Parting shots from GIS 2018

By |  February 16, 2018 0 Comments

Did the 2018 Golf Industry Show ever really happen? It must have, because I have a mountainous pile of press releases, plenty of fresh equipment photos on my phone and, a week later, a still-wrecked sleep schedule from the late nights and early mornings in San Antonio. I’m sure many of you can relate…

Seth and my new trade show reporting idol, Ed Hiscock (seriously, the guy is a machine!), have already covered a ton, but wait… there’s STILL so much more. Here’s what I saw at GIS 2018.

The Steiner 450 tractor with the new Flex Deck mower attachment

Versatility was the big theme over at Steiner. Business Director Matt Donohue showed off the new Flex Deck mower attachment for the 450 tractor, Steiner’s flagship product. “This is a fine finishing mower and it’s got more power and more torque,” Donohue said. The company also offers a line of attachments in addition to the Flex Deck, including a core aerator and a turbine power blower. “Instead of buying an expensive piece of equipment that only does one thing, golf courses will get more value out of these attachments,” he added. If you’re looking to get your hands on a Steiner 450, the Flex Deck or any of the other attachments, you’re in luck — they’re becoming more widely available. “We’re doing a lot of growing, adding more dealerships this year,” said Donohue.

In the same booth, we went from brand new equipment to a classic: Ryan Turf’s Jr. Sod Cutter, which is celebrating its 70th year in the biz. Ryan Turf is focusing on improving operator use, by integrating colored handles and clearer instructional pictograms into the sod cutter. The company is also adding a new text to video feature, where operators can text a number and watch short instructional videos on their phones.

Landseer Communications’ activity books depict the native plant and wildlife on a golf course.

If you’re in possession of a vintage Jr. Sod Cutter, Troy Blewett, Ryan’s director of marketing, mentioned they’re rolling out a new campaign on where you can upload a photo with your old sod cutter and potentially win a brand new one. Seems like a no brainer…

Landseer Communications stopped by the Golfdom booth to talk about their new project: activity books that feature the native plants and wildlife on each course. According to Delphine Tseng, founder and president of Landseer, the books are a way to connect superintendents with members, golfers and non-golfers.

“Every tournament you watch, there’s always a camera moment where they focus on a bird or butterfly,” explained Tseng, adding that the idea for the books came from seeing the insects or plants captured on camera, and wanting to teach people about the wildlife and habitats on golf courses. For information on how you can collaborate with Landseer on a book about your course, visit

At the Anuvia booth, Pinehurst Resort’s Bob Farren was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his career in golf course management. Farren spoke with Marsh Benson, retired director of golf course and grounds at Augusta National, and Matt Shaffer, retired director of golf course management at Merion, about greenkeeping and much more.

Marsh Benson, Bob Farren and Matt Shaffer talk about Farren’s career at Pinehurst Resort at the Anuvia booth.

“One thing we were early adopters of is sustainability,” Farren replied, when Shaffer asked about the agronomic practices at Pinehurst. “We stopped overseeding, and started doing things that were out of the box, and doing them quite successfully.”

Farren advised superintendents to stay involved in their communities, and included a bit of advice for young superintendents: “Be honest — don’t try to cover up any mistakes you’ve made. Do what’s right, and make yourself a resourceful person. Once you work your way to being that person, then you’ll have some success.” Wise words from a turf legend.

And at 4 a.m. on Friday at the airport, I said hi to Paul Carter, CGCS of The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Harrison, Tenn.) Carter attended the Golfdom Summit back in December, and congratulations were in order for his recent honor: winning Aquatrols’ first Conservation Award. Good to see a familiar face before traveling back to the Cleveland office.

Hope everyone had a great show, and I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year.

Photos: Abby Hart

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