Category: Golf

Maximizing Early Order and Reward Programs

Golf

It’s that time of year again…Early Order and Reward Program overload!  Distributors and manufacturers alike are already starting to deluge your inbox with these industry staples that are designed to lock in purchase commitments for next season by offering lower prices and extended payment terms.  These programs have evolved into essential tools over the years to maximize your maintenance budget and ensure you have the products when you need them.  There are multiple additional benefits as well for the savvy turf professional.

Early Order Programs

Early order programs are terrific for locking in reduced prices for high dollar chemicals and fertilizer products.  Your commitment to the manufacturer allows them to better plan production schedules, which lowers the costs of the products through increased efficiencies.  At its heart, this is the business justification for these programs existing.  

At the same time, however, it’s also well known in the sales side of the industry that each golf facility has limited space and budget to work with.  This translates into the time-tested adage of “the early bird gets the worm” sales philosophy of securing that valuable space for a particular manufacturers or distributor’s products.  In short, if you fill that space and allocate your budget for Company A’s products, then there’s no room or money for Company B’s products.  For a superintendent, this is extremely valuable leverage.  Use that power wisely.

End User Reward Programs

There’s been a clear increase of end user reward programs that directly incentivize you for choosing Product A over Product B.  There’s an easy reason why…because they work.  In our industry we have a finite number of agronomic problems that need solutions, yet the choices to solve those problems seem to have an endless supply of potential answers.  There are multiple fungicides that will control dollar spot and brown patch; and that’s not even accounting for all the generic equivalents also available.  It can be a lot to evaluate.

The best reward programs are those that are from the manufacturers and distributors that you already trust and have confidence in.  They are designed to help build stronger customer loyalty to their brands and illustrate appreciation for that loyalty.  Often, these programs are administered through a shopping catalog for points that you’ve accrued or as some form of a gift card that can be sent to either an individual or your facility.  The really good ones also allow for the reward to be administered as a distributor credit for use on future purchases.  The latter also completely avoids any appearance of impropriety on your part.

“Double Coupon” Mentality

The real magic happens when you can use both programs together.  Many distributors already have some sort of loyalty and early order program that can be stacked on top of a manufacturer’s program.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploited these to work in unison to stretch your limited budget to it’s fullest potential.  

Here’s the trick, however…it may require you to do a little research and find out if your preferred manufacturer has a reward program that you can take advantage of.  Distributor sales reps are very good at talking about their own programs but may not always be aware of all the manufacturer’s programs as well.  It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes and Google your preferred manufacturer and “end user program” to see what comes up.  It just may pay off big for you in 2022.

“Growing Together” Rewards Program for Superintendents and Turf Manager

I’m going to take a moment and shamelessly promote LebanonTurf’s brand new end user reward program that’s coming out in 2022, “Growing Together”.  For all the reason I’ve already covered in this article, we felt it was time to join the party in offering a way to help our customers, especially while the current fertilizer market is so unpredictably volatile.  I’d encourage everyone to take a moment and check out this program at www.lebanonturf.com/growing-together-rewards-program.  

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Fall Fertilizer- No Skipping or Skimping!

Golf

Ok, let’s be honest…fertilizer prices have gone nuts throughout the entire season, creating yet another unexpected challenge to managing your golf course.  The quick fixes of downgrading products and reducing the overall number of acres are not long-term strategies for healthy turf.  With Fall now upon us, I urge you all to not skip or skimp on this critical application.

While we all know this, it bares repeating for the sake of emphasizing the agronomic necessity of a full blown, nutrient application while the leaves are starting to turn color and the weather condition is optimal for growing cool-season turf.

The focus of fall fertilization is on rejuvenating and recouping that turf ahead of Winter and the following Spring.  It’s one of the biggest factors that dictates the ultimate health of the plant going into dormancy and how it emerges in the Spring ready for another season.  In short, it improves the overall health, increases the density and vigor and extends the green color of the turf.  Most importantly, the plant’s physiology is transitioning from an actively growing state to one where it’s storing carbohydrates for later use as an energy source.  By fertilizing turf in the fall, you’re providing it with nutrients it can store away for the next growing season.

Depending on the makeup of your specific nutrient program that you’ve tailored for your course, you may be starting earlier or later in the Fall.  This timing will impact the nutrient type needed to get the results you’re trying to achieve.  

