Thursday, January 28, 2016

John Deere, BIGGA/GCSAI AND THE PLAYERS Tournament Support Press Release

John Deere TPC Sawgrass volunteer winners announced

Once again five BIGGA members from Great Britain and a GCSAI member from Ireland will be enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime when they join the golf course maintenance team at the legendary TPC Sawgrass venue in Florida for the 2016 Players Championship, courtesy of John Deere.

The greenkeepers won their place on the trip by registering their interest on the respective association websites, before recording a short video about themselves and their career aspirations. The winners then made it through their regional interviews, conducted by a panel of representatives from BIGGA/GCSAI and John Deere.

The 2016 Players Championship on the PGA Tour – the unofficial ‘fifth major’ – takes place in May. American Rickie Fowler won in 2015 following the greatest last round finish in the 34-year history of the tournament, carding birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie for a place in the final play-off.

Members of last year’s first ever UK & Ireland greenkeeping delegation described their experience as follows:

“A phenomenal 12 days unlike anything I have ever experienced before – flawless organisation and unrivalled passion and motivation,” said Joe Dormer of West Sussex Golf Club in Pulborough.

“It was a privilege to share this experience with other greenkeepers. From taking their advice and witnessing their aptitude, to conversing with the team on such a stage, was a great learning curve,” added Chris McArthur, from Portstewart Golf Club in Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

“A life changing experience is the only way I could describe the 12 days away. I knew it was going to be special, but this has surpassed anything I expected,” said David Perdisatt of Naas Golf Club in Co Kildare, Ireland.

The winning delegates joining the 2016 John Deere TPC Sawgrass volunteer programme are:

Pete Corrick, assistant greenkeeper, Remedy Oak Golf Club, Wimborne, Dorset:
Pete started out at Vivary Park Golf Club and then took an unpaid role at Taunton & Pickeridge Golf Club to further his greenkeeping experience. His next job was at Weymouth Golf Club and he completed his Level 3 qualification before joining Remedy Oak Golf Club, where he helped the team complete a recent greens rebuilding programme. He has also been a volunteer at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship.

Graeme Davidson, first assistant greenkeeper, Murrayfield Golf Club, Edinburgh:
Graeme began his greenkeeping career as an apprentice at Glencorse Golf Club before moving on to Mortonhall Golf Club. During a period travelling the world with his wife, he secured a six month internship at Pacific Golf Club in Australia and then accepted his current role at Murrayfield. Graeme was part of the BIGGA support team at the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Stuart Imeson – head greenkeeper, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, Embleton, Northumberland:
Stuart started out as an assistant greenkeeper at this links course aged 16, and he became head greenkeeper at just 18 years old. He is in charge of a youthful team and has overseen various construction projects on the course. Stuart has joined the BIGGA support teams at The Open and the BMW PGA Championship, and is also a member of BIGGA’s Young Greenkeeper Committee.

Nicholas Roberts – deputy course manager, South Essex Golf & Country Club, Brentwood:
Nicholas began his career at Essendon Country Club, then moved on to The Hertfordshire Golf Club where he was promoted to first assistant greenkeeper. Now at South Essex, he was part of the BIGGA support team at the BMW PGA Championship and the British Masters at Woburn. He is a three handicap golfer hoping to eventually play off scratch.

Chris Sharp – course manager, Hampstead Golf Club, London:
Chris discovered his love for greenkeeping during work experience at Mountain Lakes Golf Club in mid Glamorgan, and then gained a position at Cottrell Park Golf Resort. He moved to Celtic Manor and was part of the greenkeeping team for the 2010 Ryder Cup, before joining the team at Harewood Downs Golf Club. He became course manager at Hampstead in 2015.

Lenny O’Callaghan, assistant greenkeeper, Westmanstown Golf Club, Dublin:
Lenny started his greenkeeping career working on the Colin Montgomerie designed inland links course at Carton House Golf Club, which hosted the Irish Amateur Open in 2005, before moving to Westmanstown Golf Club. Since then he has completed his advanced certificate in Greenkeeping FETAC Level 6 and is now studying online for an HNC in golf course management from SRUC Elmwood College in Scotland.

