August Presidents Message

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Presidents Message | 0 comments

Presidents Message by Brian Darrock

Members of SDGCSA,

I would like to welcome all of our new members to our association. I know you will find our association worthwhile and I encourage everyone’s participation in our various meetings, events and fun activities.  Our new Board Members are, Roger Miller, Jim Alwine and Phil Page.  I believe Roger, Jim and Phil will bring some great ideas to the association. Please thank them for serving. I would also like to thank our past and current Board Members who served and or are serving on the board. All have done a wonderful job helping to make our association both enjoyable and educational.  Mike Bailey, Rob Browns, Chris Hayman, Kent Graff, Phil Fitzgerald, Todd Kochanowski, Cody Layton, Joe Neri, Brad Baker and Ben Koehler, your dedication to our association is very much appreciated.

We have started off the year with some outstanding meetings. In April we were down at Coronado, thank you Roger Miller; and in May we were up at Pechanga, thank you to John Martinez. In June we were at Aviara for the Invitational, thank you Kevin Kienast.   If you are interested in hosting a meeting please contact Carey, or e-mail any of the Board members and we will do our best to get your club on the books.

Even though summer is a grind for us, it can also be a fun time. We have some fun events coming up including this Friday’s Just for Fundraising event at Reidy Creek and our family barbeques at Mission Bay Yacht Club. We have booked this year’s Christmas party once again at the Kona Kai Club in Shelter Island.  The Christmas party will be held in a different (better) room this year and will be on Saturday December 13th.   I hope you all will join us for the great events coming up.

Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions which you believe would better our association, or you may also contact myself, Carey or any board member if you are interested in helping out with an event.  We are always open to suggestions and thankful for volunteers.

May you all have a great end of summer and let’s all hope for a good, wet winter.  I hope to see you all soon.

Brian Darrock
Fairbanks Ranch Country Club
SDGCSA President

Affiliates Corner

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Affiliates Corner | 0 comments

Ben Koehler, West Coast Turf & Phil Page, Stotz Equipment

I hope this Informer finds you all well, working very hard I’m sure.  It’s been a challenging summer to say the least.  Water, as in lack of, is yet again at the forefront of our state’s issues.  It will be interesting to see how our state leaders deal with our continued water issues and if we get any help from Mother Nature this winter.  It goes without saying we are all doing more with less these days and I thank you all for the positive light you shine on the turfgrass industry as true stewards of the environment.

I would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Phil Page to the SoCal GCSAA Board and give him a chance to further introduce himself to the chapter.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Phil Page.  I represent Stotz Equipment (John Deere) here in San Diego County.  Five years in the sales side of the turf industry and I’m still here.  It’s amazing to reflect on my time here in San Diego and the opportunities that have presented themselves to me.  A few years ago I was told that the average tenure in sales was a max of three years; I guess I passed the test.

Growing up North of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I never thought I’d end up here in paradise, selling equipment of all things.  I guess it is fitting though, being from the East coast, working on golf courses my whole life.  Why not end up in a place where people grow grass year round?

Having a year round growing season can be strenuous but can also be very fruitful for everyone involved.  Being open all year provides several months of additional revenue.  This additional revenue helps to maintain a delicate balance in our local industry economy.  With water being as scarce and expensive as it is we simply would not survive without that additional income in the winter months.  Year round golf allows us to buy the things we need to maintain the golf course, Equipment, Fertilizers, Chemicals, Irrigation supplies, etc.   In turn those companies that sell these goods are able to invest in their own infrastructure and provide better services.

Being a vendor I enjoy working in a year round market.  In the North East its feast or famine.  You’ve got six months to sell your years worth.  If you don’t get it in those six months you’re done.  Here in San Diego there isn’t such a rush.  We can move and demo equipment anytime of the year without much consideration to the weather.  Having that kind of flexibility allows me, the vendor, to work with other industries as well to help improve the infrastructure of my company and in turn the service we provide to the golf industry as well as others.

