Saturday, October 3, 2015

Why Do You Think They Call It Roxborough?

       On Monday & Tuesday, this past week, for the second time in the past few years, we held the Philadelphia Association of Golf Course Superintendents Aeration Days, at Walnut Lane Golf Club, Home of The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia. While a week before was a little concerning on having enough people, the turnout was just right to get tees and fairways aerated and the greens sliced with the Graden. With the process slightly different from your standard aeration, we scrambled a little bit with the cleanup early, with not having the right equipment, but as the first day went on, things were moving as more back pack blowers arrived.
       While the event was really an exciting couple of days for the people involved with TFTGP & Walnut Lane GC, it seemed to be just as exciting for those who volunteered. Everybody just pitching in and saying, "Whatever you need me to do!" This was the phrase of the two days. From clubs loaning equipment, to clubs sending staff over, even when they were shorthanded, to John Chassard and his guys, from Lehigh CC, making the long trip down and arriving at the perfect time to give volunteers a break to eat so the work could keep moving....Priceless!
       I cannot say thank you enough to all those who helped to support The First Tee, Walnut Lane & Bob Sawicki, Superintendent! We received donations of products from multiple companies from seed, fertilizer and tines and my employer, Lawn and Golf, was nice enough to supply most of the equipment needed. The greens would not have gotten done, as Bob had planned, if it had not been for the work of Mike Janzer, of Plantfood, with his Graden demo unit and getting another Graden that was loaned to us by Merion GC. Thanks Mike!
And a final big thank you goes out to Suanne Gardiner, Editor of the PAGCS Bonnie Greensward Newsletter, who help to get the word out and reminded everyone how important this was!

Jon Urbanski & Charlie-Biderman GC
Rob Nolek+Staff-Cedarbrook GC
Joe Agnew-The Bucks Club
Chase Rogan-GCSAA
Giancarlo Sarullo & Nathan Kupstas-Bala CC
Joe Liebsch
John Chassard+Staff-Lehigh CC
Jon Noyes & Mike Fahringer-The Ace Club
Steve Keller-Meadowlands
Nick Tristani & Brayen Wilkens-Merion GC
Mike Janzer-Plantfood
Matt Brown & Sumner Cross-Lawn & Golf
Dean White & JC Clevenger-Fertl-Soil
Sean Cullen & Brent Mounts-Tesco
Pocono Turf-Chris Friel
Primo Products-Rich Hendrickson
Montco Products-Ben Poole
Fisher & Son
Shreiner Tree Care Service
SynaTek-Alfie Gardner
Grigg Bros-John Wiblishauser
Seeton Turf-Steve Rudich
Lawn & Golf Supply Company


A group of First Tee participants with a nice Thank You wish to the PAGCS!
Matt Brown of Lawn & Golf operating the Redexim Carrier
And the biggest lesson I learned this past week.....Why do you think they call it Roxborough!

President of the PAGCS, Jon Urbanski, running the Core Harvester

Rob Nolek, VP of the PAGCS, running the Turfco Torrent Blower

Chase Rogan of the GCSAA dragging fairways after aerification. (No he is not angry just focused!)

Jay, Technician at Walnut Lane GC, switching out some tines on the Redexim Carrier

Shreiner Tree Care Service doing their part by donating a day of badly needed stump grinding.

Nick Tristani from Merion Golf Club running the new Jacobsen Truckster XD & Turfco 1550 Topdresser

