Saying goodbye to Clark Throssell

By |  February 7, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

I am sad to say that this is the last issue for our esteemed research editor, Clark Throssell, Ph.D., who is retiring. This is the last issue where Clark will provide us with a thoroughly edited scientific research article or provide the introductory page of the research section or pen his “Clark Talks Turf” column, where he typically does a Q&A with a researcher in the industry.

In his final column, I was able to convince him to divert from his normal format and instead address his many readers. He was reluctant, but agreed. You can view that column here.

It’s shocking to think that I’ve been working with “Doc” for almost 20 years. Our paths first crossed when I was a young pup at GCSAA and assistant editor of its publication. I was excited that the association had hired a legitimate turfgrass Ph.D. Back then, I was mostly writing obituaries and product releases and trying to find my legs in this market. All of a sudden, I was armed with an expert resource in the building.

But the turf researcher would probably be a real stiff, right?

Then I met Clark. Definitely not a stiff. He arrived from Purdue University, where he was beloved by his students, not just for his intelligence, but also because of his classroom manner and his ability to connect with people.

Some of the guys and I invited him to join us at the local goat track — Eudora Riverview. The course was aligned by a cornfield on two sides, so a hook was deadly. It was 18 holes, but nine always were flooded. The owners, whose house doubled as the clubhouse, would tell you to just leave your money on the counter if you needed to buy anything from the pro shop.

I never thought about taking Clark to the local country club. I just knew this was a golf course that the guys and I enjoyed, and Clark seemed like one of the guys. After golf, we’d pop the trunk of my ’64 Impala and crush a few cans in the parking lot as the sun went down. Those were good times.

Nine years ago, I accepted the job of editor-in-chief of Golfdom. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, but I remembered the advice of surrounding yourself with good people. My first phone call was to Billings, Mont. I told Clark about my new gig with Golfdom, then I told him that like the Blues Brothers, we were getting the band back together.

I was lucky that he said yes to me that day, and I was able to get him on board as the research editor of this magazine.

Over the last nine years, Clark has done tremendous work for this publication and made it a better resource for readers. He spearheaded our partnership with the USGA, which allows us to publish USGA-funded research, one of only two industry mags with that honor. He got us closely involved with Paul Koch, Ph.D., and enabled us to be the first in the industry to publish his snow mold research each year. And he’s brought just about every major researcher in the industry into the pages of Golfdom at one time or another.

Beyond Golfdom, Clark has served the industry as a whole, from his days at Penn State, Kansas State and Purdue to his time as the research director at GCSAA and working for LebanonTurf. Whenever I travel to a chapter meeting and find myself sitting with a stranger — if they don’t know me or read Golfdom — I can drop Clark’s name, and suddenly the stories follow.

So, thank you, Doc, for helping me out for the last 20 years of my career. The industry will always respect you, and the fish will never be smart enough to fear you.

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