Travelogue: Pursell Farms

By |  May 26, 2015 1 Comments

As the associate editor of Golfdom for almost six months I had only traveled to Lawrence, Kan., for an introduction to the turf industry in late January, and then a month later was blown away from my experience at GIS in San Antonio. The boss, Seth Jones, decided to throw me a bone last week and sent me on a trip to John Deere’s event at the hidden gem Pursell Farms and Farm Links Golf Club.

The first evening I arrived at Pursell Farms most of the superintendents were on the course golfing, but I was too late to get out there. So I took to the gun range for skeet shooting with some John Deere representatives. As a relative gun novice, I was happy with hitting four of 25 targets.

Following that we had dinner and some drinks, and I was able to introduce myself to some of the attendees of the event. The two horseshoe pits dominated the attention of the majority of the superintendents after dinner.

I felt lucky because I had already met two of the guys when I visited Seth Jones’ home of Lawrence, Kan. It was great to re-introduce myself and talk turf with Graham Edelman, assistant superintendent at Lawrence Country Club, and Justin Bland, head groundskeeper at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. 

The next morning everyone was brought into a meeting room and given an overview of the John Deere equipment that would be on the course that day to demo. Among them were the 7500 A E-Cut, 8000 A E-Cut Hybrid, 7400A TerrainCut Trim Mower and three different types of tractors.

Mark Langner, Farm Link’s director of agronomy, took time to speak to us as well. First he thanked the superintendents for the free labor the course was about to receive and told everyone to push the limits of the equipment and the turf.

Four groups were separated between the three varieties of mowers and the tractors. I spent a majority of my time with a group of guys from Virginia, including Brian Vincel, general manager Spring Creek Golf Club, Gordonsville, Va.; Brian Keene, superintendent Blacksburg Country Club, Blacksburg, Va.; and Rob Podleski, assistant superintendent Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, Va.

The second day wrapped up with another dinner and more drinks, but that night’s game of choice was cornhole. We were also joined by the visionary of Pursell Farms and its current CEO, David Pursell. He jokingly shared with us his eventual goal is to house a birthing hospital, a wedding chapel and a cemetery all on the 3,500 acre property.

Before my trip I tried to explain to my girlfriend and family how big of a deal the trip would be, but it wasn’t until I was driving away from Pursell Farms that I truly realized the magnitude of my time there. I learned more about the industry and the tools used on the course, but the highlight is always getting to meet the people. I hope I can get out on the road some more this year to meet more people and so they realize that Seth isn’t the only one working on the magazine.

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