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  • 11 Dec 2017 8:45 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Guy Cipriano

    A turf manager doesn’t need to work for a top-100 lawn care company, elite golf course or professional sports team to share an idea at the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show.

    The 51st edition of the event ended Thursday with dozens of relatable moments at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. In the sports field management room, a quartet of managers from the municipal sector – Mayfield Village’s Paul Byrne, Fremont School District’s Cory Hull, Reynoldsburg Park & Rec’s Brian McGuire and Hudson City Schools’ Chris Kelling – participated in a discussion led by Ohio State’s Pamela Sherratt and Central Farm & Garden’s Matt Duncan. Byrne and McGuire started their careers in golf, Hull worked for the Toledo Mud Hens before arriving at Fremont, and Kelling has spent 26 years at Hudson.   

    The size of scopes of the quartet’s respective operations varies. Hull jokes he maintains two grass baseball and softball fields and an artificial football field with a “crew of one.” Attending the OTF Conference & Show introduced Hull to the professional development opportunities offered by the foundation. “Something I didn’t realize I needed to do was the promotional side of myself,” he says. “I’m an average high school guy who’s trying to make his way through the job.”

    Kelling, by contrast, leads a team responsible for the maintenance of Hudson’s outdoor and indoor facilities. The outdoor portion of the job includes 200 acres, including 120 that require mowing. Kelling calls the annual “highlight of the job” is hosting Ohio State Athletic Association district and regional baseball tournaments on the varsity field. 

    Golf course superintendents understand the challenge of preparing playing surfaces for events. Their final OTF Conference & Show session included the annual “Breakfast with the USGA” session. Attendees from facilities of all levels spent two hours seeking and absorbing insight from USGA Green Section agronomists Bob Vavrek, Zach Nicoludis and John Daniels. Frequently discussed topics in the Midwest Region this year included proper wetting agent usage, earthworm castings, nematodes, and establishing and maintaining native areas.   

    The Columbus-based Nicoludis says nematodes are becoming “more of a topic further north.” Responding to this concern, OTF organizers included more than an hour of nematode education in this year’s agenda. Valley Brook (Pa.) Country Club’s John Shaw and Ohio State University Golf Club’s Dennis Bowsher shared how they handled the frustrating pests on their respective courses, while Ohio State’s Joe Rimelspach and Horacia Lopez-Nicoria addressed nematodes from a researcher’s perspective. “This is one of the most difficult things to diagnosis,” Rimelspach says.

    The four-day conference and show attracted nearly 1,600 attendees, a 3 percent increase over 2016, according to OTF executive director Brian Laurent. A silent auction conducted Tuesday and Wednesday raised more than $7,000 for the Ohio Turfgrass Research Trust. OTF officials used the event to announce the Buckeyes for Environmentally Sustainable Turfgrass (BEST) initiative. The web-based training and certification best practices program launches in January.

    The golf and lawn care segments of the industry will return to Columbus Feb. 27-28 for the annual Spring Tee Off.

  • 7 Dec 2017 6:58 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Guy Cipriano

    Dan Francis experienced one of the biggest honors in turf 10 months after landing a job he worked 14 years to receive.

    Francis entertained his peers during a fast-paced Wednesday afternoon session at the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show. The 15-minute presentation represented Francis’ first industry speaking opportunity since landing his first head golf course superintendent job at Wildwood Golf Club in Middletown.

    Wildwood named Francis its superintendent Feb. 6.
    Wearing a white sports jacket and enthusiastically strolling the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Francis exchanged business cards with seemingly everybody he encountered on the show floor. His euphoria extended to the podium as he delivered a positive message. “I like to keep it light-hearted, have a little bit of fun,” he says.

    Neither a small crew nor modest maintenance budget prevented Francis from experiencing a successful first season at Wildwood. Frequent high fives, with co-workers and even members, are one of his management staples.

    Chris Anderson and Greg Caldwell also understand the fortitude and perspective needed to overcome challenges. Anderson and Caldwell are the assistant superintendents on The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier, the historic West Virginia resort whose golf grounds were destroyed by a devastating flood in 2016. Speaking at a major industry event for the first time, the pair revealed the extent of the damage before sharing The Greenbrier’s inspirational recovery story. The OTF Conference & Show represented a homecoming for Anderson, an Ohio native and former assistant superintendent at Heritage Golf Club in Hilliard. 

