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2023 Michigan Turfgrass Conference
January 10-12, 2023
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

2023 Recap

The MTF was pleased to present its 92nd Annual Turfgrass Conference at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for the second consecutive year. Returning to the site proved to be the appropriate selection as attendance exceeded over 500 Turfgrass professionals and industry partners. In addition, seminars, classes, events, and gatherings surpassed all expectations making it the most successful event in recent history.

Day One

The Conference started with a half day of Golf, Lawns and Grounds and Equipment Technicians education sessions. In addition to the MSU Turf Team, day one featured speakers from the University of Nebraska, Purdue University, Oakland University as well as several other industry leaders.

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation Annual Meeting

MTF Executive Director Carey Mitchelson, President Curt Boak and Treasurer Brad Lazroff highlighted the MTF’s year in review including the recent election, a 2022 event update and the financial status of the organization.

Founders Society Reception

The day concluded with the Founders Society Reception, where the MTF presented its annual MSU Turf Program research fund to George Smith, the Director of AgBioResearch at MSU, in the amount of $90,000. Dr. Kelly Millenbah, Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU, then delivered an update on the Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology. Past MTF President, Doug Johanningsmeier, introduced and presented the MTF Meritorious Award to Mr. Jim Bogart.

Day Two

A full day of education, Wednesday included Golf, Lawns and Grounds, Sports Fields, Assistant Superintendents, Equipment Technicians sessions as well as an Overview for Registered Apprenticeship - Golf Course Maintenance Technician sessions. In addition to the education presentations, many panel discussions and round table idea sessions highlighted the day.

Student Awards
Dr. Trey Rogers presented, on what he describes as his 'favorite day of the year", student scholarship awards for the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, MSU Awards, Industry Awards and National Awards.  Visit our scholarships and awards pages to help us congratulate all those selected for these awards.

Vendor Halftime Show

This year’s halftime show was held for the first time in the Soaring Eagle Casino’s Entertainment Hall. The large venue was both well received and attended.  Attendees were provided with a perfect networking opportunity following the full day of education. Those at the conference had a chance to visit with some of the finest companies and the opportunity to bid on silent auction items benefitting the Graduate Assistantship program at MSU.

Student Support
Several participants also took their turn at the Trackman closest to the pin contest, a contest that helped raise $1,190.00 for the MSU Turf Club's respective National Conference expenses.  

Day Three

The Conference concluded with a half day of educational sessions of both Golf and Sports Fields, Lawns and Grounds. The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation would like to thank the attendees, presenters and volunteers who all helped to make the 92nd annual Michigan Turfgrass Conference such a great success.

Thank You!  2023 Conference Sponsors: 

MTESP - Coffee
Syngenta - Coffee
Envu Enviornmental Science - Founders Society Reception
Eco Green Supply - Student Scholarship Banner
Advanced Turf Solutions - Vendor Halftime Show
BASF - Vendor Halftime Show
Helena Agri - Coffee Cups
Harrell's, LLC - Lanyard
Site One - Lunch / Vendor Halftime Show
MGCA - Meritorious Award Winner Dinner

The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation exists to promote safe, healthy turf surfaces for all Michigan residents. The goal of our annual conference is to present the latest findings in turfgrass management, fertility, soils, diseases, weeds, pesticides and other timely topics pertaining to the industry.

2023 Michigan Turfgrass Conference
January 10th - 12th
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

Hotel Room Block Code: MTGF011023
Hotel Room Block Ends December 19th
Cost is $139.00 per night plus taxes