I believe that San Diego is a special place, a competitive place.  A lot of competition between golf courses for golfers / members and a lot of competition between vendors for golf courses.  All that competition, yet so many people can work together and truly enjoy one another’s time.  That is hard to come by.  I enjoy working here in San Diego and I enjoy working with all of you.  For those of you who don’t know me, I look forward to working with you as well.

CGCSA Update

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in California GCSA News | 0 comments

Dear California GCSA members:

I am honored to be serving this year as the President of the California GCSA.  After a successful restructuring led by Past President Jason Green, the state chapter is stronger than ever with clear direction and new goals for the future.

Our May election included the addition of Gary Ingram, CGCS at Metropolitan Golf Links to the position of Secretary/Treasurer and Vince Zellefrow, Class A Superintendent at El Camino Country Club to Vice President.  Jim Culley of Stover Seed has recommitted himself to another round as the Southern California Affiliate and the rest of the Board of Directors is comprised of energetic and hard-working volunteers dedicated to continued success.

A recent development has made your membership to the state chapter much more valuable.  Acting as Chairman of the Government Relations Committee, Jim Ferrin, CGCS at Sun City Roseville, proposed a unanimous motion to fund the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) with $6,000 annually.  CAG serves as the unified voice for the golf industry in California and we are committed to supporting the cause.

Another new initiative headed by the state chapter and Gary Ingram is the state BMP program.  We are currently in the fundraising and planning stage and will request a grant from GCSAA in conjunction with EIFG.  All proceeds from the California Hospitality Room will go to funding the statewide BMP document.  This year’s event in San Antonio will be the premier California networking event at the Golf Industry Show.  The site is confirmed and promotional materials will be forthcoming.

Finally, we are exploring options to reintroduce a state golf championship that is economically feasible, centrally located and represents our six chapters’ best golfers.

Feel free to send your comments on this event or any other state chapter issues to me at  The state chapter belongs to you, the member.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can improve and answer your questions about where we currently stand.


Jim Alwine
President, California GCSA
Class A Superintendent, Bernardo Heights Country Club
(858) 487-1629

Drought Restrictions Update

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Drought Awareness | 0 comments

By: Chris Hayman

As we are all aware, we are in one of the worst droughts since the dust bowl of the early 1920’s with no end in sight.  There are varying reports of a moderate El Nino setting up for this winter, but this is far from a sure thing.  There has been some confusion on drought restrictions that recently went into effect from the State Water Resources Control Board, which is asking for no more than two days a week watering.  Neither the San Diego County Water Authority nor the State Water Resources Control Board has the legal authority to enforce the day of week restriction language.  This means the 24 local San Diego County water districts decide which restrictions to adopt and these districts are also responsible for enforcement.  For example, the City of San Diego has decided to remain on Level 1 voluntary restrictions.  In mid-October the City Council will reconvene and decide if Level 2 is warranted.  To be certain which restrictions your golf course falls under, we recommend you check with your local water district to find out what their protocol is for your area.  Regardless of restrictions, golf courses are and will continue to be under intense scrutiny from the public and therefore we should all do what we can to reduce our water footprint (regardless of water source).  The last thing we need is negative press during this critical phase of the drought.

On August 14th, your San Diego Water Conservation Task Force will reconvene with City of San Diego Public Utilities staff to discuss implementation of our “ALL” protocol (Alternative for Large Landscapes) that was approved by City Council last November.  As a reminder, this protocol allows golf courses to water any day of the week they choose based on ET, crop coefficient and area of land, not on historical usage.  This is a more scientific approach to conservation.  This great victory of common sense will only work if we get participation from City of San Diego golf courses.  Once we show the program works (which it has in LA for years), we will approach the other 23 water districts in our county to follow suit.  Keep an eye out for our Fall Education this year which will focus on all things water.  I will leave you with a link to an interactive graph that our Member and water industry watchdog, Mike Huck passed on last week which really drives home the historical significance of our current drought.

