroes to golfers of all ages.

“They have inspired some to follow in their footsteps and so many others to play and enjoy the game. They have supported the sport and, thus, all who benefit from it.

“They have shown respect for those who came before them and blazed a trail for future generations. Golf is better because of them.

“Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it.

“Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honour the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April.

“Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament.

“As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April.

“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”

Vijay Singh and son Qass closed with a 59 to reach 26-under and win the PNC Championship in their sixteenth appearance in the event.

https://twitter.com/ChampionsTour/status/1604605109924659201?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1604605109924659201%7Ctwgr%5E06ec72d157543d16f4ea0a38e728938c66f37017%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpublish.twitter.com%2F%3Fquery%3Dhttps3A2F2Ftwitter.com2FChampionsTour2Fstatus2F1604605109924659201widget%3DTweet

The Fijian three-time major champion has been playing with his son since 2003 when Qass was just 13.

They are the first team in the history of the event to post a sub-60 score in both rounds.

"This is what we wanted forever," said Qass. "So I'm thrilled. I'm so happy. This is already the best week, so this is just making it... no words can describe. It's going to be a memory I'm going to have forever."

The defending champs finishing in style 👏

Team Daly closes with an eagle on 18 @PNCChampionship. pic.twitter.com/IbABldAxvJ

— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) December 18, 2022

Team Daly carded a 59 for a 24-under total and a share of second place alongside Team Thomas who closed with a63.

Tiger and Charlie Woods fell out of contention after a bogey at the 7th and finished with a 65, tied for 8th at 21-under.

Antoine Rozner has won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open with a final round 67 for a 19-under, 269 total.
Alfredo Garcia-Heredia came second at 14-under and Julien Brun third at 12-under.

Rozner moves up to 142 from 185 this week, Garcia-Heredia to 305 from 353 and Brun to 219 from 236.

Antoine Rozner produced a brilliant burst of scoring on the front nine on Sunday to win the Mauritius Open by five shots and become a three-time DP World Tour champion.

Overnight leader Rozner extended his advantage from two strokes to five after carding an eagle and three birdies over the first nine holes.

And in breezy conditions, the Frenchman made one birdie and one bogey on the back nine to sign for a 67, finish the tournament on 19 under par and erase the memory of his defeat to Rasmus Hojgaard in a play-off at this event three years ago.

Rozner’s nearest challenger was Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who finished alone in second on 14 under after posting a sparkling 67 on his 41st birthday.

France’s Julien Brun was two shots further back in third after his level-par 72.

After winning the final tournament of the calendar year, Rozner said: “Unbelievable. It’s a tough game. We practise so hard all year long and a win is a win and I’m so glad I got this done.

“It’s so hard to win so I’m just so happy.

“I didn’t know anything about the scores, I didn’t want to have a look. I knew I was in the lead.

“I knew if I kept playing like this there was going to be no issue at the end but it was so hard.

“I started hitting bad shots so I think with my caddie we did a really good job to stay focused and stay in the moment and not think about the scores and the other guys.

“We did an amazing job today.

Antoine Rozner has won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open with a final round 67 for a 19-under, 269 total.
Alfredo Garcia-Heredia came second at 14-under and Julien Brun third at 12-under.

Rozner enters at number 4 this week, Garcia-Heredia moves up to number 7 from 74 and Brun enters at 22.

Sustainability Series
Part 1 Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

J Bryan Unruh Interview

Golf is facing a range of impactful challenges in the 21st century. Growing the game has become a rallying cry amongst the sport's major organizations. Beyond the desire to add more players is another dimension that has even greater ramifications.

Can golf play a positive role as a friendly contributor in the ever-changing dynamics with the environment? Can stakeholders within the sport foster a lasting dialogue with outside groups who often see golf as a "taker" of natural resources and thereby squandering them on what they deem as a frivolous hobby.

The present debate is not whether climate change is real but how serious it inevitably will become without proactive steps being taken. The maintenance of golf courses is a far more intricate matter today than in years past and the growing complexity mandates state-of-the-art practices.