*Free Parking is available

*Lunch provided on Wednesday

*Vendor Halftime Show (Appetizers Provided-Cash Bar) on Wednesday 4pm -6:30

Vendor Halftime Show Information
Wednesday, January 11th 4-6:30pm

  • This year's Halftime Show will be held in the Soaring Eagle's Entertainment Hall!
    Booth size8' by 10'
    Loading (Garage) Door size: 10' X 10'
    Equipment is allowed inside, must be pushed in and have 1/4 tank of gas or less, the battery disconnected and plastic placed under the machine.
    All booths have electricity and 6' by 30" table included with 2 chairs
    Only one company per booth
    Booth fee is non-refundable but may be transferredto next years show
    After December 1st, 2022 there will be an increase of $50.00
    Aisles to transport equipment to the booth are 5' wide and 'There is room for larger equipment at the entrance area. Contact us for more information

2023 Education track schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 10


12pm MSU Turf Team and Michigan Turfgrass Foundation Conference Welcome and Update - Dr. Kevin Frank and Carey Mitchelson

12:30pm Do's and don’ts of organic matter sampling on sand based rootzones - Dr. Roch Gaussoin, Univ. of Nebraska

1pm How to grow your network and mental health - Trent Manning, Reel Turf Techs Podcast

2pm Trends in golf course PGR use - Aaron Hathaway, NuFarm

3pm Understanding annual bluegrass weevil - Dr. Doug Richmond, Purdue University

4pm MTF Annual Meeting

Lawn and Grounds

12pm FIFA World Cup 2026 Research Update - Ryan Bearrs, MSU

1pm White grub management: new products and approaches - Dr. Doug Richmond, Purdue University

2pm Pushing back preemergence applications for better late season control - Dr. Roch Gaussoin, Univ. of Nebraska

3pm Managing rising expectations with limited resources - Todd Rajala, Oakland University

4pm MTF Annual Meeting

Equipment Managers

12:00-12:30 MiGCSA EM membership updates - Ben Beard

12:30-1:00 Shop Transformations - Mitch Hunt Traverse City Country Club

1:00-2:00 How to grow your network and mental health - Trent Manning Reel Turftechs Podcast (golf session)

2:00 - 4:00 Basic wiring and Electrical diagnostic w/ hands on demonstration - Ben Beard American Dunes Golf Club

4pm MTF Annual Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 11


8am Reflections on 35 years of turfgrass research - Dr. Roch Gaussoin, Univ. of Nebraska

9am Soilborne diseases: pathogens punching putting greens below the belt - Dr. Lee Miller, Purdue University

10am Managing surface firmness on putting greens - Dan Dinelli, North Shore Country Club

11am Pathology Research Update - Dr. Joe Vargas, MSU

1130am Turf Physiology Research Update - Dr. Emily Holm, MSU

12pm Lunch

1pm Research update - Dr. Trey Rogers, MSU

1:30pm GCSAA Updates - Steve Hammon, Traverse City Golf and CC; Shane Conroy, GCSAA

2pm Creeping bentgrass growth in sand-based rootzones with or without biochar - Dan Dinelli, North Shore Country Club

3pm Spray equipment: avoiding common mistakes and how technologies help - Ken Rost, Frost Inc. Spray Technology Products

4pm Trade show

Lawn and Grounds

8am Fall armyworm: is this the future of turf insect management? - Dr. Doug Richmond, Purdue University

9am Novel Kentucky bluegrass genetics cuts mowing requirements in half - Christian Baldwin, Scotts

10am Organic weed management: is it possible? - Dr. Roch Gaussoin, Univ. of Nebraska

11am Sometimes the blame lies beneath the surface - Dr. Lee Miller, Purdue University

12pm Lunch

1pm Controlling troublesome patches that don't clown around - Dr. Lee Miller, Purdue University

2pm Pesticides: perception vs reality - Dr. Joe Vargas, MSU

3pm Weed management update - Dr. Thom Nikolai, MSU

4pm Trade show

Sports Fields

8am Essential tools and products for maintaining baseball and softball diamonds - Brian Hall, Sylvania Recreation District

9am Seed selection for sports fields - Ben Boehme, Landmark Turf and Native Seed

10am It's natures time: organic fertilizers for sports fields - Kirk Hardin, Healthy Grow

