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The Stars of Texas: 2015 Golf Industry Show

The 2015 GIS in San Antonio wasn’t limited to one Lone Star product. Here are several stars of the show.

There are so many products to see at a show like the GIS, it almost drives us mad. Thankfully, there are almost as many chapter parties to ease our stress levels. (And thanks to the many chapters that hosted us during our time in Texas!) ¶ Here we present some of the information we gathered during those two quick days of the trade show. True, we’re stashing some news for future issues. And there’s some information we just couldn’t cram into this issue (but you can find it online right now at Golfdom.com.) But this is a good beginning guide to some of the stars we saw deep in the heart of Texas.


Toro adds GPS, more to its arsenal

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that Toro — one of the mainstays of the golf maintenance industry — was busy during the GIS. Massive booth space housed new equipment, but there was more going on than just equipment.

During a press conference in the Toro skybox at the booth, a large contingent of Big Red’s bigwigs let the assembled maintenance industry scribes in on the new metal, as well as some of the softer but no less important news. Here’s a look at the highlights:

GeoLink — A GPS-equipped sprayer that’s expected to be available this summer, GeoLink is initially for the Toro Multi Pro 5800, but with plans to expand it to other Toro sprayers. The system will be available in both Wide-Area Augmentation System or Real-Time Kinematic correction system configurations. Using the RTK system, Toro says the sprayer is accurate and repeatable to within 1 centimeter of set parameters. The company says fleet managers using the system could see substantial savings in chemical costs.

Reelmaster 5010-H hybrid — Toro calls this the first fairway mower with a true hybrid drive system. It says the mower delivers more than 40 horsepower on demand for climbing steep hills, verticutting, scalping or to support other peak-load situations. The mower couples a 24.8-horsepower Tier 4-compliant Kubota diesel engine with an inline motor generator and a self-charging 48-volt battery pack. Toro says the mower’s benefits include more precise control of both reel speed and clip rates, which translate into a more consistent cut quality and improved playability, and reduced maintenance downtime due to the elimination of the hydraulic components commonly associated with traditional cutting units.

Universal Groomer — Among the things keeping Toro folks busy at GIS was the introduction of its new universal, bi-directional groomer product line, which offers three drive modes: forward rotation, counter rotation and neutral. The groomer will be available this fall.

— Ed Hiscock, Editor-at-Large

Quali-Pro showcases latest turf care solutions

Quali-Pro, a division of Pasadena, Texas-based Control Solutions Inc. (CSI), held its “3rd Annual Distributor Breakfast Breakdown” at the GIS. Rick Grant, CSI business director, T&O, and Jerry Corbett, Quali-Pro technical services manager, covered, in rapid-fire fashion, the company’s latest turf care solutions.

Enclave — Featuring “Quad-Control Technology” — a combination of four active ingredients (chlorothalonil; iprodione; thiophanate methyl; and tebuconazole) — this patent-pending fungicide is showing better efficacy than tank mixing in university studies. Enclave treats dollar spot, brown patch, anthracnose, snow mold (pink and gray) and ornamental diseases.

Strobe 50WG and Strobe 2L — These two new azoxystrobin-based fungicides prevent and cure more than 27 turf and 30 ornamental diseases. Strobe 2L is approved by the U.S. EPA and is currently undergoing state registrations.

2DQ — This new herbicide combines three AIs (2,4-D; dicamba; and quinclorac) to provide control of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds in warm- and cool-season turfgrasses.

MSM 25OD — This new metsulfuron methyl-based, low-odor, liquid, post-emergent herbicide offers control of bahiagrass and broadleaf weeds such as clovers, dandelion, henbit, dollarweed and plantains, in warm-season turfgrass.

Negate 37WG — This dual-powered, low-odor, post-emergent herbicide combines rimsulfuron and metsulfuron-methyl, and controls Poa, perennial ryegrass and broadleaf weeds in established warm-season turfgrass.

Later this year, Quali-Pro expects to launch Strobe-T, a fungicide that will combine azoxystrobin and tebuconazole. In 2016, Quali-Pro plans to launch a turf nematicide. Corbett said the product will provide nematode control as well as enhanced root development and overall plant health.

— Marty Whitford, Editorial Director


Super shares spreadsheet with Civitas

The ability to save superintendents time, money and resources is the silver bullet, and Civitas believes they have found the solution with its IPM costing model.

Civitas, a subsidiary of Suncor, launched six years ago and is in beta testing of the IPM costing model, a costing tool that allows superintendents to forecast and compare resources their courses consume.

What started as a concept from the mind of Erik Spong, a former superintendent and now representative of Civitas, turned into an Excel spreadsheet that allowed him to see what his course spent on various resources.

The only problem: Spong was the only one who could read and understand the Excel spreadsheets.

With the help of Civitas, the IPM costing model is now on the Web and is mobile-responsive. Superintendents can customize, compare and forecast the amount and the cost of fungicides, insecticide, herbicides, PGRs, wetting agents, phosphates, fertilizers and water.

