Thanks, and farewell

By |  February 7, 2020 0 Comments
Clark Throssell headshot

Clark Throssell

It has been my good fortune to spend my entire work life in the golf world. Since this is my final regularly scheduled column before I ease into retirement, I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to a few of the many people who helped me have an enjoyable career.

My first job in the golf world was in 1974, working on the golf course maintenance staff at Hilands Golf Club in Billings, Mont. Thanks to Don Tolson for hiring me and giving me an opportunity — and more importantly — encouraging me to pursue a career in turfgrass management. Don always was extremely supportive of me and my career.

I met Joe Stribley while at Hilands, and we have been friends ever since. Joe spent most of his career as the superintendent at Yellowstone Country Club in Billings. Joe and I retired on the same day, Dec. 31, 2019. We celebrated with a couple of beers and a phone call to Don Tolson to thank him for getting us started in the golf world.

The single best decision I made in my life was to attend graduate school at Penn State University. That experience opened my eyes to an entire world that I had no idea even existed. Joe Duich, Ph.D., provided me with a wonderful opportunity to earn my MS degree, taught me so much and always was in my corner throughout my career. Don Waddington, Ph.D., and Tom Watschke, Ph.D., were great mentors to me as well.

I earned my Ph.D. at Kansas State University working with Bob Carrow, Ph.D. It was my good fortune to work with Bob, as he was an outstanding scientist and an even better person.

My academic career began at Purdue University, where I taught and conducted research for 15 years. So many people helped me have a successful experience at Purdue that I could fill my entire column recognizing them individually. A few who stand out are Don Scott, Ph.D., Tim Gibb, Ph.D., Rick Latin, Ph.D., Ron Turco, Ph.D., and Zac Reicher, Ph.D. The golf course industry in Indiana was so incredibly supportive of me and the turf program at Purdue. I thank them for their generous gifts of time, expertise and funding.

After Purdue, I spent nearly 10 years at GCSAA, where I worked with a fantastic group of people, including Steve Mona. Working with Steve was one of the best work experiences of my life. Steve is as fine a person as I have known in my life, both personally and professionally.

The last 10 years of my career I have worked for myself. I am grateful to Dave Heegard and Kathy Bishop at LebanonTurf for providing me the opportunity to work in the private sector. It has been a great learning experience to see a different aspect of the golf world.

It has been a joy to work with Seth Jones and everyone at Golfdom. More importantly, Seth gave me free rein on the research section of the magazine and provided me with an opportunity to express myself in this column. Seth’s confidence in me has been greatly appreciated.

There is one final thought I would like to share with you. The quality of turf and the condition of golf courses have improved dramatically since I started working on a golf course in 1974. No doubt about it. But for recreational golfers, is the game of golf any more fun today than it was in 1974? To my mind, it is not. For all the money spent on golf course maintenance, we have not added to the fun and enjoyment of golf.

Thanks to all who have made my career in the golf world so rewarding and enjoyable. And now, I have fish to catch.

This is posted in Columns

About the Author: Clark Throssell, Ph.D.

Clark Throssell, Ph.D., is the former director of the Purdue University turf program as well as the former director of research for GCSAA. Throssell is the research editor for Golfdom, focusing on managing the Super Science section of the magazine and website. He also contributes his "Clark Talks Turf" column to Golfdom every month.

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