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In The King's Castle

      This past week, I had the opportunity to play at Arnold Palmer's Latrobe CC, in the western part of  Pennsylvania. The chance to see some of the great memorabilia, in the clubhouse of Arnold Palmer's incredible career, is really special, but to be a foot away from one of the biggest names in sports is priceless! We were not sure if Mr. Palmer was still in town, but as we spoke to the locker room attendant, he said to be careful heading into the men's grill because that is where Mr. Palmer sits at lunch, right by the door.  As our foursome finished up lunch, with no word of a sighting, we headed out to our cars to grab our clubs. One minute later, one of our foursome came over and asked, "Did you see him? You missed him by about a minute..." With that I headed back inside and cut through the men's locker room and as I walked out of the men's locker room, Mr. Palmer turned and looked at me and I just said, " Hello Mr. Palmer,". He nodded and turned back to his table of friends.
       I am not an autograph collector or someone who is really into the celebrity worship, but I have to say it was pretty cool. To see one of the icons of golf, who still is one of the top money earners in sports, within a foot of you, is something I will never forget.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Training Days

       This past week, we held a training event, for our sales group, and then a demo day for customers at Blue Bell CC & Normandy Farm Conference Center. The opportunity to have all our primary vendors come into town to a first class location, for one on one training, with the sales team, was priceless! Hopefully, the mix of classroom work, with in the field product training, over a few days, was as productive as the planning that went into it. Manufacturer representation from Jacobsen, Ventrac,Turfco, Smithco, Redexim, AquaMaster & Turflux were all there participating. We are very lucky to have the strong Representatives who work with our dealership! One of the things I have learned since I have come to Lawn & Golf, is that their factory reps know their products inside and out. Most of them have their own demo units and can go head to head with anyone.
       On Thursday, Steve Johnson from Smithco & Andy Billing of Turflux stayed around for an extra day, so we were able to do a sprayer demo day for customers. Speaking to a group of Superintendents, Assistants and Technicians, Steve and Andy briefly reviewed the Smithco and Turflux products. Every time I see GPS spraying in action, I have to admit, it is really amazing.
       A big thank you goes out to all our factory representatives, Denis Bergey, Superintendent of Blue Bell CC, the staff at Blue Bell CC and Normandy Farm Conference Center and all the staff at Lawn and Golf for a great week!

 Chuck Hicks of Redexim giving product training to Jeremy Weand & Bob Angell of L&G
         Mark Pena & Andrew Sickenberger of Jacobsen training Steve Hesser of L&G
            Chris Francis of Turfco giving training on the new Turfco 1550 to Matt Brown of L&G
                 Steve Johnson of Smithco talking sprayers
                  Andy Billing talking about Turflux technology


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Make It Rain!

       As we head into the official end of summer, summer must not have gotten the memo. With another week with multiple days of temperatures in the 90's and not much chance of rain in the long range forecast, most Turf Managers in the Mid-Atlantic have had enough. After the last measurable rain, when you took a core, the turf was moist the for the first few inches down and powder just below that. What started out as an average year, has turned into a especially long season.
     This week the information regarding the Philadelphia Area Golf Course Superintendents Association Aeration Days at Walnut Lane Golf Club will going out. On September 28th & 29th, the home of The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia will be getting the course aerated with volunteers from the PAGCS. On top of members donating their time, vendors donate seed, fertilizer, tines and equipment for the aeration process. We did a similar event, a few years ago, and it was really great to see it all come together. Hopefully, the weather breaks our way and Bob Sawicki and his staff will have an overflow of help!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Own It

       This past week, what had been announced privately to the employees of Lawn & Golf Supply Company has finally been made official. Lawn & Golf Supply Company is now employee owned! Bob Holman had a dinner for all the employees on January 22nd. The reason for this special dinner was to discuss the future of the company. I have to admit when he stated, "There is going to be a new owner of Lawn & Golf", my heart dropped a little bit. After seeing the transition already from one owner to another once in my career, it was not something I was hoping for. Then in the next sentence Bob stated, "It's is YOU!",  I don't think it sunk in. Bob Holman was gifting the company to the employees. The company, that his father started in 1937 and that he and his brother ran, was now being giving to the people who made it go. Me, being with the company only a short time, I did not really understand how the amount of long term employees had been the basis of the culture. With 20 year & 30 year and even 40 plus year employees, that always indicates, to me, that it is a good place to work.
       This past week, the paper work was completed and with the blessing of lawyers and the IRS, Lawn & Golf Supply Company is now employee owned. But one of the original parts of the plan had slightly changed. Bob had spoken about being involved for another 3-5 years back in January. He has now decided that in October, 2016 he will be stepping away from the position of President of the company. With that being said, there were some other things that would change too. Ken Jeinnings, current Vice President/Sales Manager, would be transitioning into the Presidents role, as originally planned, just sooner. I will be transitioning into the spot that Ken had.
       Truly, pretty amazing; After a few years of not being happy with where I was working and trying to pursue different opportunities,  I will have a chance to manage the sales group at the oldest turf equipment dealer in Philadelphia is unreal. I had tried starting my own distributor, interviewed with multiple manufacturers for a factory representative positions, and in the end, it was hearing from two friends in the Turf industry, who's opinions I respected, that suggested calling Ken to talk. That is started the wheels in motion. I am really grateful to Bob and Ken for this incredible opportunity!