Demonstrating golf is a long-term partner is central in cultivating the game's growth. Working in tandem with the broader environmental community requires engagement of new practices that lend themselves to sustaining the game in a multiplicity of ways.

Keeping the communication lines open and active is a foremost priority.

Dr. J. Bryan Unruh is one of the foremost leaders in raising the bar on how golf and the environment can successfully link together. The daily application of meaningful and timely information is now essential and Dr. Unruh outlines in the interview below what the sport faces today and in the years to come.

***

Background

Dr. J. Bryan Unruh is a Professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida, IFAS, West Florida Research and Education Center, where he has held a faculty position since 1996. Dr. Unruh received his Ph.D. in 1995 from Iowa State Univ. and his M.S. and B.S. degrees from Kansas State Univ. in 1991 and 1989, respectively.

Dr. Unruh’s turfgrass science research and extension program focuses on water quality and quantity, pest management, and new cultivar development. Results from his team’s work are included in all three Florida turf industry Best Management Practice (BMP) manuals.

Dr. Unruh also serves as the primary educator for the Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSAA) BMP initiative, and he is currently working on the GCSAA Golf Course Environmental Profile survey series.

The Unruh Story

At a very early age, I, like many kids, starting mowing lawns to earn spending money. I continued this endeavor through high school but never intending turf management as a career; I desired to be an attorney. The time came to enter college and I had decided that the time necessary to earn a law degree was too long and I really didn’t want a “desk job” – so I declared horticulture as my major at Kansas State University. Ironically, I was in school for 10.5 years and largely have a desk job today.

While in college, I found that most turf students pursued golf course management, so I reached out to Philip “Stan” George, then superintendent at Dodge City (KS) Country Club, requesting a summer job. That summer job changed my outlook on a lot of things – especially my commitment to apply myself to my studies so that I didn’t have to rake pine needles out from under trees for the rest of my life! My interest in turfgrass management grew and I applied for and was awarded a scholarship from Heart of America Golf Course Superintendents Association which I used to attend my first scientific conference – the Crop Science Society of America in Anaheim, CA.

It was there I was exposed to the science behind turfgrass management, and I got to meet the authors of the textbooks I studied from. This ultimately led me to pursue my Master of Science degree under the direction of Dr. Roch Gaussoin at Kansas State University and then on to Iowa State University where I earned my Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Nick Christians. Within weeks of finishing my Ph.D., I started my position at the University of Florida.

With its abundance of golf courses intertwined into sensitive ecosystems, Florida was in need of comprehensive Best Management Practices, and I was fortunate enough to be part of the group that developed them. Science evolves which means best management practices evolve as well. It’s a never-ending process and I’m fortunate to be a contributor to the process – not only in Florida but also across the United States of America.

***

You were just honored by the GCSAA with the President's Award for Environmental Excellence. What was your first reaction when told?

I was a bit taken back and I stammered with my words! The caller ID revealed the incoming call was from California. Thinking it was likely a telemarketer, I almost didn’t answer.

Upon answering, GCSAA President Kevin Breen, Certified Golf Course Superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, California identified himself and said “Congratulations!”.

I think I simply said, “Well, thank you.” And then my mind was flooded with the “why me” thoughts. There are so many deserving people in this industry that have contributed greatly – why did they choose me?

 

You've personally been on the front lines in developing best practices for golf facilities -- notably beginning in Florida -- the State with the most golf facilities in the USA. How successful, in your mind, have such facilities been in implementing such practices?

This is a very tough question and one that a collective team is wrestling with presently. We’ve been tremendously successful in moving the BMP initiative forward – all 50 states in the U.S. now have guiding documents on how to best manage golf courses – and that goal was accomplished in only three years.

But having a book on the shelf doesn’t necessarily equate to implementing the practices. Every golf facility should now set goals for resource conservation – be it water, nutrients, pesticides, or energy. And these goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound) to be meaningful.

 

Awareness of the environment is a topic of immense interest -- to golfers and non-golfers alike. What grade do you see the golf industry earning for its efforts in educating those not connected to the sport about the proactive efforts it is doing?

