Reading roots, tornado memories, timely phone calls

By |  April 26, 2016 0 Comments

Just a couple notes here on a stormy Tuesday…

2016040895073531 20160408_073808These photos were sent to me by a superintendent friend this morning. The grass was pulled off a valve box that had been grown over and hidden away for years. Check out the roots — they shaped to the form of the letters on the lid!

Thanks to my friends at Alvamar CC, Superintendent Richard Herries for texting the photos over, and Second Assistant Jon Egner for finding the valve box!


Cool moment yesterday. I called a superintendent I know to ask him if he’d be interested in doing an interview for the magazine. It was a cold call, so I introduced myself, knowing he probably didn’t have my cell phone plugged into his cell phone contacts.

Me: “Hey Johnny, it’s Seth Jones from Golfdom magazine, how are you?”

Him: “Well this is weird!”

Me: “Huh? Why?”

Him: “Because you called me while I’m sitting here reading your column!”

Me: “Come on, really?”

Him: “Yeah, I’m reading about you driving through Montana right now!”

Me: “Oh man, that’s crazy!”

Him: “When we get off the phone, I’m going to read something about a pretty girl, see if she walks into my office…”

Me: “I’d read about the Powerball if I were you!”

Just kind of a weird, interesting moment. What are the odds? Reminds me of the time I walked into a pro shop locally to play golf, and I looked down on the guy’s scratch pad and he wrote down “GOLFDOM.” I had to ask what that was about. “Oh, they just called here, asking if we wanted to renew our subscription.” “Well, did you?” “Yeah… they said it was free.”


Today is the 25th anniversary of the Andover tornado, locally a famous tornado that did a tremendous amount of damage as well as taking lives. At the time I was celebrating my 14th birthday with a group of friends at the Godfather’s Pizza in Derby, Kan. I remember we heard the sirens, went outside to see what the fuss was about, and from that vantage point we could see two twisters off in the distance towards Haysville.

My sister, at the time a senior at Kansas University, was on her way home to celebrate with us. She had a brown paper sack of 1970s comics in her red Dodge Daytona, a gift from some guy she met at school who must have been trying to impress her (they were decent comics.)

I mention my sister because on her drive home to Mulvane, she was actually caught in a tornado. My sister was taking cover underneath a bridge on the Kansas Turnpike when a Wichita TV news crew pulled up and caught the whole thing on video. That’s my sister’s red Dodge Daytona that the TV crew pulls up to at the beginning of the clip, and my sister appears for a millisecond at the end, when she walks back up to her car to inspect the damage. (I remember she was upset that the fancy louvre she had installed on the back window blew away in the tornado.)

I asked her why she wasn’t on the same side of the bridge as the news crew, because she parked on that side. She said it was safety in numbers, there were more people hiding underneath the other side of the bridge, so they ran over there.

They say that everyone was lucky to have survived this tornado, as hiding underneath the bridge was the wrong move.

It’s actually not hard to believe that this was 25 years ago, because it really does feel like it was forever ago.

Photos: Seth Jones

This is posted in Columns, Featured

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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