Michael Bednar Elected President of NTA

November 5, 2018

In a vote of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Turfgrass Association, Michael Bednar, the superintendent at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., was elected president of the NTA for the next year.

Elected by the NTA membership to three-year terms on the Board of Directors were Chris Concienne of Helena Agri-Enterprises, Ivan Gibbs of Leavenworth Golf Club and Geoff Haynes of Galena Ridge Golf Course.

Click here to view the complete list of the NTA Board of Directors.

Bednar spent the past year as vice-president and chairperson of the Research Committee for the NTA.

He first started working on the old nine-hole golf course on the campus of Washington State University in 1997, and then played a major role in the construction and grow-in of Palouse Ridge, which opened in 2008 and has been ranked as the No. 2 college course in the country.

He received a B.S. degree in geology from WSU in 1992 and then a B.S. degree in turfgrass management in 2004.

In 2015 and 2016, he was honored by the GCSAA and Golf Digest as a chapter winner (IEGCSA) for the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA) and as a merit winner in 2017. The awards recognize superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence and best management practices. He currently is secretary-treasurer of the IEGCSA.

In other votes by the NTA Board of Directors, Cory Brown, the superintendent at Overlake Golf and Country Club, was elected vice-president. Concienne was elected secretary and Haynes treasurer.

For 2018-2019, Russell Vandehey of The Oregon Golf Club will head up the Education Committee, and will be joined on the committee by Concienne, Gibbs and Haynes. Brown is the chairperson for the Research Committee and will be assisted by Blane Hezel of Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, Rick Michels of Broadmoor Golf Club and Vandehey.

More information on the NTA is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Royal Oaks Seeks New Superintenent

Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Wash., is beginning the search for a new golf course superintendent to replace Alan Nielsen, who is scheduled to retire next May after 33 years with the club.

The superintendent is one of three department heads at Royal Oaks who reports directly to the Executive Committee. The golf course maintenance budget is roughly $1.2 million with a $125,000 capital budget. The staff runs from about 15 to 18 in the summer and 12 in the winter and the course holds 35,000 rounds a year.

The job would begin April 15, 2019.

Click here for a complete job description. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31, 2018 and resume and cover letter should be sent to GCSsearch@royaloaks.net.

POGO Systems Seeks Customer Support

POGO, a Portland-based company that services golf courses with various turf monitoring systems, is seeking a director to head customer and sales support.

This person would support golf courses and sports turf facilities in the Pacific Northwest, working closely with the users of the POGO system. Click here for a complete job description.

This position works directly with Carmen Magro, vice-president of business development. Applications should be sent to info@pogoturfpro.com, attention Carmen Magro, with the subject title: POGO Director of Customer Support and Sales.

NTA Awards Two $1250 Scholarships

During its annual business meeting, the Northwest Turfgrass Association awarded two $1,250 scholarships to students of the turfgrass management program at Walla Walla Community College.

The Bill Griffith Turfgrass Management Scholarships were awarded to Zachary Sherman and Chris Werschkul, with NTA president Jacob Close doing the honors during the NTA Conference at The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla.

Sherman and Werschkul were the recipients based on their program work at WWCC, their applications and essays, with the final determinations made by Bill Griffith and Dr. Gwen Stahnke, who runs the turfgrass management program at WWCC.

Sherman is a freshman in the program at WWCC and has a 3.83 grade-point average. He currently works full time at the Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake, Wash., after first starting at the nine-hole course in 2015.

Werschkul is a sophomore in the program with a 4.00 GPA. Chris grew up in Bellingham, attended the University of Arizona for three years and then graduated from Washington State with a degree in sports management. He spent 10 years as a sales representative for a flooring company and then a medical device company, all the while playing golf every chance he got. He was fascinated with the maintenance aspect of a golf course, so much so he decided to give up the sales rep work and applied for a seasonal job at Overlake Golf & Country Club in Medina, Wash. Within two months, he was hooked and began the program at WWCC and is now an assistant-in-training at Overlake.

