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The leadership training sets Tom Irwin apart...it helped me be a better person and a better manager.
-Greg Tower, Superintendent at Renaissance
Every golf course has its own needs and challenges – and not all of them have to do with agronomics. No one knows that better than Greg Tower, superintendent at Renaissance, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In his service at Renaissance and two other Massachusetts golf courses – Ipswich Country Club and Sterling National Country Club – Tower has seen it all.
Hole #6 at Renaissance
At Sterling National Country Club in Worcester County, Tower faced several challenges. One was supporting optimum playing conditions while adhering to the environmental protection guidelines of The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Another came when the
property was foreclosed and the turf maintenance budget got cut.
Before that winter, nothing was put on the fairways. Yet, when Tower walked the fairways early in the following spring, they were some of the best fairways he had seen. Other area courses had suffered winter kill and ice damage that year. But an organic fertility program put in place in previous years with input from Rob Larson and his colleagues at Tom Irwin saw the turf through the tough time.
That made Greg Tower a Tom Irwin believer. “Other guys were scrambling. I couldn’t believe the quality of those fairways,” Tower says. After testing the soil, the decision was made to apply 135 tons of lime later that summer. “It looked like it snowed out there!” Tower laughs. But the limestone application made additional sense and the fairways continued to improve under Tower’s sustainable approach. “I like that we do all the testing before taking action,” Tower says. “It helps us understand what inputs are needed and at what rates to apply them”
Now at the links-style course at Renaissance , Tower’s biggest agronomic challenge has been straightening out some shortcuts taken before his arrival, when the course was going through a
re-organization. For one thing, the greens had been heavily topdressed with bunker sand. He and Paul Skafas, Vice-President of Tom Irwin, Inc. walked the Renaissance course the week after Tower started there. They pulled samples, checked soil profiles, and had Logan Labs conduct not only chemical analysis of the soil, but particle size analysis as well. Greg anticipates using EarthWorks organic products as well as other soil amendments
to build and restore the soil profile over the long term.
Tower’s ability to manage these ups and downs has as much to do with his leadership skills as it does with his turf expertise.
“Leadership training sets Tom Irwin apart,” says Tower, referring to the various leadership programs Tom Irwin offers through The Jones Development Group, a corporate training outfit known for their expertise in helping managers gain the skills needed to be successful. Knowing someone has your back is just what it takes to move a course’s management program forward with confidence. And there are areas beyond turf management which are key to one’s success.
“I could do the leadership training twice a year…five times a year,” he says. “It’s phenomenal. It helped me be a better person and a better manager. It showed me how to relate more effectively to my crew. It also helped me understand how they see me.”
Tower values relationships and that’s one of the reasons he likes the Tom Irwin team. “They’re nice people. Fred Murray, their customer relations manager, is awesome to work with, and Mike and the other drivers who deliver the products are always accommodating,” Tower says. “It is very easy, very comfortable.”
Tower sees great opportunity for himself and his family at Renaissance. He loves the backing he gets from Tom Irwin – the ability to bounce ideas and concerns off another knowledgeable
team. After all, when success is the only option, Tower says it is nice to know he is not alone out there facing the rush of challenges superintendents deal with every day.
Greg welcomes you to contact him if you have any questions about his experience with Tom Irwin: firstname.lastname@example.org