Greetings from the Sunshine State

(Editors note I started this in Orlando but had issues with loading pictures so completed today from office)
It has been a great vacation with perfect weather. The arrival to the Orlando area gave me the opportunity to visit with an old friend from my childhood before heading into the GIS conference. The show has been great and my presentation went very well. Here are a few snippets from Twitter:
Double Tweet. Original from professor facilitating the talk Dr. Soldat then Dave who is a turfgrass consultant in Calif.
Jesse is at Gull Lake CC in Michigan 
Kevin is the GCSAA field rep for the Northeast
Rick was a Super on the Cape. At least one person could see me!

I had to make a joke about the set up being geared for tall people("They did not bring me a box to stand on"). I was the only one with a portable microphone so I could walk around the podium so you could see me. I also had some fun on Twitter with Kevin's post and geography theme:

worst part of travel is dealing with weather
I decided to bail a day early to get ahead of the storm. Mostly because the weather after the storm was no picnic either with high winds forecast for several days. The snow totals ended up being lower but the winds wreaked havoc and we lost power for 5 hrs Thursday evening. I was glad I came home ahead of it but disappointed I missed that last planned day. It was an honor to be asked to present and it went well from all I have heard. It is encouraging to know that using less inputs may be more interesting to people. It is also humbling to be recognized for it on a national stage. My fellow presenters are two very sharp young men doing great things in the industry. I look forward to watching them as their careers continue to soar.
Jason posted his post show blog yesterday see it HERE It added perspective as he talks about it being his first show. I attended mine in 1993. I have yet to attend Canada's show however so he has me there.
On the local front we had some rain yesterday which took away some of the snow from Thurs. The temps are down and the wind is up but it looks like the storm predicted for today is staying north with just a few flakes falling. We have had a very mild winter thus far and maybe we can get back to that after this latest bout with snow and cold.

Speaking Engagements

I was asked back in July if I would participate in a low input turf maintenance talk at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's national conference. GIS or Golf Industry Show is in Orlando this year. I was honored and thrilled to be asked. After hearing who the other two speakers were I spent the next 20 minutes trying to convince the organizer how I was not on their level. He was not swayed and thought I would be a good fit for the panel. I had started thinking about the talk and prepared an outline. We had a few conference calls to discuss content etc. I put together a slide presentation and even practiced it once. The other speakers are Chris Tritabaugh, Hazletine National GC coming off the Ryder Cup and one of the brightest young supers in our industry and Jason Haines, Pender Harbor GC in Brittish Columbia who is essentially doing research on his course and writing some of the best blog posts about it I have ever read. Esteemed company for sure.

original cover slide

one of the slides

another slide from talk
I then received a call from the organizer of the Maine Turfgrass Conference (Mike Guibord) asking if I would be interested in speaking up there in January. Thinking "in for a penny in for a pound" why not? After speaking with him for 20 minutes on the phone explaining what my talk would be about I asked how long the slot would be? He said an hour. I almost drove off the road. Now any of you who know me understand I like to talk. I am even OK in public having had to run meetings for my local superintendents organization and even being a moderator at the New England Regional Conference, but those are very different from being a sole speaker for an hour! The GIS talk is three of us with each being approximately 20 minutes. Mike responds you will be fine we just talked for 20 minutes, as if a phone conversation is akin to standing in front of 100+ people for an hour. I added a couple more slides and worked up a speech for each slide then shaved those to bullet points and then went for broke. Everyone was right. It went fine and I actually received many compliments on the talk.
Me in Maine starting talk
And some good natured ribbing on Twitter from the professor at Penn State Dr Ben McGraw who was actually before me, then a lunch break, then after me in the program. Speaking of Twitter, there were also some conversations leading up to the talk and I was getting nervous as it came closer. One response from Dave Wilbur really hit home and stuck with me:
Twitter conversation leading up first Talk

When it comes to the Bioject and using a biological control for fungal diseases there are not many, if any at all, who have done it for as long as I have here at Mink. 19 years is a long time to not use fungicides. I have seen very good results with it and am very proud to have been using less chemical inputs for 21 seasons. A lot of the credit goes to you the players who are willing to put up with less than "perfect conditions" and my staff who buys into the entire program. Some of it is less insecticides. It is frustrating to work all season keeping good turf only to see it torn up by skunks overnight. We are not regulated and can use any chemicals we choose so voluntarily decide to use less on the majority of the course. Living proof if the greens are good a lot of sins are forgiven. I will update you on how it goes after a couple of weeks on vacation before the show. Wish me luck. For more timely updates on what is going on check out my Twitter feed @22Crowther where it is mostly turf talk but occasionally a rant about the Boston Bruins or pictures of Bert...

Power of Social Media and a quick weather change

I was scanning through my Twitter feed last night and having a private conversation with a sports writer at the Boston Globe when I received a notification of a mention. A mention is when someone uses your Twitter name in a post or "Tweet" mine is @22Crowther. It was a simple note saying "Hey @22Crowther looking good" from a follower of mine and fellow superintendent Zach Bauer @ZBTurf411 . Zach is at The Broadmoor in Colorado and he was replying to a tweet by Simon Haines @Hainsey76, Golf Course Architect in England. Simon's tweet was two pictures of Mink Meadows from 1939 I had never seen before. I was blown away. My conversation with the writer was also very informative about the Buffalo area. Apparently not as snowy as one would think, "same or less than Boston burbs and better summer weather...." Who knew the lake effect snows are concentrated to a defined area? Social Media can be a great thing when used for the right reasons and that is all I will say about that. You can all insert your own jokes about our soon to be Tweeter In Chief.
screen grab of a Tweet
Back to the pictures Tweet seen above. A few tweets went back and forth and I now have this cool website with archived photos, two great new aerials of the course and a new follower Simon Haines. The link is HERE and just a quick scroll down that page shows a picture of the old Island Country Club, the predecessor of Farm Neck. Very cool. Two main features of the new pictures of Mink that stuck out to me are the lines across the fairways indicating a double row irrigation system and No bunkers.
July 4 1939

July 4th 1939
We also had a change in the weather with a couple of storms and a dip in temperature. Approximately 6" in the first one and 12" in the second. Surprised no branches or trees came down since it was sticking to everything and also had a bit of rain mixed in. Pictures from around the property while plowing:
Yacht Basin sunrise looking into channel

Yacht Basin East sunrise glow


Connie's Way

Golf Club Road along 9 fwy
The skiers and sledders had their fun and tonight it warms up with some rain in the forecast so we shall see if we lose it all over the next couple of days. I am off to Portland Maine for a conference that I have been asked to speak about low input turf maintenance. More about that later.