A small turf world

By |  May 15, 2018 0 Comments

Seth Jones

There’s an area behind the grandstands on Amen Corner to stand and grab lunch. No chairs, just high-top tables, beautiful weather and Masters patrons in all directions peacefully walking about. It’s one of my favorite spots in the world to grab lunch because it means I’m at the Masters and at the beginning of another golf season filled with potential.

Golfdom Publisher Craig MacGregor and I had just bought lunch (a “Lite” beer, Masters-logoed BBQ potato chips and an egg salad sandwich for me) and were looking for a spot to eat. Craig spotted a half-open table and politely asked the two standing there, “Mind if we join you guys?”

“Not at all… especially for a guy wearing a Golfdom shirt!” was the response.

It was at this point that I met Michael Hughes, superintendent at Whitinsville Golf Club, Northbridge, Mass., and Michael Poch, superintendent at Foxborough CC in Foxboro, Mass. — two guys who recognized me from reading this magazine. (Check out page 12, photo No. 2, for a photo of Craig, Mike and Michael together, and page 44 for my “19th Hole” interview with Poch.) We had a laugh about the coincidence, finished lunch and then walked a few holes together. Within minutes we ran into another friend of the magazine, Paul Blodorn of Quali-Pro.

By day’s end, after running into a dozen more Friends of Golfdom (members of the F.O.G., as I like to call them) I thought to myself, “only at Augusta National.” But as I sit here, I realize that’s not really the case. It happens at every event we attend, from the local chapter meeting to golf’s majors or the Golf Industry Show.

It’s a small turf world. Unless you’ve hidden underneath a rock your entire career you know what I’m talking about. In some way we are all connected. Whether it goes back to grade school (see this month’s cover story for that connection) or it’s just passing by each other once
in a while in the same niche industry, the connections run deep.

A group of assistant superintendents recently came to Lawrence, Kan., as part of Nufarm and GCSAA’s three-year Excel program. I’ve struck up a friendship over the years with Nufarm’s Cam Copley while hanging out at the annual Golfdom Summit, so I reached out and offered to buy him a cold one while he was in town. While we caught up at the Oread Hotel bar, Nufarm’s Steve Vincent dropped by and joined us.

I’ve briefly chatted with Vincent before. I didn’t know that he lived nearby, and he didn’t know that I live local to Lawrence. Even more of a surprise was that Vincent knew about my little hometown of Eudora, Kan., a town of 6,000 — he played pick-up basketball at the high school there years ago, which led us to recalling our days of playing pick-up basketball at Robinson Gymnasium on the campus of Kansas University.

I came to work the next morning a little foggy (a danger of hanging out with F.O.G. members) and booted up the computer. My designer, Pete Seltzer, sent me page 4 of this issue to approve for the printer. I opened the page and took a look…

Staring back at me was none other than Vincent himself. Flip a page back and take a look for yourself.

Again, small turf world.

Maybe I’m easily amused, but coincidences like these crack me up. I write this as I’m on an airplane heading to National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. This will be my first National Golf Day, and expectations are high. But more than meetings with high-powered politicians, I’m excited to see familiar faces and make some new connections.

If you see me at the next major or golf industry event and we haven’t met yet, I hope you’ll say hi.

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