TurfTech Forges Fertile Fairways and Friendships
"Green" is a word commonly used in the turf industry. In the case of Steve Nichols, V.P. of Soil Tech Corp. and John Carlone, CGCS at Meadow Brook Club on Long Island NY, Nichols says, “When I first met John in 1986, we were both pretty green. I was in my first year of golf course sales, and John was in his first year as superintendent at Middle Bay CC. Somehow we’ve continued the relationship and remained friends over the past 32 years.”
Nichols continues, “When I first met John Carlone, he was a young guy open to the idea of a new product to improve the sandy soils on his golf course. TurfTech Bio was the product that Soil Tech was introducing to the golf course market at that time and even though all of our research (up to that point) had focused on agricultural soils, John was still motivated to try the product and document the results on his golf course.”
According to John, “From the first time Steve spoke with me regarding TurfTech, it sounded like a valuable product for use on golf course turf. After learning more about it, I decided to try it for two main reasons: (1) To get better moisture retention in the rootzone of the sandy soils that existed at my golf courses. (2) To try to replace expensive wetting agents.”
Carlone decided to test the product on 2 acres of fairway turf and to compare the treated areas to adjacent untreated areas. In this way he felt that he would have the test results to prove the product. Over the 42-day duration of the test (June 24-August 5) he observed, “Before treatment, these fairways were regularly irrigated from 20-25 minutes. After the treatments with Turftech, I was able to reduce irrigation time to 10 to 15 minutes per sprinkler. Also, the turf in the untreated check plots did not seem as dense as the treated turf.”
Based on these initial results, Carlone took the next step. “In order to study the effects of TurfTech further, I treated all 21 acres of fairway turf on Sept 20. While this was not optimum growing season, 5 weeks after application of TurfTech, the divots in the treated areas were more filled with grass blades than the untreated areas,” he reported in a letter.
Nichols comments, “In the letter that John Carlone wrote to me on December 9, 1986 he documents his test results and concludes with, Thank you for introducing me to this fine product.” And, that was the beginning of a 32-year connection.
From that point forward, Soil Tech followed John’s advice to get some university research done on the product. John remembers that, “You not only did it then, but continue to have your products tested now. I think that is an important aspect of your company that separates you from other ‘Bio’ companies. Maybe that's why Soil Tech has been around longer than most ‘Bio’ companies.”
Nichols says, “Over the years I always had an affinity for John and his kind support for a young sales rep and his new product. When I would see him at shows or at his new golf course (Meadow Brook Club) we always shared turf stories, kept up on family, and talked about the latest and greatest in turf research on bio-products.”
More recently, during the GIS 2018 in San Antonio, Carlone came to visit the Soil Tech booth on the trade show floor. Within minutes of his arrival, John was helping Steve Nichols introduce the Soil Tech brand to other superintendents and sharing his perspective. Steve comments,” It’s just how John is. Helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. It’s been a great bond over the years. We are both still very excited about our careers and our industry and the growth we’ve been part of.”
These two ‘green’ young guys are still enjoying their lives and careers, even though their ‘greenness’ has been replaced by some ‘greyness.’ “It’s been a great journey, says Nichols, “and I’m glad that John Carlone has been part of it.”