The $2,500 in scholarships was just a part of the $46,160 the NTA donated to turfgrass research and education during 2018

A Great Three Days in Walla Walla

The 72nd edition of the annual conference of the Northwest Turfgrass Association is in the books after three tremendous days in Walla Walla.

From the opening session of golf at Wine Valley Golf Club to the final educational update on the turfgrass program at Walla Walla Community College, the 107 attendees had a good time as the rain stay away for the most part.

Carl Taylor, among the large contingent of participations from our presenting sponsor, Western Equipment/Turf Star, put together a little video presentation, which can be seen by clicking here.

The NTA would like to thank the great speakers who came from far and wide to help out. Dr. Elizabeth Guertal from Auburn University was informative and entertaining in both her sessions. Bob Vaughey from Rolling Hills Country Club and Nick Schaan from DMK Golf Design shared the story of the massive remodel project at Rolling Hills. And it was great that all three Oregon State University turf researchers—Dr. Alec Kowalewski, Brian McDonald and Clint Mattox—were able to join us.

The NTA also got great cooperation and enjoyment from the various venues we visited, and we would like to thank those key individuals – Walla Walla Country Club (Jeff Blanc, Nick Ellis, Lisa Hyland, Angie Cremins), Wine Valley Golf Club (Cory Spencer, Tyler Daniels), The Marcus Whitman Hotel (Chris Coates), Three Rivers Winery (Stacy Buchanan) and The Chef’s Creation caterers (Marty Bray).

Golf was fun both days. While the rain stayed away, there was still some blustery weather that added to the challenge.

Here are the results from Sunday at Wine Valley Golf Club.

Here are the results from Monday at Walla Walla Country Club.

We had a low gross competition Monday at WWCC, which ended in a three-way tie at 1-over 73 between Matt Schudt of Seattle Golf Club (four birdies, three in a row), Larry Gilhuly of the USGA (two birdies) and Nick Schaan of DMK Golf Design (an eagle on No. 10).

Turf Star Leads List of NTA Sponsors

Turf Star/Western Equipment has once again shown its dedication to turfgrass research in the Northwest by stepping up and taking on the lead corporate sponsor role for the 72nd annual conference of the Northwest Turfgrass Association.

Jeff Perry is the regional manager for Turf Star/Western Equipment and is supported by a talented Northwest staff that includes Carl Taylor, Shawn Frisbee, Bob Adams, Bill Franzke, Roy Studebaker, Ashley Burke, and Kelly Bowen. With this commitment as the lead sponsor for the NTA Conference, Turf Star/Western Equipment plays a major role in helping the NTA, which distributed more than $46,000 in turfgrass research and education programs this year.

“It’s great that Jeff and Turf Star/Western Equipment has decided to help us once again,” said Jacob Close, the president of the NTA and the superintendent at Sudden Valley Golf and Country Club. “We’ll give them some great exposure at our conference in Walla Walla, and leading up to it, and they help us continue our mission of helping turfgrass professionals with education and information. It’s a great win-win for all involved.”

Here is the full list of sponsors at this point for the NTA Conference at Walla Walla.

Turf Star/Western Equipment
Amvac Environmental Products
Helena Chemical
Nutrien Solutions
Target Specialty Products
Walrath Sand Products
Washington Rock Golf Sand
Bos Sod
H.D. Fowler
Miller Design
Ridgetop Golf

Free registrations to the conference in Walla Walla, Oct. 28-30 are part of some of the sponsorship packages. Companies also will have their branding on prominent display at the conference through the program and the NTA web site.

Plenty of sponsorship slots are still available for the NTA Conference this year, and are designed to fit all budgets.

Click here for a breakdown of sponsorship opportunities.

Click here for registration information on the conference.

More information on the conference and sponsorships is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

New Research Available Through NTA

The Northwest Turfgrass Association, with its recent decision to join the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation, now has a multitude of new turfgrass research studies available to its members.

