During the week of August 13 – 17, two USGA Green Section summer interns will be traveling and making the rounds with Senior Agronomist, Todd Lowe, and me. Each year the Green Section provides the opportunity for approximately 15 undergraduate or graduate students to travel with members of the staff for a week. The candidates that have a keen interest in golf course and turfgrass management are interviewed by Green Section staff and selected for the internships. The goal is to provide students with a broader view of the golf industry and help them learn about golf course maintenance through the perspective of the Green Section agronomists.
During the week of the internship, one and often two clubs are visited each day. In addition to discussions on a wide range of agronomic topics, the interns quickly become aware that there are economic and political considerations involved in almost every decision that must be made on the golf course. This is a truly tremendous learning experience that I wish had been around when I was in school.
As an interesting note, Todd Lowe, was the very first Green Section summer intern and spent a week in the Southeastern Region when he was in graduate school at Clemson University. Todd will be the first to tell you that he benefited greatly from the experience. Since joining the staff, he has done a great job of coordinating the intern program in Florida and making sure that students have a similar experience.
This year’s interns are Tyler Johanson and Trent Tate. Tyler is a junior at the University of Florida studying golf and turf sports management under the guidance of Dr. Jason Kruse. He is originally from Utah and worked on several courses there before moving to Florida and enrolling in the university to learn more about warm-season turfgrass management. Trent Tate is in his second year of a master’s program in plant breeding genetics and genomics at the University of Georgia. His adviser is Dr. Paul Raymer. Like many of us, Trent has long loved playing golf and became interested in turfgrass breeding when working for Dr. Raymer in his seashore paspalum breeding program.
This year, the course TAS visits will start out in Ocala and Tampa. After that, everyone will travel south and finish out the week visiting courses in the Fort Myers and Naples area. The courses in Southwest Florida should be especially interesting for both Tyler and Trent because of the combination of both bermudagrass and seashore paspalum courses in that area.
The Florida Region agronomists are here primarily to assist courses with agronomic issues or concerns. You can reach Todd Lowe, Senior Agronomist, at (941) 828-2625, firstname.lastname@example.org, or John Foy, (772) 546-2620 email@example.com.