4 things from the 2015 Green Start Academy

By |  October 16, 2015 0 Comments
The Green Start Academy class of 2015

The Green Start Academy class of 2015

Last week I was able to attend the Green Start Academy hosted by Bayer and John Deere in Raleigh, N.C. Although it was the 10th anniversary of the event it was my first time going so I came away with a lot from the experience. If I were to list everything I doubt many of you would get through it all so I condensed it down to four things.


Ed Ibarguen presenting to the group.

1.) I am relatively early in my career and have never had a hand in hiring for an open position. So it was interesting for me to hear Ed Ibarguen, general manager and PGA director of golf at Duke University Golf Club, speak about how he decides which resumes get an interview and then which individual earns the job.

One thing that he said that stuck out to me was he pushed all the attendees to get to know other professionals in their area, whether that be attending the regional GCSA meeting or calling other guys in that area and meeting up for lunch. His reasoning for this is when he is looking at resumes Ibarguen will call other superintendents in the applicant’s area to see if they know about the individual and if they haven’t that person is out of the running.


(L to R) Bryan Stromme and Chris Condon presenting on how to create a budget.

2.) One of the last presentations of the Green Start Academy was the “Basics of Building a Budget” by Chris Condon, superintendent, Tetherow Golf Club, Bend, Ore., and Bryan Stromme, regional director of agronomy – Midwest/West, Billy Casper Golf. This subject was one that seemed like a majority of the assistant superintendents had little experience dealing with. Condon and Stromme stressed to all of the attendees that when they got back to their home course they had to ask their bosses about the budget.

I was overwhelmed by the pair’s speech because they were talking about the “basics” of balancing a budget for an entire golf course and I can barely balance my own budget.

3.) After a full day of events on Thursday I joined a group of guys to visit downtown Raleigh. We went to a couple of places… if you’re looking for a cool bar in that area I would suggest the Raleigh Beer Garden.

When it came time to head back to the hotel I caught an Uber back with Ben McNair, assistant superintendent at Shoreacres, Lake Bluff, Ill., and Patrick Reuteman, assistant superintendent at Westmoor Country Club, Brookfield, Wis.


That’s a serious ring.

Our driver, a really nice guy, tells us his name is Marcus Campbell and he played college basketball at Mississippi State in the early 2000s. Eventually he says, “alright, I’ll show you guys this because this is ACC country and no one here appreciates it…” He proceeds to open the console next to him and pulls out a 2004 SEC Championship ring.

Of course all three of us took pictures with it on and when we arrived at the hotel I HAD to ask him if he would take a photo with us for Golfdom Gallery. I saw another attendee near the entrance of the hotel and asked him to take the picture of us four.

I learned a hard lesson that evening because when I looked at the photo later on I knew it was too blurry to run in the magazine (but no one said it couldn’t go online with this blog post.)


(L to R) Grant B. Gannon, Patrick Reuteman (Westmoor Country Club), Marcus Campbell and Ben McNair (Shoreacres). I call this photo disappointment.

From here on out I’ll be taking my own photos. You think Seth would let me use a selfie stick at events?

4.) I’ve been working on Golfdom for almost a year now and I can read about all the different chemicals available or watch videos on how to use the latest gadgets but I learn so much more from being a part of conversations with guys actually on the golf course.

Hearing Ben and Patrick talk about their respective courses and how often they roll greens and which chemicals work best was a learning experience for me.

The previous night I listened to Jason Hobbs from Adena Golf & Country Club, Ocala, Fla., and Kristopher Morin, The Quarry Golf Club, San Antonio, talk. It was an interesting conversation because both of them work at courses that are built on old quarries and despite that architectural similarity they obviously had different maintenance programs.

I work in an office with a great group of people but there is nothing like going out and meeting the people who read the magazine. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to our own event, the Golfdom Summit, in early December.

Photos: Golfdom

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