The CTRF recently did a major update of the content on its web site, turfresearchcanada.ca, and included web pages for the current research being funded and past research.

“Updating the site was a time consuming but important task to ensure research results are being disseminated to the turf management industry,” said Jerry Rousseau, the executive director of the CTRF.

There are more than 20 reports available either through Current Research or Past Research.

One study of interest on the Current Research page looks at the effects of Nitrogen-focused fall fertility programs for improving cold tolerance during the acclimation and spring recovery time frames for poa annua.

More information on the NTA and its relationship with the CTRF is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

NTA Donates $46,000 Toward Research

The Northwest Turfgrass Association will be donating $46,160 to worthy turfgrass research and education programs in 2018 as it continues to be a leading benefactor for the golf industry in the Northwest. Over the past four years, the NTA has donated almost $200,000 to various programs.

There will be three separate research studies at Oregon State University that the NTA will be funding, totaling $31,160. All three studies pertain to Microdochium Patch, which is a consistent disease problem for turfgrass managers in the Northwest. The largest financial contribution will be $11,141 for a study that will compare iron sulfate versus chelated iron for the suppression of Microdochium Patch on annual bluegrass putting greens in the absence and presence of phosphorous acid.

In all for 2018, four different entities in the Northwest will be supported through the grants, which were decided by the NTA Board of Directors after recommendations from the Research Committee.

The grants from the NTA are made possible through the numerous and generous contributions from clubs and individuals throughout the Northwest.

For 2018, after extensive consideration and recommendations from the NTA Research Committee, the Board of Directors awarded the following research and education grants:

Comparing iron sulfate versus chelated iron for the suppression of Microdochium Patch on annual bluegrass putting greens in the absence and presence of phosphorous acid:
Oregon State University—$11,141.00

Effects of winter nitrogen, phosphate and potassium rates on Microdochium Patch:
Oregon State University—$10,020.00

Quantifying the long-term effects of alternative Microdochium Patch management techniques on sand-based annual bluegrass putting green performance over multiple seasons:
Oregon State University—$9,999.00

Applied research putting green:
Walla Walla Community College—$5,000.00

Reducing turf stress by increasing root growth and density with endophytic bacteria:
AGPW, LLC—$5,000.00

First Green Links as Labs
First Green Foundation—$2,500.00

Bill Griffith Turfgrass Management Scholarship:
Walla Walla Community College—$2,500.00

For more information on how to apply for grants for 2019, or to contribute directly to the NTA, contact Paul Ramsdell, executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

NTA to Join Forces With CTRF

In a move that will expand the scope of turfgrass research available to its members, the Board of Directors of the Northwest Turfgrass Association is proud to announce a new partnership with the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation.

The NTA will join nine other regional associations and the combined financial resources of the CTRF will result in a wider selection of proposals for the NTA to examine and then support financially.

“This move will be a great benefit to our members,” said NTA president Jacob Close, the superintendent at Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club in Bellingham. “We will have access to research proposals coming in from all over North America. After examining those proposals, we will be able to determine which studies would best benefit the turfgrass managers in the Northwest, and then offer our financial support. The end result will be more relevant, timely research information for our members.”

This move will not be a significant change in how the NTA operates on an annual basis. The NTA will continue to make its own annual call for proposals and will analyze and support those individual proposals as it sees fit. Joining the CTRF just gives the NTA an additional avenue to examine and support more turfgrass research.

Noting the similar objectives of funding research, the CTRF accepted the NTA request to join its association.

“On behalf of the CTRF and its Directors, I would like to welcome the Northwest Turfgrass Association in partnering with us and I look forward to your participation,” said CTRF chair Paul Schofield.

Going forward, the NTA will be included in the CTRF’s annual research project call for proposals that sees 12 to 18 submissions annually from a variety of institutions.  Nine currently active projects are receiving approximately $200,000 in CTRF group funding.

More information on this partnership is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Historic NTA Publications Now Online

Some fantastic historical turfgrass research articles from the archives of the Northwest Turfgrass Association now are available online, thanks to the Turfgrass Information Center at Michigan State University.

