Keeping up with the Jones: Overheard at the Golfdom Summit

By |  February 12, 2024 0 Comments

It won’t get me in the Guinness World Records, but I’m proud that I’ve attended every Golfdom Summit since its inception in 2011. Over the last dozen-plus years, I’ve met many people who have become friends. In general, spending a couple of days with a group of 70-plus industry professionals in Orlando every winter really does wonders for a guy’s network.

My job at the Golfdom Summit is pretty cushy: I welcome everyone and then serve as the emcee whenever there is a reason to be on the microphone. This can be a dangerous proposition after the golf tournament, depending on how much fun my playing partners and I had. But I am still undefeated when it comes to anyone cutting the power to the microphone … although I may have come close once or twice.

I also make it a point to swoop in on the one-on-one meetings between the superintendents and each partner just to get an idea of how the meetings are going and what they’re talking about. I try to creep into the meeting unnoticed, when possible. But because I’m not the stealthiest person, I typically get noticed quickly. I say, “Pretend I’m not here, I just want to observe for a few minutes.”

Listening in to these conversations superintendents have with our industry partners is always educational. It’s a much different conversation than I find myself ever having with either party. I’m just a middleman. It’s fun to see what happens and what’s said when the rubber meets the road.

You can find a recap of the 2023 Golfdom Summit, where we gave each attending partner some room in the magazine to express one of their key messages to you, the superintendent. And here, for my own entertainment, I’m going to share some excerpts of what I heard when I crept in on those conversations. I won’t name names, but you might guess where some of these comments came from based on who is on the cover and who is in that cover story.

“According to Billy Crow, Mr. Nematode himself, it’s the best root-knot nematode product on the planet. Period.”

‘Mr. Nematode’ might not be the nickname I would choose, but it does sound like someone I wouldn’t want to mess with.

“Do you remember that guy? He used to pull up to maintenance shops for his sales calls in a brand-new Corvette … he was a legend.”

As legendary as the one and only Mr. Nematode?

“He said to me, ‘I want to hear what you have that is new — and you better say the right thing.’ I said, ‘We have a new product for earthworm castings.’ And he said to me, ‘That is the right answer!’”

Earthworm castings, FTW!

“It comes down to product performance for me … I don’t care whose name is on the jug.”

I don’t either, as long as it’s spelled correctly.

“We don’t use that because the Poa just laughs at it.”

Only at a meeting of superintendents would grass get the anthropomorphic treatment.

“I’m not giving out toys or T-shirts … I’m giving actual products to try. I don’t think there’s anyone in this industry who really needs another Yeti mug.”

Finally, someone said it! Here, take ten of mine.

“Their biggest client was the sugarcane industry … We worked out a lower rate and saw that it dehydrated the turf.”

Sugarcane might be more lucrative, but superintendents have more fun.

“I retired in February. They called me and said, ‘What would it take for you to come back?’ It’s a family-owned business … and now I’m back.”

Just when I thought I was out … they pull me back in!

This article is tagged with , and posted in Columns, From the Magazine

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

Post a Comment