Pennsylvania Turfgrass – Recent Updates and Upcoming Events
Alum Creates Turfgrass Scholarship
The Penn State Turfgrass Program thanks recent turf alum Ryan Hillert, who recently established the Hillert Family Turfgrass Scholarship at Penn State.
Alum Named Businessperson of the Year
Congratulations to Penn State Turf Alum Alan FitzGerald, who was recently named 2019 Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year by Golfdom Magazine!
Turf Students Receive GCSAA Scholarships
This year, The GCSAA Scholars Competition awarded scholarships to six Penn State Turf students. The GCSAA Scholars Competition is funded primarily by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and is administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA’s philanthropic organization. Scholars Competition scholarships range from $500 to $6,000.
Daniel Allison, who hails from Greenville, PA, received the MacCurrach Award. It is named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach, who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974 and was the winner of GCSAA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1997. The PGA Tour funds the MacCurrach Award. Along with his scholarships, Allison will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2020 Golf Industry Show, Jan. 25–30 in Orlando.
Cody Sanders, Paul J. Baich, and Spencer H. Hoffman received the Scholars Award.
Kevan McDonald and Vikas K. Pandey received the Merit Award.
Penn State Junior Billy Covert Named
2019 Stanley Zontek Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Penn State junior Billy Covert has been named the 2019 recipient of the Stanley Zontek Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, an unrestricted $2,500 grant, supports a turf student with a passion for the game and honors Stanley J. Zontek, the former director of the USGA Green Section’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Zontek died after suffering a heart attack at age 63 in 2012.
Covert has already walked some of the same land as Zontek. A Penn State graduate, Zontek was based in suburban Philadelphia at the time of his death. Zontek worked diligently with superintendents to improve playing conditions in the golf-rich Philadelphia region, which extends into southern New Jersey and northern Delaware. Zontek’s Philadelphia and Penn State ties intrigued Covert as he composed his scholarship essay.
“I learned he’s very hard-working and he loved his craft. He prepped for major tournaments and worked with the research behind everything,” Covert says. “I’m going to try to work at the research, learning more of the science behind what we’re doing.”
Covert, a turfgrass science major with a 3.73 GPA, spent the bulk of his first two academic years completing core courses. He’s stoked about delving into the turfgrass science portion of the Penn State curriculum, which will include visits to the University Park research plots.
At Pine Valley, Covert works under longtime superintendent Rick Christian and receives hands-on training from assistant William Rocco. Covert averages 60 hours per week at the course and his bosses incorporate interns into a variety of assignments and projects, including spraying, mowing, irrigating, fertilization and sod work.
“I have been very fortunate with my internships,” he says. “It has been awesome to work for John Gosselin and Rick Christian. You learn a lot with them, especially from their assistants who are very helpful with guiding you.”
The past two summers have reaffirmed the reasons Covert pursued a turf career at a young age. And when he peers into his long-term future, he already sees a geographic fit. “I want to end up in the Philly area,” he says.
Save the Date for these Upcoming Events
Friday, January 24, 2020
The Shady Maple
East Earl, PA
You are invited to attend the 2020 Eastern Pennsylvania Turfgrass Conference. We hope you can join us!
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Wilkes Barre, PA
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Turf Conference and Trade Show has been the premier turfgrass industry event in the Pocono region for decades. Penn State’s Turfgrass Program, The Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council are continuing this tradition and the 2020 show will be held on Thursday, February 6 at The Woodlands Inn & Resort, Wilkes-Barre, PA. This event is administered by Penn State University and typically draws about 300 participants for the full day show. We believe we have a great educational program and you’ll get a chance to visit with the many vendors exhibiting there.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Join the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council for the 2020 Western Pennsylvania Golf, Lawn, Landscape and Sports Turf Conference. The conference will be held on February 26 at the Double Tree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Cranberry in Mars, PA.READ THE ISSUE