11am Topdressing - what should I use - Dr. Trey Rogers, MSU

11:30am Growing degree days (GDDs) and how they benefit a turf manager - Jake Kilby, MSU

11:45am Sod on Plastic Research Update: Developing the temporary indoor playing surface for FIFA World Cup 2026 - Jackie Guevara, MSU

12pm Lunch

1pm Properly amending your infield - Ron Martin, Marco Clay

2pm Proper maintenance of artificial turf fields for longevity - James Hlavity, Pioneer Athletics

3pm Panel Discussion

4pm Trade show

Assistant Superintendents

8am Career Preparation - Shane Conroy, GCSAA

9am Project planning and planning as a new superintendent - Andrew Christensen and Alex Lincoln

10am Finance, budgeting, and planning - Ross Miller, CC of Detroit

11am Interview tips and taking the next step - Panel Discussion - Tim Matty, Drew Boike, and Mike Montney

12pm Lunch

Equipment Managers

8:00 - 9:00 Maximizing Efficiency: Getting the most out of you day - Mitch Hunt TCCC

9:00 - 10:00 TBD

10:00 - 12:00 Tips and Tricks - Trent Manning Reel Turftechs podcast

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 2:30 Round Table discussion and open forum - Ben Beard American Dunes Golf Club

2:30 - 3:00 TBD

3:00 - 4:00 Spray Equipment: avoiding common mistakes and how technology helps - Ken Rost Frost Inc. (Golf Session)

Thursday, Jan. 12


8am Winterkill Roundtable: Dr. Kevin Frank will serve as moderator for this session that will present research from the WinterTurf research project and engage superintendnets to share ideas on what they've been doing to try and prevent winterkill throughout the year.

9am BMP for turfgrass to minimize pesticide inputs and conserve water. Topics covered will include snow mold control, broadleaf and annual grassy weed control, Poa annua seed head suppression techniques, and irrigation management to conserve water and reduce pests. – Speakers include Phil Dwyer, Mike Rabe, and the host Dr. Thom Nikolai.

12pm Adjourn

Sport Fields, Lawns and Grounds

8am Athletic field disease review: pythium, patches, and plant health - Dr. Paul Giordano, Harrells

9am Try something new: infield transition from calcined to expanded shale - Keith Winter, Fort Wayne Tincaps

10am Painting tips and tricks and GPS sprayers - James Hlavaty, Pioneer Athletics

11am Armyworm and sod webworm ID and management - Aaron Hathaway, NuFarm

12pm Adjourn

2023 Speaker Spotlight

Dr. Roch Gaussion
University of Nebraska

Roch Gaussoin, PhD, is a professor of agronomy and extension specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a native New Mexican and an alumnus of New Mexico State University, receiving his B.S. in agronomy in 1980 and M.S. in plant breeding in 1984. His PhD was completed at Michigan State University in Turfgrass Science in 1988. Dr. Gaussoin has received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the University of Nebraska, the Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Turfgrass Association, the Exceptional Service Award from the Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association

of America Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award.


Pushing back preemergence applications for better late season control

Reflections on 35 years of turfgrass research and outreach

Do’s and don’ts of organic matter sampling on sand based rootzones

Dr. Lee Miller
Purdue University 

Dr. Lee Miller began as an assistant professor of turfgrass pathology in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University in 2022. Lee previously served in a similar position at the University of Missouri from 2010 – 2021 as associate professor and state extension turfgrass pathologist. Lee’s current responsibilities include providing disease diagnosis and control recommendations for the lawn, golf, sports turf, and sod industries. Past and current research projects include fungicide resistance detection in dollar spot populations, fairy ring identification and prevention on putting greens, the effects of fertility and fungicide application methods on large patch control, detection of Pythium spp. in golf course irrigation water, population dynamics of plant parasitic nematodes on golf greens in the Midwest, and the biology of black layer formation.