    Muirfield Village Golf Club director of grounds operations Chad Mark, Wedgewood Golf and Country Club assistant superintendent Matt Neff and Michigan State sports turf manager Amy Fouty were among the other presenters who exuded positivity Wednesday. “The fun part of our business is that it’s like a team,” says Mark, a former high school basketball coach who received his dream job at Muirfield Village earlier this year.

    Teams require support staffs, and the trade show portion of the OTF Conference & Show concluded with four hours of floor banter between attendees and industry partners.

  • 6 Dec 2017 6:18 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Guy Cipriano

    Labor issues affect all segments of the turf industry converging in Columbus for the 51st Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show. The keynote speaker found a witty way to address pestering personnel matters facing golf course superintendents, sports field managers and lawn care operators.

    Combining one-liners, lists, acronyms, images and personal anecdotes, Wisconsin-based business owner and speaker Mike McKinley offered practical and motivational solutions to building and motivating teams. “It comes down to a few things,” McKinley says, “and maybe laughter is the most important thing.”

    Some other guidance provided McKinley:

    • Strive to meet new people during a trade show, because “you will learn something.”
    • Portray passion when interviewing job candidates, because “if you hate the job, other people will hate the job.”
    • Developing an “education-driven workplace” can help attract and retain employees.

    McKinley’s speech, which was sponsored by Syngenta, served as the jovial bridge between the start of more than 100 hours of education and the two-day trade show.

    Educational sessions ranged from the University of Oklahoma’s Dr. Kevin Kloesel describing why situational awareness is crucial when making weather-related decisions to Pennsylvania superintendent John Shaw of Valley Brook Country Club revealing his tactics for transitioning fairways and tees from Poa annua to bentgrass.

    The out-of-state presenters lauded their Ohio hosts for the hospitality and camaraderie.

    A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the start of the trade show. The list of exhibitors has expanded to 100 for 2017. “Growth is a good thing,” OTF executive director Brian Laurent says.

  • 29 Nov 2017 11:21 AM | Deleted user
    Mike McKinley to deliver the keynote address presented by Syngenta.

    Great leaders see themselves as more of a teacher than a manager as they help individuals grow, work with others, and work more productively.

    Mike McKinley believes that if business doesn’t get better, it gets worse.  He will help us understand our role as a leader – how do we become an education driven organization, deal with change and continue to motivate ourselves and others.

    Mike will help us:

    • Understand the generational differences so we can work better together.
    • Help Employees feel good about who they are and what they do as well as who the customer is.
    • Learn to keep a constant “report card” of what impresses or turns off our stakeholders.
    • Help others manage themselves.

    Come ready to relax, learn, and open your mind to new ideas.  Remember, those that laugh – last!

  • 17 Nov 2017 3:02 PM | Deleted user
    Keith Happ will receive the Professional of the Year Award posthumously
    Keith Happ, former Green Section Agronomist with the USGA, will be recognized posthumously with the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation’s Professional of the Year Award. The award is one of the highest honors given by the organization in recognition of an individual’s dedicated service to the turfgrass community. Happ will be recognized on Monday, December 4th during OTF’s Annual Meeting, Awards and Scholarships Dinner.


    During his 22-year tenure with the USGA, Happ was able to impact the lives of countless turf managers through his site visits, calls, speaking engagements and volunteer activities. He was immensely passionate about his work, his peers and his family.


    Happ was a graduate of the Ohio State University and before joining the USGA, served as superintendent at Legend Lake Golf Course in Chardon, OH and also worked on the grounds crew at the Double Eagle Club while enrolled at Ohio State. We lost Keith on October 27, 2015, but will always be grateful for his leadership and friendship.


    Ryan Gregoire of Agricultural Design will be honored with the Darian Daily Memorial Award. Named after the former head groundskeeper of the Cincinnati Bengals, the Darian Daily Memorial Award recognizes an individual that exemplifies Darian’s passion for the industry and people that serve within it.


    Gregoire has long been an advocate for the industry. Through his board service, financial generosity and willingness to share his knowledge to anyone willing to listen, he continues to advance the profession and impact those around him.


    Lonnie Alonso of Columbus Pest Control will be given the award for Environmental Stewardship for his years of advocacy for our industry. Alonso has spent multiple decades as the chairman of the Ohio Professional Applicators for Responsible Regulation (OPARR). As OPARR chair, he has worked with lawmakers to ensure sensible regulations and science based decisions.


