Conference of Olympic Proportion

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
April 5, 2012

Golf course architect Gil Hanse, center, leads superintendents and course officials through the current renovations taking place at Waverley CC in Portland, Ore.  Gil and his design team were selected to design the golf course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the return of golf to the 2016 Olympics. 


The final spring conference for the USGA Northwest Region was recently held at Waverly Country Club (Portland, Ore), and it turned out to include Olympic connections and a good bye. Green Section Agronomists Larry Gilhuly and Derf Soller led off the program discussing fertilizer and pesticide regulations currently under review, and a look at dealing with Poa annua

From his new position at Golf House, John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Rules, Competitions & Equipment Standards, gave an update to a receptive crowd about the direction the USGA is heading. John returned to his old stomping grounds and saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd.  Until seven months ago, he served as the CEO and executive director of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, the CEO and executive director of the Washington State Golf Association, and executive director of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. 

Dr. Rob Golembiewski, Oregon State University, spoke on green speed and the fact that grass needs to be alive to produce a good surface. This was a farewell presentation for Rob, as he announced he will be leaving the Oregon State department of horticulture. This was his last conference and he was received a rousing thank you from those in attendance.  Best wishes to Dr. Golembiewski as he heads into new waters.

Also on the program was an overview of the renovation currently underway at Waverley Country Club. Under the direction of Gil Hanse, of Hanse Golf Course Design, Inc., the renovation involves recreating the original design of H. Chandler Egan and AV. Macan. Lead Shaper Kayle Franze and Waverley Country Club Superintendent, Brian Koffler, explained the details of the renovation from the planning stages to where they are today.

The conference attendees also enjoyed a course walking tour with Gil as he explained the history of the original designs and the work being done. Gil and his design firm have recently been selected to design the golf course to be constructed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to host the return of golf to the 2016 Olympics.

2012 Turf Advisory Service (TAS) information has been mailed to golf course superintendents and course officials. If your course has not received a packet, please contact Wendy Schwertfeger, USGA Northwest Region at:  208.732.0280 or at

Visit  for more detailed information about the TAS. Larry Gilhuly, director of the Northwest Region, ( and Derf Soller, agronomist (, are currently scheduling visits throughout the Northwest.  We hope to be visiting your course this year, too.


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