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/ / / The Approach: Volume 1, Issue 7

The Approach: Volume 1, Issue 7

The Approach: John Deere Golf


Experience Some Orlando Magic


Come visit John Deere’s booths at the Golf Industry Show and the CMAA’s World Conference and the Club Business Expo.


John Deere will have a full display of its products and services at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando in February, and welcome competitors in the 2014 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s (GCSAA) Collegiate Turf Bowl, which is sponsored by John Deere.


The show includes the GCSAA Golf Championships Feb. 1-3, the GCSAA Education Conference and the National Golf Course Owners Association’s (NGCOA) Annual Conference Feb. 3-6, and the trade show Feb. 5-6.


Turf Bowl students from about 80 schools will compete for a cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to be part of the volunteer crew at THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass, courtesy of John Deere Golf.


The CMAA show in Orlando features the 87th World Conference Feb. 4-8 and the Club Business Expo Feb. 7-8. Attendees can look forward to news about a special appearance that will be made at the John Deere booth.


John Deere is a platinum partner of both the GCSAA and CMAA.


“We are proud to support their educational missions,” says Mark Ford, tactical marketing manager - John Deere Golf.

Turf Bowl

Collegiate Turf Bowl XX Comes to 2014 GIS


The Collegiate Turf Bowl, sponsored by John Deere and presented in partnership with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) at the Golf Industry Show (GIS), challenges turf program students with a written exam developed and graded by superintendents, as well as a written essay. In addition to cash prizes, students from the top team will have the opportunity to volunteer at TPC Sawgrass as it prepares for THE PLAYERS Championship. John Deere is the Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier, Landscape Product Supplier and Golf Course Equipment Leasing Company of the PGA TOUR.


As part of the $10,000 in prizes that John Deere will award to the top 10 Turf Bowl teams, this year the team that receives the most votes via a Tweet Rally will receive the School Spirit Award and $650.


“These kids are very dedicated,” Koehler says. “John Deere’s support means a lot to them. It’s a great partnership.”


If you’re not attending GIS this year, follow @JohnDeere and @GCSAA for the winner announcements.


Rally Around Your Favorite Turf Bowl Team


Think the excitement of the college bowl games are over? Think again. You can root for your favorite team in the 20th Collegiate Turf Bowl via Twitter this year to help them win a cash prize.


You can support your Alma Mater or just show your school spirit by sending tweets using a hashtag in front of the school’s name and #GIS14_TurfBowl. For example: #schoolhashtag #GIS14_TurfBowl. You can vote as many times as you like between now and the Feb. 6 GIS Closing Celebration.


“We want the Tweet Rally to create a connection between the turf students and the professional golf course superintendents. We want to make superintendents aware of what the students do and how they’re preparing for careers in the industry,” says Shari Koehler, GCSAA director of professional development.


The Collegiate Turf Bowl winners and School Spirit Award will be announced during the GIS Closing Celebration, just before comedian Bill Engvall takes the stage.

Comedian Bill Engvall

John Deere to Open for Comedian Bill Engvall


Comedian Bill Engvall, perhaps best known for his work with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, will wrap up the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Education Conference at the 2014 Golf Industry Show (GIS) by headlining the Closing Celebration at the Orange County Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m.


This is the first year for the Closing Celebration at GIS. It will combine the Collegiate Turf Bowl awards presentations, presented by John Deere, with Engvall’s performance and the official introduction of the new GCSAA Board of Directors.


Steve Vincent, North American sales manager for
John Deere Golf, who has presented the $10,000 in prizes John Deere awards to the Turf Bowl winners in the past, says the Closing Ceremony will be a great way to provide more recognition for the students who participate in the competition.


“The awards ceremony is always well attended by the students and faculty at GIS, but this way it will reach a much broader audience,” he says. “It will make it a much bigger deal for the kids, and that’s what it’s all about: education and keeping the industry strong by supporting the next generation of golf course professionals.”