The group photograph, taken on the John Deere stand at BTME 2016 in January, shows (back row, left to right): Nicholas Roberts, John Deere territory manager Nick Ashman, Graeme Davidson, Chris Sharp, Lenny O’Callaghan, Pete Corrick and Stuart Imeson, with (front, seated left and right) John Deere Limited turf division manager Chris Meacock and managing director Antony Scott.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

THE 2016 PLAYERS Agronomy Tournament Support Team Update

THE 2016 PLAYERS is 113 days away.

While the golf course is in the heart of the winter season for Northeast Florida, tournament preparations are in full swing. The floors for hospitality locations on 16, 17, and 18 have already been installed.  Hospitality build out around 16 and 17 is planned to be the largest ever.  The team is excited to continue to watch the construction of these amazing venues.

THE 2016 PLAYERS Agronomy Tournament Support Team is shaping up well.  To date, we have 55 commitments from throughout the turfgrass industry.

Every year as part of the Agronomy Support Team, we host many international professionals; and, it seems that every year the amount of international presence grows.  This year is shaping up to be no different.  Of the current 55 commitments, 22 are from other countries.  Thus far, we will be hosting professionals from Ireland, England, Spain, Argentina, Columbia, Canada and Germany just to name a few.

This is an exciting time for the TPC Sawgrass Agronomy Team as it brings renewed energy and vigor.  We look forward to continuing to watch tournament preparation and making new friends as part of the Agronomy Tournament Support Team.

We are still looking to host 25 addition Agronomy Tournament Support Team members for THE 2016 PLAYERS.

If you are interested or know of anyone interested, please click on the link below for more information and access to the application.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

THE 2016 PLAYERS Agronomy Volunteer Registration

Current and Future Turf Professionals:

With the holidays upon us, and growing seasons slowing down or coming to a close; we wanted to send out THE 2016 PLAYERS Volunteer Registration.

We hope you all had a successful season and are starting to enjoy some fall weather.

TPC Sawgrass and the PGA Tour are extremely grateful for the time and dedication that many of you have shown THE PLAYERS over the years.

Once again, we are seeking volunteers to join our 2016 Tournament Support Team.

Year after year, the Tournament Support Team has proven to be an integral part of the success of THE PLAYERS.

Our volunteer program offers a rewarding mix of professional development, networking, and world-class golf.

We are sure that you’ll find the experience rewarding, as so many other volunteers have over the years.

Different from years past, THE 2016 PLAYERS is being held one week later.  THE 2016 PLAYERS will held from May 9, 2016 through May 15, 2016.

Because of our desire to have a tournament setup practice day, we are asking for the Tournament Support Team to arrive on Saturday, May 7th prior to THE PLAYERS. We will have an informative dinner event at 4 PM on Saturday, May 7th.  There will be more details to follow.

Our goal for THE 2016 PLAYERS is 80 volunteers.  Thus far, positions have starting filling up quickly.  Because of past success, I am sure that the remaining spots will fill up fast.

If you are interested in being a part of this wonderful experience, please do not hesitate to apply.

The only requirement(s) to be a volunteer is to be currently working in the turfgrass industry and/or enrolled in a turf program at a college or university.  We welcome student involvement with THE PLAYERS.

Once we receive your application, you will be notified of your acceptance within one business week.

As this time, please confirm your participation no later than April 1, 2016. We ask that all volunteers commit from Saturday, May 7th, 2016; through the entire Championship ending Sunday, May 15th, 2016.  Meals, housing, and local transportation will be provided throughout the week. The program will kick off with a volunteer meeting at 4:00pm on Saturday, May 7th, 2016.

To apply, please click the application link in the above menu or select the link below:

Once you have registered, your information will be added to our data base.

A few important items to remember when registering:
1.  Please be sure to submit current and properly functioning email addresses and phone numbers so we can effectively communicate with you.
2.  As a reminder, once we receive your application, you will be notified of your acceptance within one business week.
3.  You do not need specific flight/travel information at this time.  We will contact you throughout the months leading up to the event to complete your travel information.
4.  As always, if you experience issues with registering or have general questions, please do not hesitate to contact Clay Breazeale, PLAYERS Stadium GCS.  His email address is

We are extremely excited that you are interested in dedicating your time to work with our team.  We are sure that you will find the experience very rewarding.

If you know of any other colleagues that would be interested in this experience, please send this information to them.  This is a great experience for turf clubs and interns!