Presidents Message

Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Presidents Message | 0 comments

By: Brian Darrock

Presidents Message by Brian DarrockAs our summer turf stress is coming to an end and the kids head back to school (unless you’re an empty nester like Angela and I), hopefully you can all plan to attend the upcoming meetings we have scheduled. We have our Fall education on Monday, September 30th at The Rancho Bernardo Inn followed by our trip over to beautiful Catalina Island on October 21st. Both will include some great education as well as great fun with golf after, if you wish to play.

For those of you who attended the barbeques down at the boat club, I hope you had as much fun as I did. And, for those of you who missed it, hopefully you can come to the next one we plan. A big thank you to Brad Baker who set it up.

Last week was the Past President’s Cup held at Encinitas Ranch. Kent did a wonderful job setting up the event and it was great to see so many past presidents attend. I encourage you all to run for the board and to get involved in your association, even if it means to simply volunteer by helping out at an event.

This past month we lost a fellow Superintendent, Walter Smith. I personally didn’t get the opportunity to know Walter, but from what others told me, he was a wonderful man with a kind heart. Walter leaves behind his wife and daughter, and many family and friends. If you would like to help out the family with a donation please contact Carey for details.

If you are interested in hosting a meeting or event, please contact myself, Carey or any of our wonderful board members and we would be happy to discuss options and talk more about it. I hope to see you all at one of our upcoming meetings and in the meantime, please let us know if there is anything we can do to better our association. Have a great Fall Season!

September Affiliates Corner

Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Affiliates Corner | 0 comments

By Ben Koehler

Affiliates Corner with Ben KoehlerIt’s been yet another busy enjoyable summer in San Diego, where does the time go?  Its seems as though our warm season grasses just started to wake-up and move and suddenly October is upon us, no chance hitting those 90 days of growing temps let along 60 days.  It truly was a mild summer.  It seems as though it was the summer of renovation projects.  Whether it was a driving range tee project (San Diego CC, La Jolla CC, Aviara Resort, The Bridges GC, The Grand Del Mar, Titlest Test Center) or a bunker project (Encinitas Ranch) or renovation of fairways and beyond (Morgan Run Resort, La Costa Resort, Warner Springs GC, Coto De Caza GC, Shady Canyon CC, Lomas Santa Fe CC, Wilshire CC, The Valley Club, Porcupine Creek GC) the activity was extreme at times.  Projects are wrapping-up just as we head into overseed season, though hopefully the trend of less overseeding equals for downtime for all of us.

Among all the projects we did squeeze in time for the annual Tri-Chapter Championship at El Niguel CC.  Thank you to Brian Archbold and his staff for a great day of golf, competition and good camaraderie.  The Hi-Lo was victorious yet again with the SoCal second and our chapter third.  I encourage those of you who have not participated in this event to make the time next summer, it’s an event worth supporting.

Another notable event this summer was the UCR Turfgrass & Landscape Research Field Day.  Attendance was greater than ever this year, which was great to see.  Dr. Baird and his staff organized a great hands-on day filled with show-and-tell presentations of the current research projects.  The current research includes; fungicide trial, post-emergent broadleaf control, low water use groundcovers, anthracnose & dollar spot management on poa/bent greens, water-use on turf study, subsurface drip irrigation trial, salinity management, study on pathogens associated with root-knot nematodes and Kikuyugrass management trial.  Our chapter support of UCR and Dr. Baird is being put to good use and producing real usable information for us all in understanding and improving our turfgrass management techniques in CA.  You can find out more about all the UCR trials and research at or contact Dr. Baird at

We can all look forward to some great fall and winter events that are sure to provide us with an opportunity to be educated, catch up with one another and play some golf.

From the Field

Posted by on September 25, 2013 in GCSAA News | 0 comments

Jeff Jensen, GCSAA Field Staff, Southwest Region

The final results for the 2013 Rounds 4 Research program have been tallied and it’s time to give all of the superintendents, facilities, affiliate members, past president Kent Graff and chapter executive Carey Sandland a big round of applause for all of their hard work and efforts to make the first year of this program a success.