More than 1,000 articles pertaining to turfgrass issues in the Northwest and written by the leaders in the industry now can be easily accessed online.

The NTA’s publication from 1959 to 1997, Northwest Turfgrass Topics, is available by following this link: https://d.lib.msu.edu/nwtgt.

The written proceedings and studies from the annual conference of Northwest Turfgrass Association, starting with the third annual conference back in 1950 at the State College of Washington, are available by following this link: https://d.lib.msu.edu/nwtgc.

These archives, an ongoing cooperative project of the NTA and the Michigan State University Libraries, features public access to both periodicals as they were published and as copies are available.

All turf-related articles from within these materials, more than 1,000 in all, also are indexed and linked from within the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database: http://tic.msu.edu/tgif.

For a full list of all publicly-available and restricted-access archives hosted by TIC, please see: https://tic.msu.edu/browse.

Any questions about the NTA material can be directed to Paul Ramsdell, executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Complete NTA Roster Gets Updated

The complete roster of the Northwest Turfgrass Association, with members from North Carolina to British Columbia, has been updated.

The roster is available by clicking here and has a permanent home on the NTA web site.

If any further updates on your contact information is needed, please contact Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Poa Annua Control Research Reports

Dr. William Johnston and Charles Golob from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University have prepared a research report on their study on “Biological Control of Poa Annua in Fairways.”

The Northwest Turfgrass Association donated $15,000 toward this research in both 2016 and 2017.

Year One report.
Year Two report.

OSU Presents Update Report on Research

The Turfgrass Management Program at Oregon State University—namely Dr. Alec Kowalewski, Brian McDonald and Clint Mattox—has prepared updates on its research on Fungicide Alternatives Management of Microdochium Patch and Anthracnose.

The Northwest Turfgrass Association donated $15,000 toward this research in 2016 and $40,000 toward similar research in 2015.

Click here for the written report.

Mattox's Microdochium Patch research available

Clint Mattox has completed his masters’ dissertation at Oregon State University and his research is available to you, thanks to the donations the Northwest Turfgrass Association has made to the turfgrass management program at Oregon State.

“Managing Microdochium Patch Using Non-Traditional Fungicides on Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens” is available by following this link: http://hdl.handle.net/1957/57194

Here is a brief description of the research:

Currently, fungicide applications are the predominant method of control for the cool-weather pathogen Microdochium patch. Increasing pesticide restrictions have generated concern regarding management of Microdochium patch. Three separate field trials exploring non-traditional fungicides were conducted between 2013 and 2015 on an annual bluegrass sand-based putting green at the Lewis Brown Horticulture Farm in Corvallis, Ore. The objective of the first project was to evaluate the effects of the cultural practice of rolling in combination with mineral oil and fertility on Microdochium patch incidence. The objective of the second trial was to quantify the effects on Microdochium patch incidence using biological control products in combination with rolling. Finally, the objective of the third experiment was to quantify the effects of different nitrogen and iron sulfate rates in combination with simulated golfer traffic on the effects of Microdochium patch incidence as well as turfgrass recuperation.

Mattox currently is working on his PhD at Oregon State and is continuing his exploration of “Alternatives to Non-Traditional Fungicides.”

2018 Conference Sponsors


Jeff Perry

Kelly Bowen

Ashley Burke

Shawn Frisbee

Roy Studebaker

Carl Taylor


Jason Otto

Jeff Schwab


Scott Mutchler, Horizon

Nick Newman, Horizon


Scott Ellwood, Rain Bird


Chris Concienne


Tom Walrath

Jackie Klein


Rennie Kubik


Jason Hooper

Tony Lasher


Sean Watts


Tim Carlson


Mark Miller


Julia Wiebenga

Richard Simpson

Tyson Stewart


Randy Rider


Kip Kalbrenner


Bert Bos


Michael Steve

Sponsorship Opportunities