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

*NOTE: If you are flying to Jacksonville (especially long distances), we would encourage you to fly in a day earlier, May 6th; and leave a day later, May 16th.  This will give you much more flexibility in your travel schedule.  We would also encourage any other volunteer to stay until May 16th, as we will give everyone a chance to hit a few balls at the island, #17, on Monday morning.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Plant Talk: Knock Out Roses

When the PLAYERS Championship was hosted in March, the main ornamental plants used on our property were Azaleas because of their abundance of blooms during that time. Now that the tournament has been moved to May, we don’t get the pop of color from the Azaleas anymore for the PLAYERS. As a result, we have replaced many Azaleas with Knock Out Roses.

We do a rejuvenational prune on our roses around February every year in an attempt to time their flush out with the PLAYERS. It takes about 10 weeks for roses to bloom after a hard prune, but this is very weather dependent, as roses also need warm weather to flush out and bloom. For that reason, it can be very tricky to get the timing perfect.

Roses are capable of flowering throughout most of the year here in Florida, but to keep them blooming and looking nice, you’ll need to deadhead them. Deadheading is when you cut off the declining blooms on the plant. This promotes new growth and thus new flowers!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sprucing Up Tree Island!

For the Landscape Team here at TPC Sawgrass, one of the more high profile areas that we maintain is Tree Island; which sits in between 16 and 17 greens on the Stadium golf course. Tree Island is a large focus on Mother’s Day, the Sunday of the Players Championship, when we replace all the flowers with pink flowers for the Pink Out.

For the summer flower change out, we decided to use Lantana. Although we’re using it as an annual, Lantana is a perennial that can last much longer than one growing season. Once established, it will bloom bright yellow flowers and we can keep it on the island for as long as 6 months! 

This is a view from the lake bank by 17 Tee.
This is Demetric Smith using an auger to put holes in the ground
around the tree.

Here is Agustin Cruz putting the finishing touches on
the Lantana that has been planted.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TPC Sawgrass: Honey Bee Management

Yesterday (07/30), with the help of the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association our team was able to safely manage and maintain an active honey bee hive while eliminating any risk to people.  A hive had been identified in a high traffic area of the property but with the expert help of Jim Altmiller, Raw Honey Bee Removal, we were able to encourage the bees to access the hive from a different location.
Honey bees are a very important member of our diverse eco-system and have been used for thousands of years to pollinate flowers and plants.  Honey bees are not aggressive by nature but will sting when 'provoked' by quick movements.  The bees live in a highly organized society that has very specific roles that include: nurses, guards, grocers, housekeepers, and construction workers.  Due to the importance of honey bees in our environment we called Jim with the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association to ensure that the management of the bees was best for their well being.  
The bee hive had grown in a rotted hollow of a tree.  As the rot continued to grow down through the trunk a new entrance for the bees formed at the base of the tree.  This new hive entrance made the interactions between people and bees inevitable.  Rather than dispose of the bees, measures were taken to seal up the new entrance so that the bees could continue pollinating our environment without coming in direct contact with people.  The bees will now use an entrance higher up in the tree away from people.

 Jim Altmiller felt comfortable enough around the bees to pet them.
 Jim and Spencer Cox, TPC Sawgrass, discuss the future entrance for the bees high up in the tree. 
Jim used a tea tree oil spray to disperse the bees before using an industrial sealant to close up the crack in the tree.  

For more information on honey bees and assistance when handling them contact your local beekpeers association.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Steroids for Trees: The Arborjet!

Here at TPC Sawgrass we’re taking our pesticide and fertilizer applications to another level when applying to trees and palms! Our newest tool for the job: the Arborjet. The Arborjet is a tree injection system that allows us to apply pesticides and fertilizers directly to the vascular tissues of the plant. This means the chemical will be used more rapidly and efficiently by the plant and we can use less product.

Another huge benefit to the Arborjet is the absence of non-target environmental impacts. When fertilizers are applied to the soil there is no way of stopping weeds from utilizing the nutrients, too. The same goes for pesticides. When insecticides and fungicides are injected directly into the plant, the only insects and fungi that are killed are the ones feeding on the plant. This falls within our drive at TPC Sawgrass for environmental stewardship.

First we drill 4 holes in the base of the tree or palm 
Then we tap plastic inserts into the holes we created.

Close up on the plastic insert.

Now we place the injection needles in all the inserts.

Lastly, we pressurize the container with the chemical and the chemical is forced in the
 vascular tissues of the tree or palm.

This is a Live Oak with the injectors all set up!