Soilborne diseases: pathogens punching putting greens below the belt

Sometimes the blame lies beneath the surface

Controlling troublesome patches that don’t clown around

Dr. Doug Richmond
Purdue University

Dr. Richmond is the Director of the Turfgrass Entomology and Applied Ecology Laboratory at Purdue University. His Research, Extension and Teaching efforts are intended to advance our understanding of the biology of grass and soil-feeding insects with the ultimate goal of improving the sustainability of insect management. His work focuses on I) integration of cultural and biological controls, II) developing novel insecticide chemistries and usage strategies, and III) providing a framework for managers to evaluate and implement alternative management programs.


Understanding annual bluegrass weevil

Fall armyworm: is this the future of turf insect management?

White grub management: new products and approaches

Billbugs: cryptic culprits

Dan Dinelli
North Shore Country Club

Dan Dinelli is a third-generation golf course superintendent at the North Shore Country Club (NSCC) in the Chicago area and thirty-year member of the GCSAA.  Dan has achieved success as a certified golf course superintendent meeting the rigorous performance standards, including agronomic, business, leadership, environmental, and communication standards, for his certification.  Dan has significant continuing education in IPM, turfgrass agronomic practices, turfgrass research, pesticide use, and environmental management that go beyond his degrees at William Rainey Harper College and MSU.  He has integrated this knowledge into his golf course operations at NSCC and has become a recognized professional and resource within the golf course management industry. 


Creeping bentgrass growth in sand-based root zones with or without biochar

Managing surface firmness on putting greens

Ken Rost
Frost Inc. Spray Technology Products

Ken Rost is the founder of Frost Inc which specializes in spray technology products for agriculture and turf care. He has over 25 years of experience in the spray technology field and has been fitting spray equipment with GPS guided application systems for the last 10 years. Prior to Frost Inc, Ken was the OEM and International Sales manager for Pentair/Hypro specializing in agriculture and turf care markets. Ken earned his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Science at University of Minnesota. He currently resides on his farm in Shafer MN.  Ken’s experience working hands-on with precision farming technologies and the people who use it, brings a realistic approach to the execution of spray applications.


Spray Equipment – Avoiding Common Mistakes and How Technologies Help!

Dr. Christian Baldwin

Christian Baldwin is the Business Development Manager for the biotechnology program at the Scotts MiracleGro Company.  Prior to leading business efforts, he was the technical lead for the biotech program.  While serving as the technical lead, Dr. Baldwin’s research focused on quantifying benefits of novel traits, such as reduced mowing, shade tolerance, and grassy weed control, as well as developing best cultural management practices for turfgrass practitioners.  Dr. Baldwin received a BS (business), MS (turfgrass science), and a PhD (turfgrass science), all from Clemson University. He also received an MBA from Southern Wesleyan University.


Novel Kentucky bluegrass genetics cuts mowing requirements in half (+ grassy weed control)

Michigan Turfgrass Conference - Booklet

2022 Michigan Turfgrass Conference Recap

2022 Michigan Turfgrass Conference
January 4th - 6th, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

There was a new venue this year as the Michigan Turfgrass Conference, hosted by the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, was held at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Conference Center.   Over 350 registrants gathered in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for an educational and networking event dedicated to the turfgrass industry.  

Day One

Day one started with a half day session of presentations.  Classes were structured in three different sessions; Golf Sessions, Lawns, Athletic Fields and Grounds Sessions and an Equipment Technicians Session.

Winter Turf Research Update - Dr. Kevin Frank, MSU

Golf Course Architecture and the Golf Course Superintendent - Andy Johnson, The Fried Egg

