Viva Las Vegas: What we saw at our own imaginary GIS

By , and |  February 9, 2021 0 Comments
Viva Las Vegas sign (Photo: littlestocker / istock-Getty images plus / Getty images)

Photo: littlestocker / istock-Getty images plus / Getty images

OK, the reality is we didn’t go to Las Vegas for GIS. No one did. We didn’t play Topgolf. We didn’t see the guys dressed up like Zach Galifianakis. That’s what a pandemic will do to an event.

The GCSAA hosted a virtual GIS, and your friends at Golfdom were an exhibitor. We saw a few familiar faces on our computer screens, shared a few stories and even signed up some new subscribers. But it just wasn’t … the same.

So, we asked ourselves, if we have a magazine where we always tell our GIS travel stories … what’s stopping us from going forward with that idea? We contacted our Friends of Golfdom and asked them if we were able to travel to see you in Las Vegas, what would we have seen? What are you excited about sharing with our readers?

The following is a retelling of our own imaginary GIS 2021. The good news? We didn’t have to spend any money on hotel rooms, we didn’t run late for any dinners and our esteemed editor-in-chief didn’t have a single hangover. The bad news? We didn’t get to see you in person.

We look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, we present this report about the GIS that did not go on.

It’s Vegas — show us the Mooney

For the ninth consecutive year, Golfdom’s Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year Award was recognized at the Golf Industry Show. Rees Jones, the Open Doctor, said a few words about Mr. Graffis, who founded Golfdom, along with his brother Joe, in 1927. “Graffis was one of the first to look at the game as a business, and that’s why he and my dad got along so well,” Jones said. “Today, Golfdom carries on that tradition with this award, and I’m proud to be associated with it.”

The 2019 winner of the award, first recognized in the September 2020 issue is Rick Mooney, vice president of maintenance and development at Shore Lodge | Whitetail Club in McCall, Idaho. Mooney was given the award because of how he helped Whitetail Club overcome the challenges of fielding a complete crew with its remote location. Mooney helped Shore Lodge expand its living quarters for employees. He’s also a highly respected superintendent and a mentor to many.

“It’s very humbling; I’m very honored,” Mooney said to the group. “As soon as I found out about it, I did some research on Mr. Graffis and all of his impact on golf, and being a World Golf Hall of Famer … I’m extremely honored to be representing him and to be in the same fraternity as the other winners. Some pretty special people have won this over the years, and I’m happy to be linked with them.”

Kafka Granite gets patent

Tiffany Kafka of Kafka Granite shows off the company’s recently acquired patent. (Photo: Kafka Granite)

Tiffany Kafka of Kafka Granite shows off the company’s recently acquired patent. (Photo: Kafka Granite)

Wisconsin-based Kafka Granite believes that superintendents have better things to be doing with their resources than maintaining walking paths. That’s why they were excited to be in Las Vegas with a very special piece of paper on display.

“We love talking about our wax polymer pathways mix, and the thing that has been super exciting in the past year is that we have now been patented,” said Tiffany Kafka, director of sales and marketing. “We have the exclusive rights to make and produce this — you won’t find it anywhere else in the country.”

In a city like Las Vegas, with its arid climate, Kafka’s product cuts down on dust. Back home in Wisconsin, it has a different selling point: It saves superintendents the headache of what freeze/thaw conditions do to their paths.

“We’ve been working on the patent for quite some time. It’s time-consuming. It opens up some opportunities for us. Now, we have the potential to partner with quarries throughout the country to produce this more locally,” Kafka said. “It’s not happening currently, but it’s the long-term goal; the next step to make our product even more accessible throughout the country.”

Kafka said the Wax Polymer Pathway Mix blends seamlessly into the course, but it’s also hardy. It withstands erosive effects and cuts down on maintenance by cutting out the cracking and crumbling that comes with hardscapes.

“It’s giving courses a great marriage of something that’s beautiful and gives a great golfer experience but also cuts back on maintenance,” Kafka said. “We get real excited when we talk to superintendents and they tell us about the hours and hours that it saves them.”

Nufarm’s new AI for the U.S.

Nufarm’s National Golf Account Manager Cam Copley gave us some good advice: Don’t miss their party.

“It has grown to be an event,” he said. “We’re an Australian-owned company, and the one thing the Aussies love to do is have parties.”

At the Nufarm party, Editor Christina Herrick was invited to join the wolf pack — a group of fun party dudes dressed as Alan from The Hangover. (Photo provided by Golfdom Staff)

At the Nufarm party, Editor Christina Herrick was invited to join the wolf pack — a group of fun party dudes dressed as Alan from The Hangover. (Photo provided by Golfdom Staff)

Before we could attend the Nufarm party, at Nufarm’s booth, we got to learn more about a new fungicide, Decide, that is pending EPA approval and is slated for a March 2022 release. Nichino America has partnered with Nufarm to supply the company with the active ingredient pyraziflumid.

Nufarm is going into its third year of trials with the product and is looking forward to sharing more about this new product with the industry.

“It’s a new active ingredient that the U.S. has never seen before,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to be doing a lot of promotions with it. We’re going to try to educate the market as best we can on how to use it and when to use it so we can hit the ground running.”

Copley also said he hopes superintendents get a chance to talk to him about Anuew plant growth regulator as superintendents approach him often about best practices.

“I still have conversations with superintendents almost daily about how to use it and when to incorporate it, and what you should expect from it,” he said.

And, of course, all visitors to the Nufarm booth have a chance to enter to win a Husqvarna Automower 430X or monthly Amazon gift cards. Copley said visitors will also learn more about Nufarm’s Sure Power, Millenium Ultra and SureGuard SC herbicides as well as the Excel Leadership Program.

This article is tagged with and posted in Featured, From the Magazine, Maintenance

About the Author: Christina Herrick

Christina Herrick is the former editor of Golfdom magazine.

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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