Director of USGA SW Region Talks TurfBeing a student at PGCC means you get to benefit from one of the greatest perks of our vast network of relationships…spectacular guest speakers. Southern California-based Patrick Gross is an agronomist, but he’s more than that, he’s also the director of the USGA’s Southwest Region, and he has made it a tradition to speak at PGCC Temecula for the last three semesters, with another visit slated for spring 2013.
It might not seem like the most rewarding work, to create something that is going to be trampled and marred repeatedly, but turf specialists see the higher purpose and resign their work to this fate. Famous golfers make headlines and big money because they play well, but beyond their instincts, skill and talent, one must also consider that these guys are playing on the best courses around the world. Looking at it from that perspective, turf specialists and agronomists are the unsung heroes of golf because their success is very much affected by the elements, and golfers better than anybody understand this. As a man who performs visits with the USGA at over 130 facilities each year, Pat Gross understands this.
According to Dennis Orsborn, instructor for PGCC Temecula’s Turf Management course, “USGA agronomists are employed to help managers of golf facilities provide the best possible playing fields and sound operations; they assist with the science of turf growing, and the business practices of golf maintenance operations.” He continues, “They will directly assist the golf course superintendent and provide Turf Advisory Services for the Greens Committee and management.”
Mr. Orsborn brings Pat out to speak because what better person for students to talk to than the guy who’s been at the helm at Pebble Beach prepping the course for the U.S. Open in 2010? “I have known of Pat for more than 30 years. I have also called upon Pat to visit and consult on several properties that I was responsible for in the past.” Guest speakers of his caliber always make for exciting classroom energy. “Pat was enthusiastic to come and share his experience and to help explain the role USGA plays in keeping golf healthy. He is well known speaker and golf turf expert, and he is renowned in our industry.”
Gross, armed with a power point on his experiences, always encourages comments and questions along the way. Orsborn continues, “It is always a pleasure! Pat is obviously a passionate and enthusiastic Ambassador for the game, and students are eager to interact and ask questions relating to his involvement and encounters in the industry.” Orsborn concludes that, “It’s exciting to have such a renowned and well connected individual in the golfing world.”
Pat spent time reviewing what the USGA does to prepare and manage a U.S. Open site such as The Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco, but Orsborn feels that “The best part of Pat's presentation is a countdown from 1 to 10 the most frequently asked questions by greens committees and course management. The number one, of course, is ‘Why do they have to aerate the greens just when they are getting good?’ So, why do they have to aerate the greens just when they are getting good? Maybe you should swing by the campus next spring, catch Pat in the halls and ask him.