Annual Meeting


  • Treasurers Report, Presidents Report, Executive Directors Report
  • MTF Funded Research - Craig Moore, Research Chairman
  • Pete Cookingham retired after decades of service to the turf industry worldwide. 
  • Dr. David Smitley has announced his retirement.
  • Finance items of interest
    • Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology, notable donations, membership, nominating scholarships, events
  • MTF Board of Directors Election Results
    • Curt Boak (Lawn Tech) - Representing Turfgrass Services
    • Eric Davey (Prestwick Village Country Club) Representing - Greater Detroit District of MiGCSA
    • Christian Koval (Lakelands Golf and Country Club) Representing - Mid-Michigan District of MiGCSA
    • Paul Kuhna (Lansing Lugnuts) Representing Sport or Institutional Turf
  • Events - 2021 Virtual Conference, Tee Times 4 Turf, LaFontaine Golf Outing, Field Day
  • MTF Founders Society - Brad Lazroff - Chair Founders Society
    • Founders Society purchases front load tractor for Hancock Turfgrass Research Center
    • Tissue Homogenizer for Dr. Emily Merewitz-Holm

Founders Society Reception

The Founders Society is an endowment established by charter members with the goal of using funds donated to purchase specialized research and support equipment for the turf program at MSU.  At this year's reception, the announcement was made that the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation would be pledging $1 million to launch a $5 million campaign to endow the Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology.  Follow the link to read more about the MTF's commitment to funding the future of turfgrass research at Michigan State University: 

The Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology

Meritorious Award Winner

During the reception, the MTF was proud to present Dawn & Bruce Johnson / Kris Early and the Spartan Family with the Meritorious Award.  This award is presented annually by the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation to an individual or company for their dedication and support of the turfgrass industry.  Spartan Distributors were instrumental in the formation of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation in the 1950's and have remained strong supporters of the golf and sports field industry for their entire history.

Read More about The Spartan Family

The MTF Board presents $1 million check to endow the Joe Vargas Chair in Turfgrass Pathology.

The Spartan Family accepts MTF Meritorious Award at the 2022 Founders Reception

Day 2

Day two was a full day of education.  Four sessions were offered and included Golf, Equipment Technicians, Lawns and Grounds and Athletic Fields.  

Full Speaker List

Keeping your Cutting Edge - Mike Rollins, SIP Grinders

Non-Chemical Water Conditioners - Dr. Bernd Leinauer

Scholarship Awards

The 2021-2022 Turfgrass Science Scholarship Awards were held after the day's sessions had finished.  Dr. Trey Rogers hosted the awards and described the opportunity each year as "his favorite day of the year."

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation Awards
Norman W. Kramer Outstanding Student Award: Spencer Cole
Kenyon T. Payne Outstanding Student Award: David Parker
Robert Hancock Award: Payton Perkinson
MTF Merit Scholars: Dennis Sullivan, Adam Nadeau, Ryan Wiggins

Follow the link for the complete list of award winners including Michigan State University Awards, State Section Awards and National Awards.

2021-2022 Scholarship Winners

Board Member and MTF Scholarship Chair Dan Lucas with MTF Award Winners

Dr. Rogers with Samuel I. Russell Foundation Award Winners Anthony Kiser and Seth Jenkins

The 2021-2022 Scholarship Winners

Halftime Show

Day two wrapped up with the halftime show, where vendors from across the industry shared their products and knowledge with the conference attendees. This year's show was well attended and provided a terrific opportunity to network with fellow industry colleagues.  The show also included the Dr. Paul Rieke Graduate Assistantship Silent Auction, benefiting graduate assistantship for ongoing graduate student positions at MSU.

Vendor Halftime Show

Dr. Paul Rieke Graduate Assistantship Silent Auction

Day 3

The final day wrapped up with a half day of Golf Sessions and Lawns and Grounds presentations.  The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation would like to thank everyone for attending the Conference and your continued support of turfgrass research at Michigan State University.  We hope you enjoyed the event, the new location and the chance to be back in person again.  The Planning committee is already gearing up for next years event and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions for the future. Thank you for attending the 2022 Michigan Turfgrass Conference!

Thank you to our 2022 Michigan Turfgrass Sponsors!

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 27156, Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation exists to promote safe, healthy turf surfaces for all Michigan residents.

Call or E mail Us

Office: +1 517 392 5003

E Mail miturfgrass@gmail.com


PO BOX 27156


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