One of my odd childhood memories is taking the bus to high school my first two years and watching the from-the-ground-up construction of a new golf course located behind our subdivision.

Growing up, I was accustomed to seeing a lot of run-of-the-mill courses in our area, nothing special. But this sucker was different. It was to be patterned after a Scottish golf course layout, complete with the unkempt looking vegetation and hills scattered about. I think I only played the course twice, once almost putting out a backyard window of one of the homes that lined the track.

My how the game and business of golf has changed. Last year, Forbes reported on a study the World Golf Foundation conducted. The findings peg the sport as directly driving $84.1 billion in economic activity across the U.S. It gets even better. That number is a 22% increase from the $68.8 billion the last time the outfit did the study (a five-year gap between studies).

The study, Forbes noted, shows the sport supports almost 1.9 million jobs and nearly $60 billion in compensation.

That qualifies as big business.

There’s also big business involved in what goes into maintaining these courses so golfers have the best experience possible whether that’s a beginner who just bought clubs a week ago or the PGA Tour professional in the hunt for a championship.

I invite you to take a look at our cover story this month on Page 50. Writer Dan Vastyan takes a look at how a hydronic turf conditioning system has paid off in a big way for Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“There’s no question the investment made by the club will pay dividends year-round,” Superintendent Russ Myers says in the story. “It allows for more play and higher-quality surfaces. Our members hope to play golf whenever they can, and this increases that possibility. Every superintendent would love to be able to manipulate the temperature of the soil with hydronics. The club’s leadership is forward-thinking. Without great general managers and club board of directors, these advancements would never have occurred.”

This particular story piqued the interest of longtime pme Art Director Stephanie Armstrong, who noted to me her local golf club features a system that also can pull out moisture. “Kind of crazy how much money they put into these courses,” she wrote in an email.

But based on the traffic you see daily on courses throughout the country (and usually regardless of weather conditions), these types of investments I’m guessing pay for themselves with a little something leftover.

Speaking of things to pique interest, this issue once again is loaded with material that will help you do your job better. New pme columnist Dave Yates is back with another wonderful story from the trenches. His column on Page 14 underscores the importance of working with engineers. We are so blessed here at BNP Media’s Plumbing Group to have the best lineup of columnists around, and Dave Yates’ storytelling ability only adds to that excellence.

Longtime pme columnist Julius Ballanco checks in on Page 26 from the NPSC code hearings, while hydronics guru John Siegenthaler talks the use of a “thermal clutch” for boiler protection (Page 18). While on the subject of boilers, expert Ray Wohlfarth has some hydronics troubleshooting tips on Page 38.

The great thing about our industry is there is such a wide swath of knowledge available. If you would like to see a topic/issue covered in these pages, please do not hesitate to shoot me an email at or give me a call at 224-201-2225.

The door always is open.