Monday, August 24, 2015


       What is vacation for you? I think the last time I had a completely detached vacation, no communication, would have to go back to pre-cell phone times. While the always in touch world we live in helps us to be better at our jobs, in some respect, it also raises the expectations that no matter where you are or what you are doing, you need to get back to your co-workers and customers within a timely manner. Every vacation, I have the same hopes of turning off my phone and responding to emails and calls when I return. yeah, not so much....
       One of the best talks I have ever heard on vacation , as a turf manager, was given by John Segui, who at the time, had recently retired from his longtime superintendent position at Waynesborough CC, outside Philadelphia. John spoke of the need to get away with your family, even if it meant making some runs back and forth during the week. He spoke of how important it is to make time for your family. John, who is a past president of the GCSAA, is a truly a class act. To hear someone who was so successful advocate family, was great to hear. With the majority of courses starting to or down to the final days before aerification here in the Mid-Atlantic, shorter days are coming.
       Hopefully, you got a chance to spend some family time and as my 11 year old likes to call it Chillaxation!


Friday, July 3, 2015


        Walnut Lane Golf Club is the home of the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia. The course is owned by the City, but TFTGP maintains the golf course. This past winter, the Superintendent resigned . Bob Sawicki, had just left the Superintendent position at Gulph Mills GC. When Bob said he was interested in the job, obviously there were thoughts that this might not be any easy transition. But as my Mom always says, "things happen for a reason!" Bob has had an incredible impact, in just a short time on the property, primarily because of his personality.
       Bob's positive influence has helped to create a push to upgrade some of the tools he needs to keep making improvements. Just about when Bob started, Arader Tree had stepped in to help and dropped some trees that the city had deemed dangerous and needed to be taken care of as soon as possible. Now the trees were down, but what was available to clean them up? With a little luck and the generosity of a board member, Frank Shuman, a slightly used chipper was delivered that still had the paint on the feed deck!
Next up was looking at his equipment fleet. The rough unit, fairway mower and sprayer ,all ranging from 15 to 25 years old, are obvious candidates for retirement, but as we all know not cheap.
After talking about some options with Ken Jeinnings ,the Vice President & Sales Manager of my employer, Lawn & Golf Supply Company, we were able to work with Jacobsen and provide Walnut Lane with a brand new Jacobsen LF550 fairway mower! We delivered it this past Thursday.
With the Director of the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia, John MacDonald and some board members in attendance, it was a great photo shoot! Especially appreciated was the banner made up to thank Lawn & Golf and Jacobsen.
The momentum that has been created in improving the golf course at Walnut Lane is exciting to see.
The goal of enhancing the playing conditions for the kids in the program is truly inspiring.
Yesterday, for me, was a day I won't forget and one of the better ones in my career!

John MacDonald, Director of the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia, Assistant Ben Davies, Superintendent Bob Sawicki, Ken Jeinnings, VP & Sales Manager at Lawn & Golf and me.
Superintendent Bob Sawicki out taking his new unit for a test drive!

Hope you and your family have a safe and Happy 4th of July!