The auctions, which were conducted June 6-16 and Aug. 1-11 through the online website, raised nearly $150,000 nationally.  50 GCSAA affiliated chapters and fundraising partners participated in the program.  Rounds 4 Research was marketed through various means of electronic media, social media and our numerous allied golf partners including the Southern California Golf Association who distributed the information to their 160,000 members.

The San Diego GCSA among the leading chapters nationwide and a wide variety of municipal, daily fee and private clubs supplied rounds for the auctions. The chapter received $2,309 for their participation.  These funds can be used to support research projects that will have the most significant impact in the San Diego area.

GCSAA is grateful to the facilities that donated rounds in 2013 and hope that you will do so again in 2014.  If you weren’t able to donate, please consider the difference that your donation can make to the long-term viability of the game of golf.  Research adds to every aspect of the game, from enjoyment to efficiently managing the resources used.

You can donate online at or call me and I will be glad to assist you with your donation.  It only takes a few minutes and we are already accepting donations for 2014.  Auction dates will be announced soon.

Thank you to all of our San Diego GCSA members for your continued support.  Please follow me on Twitter at GCSAA_SW for the latest updates and happenings in the Southwest and don’t hesitate to contact me at if I can be of assistance.  I look forward to seeing you all at an upcoming event.

President’s Message

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Presidents Message | 0 comments

As I write this, it is already the 20th of May, and the year seems like it is literally flying by! The weather is warming, and the grass is growing – fast! The busy times are upon us once again.

A few weeks ago the new Board of Directors held its first meeting and I can tell you that we have an excellent group who are all very excited and dedicated to making our Association one for which you can be proud.  It is truly gratifying to be a part of the long-held traditions and continuing service to our membership. There is something special about the SDGCSAA. I sincerely believe that we are indeed fortunate to have such a great, tight-knit membership, making our chapter unique among many of the other Associations I have seen.

While I know things are busy especially now that Summer is upon us, please do your best to keep involved in the Association whether its volunteering or just attending the meetings. We want to see and hear from you. After all, an Association is only as good as its members. And remember when you buy, try to support our Affiliate Members whenever possible. Without their generous support throughout the years, none of our events would be possible.

We have some great things coming up, beginning with one of our signature events, The Invitational at Rancho Santa Fe Country Club on June 3rd.  We also have plans to host some other fun summer activities that I think you all will enjoy.  Keep an eye out for those, and check the website for more information as it becomes available.

One final note. As I was unable to attend the April election meeting due to illness, I just wanted to say thanks to last year’s President Kent Graff. Kent worked hard and did a wonderful job leading our Association forward in some tough times. Thanks once again Kent. We really appreciate your efforts.

My best to all of you, I hope you all have a great summer season. I look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon.


Introducing our latest new Board Members…

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Leadership | 0 comments

Todd Kochanowski

I’m originally from the East coast, where I was raised in a small Connecticut town called Avon. It was here that I was introduced to the golf industry at the young age of 14 where I was taught the fundamentals of GCM through my high school years at the local club.  After high school I took my studies to Vermont, while continuing my involvement with the local club during the summers, until I left for Colorado to fulfill an internship. I spent one year in Crested Butte, Colorado snowboarding, fly fishing and continuing my pursuit in the golf industry in the summer (This was a lot of fun).  I had the opportunity to come to San Diego for my 21st birthday, which proved to be a good enough time for me to return to Colorado only long enough to pack my things.

I found work quickly in golf when I arrived to San Diego and enrolled in the Turf Program Cuyamaca College to begin preparing myself for the profession that seemed to be developing for me.  I’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful mentors over the years at the various properties I’ve spent time at including Mike Magnani (Admiral Baker), Phil Fitzgerald (Steele Canyon) and Bob Dobek (JC Resorts). Each has taught me something valuable about the industry and life, which has helped me navigate my way.

Last October I accepted the Superintendent position at Temecula Creek Inn and moved into my first home with my wife Noi in Escondido. I’m excited to now be on the board of directors for the SDGCSA and represent this great membership!