In early Fall, utilizing slow-release nitrogen sources will always get you reliably predictable results.  The microbes in the soil are still active enough to feed the turf to sustain active growth and start packing away some carbohydrates for later use.  A nicely balanced fertilizer can yield the results you need to get.

In late Fall, you’re going to need to switch over to more quick release sources that will be immediately available to the plant.  Often times, this strategy can employ multiple application of “spoon feeding” shots to get the turf plant ready for dormancy.  

It’s noteworthy to mention that an emerging trend is to utilize water-soluble nutrient sources and applying them as liquids.  This tactic is more commonly being seen on greens but is also being used on tees and fairways in the right circumstance.

One last recommendation that I’d like to offer is that you perform a soil test before building your Fall application strategy.  Considering the gravity of the situation, having a complete understanding on what you need and don’t need will allow you to further dial in the precise nutrients you need, while still allowing you the opportunity to address it in time.

Yes, 2021 was exceptionally challenging for multiple reasons.  Unfortunately, turf doesn’t understand any of that…it only knows what it needs to thrive and perform it’s best.  The Fall fertilizer application will lay the foundation for the 2022 season in terms of plant and soil health.  Any decision to skip or skimp of this vital nutrient application simply seems like a bad gamble that’s not worth taking.

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The Basics of Understanding Mycorrhizae

GolfLandscape

As the Fall aerification season creeps towards us, mycorrhizae again becomes a hot topic of conversation and discussion in the turf world. Even though it is one of the most utilized biostimulants, not everyone understands what they are and, more importantly, what benefit they can deliver. The symbiotic relationship between the turf plant and their mycorrhizae is fairly complex, so let’s breakdown a cursory review of “all things” mycorrhizae.

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What’s going on with the fertilizer market?

GolfLandscape

I think we can agree that 2021 hasn’t been a typical year. The unusual amount of turmoil on the supply side of the industry has been anything but normal. The fertilizer market, specifically, has been especially problematic, as we’ve all seen a steady increase of fertilizer prices since the beginning of the year with no real signs that it will be retreating anytime soon.

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Strategies for Summer Stress

Golf

Like the simple, yet incredibly suspenseful, two-note motif “shark” theme from Jaws, we all are sensing the feeling of approaching danger now that we’ve entered the month of June. It is the inevitability of managing turfgrass in the worst possible environmental conditions that demands us to be as prepared as we possibly can be to handle whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us and our golf courses.

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Biostimulants in the Turf World

GolfLandscape

As all turf managers know, weather conditions change across the season and this affects overall turf growth and health. Each growing season, the grass plant grows and develops in a constant interaction with the local environmental conditions. How “easy” or “hard” the season goes is a direct result of how well the turf could deal with, and respond to, these environmental and weather conditions.

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Atypical Aerification Practices for Putting Greens

Golf

Ah, yes…Springtime is right around the corner, which almost certainly means that the joy of aerification is not too far behind. Most of us have our time-tested process and procedures well thought out and feel comfortable with completing the incredibly necessary cultural practice. The equipment has been serviced…the tines have been ordered…now we just wait until Mother Nature provides us the environmental window to get all the holes punched and let the putting greens breathe fresh air once again.

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2021 GIS Recap

Golf

The Golf Industry Show went virtual this year, having to cancel its original plans of meeting in Las Vegas. Although we’re betting people missed the regular in-person format, the event still continued its tradition of providing lots of education, innovation, and fun. But, if you weren’t able to “attend”, don’t worry. We’ve got all the highlights for you right here.

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LebanonTurf Announces Winner of “Dog of the Year” Contest

Golf

LebanonTurf, an industry-leading provider of innovative and high-performance plant nutrition for the golf and landscaping industries, has announced the winner of their annual “Dog of the Year” contest. After tallying the votes from this year’s Golf Industry Show, the winning dog is Floki, a 9-month-old border collie/mini poodle mix and the golf course dog at Scarboro Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ontario.

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The Golf Industry’s Second Act

Golf

Everyone loves a comeback story and there’s a simple reason why…we see ourselves in them – our resolve, our grit, our hope; because sooner or later we all hit the skids. It happens to everyone. At some point, we all wind up with our back against the wall and it’s at that exact moment a spotlight lands on our lives and shows us the way to a meaningful “second act”. That’s precisely where the golf industry was sitting early in 2020.

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