    The celebration dinner will be held at the Hilton Columbus Downtown beginning at 6:00 pm. All are welcome to join in honoring these individuals as well as OTF’s scholarship recipients.

    Click here for information and registration

  • 6 Nov 2017 9:22 AM | Deleted user

    Win a little cash just in time for the holidays!

    Tweet for Cash presented by Green Velvet Sod Farms will return for the 2017 OTF Conference & Show. Simply tweet your pictures from the event using the contest hashtags and you're entered to win!

    Hashtag Tasks
    (tasks DO NOT need to be completed in any particular order)


    Learning is the cornerstone of this event. Get a picture of some learning during the conference.


    The conference & show is a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones and be a part of the OTF community. Show us what community means to you.


    The OTF Conference & Show is more than just a few days of classes and a tradeshow. It?s an experience! Show us what you enjoy about the OTF Conference & Show experience.


    Must be a photo taken on the tradeshow floor. There are lots of great products and services to be found during the show. Show us what you found on the floor.

    Rules & Eligibility:

    • Tweets must be posted between 9:00 AM on Monday, December 4th and 10:00 PM on Wednesday, December 6th.

    • Posts with content deemed inappropriate will not be accepted or considered for the contest.

    • An individual may win one task and the grand prize, but not more than one individual task.

    • To be eligible for the grand prize, an individual must complete all 4 tasks.

    • The winner will be selected based on creativity, post likes and retweets.


    $100 for the best tweet for each task

    $1,000 for the best collection of tweets

  • 26 Sep 2017 9:38 AM | Deleted user

    Thank you to all of our players and partners that helped make the 2017 OTF Scholarship Outing a success!

    And of course, thanks to OTF past president and host member, Ed Odorizzi for providing us with an exceptional experience at Tartan Fields!

    Congratulations to all of our winning teams and contestants.

    Click here for a photo gallery

    1st Place - Team VGM Club (Score of 55)
    Keaton Juergens
    Jim Keller
    Andrew Slayman
    Matt Cinded

    2nd Place - Team Best Sand (Score of 56; winner in scorecard playoff)
    Terry Gwinn
    Joel Eaton
    Brian Blount
    James Hlavaty

    Longest Drive #5
    Brian Blount

    Longest Drive #11
    Kyle Rapp

    Closest to the Pin #6
    Brian Blount

    Closest to the Pin #8
    Ken Gregory

    Closest to the Pin #15
    Ian Haidle

    Closest to the Pin #17
    Mike Nowakowski

  • 5 Sep 2017 7:24 AM | Deleted user
    Written by Jay Hobgood, Ph. D.
    Associate Professor, Ohio State University
    Department of Geography

    September Summary

    The average temperature for September will be below normal.  Precipitation will be near normal for the month. 


    The weather pattern in September will be similar to the pattern we saw in August.  There will be an upper level ridge over the western U.S. and an upper level trough over the northeast.  That pattern will produce primarily northwesterly flow across Ohio during the month which will transport cooler air over the state.  Low pressure systems and cold fronts will move across the state on a regular basis and those systems will combine to drop near normal rainfall over the state.
  • 1 Aug 2017 8:36 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Jay Hobgood, Ph.D., Ohio State


    The average temperature for August will be near normal.  Precipitation will be above normal for the month.


    The weather pattern in August will continue the pattern we have seen for most of this summer. 

    One or two cold fronts will move across Ohio each week.  Southerly winds ahead of the cold fronts will bring warm, humid air to the region.  When the cold fronts move across the state, they will lift the air and showers and thunderstorms could develop. 

    Northerly winds behind the cold fronts will bring cooler, less humid air.  The warm and cool periods associated with the active weather pattern should average out to near normal temperatures for the month. 

    Occasionally, clusters of thunderstorms could add to rain produced by the passage of the cold fronts and rainfall is likely to be above normal for August.

  • 30 Jun 2017 2:29 PM | Deleted user

    By Jay Hobgood, Ph.D., Ohio State University

    The average temperature for July will be above normal.  Precipitation will be near normal for the month. 

    The weather pattern in July will feature the typical hot humid weather associated with the middle of summer.  A large high pressure system centered over the Atlantic Ocean will circulate warm humid air over Ohio during much of the month.  Cold fronts will move south from Canada occasionally and they will provide brief breaks from the heat and humidity.  Since the wind will blow predominantly from the south, the average temperature will end up being above average for July.  Summertime thunderstorms and the occasional cold fronts will combine to produce near average rainfall in many parts of the state.

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