Review of inaugural Deep South Turf Expo

The DSTE had a fantastic opening 2 weeks ago. Almost 700 were in attendance and the education program earned rave reviews from all. Thank you to our education committee, including Drs. Scott McElroy, Jay McCurdy and Bryan Unruh for the foresight and planning they put into the program, which offered breakout sessions in Professional Development, Professional Pesticide Usage and Safety, Soil and Water Management, Golf Turf, Sports Turf and Lawn and Landscape Education. Visiting from Virginia Tech was Dr. Mike Goatley who was our keynote speaker as well as presenting a “standing room only” presentation, “First and Foremost – Be an Agronomist.”

In additional to the outstanding education from guest speakers all over the southeast, each of the parent organizations, Alabama Turfgrass Association, Mississippi Turfgrass Association, Alabama Golf Course Superintendents Association, Gulf Coast Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Louisiana-Mississippi Golf Course Superintendents Association conducted their annual business meetings where new officers were elected and installed. Ken Mangum, retired, Atlanta Athletic Club, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alabama Turfgrass Association at a dinner for 450 on the pool deck of the Beau Rivage (sponsored by Harrells and Bayer). Congratulations, Ken! A Past President’s Breakfast networked past presidents from all the host organizations and gave everyone a chance to review and look to the future of the Turfgrass industry in our region. Thank you to Beard Equipment and Greenville Turf and Tractor for hosting this event.

The Deep South Turf Expo tradeshow filled the exhibit hall and gave companies that provide services specifically for the Turfgrass industry an opportunity to feature products and services. Attendees were excited about the opportunity to view the extensive array of equipment and products. Everything from harvesters, mowers, chemicals and irrigation parts, to consultants and contractors was all present for one stop shopping. Jerry Pate Turf and Irrigation hosted the Grand Opening Reception of the tradeshow and debuted their revolutionary new Foley United Grinder. Other talks of interest on the trade show floor included “The Use of Gypsum to Improve Turfgrass” by Malcom Summer, Regents’ Professor of Environmental Soil Science Emeritus at the University of Georgia, presented by AgroMax; Sprayer Guru, Emil Miller with Smithco Turf Products talked about GPS spraying and its advantages, presented by Ladd’s, and Nathan Crace from Watermark Golf presented “Cutting Costs and Improving Course Conditions with Sensible Design Solutions.”

The first day of the Expo offered time for some relaxing activities. (Oops! Sorry! Not sure if you can call golf relaxing!) The golf tournament at the The Preserve had over 100 registered. Jay Coalter, superintendent at Patrick Farms Golf Club, shot a hole in one to win a $500 gift card. Unfortunately, no one shot a hole in one for the $10,000 prize sponsored by Capillary Concrete, but there is always next year. Other activities included a skeet tournament, won by Mark Cleveland, Aquatrols and Andy Beauchamp, Greenville Turf and Tractor, a schooner cruise in the beautiful Mississippi Sound, and a sports field tour, beginning with the new Biloxi Shucker’s stadium, conducted by Ken Edwards, CSFM.

The host hotel, Beau Rivage, a Four Diamond development by MGM Resorts International that sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico, earned rave reviews for the wonderful banquet dinner they served Wednesday night. The Beau Rivage will continue as host hotel in 2016 for the Expo scheduled for October 11-13. Put it on your calendar now to save the date! Go to for information coming soon about plans for next year’s educational schedule and events!