Zac Simons, massters student in turfgrass management, was chosen to attend the Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program in Charlotte, NC this past may. He had a great time. Here is his description of the experience.
By Zac Simons:
This past May I had the opportunity to attend the Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program at Jacobsen’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Each turf program around the country has the opportunity to nominate a student to attend the event. This year 21 students attended the event with one student coming from the United Kingdom. The event was from May 13 – 16 and included stops at Jacobsen’s manufacturing facility and distribution warehouse, the Quail Hollow Club, Sage Valley Golf Club, and the University of South Carolina.
On Tuesday the day began with tours of Jacobsen’s manufacturing facility and distribution warehouse. At the Jacobsen manufacturing each machine is assembled by hand which shows the care Jacobsen puts into each of their machines. The distribution warehouse houses all the equipment waiting to be shipped as well as a section where all of the replacement parts are stored. The distribution warehouse also houses Jacobsen University which is where employees can attend classes to learn about Jacobsen’s equipment and the maintenance they require. While at Jacobsen University we had two guest speakers. Abby McNeal CSFM from Wake Forest spoke about her experience managing athletic fields and Dr. Jim Brosnan from the University of Tennessee spoke about future issues facing turfgrass management.
The next stop on the trip was to Quail Hollow Golf Club which hosts the Wells Fargo Championship and will host the 2017 PGA Championship. Quail Hollow was under renovation for the 2017 PGA Championship. Superintendent Chris Deariso gave us a tour of the course and explained the renovation projects that are occurring on the course. For the 2017 PGA Championship Quail Hollow is converting their creeping bentgrass greens to MiniVerde ultra dwarf bermudagrass greens.
On Wednesday we visited Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina. Sage Valley Golf Club is a private club which is located 11 miles from Augusta National. Sage Valley also resembles Augusta National very closely with its bentgrass greens and wall to wall overseeding of ryegrass in the winter months. Superintendent Chuck Green showed us the three practice holes on the course and explained the maintenance practices that are done on the course. It was a busy day on the course so we were only able to see the 16th hole.
From Sage Valley we went to the University of South Carolina in Columbia. We first stopped at Williams Brice Stadium which is the home of Gamecocks football. The stadium had hosted a Kenny Chesney concert in the spring and was still showing some wear. We also visited the University of South Carolina baseball stadium which is home to the 2010 and 2011 National Champions. It is beautiful stadium which seats around 8,000 and rivals some minor league stadiums. Clark Cox the head groundskeeper at South Carolina gave the group tours of each stadium and explained the maintenance practices that are done on each field.
The Jacobsen Future Turf Managers program was an excellent experience. I would like to thank Dr. Nick Christians for his recommendation and Jacobsen for their hospitality. It was a great networking and learning experience which will be useful as my time as a turf manager.
William Brice Stadium
University of South Carolina baseball field