Fran tenBensel Benne | Agronomy and Horticulture
A University of Nebraska–Lincoln turfgrass competition team earned 14th place at the 28th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl competition Feb. 10 held at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference and Trade Show in San Diego.
The Turf Bowl, a part of the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show and presented in partnership with John Deere Golf, was held in person this year.
The 14th place Nebraska team included turfgrass and landscape management majors Jacob Ocholik, Benjamin Toalson and Eric Kovarik. Forty-four teams, composed of 153 students from across North America, competed in the event.
“After not participating in the in-person conference for a few years it was fun to get Nebraska students back to the conference to experience the Turf Bowl and all the networking and learning experiences available to them during the tradeshow and educational sessions,” student adviser Anne Streich said.
A second team of first-year turfgrass and landscape management majors included Jagger Amend, Scout Allen, Walker Petersen and Matt Boyd. This team placed 34th.
Streich, professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture, had five study sessions with the teams prior to leaving for the conference. The sessions covered identifying turfgrasses, diseases, insects and weeds. Students also learned how to do turfgrass mathematics for fertilizers, pesticides and water.
“I am encouraged by the young students who wanted to attend the conference and participate in the competition,” Streich said. “They haven’t had any turf classes yet, other than the five prep sessions we had prior to leaving, yet they were excited to compete and they're looking forward to working hard to improve their scores next year.”
The Turf Bowl consisted of several components. The team had to complete a case study on hypothetically advising two golf course superintendents about soil tests from their courses. They had to identify insects, diseases, weeds and turfgrass from samples. The team took a 300-question, multiple-choice exam that covered turfgrass growth and fertility; turfgrass, water and business management practices and equipment safety. They also had to complete math calculations for fertilizer, pesticide and water usage.
Participating students received one to two credit hours for participating at the event and competing in the Turf Bowl.
Students attended the opening reception on the USS Midway Aircraft carrier at the USS Midway Museum. They were required to attend the conference opening and closing sessions, and various educational turfgrass sessions. They also had to speak with several vendors on the tradeshow floor.
Agronomy and Horticulture freshman Amend felt attending the conference was an overall great educational experience not found in the classroom.
“I went in thinking that I would get some good information out of it, yet I did not know the amplitude of knowledge I would come to learn,” Amend said. “The trade show floor was by far one of the best things that we were able to do — the number of people willing to talk about their craft was astonishing.”