Shari Koehler, GCSAA director of professional development, agrees.


It should be a big deal,” she says of the Turf Bowl awards. “The students work hard and deserve to be recognized in front of their future professional peers.”


Students put in a lot of class and study time to prepare for the Collegiate Turf Bowl test and essay, which is developed and graded by professional golf course superintendents each year. The testing is so challenging, it takes about three hours to complete.


John Deere and GCSAA will award the top Turf Bowl team with a traveling trophy, a $4,000 first-place prize, and an all-expenses paid trip to volunteer at THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass. The nine other top teams will all receive cash prizes from John Deere, and the school that receives the most votes via a Tweet Rally will receive the School Spirit award and a cash prize.

Mower Technology

John Deere Mowers Receive Updates


Unlike the now-outdated iPad you bought last month, John Deere equipment doesn’t become obsolete each year. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t undergoing constant improvements.


Tracy Lanier, John Deere Golf product manager, offers a look at the improvements that are being made to the 2500B Precisioncut™/ 2500E E-Cut Hybrid™ Riding Greens Mowers and 2653B PrecisionCut™ Trim and Surrounds Mowers.


The Gas model 2500B PrecisionCut Riding Greens Mower is getting a redesigned fuel tank to meet new regulatory requirements.


“We’re using a twin-sheet design — it’s a different material to meet regulatory requirements,” Lanier says. “It will have the same capacity that will get you through the normal workday without having to refuel.”


Redesigning the fuel tank provided John Deere’s engineers with the opportunity to move the storage area, which currently sits on top of the existing tank, to the area behind the operator. The storage area will also be a bit larger.


“It will give the operator better access to the storage area, since it can be accessed from either side of the mower,” Lanier says.


The 2500E E-Cut Hybrid Riding Greens Mowers are receiving updated electric controllers for the reels. The new controllers will provide increased diagnostics capabilities using Control Area Network or CANbus, the same system used since 2009 on John Deere E-Cut fairway mowers.


“We have onboard diagnostics with all of our machines,” Lanier says. “We use it to help the customer quickly diagnose issues on the course without having to hook up to a computer. In the event additional diagnostics are ever needed, the John Deere Golf distributor can use our Service ADVISOR system to perform advanced diagnostics.”


The 2653B PrecisionCut Trim and Surrounds Mowers will receive changes to the operator area to increase comfort and operation, and will help the operator be more productive over the course of a day.


“We changed the sitting position of the operator to increase the comfort level for long hours of operation” Lanier says. “We also updated the steering system to include a double acting steering cylinder to help the operator hold straighter lines and for easier turning.”


To learn more about these and other exciting products from John Deere Golf, view our full lineup of golf products and equipment.

Green Start Academy

Off to a Green Start


50 assistant superintendents earned the opportunity to attend Green Start Academy.


There are more assistant superintendents in the golf industry than there are superintendent positions, so those looking to take the reins need to expand their knowledge and their networks. That’s exactly what Green Start Academy was founded to do eight years ago by providing two-and-a-half-days of education for 50 would-be supers, all-expenses paid thanks to John Deere Golf and Bayer.


“We had highest level of applications this year in the history of the program,” says Sonya Veasey, Associate Brand Manager, John Deere Golf. “Golf Course Superintendents of America (GCSAA) helped us promote it. We had a lot of cooperation from our industry partners that really helped get the word out.”


More than 160 applicants submitted their resumes and short essays, the best of which were forwarded to a panel of experts that consisted of:

  • GCSAA Class A superintendent Chris Condon, Tetherow Resort and Golf Club, Bend, OR;
  • Bob Farren, Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS), Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC;
  • GCSAA President Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, director of golf, The Olympic Club, San Francisco;
  • Ken Mangum, CGCS, director of golf course and grounds, Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, GA; and
  • Bryan Stromme, regional director of agronomy-Midwest, Billy Casper Golf, Huntley, IL.