Phil Fitzgerald

I’ve been a superintendent since 1992. My first superintendent’s job was at Mt. Woodson for J.C. Resorts.  In 1994 I was promoted to Temecula Creek Inn where I stayed until 2001. I was hired at Steele Canyon Golf Club one week before 911. I’ve been very fortunate to have been mentored by some of the best in the business. Our association has been instrumental in my growth as a professional throughout the years. I am a big proponent of paying things forward and very much enjoy mentoring young men into the business. It is very rewarding for me to watch them become successful.  I feel that the individuals and camaraderie in our local chapter are the best in the country.


Cody Layton

It’s such an honor to be on the board of directors for the San Diego Chapter of the GCSAA. After a decade in the golf industry, my career has taken me from a greenskeeper to a mechanic, to an assistant and finally to a superintendent position. I’ve en joyed working at a variety of courses in and out of San Diego County. Currently I’m the superintendent at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Escondido. Upon  returning  to San Diego in 2009, I began to take a more active role in the Association, which has resulted in the enhancement of my professional growth and expanded my network with fellow superintendents and affiliates.  As a board member I’m looking forward to helping organize Association events as a way of giving back for all that the Association has given me.

Introduction of New Affiliate Liaison

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Affiliates Corner | 0 comments

By Ben Koehler, SD-GCSAA Affiliate Jr Rep

I have been asked to use this opportunity to further introduce myself to the chapter and am honored to do so.  First, I’d like to thank all of you who encouraged me to get involved with the leadership of our chapter and to the affiliates for the opportunity to represent all of you on the board.  I look forward to being a part of the board over the next few years and helping to grow and strengthen our chapter.

I have always had an affinity to the outdoors, growing up in Colorado I naturally gained an appreciation of the amazing environment around me.  As many of us, I spent much of my youth outside from sun-up to sun-down, most of the time beating-up on my local sports fields.  For me growing up sports was my life, especially soccer, baseball and golf, all of which further fed my interest in turf and our environment.  Early on I started a small business of mowing and gardening yards in my neighborhood.  I took a lot of pride seeing that the yards I cared for were the greenest on the block.  I can remember pestering the local golf course superintends I knew with questions out of an amazement for how green and striped-up their fairways were.

My introduction to golf came from my grandfather.  I was fortunate my grandfather was a member at Cherry Hills Country Club, just outside of Denver, CO.  For a few summers I worked as a caddie and observed the hard-work the maintenance staff conducted daily.  I always loved the early mornings as the sun was rising and faint smell of freshly cut grass was in the air.

I went off to college on the east coast chasing a dream of becoming a professional soccer player and started out studying environmental sciences.  After a few years of struggling with injuries, I returned to Colorado to the University of Colorado at Boulder.  I ended up graduating CU with a degree in Business Administration but always held onto my interested in environmental sciences.  I went to work for an environmental equipment and consulting company in Denver, Co and eventually in Los Angeles, consulting with Chevron refineries and with various environmental facilities.  It was at this time through family I was introduced to West Coast Turf.

West Coast Turf has provided me a unique professional experience for the last almost ten years.  I enjoy working in the outdoors and find it rewarding to assist in improving our turfgrass facilities for our youth and all who find enjoyment and recreation by way of our landscapes, parks, sports-fields and golf courses.  These are vital resources that provide a balancing outlet for many of us, the work of preserving these facilities is important.

I currently live in Carlsbad with my wife Terra and our two young daughters Reese and Elle.  We spend a lot of time at the beach, as my girls love the water and are sure to soon out shred me on a surf board.  I still enjoy playing soccer on a regular basis and golf when possible.  My love of the outdoors has certainly been blessed being able to living in two amazing places; Colorado and Southern California.

Thank you again for this opportunity and I look forward to getting to know all of you better through serving on the board.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there are ways I can assist as a board member.  I am interested in hearing from you with any comment and ideas as to how we can continue to grow and strengthen our chapter for generations to come.

-Ben Koehler