Golf Industry Show, Vegas

Last week I attended the GCSAA or Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's annual education and trade show which is now merged with the golf course owners and builders and has the name Golf Industry Show or GIS. This year it was held in Las Vegas. There is a golf tourney then seminars and then a trade show with other educational opportunities mixed in. I made a short trip forgoing the golf and seminars and did one full day on the trade show floor and a second full day sitting through a few talks and attending a luncheon celebrating the Certification program. I also attended the annual meeting and did my part as voting Delegate for the Rhode Island chapter.

Lake Mead, I believe, on way into LV

Opening session with keynote David Feherty
It was a long and windy path to the trade show floor in the convention center from where the opening talk was so the above video is of a bagpiper and drummer they hired to lead the way. Was pretty cool and made the line less like a cattle run by following the music. David Feherty was an absolute scream and the place was packed. If anyone has seen him on his cable show or commentating a golf tourney he is very witty and enjoyable. I have seen him a couple of times and he still had me in stitches and tears as he discussed his time on tour or inside the ropes or his Wounded Warrior foundation. He does a lot of work with our military vets and the stories were intense. To see more about his foundation's work visit here.

Trade show floor

Panel discussing the renovations to Pinehurst 2

Check out the bunker, just above the panel, in amongst a sandy area

Sandy Queen, CGCS getting led to the stage after being elected President, by Past Presidents in White

Jim Fitzroy,CGCS of Presidents GC in Quincy MA wearing a Yankee's hat, saying goodbye
I sat through a great talk on the renovations of Pinhurst number 2. They will host an historical event of the Men's and Woman's US Open back to back in 2014. The panel consisted of:
Moderator: Bradley S Klein, PhD, Architecture Editor, Golfweek
Panelists: Bill Coore, Golf Course Architect, Coore & Crenshaw
Mike Davis Executive Director, USGA
Robert O. Farren,Jr, CGCS, Director of Golf Course and Grounds Management, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club
They discussed how the 2.5 million dollar renovation came to be and what it took to get the old feel back into a classic layout. It was felt the rough and tumble feel had disappeared over the decades and they ended up removing 30-40 acres of rough and irrigation and going back to the sandy edges. Take a close look at the photo above and you can see a bunker in the sandy area. It was explained how this sandy area is supposed to be natural and left un-clean. It is supposed to mimic the play out of rough where sometimes you get a bad lie. Only the bunkers are raked or a prepared surface. Several times this week it was mentioned that bunkers are hazards and not supposed to be perfect all the time. If Golf is to become sustainable we need to stop preparing every inch of the property as if it was the putting green. The right side of 4 at Mink was similar to this sandy area and then it was irrigated just before I arrived. When we built the bunker along side the fairway this is closer to what the architect had in mind then the actual fanciful true bunker we have. Too bad. I think this would have been a great feature. Pinehurst 2 now has two heights of cut: greens and everything else. Not sure we could get away with this but an interesting concept. The sand edges act as the rough. Certainly cut down on fuel and time mowing. Less water to irrigate all that acreage. They did say they hired a recent NC State grad to do nothing but maintain this sand to keep out undesirable stuff from taking over. Bill Coore mentioned how he told the lad his parents must be so proud of new turf degree and he maintains only sand. But all jokes aside it is a full time job keeping the sand looking and playing the way you see it. There is nothing natural about an open patch of ground, something is always trying to fill it in.Cleaning out my briefcase I came across my notes on this seminar and here are a couple key points made: The closer to the center of the fairway the more predictable the playing condition will be and the the course should not dictate to the golfer how it should be played. If you play the appropriate tee the low and high handicapper should both have a chance at par. They will invariably take a much different route to get to the green but while there still competing. That is one of the biggest challenges in golf today is to get people to play the length their skill set requires. I for one do not enjoy 7,000 yard courses.

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