The panel determined the 50 lucky people who got the call to pack their bags for the Bayer Development and Training Center in Clayton, NC, and John Deere's Turf Care factory in Fuquay-Varina, NC.


Green Start Academy 2013 kicked off on Oct. 2 with dinner at The Pit, a well-known barbecue restaurant in Raleigh, NC. The next morning, attendees toured the John Deere and Bayer facilities before settling in for training sessions from Bob Baldassari, PGA senior director of Player Development, rotation among a panel of five superintendents, and experts from John Deere and Bayer who took the attendees outside to provide hands-on tips for equipment and turf care. Lunch breaks, social hours and dinner set aside time for networking among the 50 attendees and the Green Start Academy organizers.


Bob Milligan, senior consultant, Dairy Strategies, LLC & professor emeritus, Cornell University led day two by explaining how to succeed as a supervisor. Continuing the leadership-focused sessions of the day, Ed Ibarguen, general manager and PGA director of golf and Billy Weeks, golf course superintendent at Duke University Golf Club, Durham, NC, provided their insights on building teamwork. Chris Carson, superintendent, Echo Lake Country Club, West Field, NJ, wrapped up the training sessions with a presentation titled “How to Increase Your Chances of Making the Step from Assistant to Superintendent.”


“We focused the program to be even more centered on career development and taking the step from an assistant to a superintendent,” Ford says.


Chad Karr, an assistant superintendent Westham Golf Club in Moseley, VA, summed up his Green Start Academy experience in 140 characters or less on Twitter by posting a picture of his certificate of completion with this tweet: “Honored to be a #GreenStartAcademy alumni. This was a game changing experience. Thanks again @BayerGolf @JohnDeere.”


The application process for the 2014 Green Start Academy begins in May. Visit backedbybayer.com for more information as it becomes available.

Golf Course Superintendents

Top Golf Course Superintendents Speak


Ever wonder how some of the most respected names in golf course maintenance maintain their beautiful courses and prepare for big events? Check out these interviews that showcase the tight fairways, challenging lies, and signature holes that comprise some of the most famous courses in golf.


“It’s just really kind of built into a good relationship with John Deere and, most importantly the equipment does what we ask it to do,” says Garret Bodington, superintendent at Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, NY, in the video on his course. “It’s been a great partnership.”


TPC Sawgrass’ superintendents Tom Vlach and Clay Breazeale explain how John Deere supports the course and the TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Program, which helps them host the PLAYERS Championship.


Oak Hill Country Club Superintendent Jeff Corcoran talks about the Donald Ross designed course, which has hosted all six of the men’s championships, and partnering with John Deere Golf.


“What we had to do was choose equipment we know can stay out in the field and run,” says Shawn Emerson, director of agronomy at Desert Mountain, Scottsdale, AZ, in the video featuring his courses. He says he chose John Deere to “make sure we have to right equipment to do the right job at the right pace so we can stay in front.”


Desert Mountain is the largest private golf community in the country. It also has the largest collection of Jack Nicklaus courses (six) in one place.


View the video collection.

TPC Sawgrass™ Volunteer Program

2014 TPC Sawgrass™ Volunteer Program


World-Class Course, World-Class Volunteer Program


John Deere Golf once again has the honor to be the official sponsor of the 2014 TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Team for THE PLAYERS. Preparations have already begun for the May championship, which couldn’t go smoothly without a small army of volunteers who help make the course look its best for a global television audience.


If there’s any doubt about the volunteers’ importance, just watch this video on how they overcame the 10 inches of rain that fell just before last year’s THE PLAYERS Championship.


The volunteers, in return, receive priceless hands-on experience in preparing a course to the highest standards, valuable networking with other volunteers, TPC Sawgrass and PGA TOUR agronomic staff, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how to efficiently operate a volunteers program.


John Deere Golf is looking for volunteers to commit May 3 – 11, 2014 to preparing and maintaining TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS. Volunteers only need to pay their way to and from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Meals, housing, and transportation will be provided throughout the week.


For more information, visit the official registration page.

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