“Civitas’ IPM costing tool basically empowers you to do one-day forecasting (in) what used to take a month,” Spong says.

On top of the IPM Costing Model, Civitas has a new herbicide, WEEDfree. It has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but is currently still going through U.S. state registration.

— Grant B. Gannon, Associate Editor


OnGolf crunches data, saves time

More superintendents looking to assist their fellow superintendents: OnGolf comes with some influential people behind it, namely co-founder Matt Shaffer, director of grounds at Merion GC, and Shawn Emerson, director of grounds at Desert Mountain and chairman of OnGolf’s advisory board. Walt Norley, the former CEO of UgMo technologies, is the CEO.

OnGolf is a cloud-based data collection system that is meant to help superintendents store all their information in one place for easy access and easier decision making. The platform originated in the agriculture industry in the form of OnFarm. Norley was introduced to OnFarm and shared the system with his old friends Shaffer and Emerson to get their take.

“When Walt brought this software to Shawn and me, we said, ‘Hey, this was made for us,’” Shaffer says.

Norley and Shaffer cut an agreement with OnFarm last July to own the system for the golf, sports turf and commercial/residential markets. OnGolf is currently being tested in five different golf markets, and will become commercially available this month. An early-adopter discount rate will be offered, the company says.

OnGolf has five modules to help superintendents track information. They are:

      • Turf health indicators
      • Water and energy monitoring
      • Playing conditions (speed and firmness)
      • Labor management
      • Fertilizer budget management

And it’s all available on your phone.

Emerson says his hope is that the system will help turf pros cut their hours worked by 10 percent.

“Time may be our No. 1 focus. Superintendents and assistants are leaving the industry because they don’t have enough time, they don’t have a balance of life,” Emerson says. “I’ve told my superintendents and assistants, if you normally work 55 hours, with the information you’re getting, see if you can cut it down to 50 hours.”

— Seth Jones, Editor-in-Chief


Syngenta helps with the changing seasons

For cleaning up diseases during the transitions from spring to summer and fall to winter, Syngenta offers Velista fungicide, which the company launched during the GIS. Velista controls key turf diseases, including brown patch, dollar spot and anthracnose, among others.

Velista is among the industry’s first succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) class fungicides.

“With Velista, there is now a broad-spectrum SDHI on the market that superintendents can use to clean-up spring and fall dollar spot,” Howard Jaekle, fungicide brand manager, said in a statement. “Superintendents have a new tool to manage summer disease on greens because of the turf safety Velista offers in addition to its excellent control of anthracnose.”


Jacobsen’s Truckster wants to go fast

Two more things learned about Jacobsen’s new Truckster XD while at the GIS: it’s fast, and it’s tough.

The center of attention at the Jacobsen booth, the Truckster proudly held up a flatscreen TV demonstrating a three-car race recently held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race was only one lap, and it was between rival utility vehicles.

Behind the wheel of the Truckster was NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray, winner of the 2010 Daytona 500, the 2010 Brickyard 400 and now, the 2015 Charlotte Speedway 1. Perhaps the professional driver gave the orange vehicle an advantage, but McMurray seemed impressed.

“The first thing I noticed was that it was a 5-speed, and how well the transmission shifted, how fast it accelerated,” McMurray said in the video, available online at youtube.com.

But lead engineer Jarrett Jones and product manager Chris Fox echoed each other that the Truckster XD isn’t just a speed machine. It also has, they say, the toughest box of any utility vehicle on the market, using the heaviest gauge steel.

“If you look at any of the products out there, the beds are usually beat up quite a bit — that’s the working end of it,” Jones says. “(The Truckster’s box) has quite a few design changes — it assembles much easier, it goes together better, it has more support built into it.”

“These beds get abused,” Fox says. “People treat them like pick-up trucks, so we wanted to make sure ours lasts.”

— S.J.


John Deere shows off the tire’s unusual but useful cousin, the tweel

In a partnership with John Deere, Michelin has re-worked the wheel with the airless, radial Michelin X Tweel Turf. It has all of the qualities of a pneumatic tire but does not require air, thus eliminating downtime to work on flats, patch kits or spare tires.

The outer portion of the Tweel is a strong and flexible shear beam. This shear beam is connected to its inner hub by malleable but strong spokes. When the Tweel comes in contact with turf or another surface those spokes deform and take the force of the surface. This energy transfer reduces bounce for a smoother ride.

Don’t expect the Tweel to come standard on your next automobile. It is exclusively being made for the John Deere ZTrak 900 Series.

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About the Author: Marty Whitford

Martin Whitford is an award-winning journalist and editorial leader at North Coast Media. He has served NCM’s Green Group for four years. Whitford brings with him 18 years of experience in business-to-business integrated media. He served in the U.S. Navy during the first Persian Gulf War.

About the Author: Ed Hiscock

Ed Hiscock is editor-at-large for Golfdom. He can be reached at hiscock.ed@gmail.com.


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