Who let the dog (calendars) out?

By |  February 15, 2018 0 Comments

It’s no secret that superintendents love their dogs. They also love their dog calendars, so much so that we’re now up to four dog calendars to choose from.

The two most popular dog calendars are available from two of my friendly competitors. But two more dog calendars caught my eye this year, one from Twitter and one from my local par 3 course.

The first of these dog-catching calendars is the brainchild of Kasey Kauff, director of grounds at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas. Kasey’s calendar, appropriately titled “The Underdogs of Turf,” started with a sarcastic tweet. When his dog didn’t make the cut for one of the big calendars, he tweeted, “I’m making my own calendar.” His 2,500 Twitter followers took him seriously, and the dog photos started pouring in. That’s when he decided to add the bite to the bark.

“Everyone thinks their dog is better looking than the dogs that get selected (for the calendar),” Kasey told me. “It’s like everyone thinks their kids are the best-looking kids.”
Rain Bird stepped up and sponsored the calendar. While promoting the calendar, the company also promised to donate $1 to the Humane Society for every follow they got on Twitter (@RainBirdGolf). Within two days, they raised $1,000.

Kasey says his underdog calendar isn’t meant to be a slight to the other calendars. His tongue-in-cheek tweet got legs, and he saw it as an opportunity to get more dogs in the hunt at being featured in a calendar.

There were two things Kasey knew for sure about his calendar: He knew his 3-year-old Vizsla mix, Dixie, would be the cover girl. And he knew there would be no dog left behind — every mutt would make the cut.

“Every dog got in. Even a goat from Australia and a rabbit that rides in some guy’s golf cart made it,” Kasey says. “We just scrunched them up… there’s 15 dogs per page.”

Kasey says he’ll do the calendar again next year and hopes to get 500 dogs in that one. He encourages people to tweet photos of their pups to him (@kaseykauff) and he says it doesn’t matter if your dog (or goat or rabbit) was featured this year, he’ll run it again next year.

“I had a guy email me and tell me he had been submitting his dog for the last eight years and he was really frustrated with not getting selected each year,” Kasey says. “He said seeing his dog in a calendar, finally, gave him a lot of pride each day he saw it.”

The other dog calendar was created by Jeff Burey, owner/operator of Twin Oaks Golf Complex in my hometown of Eudora, Kan. That calendar is called “Golf Course Dogs of the Heart” and features 12 dogs from the Heart of America GCSA. Sponsored by John Deere and Van Wall Equipment, this calendar also supports a good cause — the Wee One Foundation.

Jeff has delivered stacks of calendars to courses all around Kansas City and the surrounding area. The superintendents in KC might remain unseen, but their dogs will now be front and center in a lot of pro shops.

“I’d encourage anyone to try a project like this with your local chapter,” Jeff told me. “It was a great way to bring the Midwest Section of the PGA and the Heart of America GCSA together, and for a good cause.”

It wasn’t that hard, Jeff says. He and his wife, Cathy, selected the 12 dogs. Then Jeff organized photo shoots at three Kansas City golf courses. He hired his daughter Blair, owner of Elisabeth Blair Photography, to photograph the dogs… and their owners.

“I only had one job: I worked the squeaky toy,” Jeff laughs. “One thing that stuck out at me was that the dogs were comfortable in front of the camera, and the superintendents less so.”

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