When I used to teach in the classroom, I was asked if I “graded on the curve” (I didn’t). That said, I would give the industry a “C” for an average job. Communication in today’s era is quite challenging – especially to the disconnected who do not have a vested interest in a particular subject (i.e., golf).

However, these same people may have an interest in “protecting the environment” or “conserving water or habitat” or “protecting pollinators” and they are often targeted with “anti-golf” campaigns filled with misinformation. As such, the golf course management industry has the daunting task of helping the disconnected “unlearn” misinformation.

J Bryan Unruh Interview

Water is becoming more and more a central emphasis point. There have been calls for non-essential users such as golf facilities to make cutbacks -- possibly anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. Is such a pullback of water usage possible and what impact would it have on golf facilities overall?

Great question with complex answers that have additional questions embedded in them. Are reductions needed? Absolutely! Who gets to define “essential” vs. “non-essential”? What are the ecosystem service trade-offs of eliminating or reducing water use for golf?

A better approach than blanket percentage reductions is to focus on enhancing water use efficiency which is measured by unit volume/unit area. Can we increase efficiency – you bet. And there are a lot of ways to do that, but one size does not fit all.

Breeding and planting water conserving turfgrasses, use of soil amendments and surfactants, increasing irrigation system efficiency, and reducing irrigated acres are just a few of the many options available. Interestingly, golf courses in the Southwest U.S. are considerably larger than elsewhere and they use a disproportionate amount of water due to climatic conditions. Their water conservation strategies should be very different than the Southeast U.S. where abundant rainfall is less than effective due to the low water holding capacity of sandy soils.

 

Can organized environmental groups be convinced golf is a good steward of critical natural resources? What additional steps need to be taken?

There are good examples of where golf antagonists, often as individuals and not necessarily collectively, come to see the value of a golf course. This often occurs through the deliberate interactions golf course superintendents have with those who oppose the game.

This engagement generally centers on shared goals such as habitat restoration (e.g., Monarchs in the Rough), wildlife protection, and greenspace preservation. Additional effort in public engagement is vitally important in building mutually beneficial and productive relationships.

 

You are now involved with a groundbreaking project to develop a comprehensive environmental profile of golf courses in the United States. Where do matters stand at this moment and how impactful do you see this being with those at the State and Federal regulatory areas?

The profiles provide the necessary industry benchmarks that show where progress has been made and where additional effort is needed. Without the benchmark, we can only guess what is being done. I tend to prefer the carrot versus the stick when it comes to eliciting change. But it likely requires a bit of both in order to move the mark.

For example, phosphorus regulations in the U.S. resulted in reduced tonnage applied to golf courses early on. Recent data, however, suggests that although restrictions have declined, phosphorous applications continue to decline. This is likely a case where the majority cautiously watched those impacted by regulation and upon realization that the golf course was fine without supplemental phosphorous, they followed suit.

 

The biggest misconception non-golfers have about golf courses in general is what?

The non-golfing public generally feels that golf courses are bad for the environment, and they fail to realize the tremendous benefits they bring to the environment; especially the urban environment that is often denuded of natural resources and covered with impervious surfaces.

If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally - what would it be and why?

Inextricably linked to the game of golf is turfgrass – and many are convinced that turfgrass is bad for the environment. Turfgrasses are just plants and the plants themselves do not use too much water, nutrients, or pesticides.

As such, I want people to view turfgrasses -- and golf -- positively due to the tremendous benefits they provide.

 

Curious to know - when you visit a golf course -- what's the first thing you notice?

Details. I’m a bit OCD and I see detail or the lack of. The superintendent I worked for drilled into us that doing things right – setting the pin plumb, lifting bunker rakes up before exiting the bunker so you don’t drag sand out, mowing straight lines, proper tee marker alignment – aren’t costly to do but they make the difference between good and great.

Coincidently, this hasn’t been good for my game as I have a hard time focusing on and remembering where I hit the ball.

 

Best advice you ever received -- what was it and who from?

“Speak less and say more.” – Dr. Jerry Young, Professor at Iowa State University, who served as a “life” mentor. This is tremendously hard to master.

***

For more info go to:

www.gatorturf.com

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