BASF shares U.S. Open secrets to success

By |  June 20, 2017 0 Comments

Jeff Vannoy and Eileen Sarro taking in some of the views during the U.S. Open.

It seems that whenever the best players in the game converge on a golf course for a big tournament, likewise the industry’s biggest supporters converge around the maintenance facility, ready to help out.

That’s the case for BASF’s Senior Product Manager Jeff Vannoy, who has made it a priority to be there in attendance at the Majors over the last few years. At the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, BASF was a “diamond” sponsor — along with Toro, Reinders, Civitas and Kafka Granite. BASF also sponsored Golfdom’s coverage of the U.S. Open, and will sponsor the magazine’s coverage of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte and the 2017 President’s Cup at Liberty National, Jersey City, N.J.

Vannoy says he and his team don’t just attend these events to be seen, but to get better.

“We get better when we’re talking, interfacing with the customers, asking good questions,” Vannoy says. “And certainly just being here to support (Superintendent) Zach (Reineking) and the crew hosting Wisconsin’s first U.S. Open is important.”

While Erin Hills was looking its best for the Fox TV cameras, Vannoy says he picks up information beyond the course that’s on TV.

“Every time we come out here as a team we learn things,” Vannoy says. “It’s important for us to come out, mingle with the volunteer superintendents, get to know them, learn their issues and challenges, bring those issues back to the team at BASF. That’s how we get better.”

Though Erin Hills is a public course that anyone can play, few courses share their maintenance budget or ability to staff up with a large crew. Vannoy says that though only one course a year hosts the U.S. Open, any course can achieve their own version of championship conditions.

“I think championship conditions means something a little different to everyone. Certainly the connotation here, there’s really a championship happening. But whether it’s a member/guest, a father/son, a public course that gets a lot of play every Saturday morning, our goal at BASF is to support all these courses,” he says. “We have a wide range of chemistries from our latest and most innovative stuff — like Lexicon and Xzemplar — to our stable of great products like Emerald, that has been around for a lot of years but are really amazing products.”

Vannoy and his team consulted with the crew at Erin Hills on how to get the best out of their products in anticipation of the U.S. Open. Vannoy was willing to share some of that secret sauce.

“Obviously getting prepared for a US Open, there’s a lot of things he’d use and our chemistries aren’t the only one he’d use,” Vannoy says. “Out here this week he’s bolstered out there with our Lexicon chemistry on the greens, that was applied a few days ago. Out on the fairways and around roughs and bunkers would be quite a bit of Honor Intrinsic brand fungicide. Around this time there is certainly a lot of stress on this turf and we’re experiencing higher temperatures than we would have imagined. That’s why we apply preventatively to get the Intrinsic brand fungicide into the plant and to bolster it while it’s under pressure for a U.S. Open. That plant health effect is going to be important over the next few days as golfers come through and the course takes a beating.”

Vannoy says he hopes the success at Erin Hills gets other courses to see similar success when they need the best conditions possible.

“We have a little bit of everything for varying types of courses, varying budgets,” Vannoy says. “Our goal isn’t to support a few really amazing courses, but to support the industry and make sure they understand how to use our chemistries effectively and responsibly.”


Photo: BASF

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