Keeping up with the Jones: What does the future hold? Only time will tell

By |  May 16, 2023 0 Comments


A few years ago, I was in Denver on an assignment. The Rocky Mountain Chapter has always been good to me and I was invited to be a speaker at their annual conference. My host was kind enough to pick me up from the airport. From there, we grabbed lunch, followed by a tour of a few of Denver’s breweries. (Yes, it was a good assignment.) Turns out, Denver has a great brewery scene.

It was sometime after the second brewery when I asked my tour guide how he thought robotic mowers would impact his job in 10 years.

He laughed a big laugh and told me that by then, he was pretty sure he’d arrive at work in the morning, open the shop door and watch little robotic mowers crawl out like crabs. He might not even need to leave the shop anymore, he said.

He was joking. The IPAs had taken hold and he was incapable of holding back his sarcasm. While I wasn’t necessarily suggesting that robotic mowers would take his job away, I could tell by his answer that he was cynical that anything could change his job too much in the next 10 years.

I was in a similar situation — only the roles were reversed — at a recent industry event. In a crowded ballroom during a cocktail hour, a reader asked me how I foresaw ChatGPT changing the way I do my job. The biggest difference in my answer was, rather than laugh and respond with sarcasm, I had to ask, “What’s Chat GVB?”

ChatGPT — the artificial intelligence chatbot built to mimic human conversations — was just starting to make headlines at the time. Personally, I hadn’t heard of it yet. And with that strange name … you can imagine hearing the name chat-gee-pee-tee for the first time in conversation in a crowded room … I’m pretty sure I stood there with a dumb look on my face trying to register what it was we were talking about.

Since then, I’ve been hearing about it more and more and all the work it might be able to take off our desks and in our day-to-day lives. Who knows, maybe it could write a magazine article for me Maybe it could write this column one day?

I don’t think it can. ChatGPT can’t go to that Denver brewery and learn from a source. What we do here requires talking to you, the experts, earning your trust and learning about how you do your jobs. We learn about where you see the industry heading. About how you’re utilizing, or foresee utilizing, the latest technology. We take those insights and then deliver this publication back to you every month (OK, we overachieved and sent you two issues this month).

New technologies like artificial intelligence are coming at us fast. The contents of this month’s cover story gives the science fiction fan in me a thrill. We’ve got a superintendent using a Bluetooth-enabled golf ball to analyze his greens, another superintendent going out on his own to make drone applications from up high and a robotic mower now paired with TurfCloud.

New technologies will keep coming our way. I welcome them and we will keep reporting on them. But the key to any of this technology is that it is surrounded and supported by talented, passionate people. People make the golf course maintenance industry charge onward and upward. And people — my team — make this magazine the magazine that it is.

Only time will tell how much new technology will change our lives. But as I read this month’s cover story, I couldn’t help but think about my own job, how I do it and how fast things are moving.

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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

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