The RMRTA Conference Course Descriptions

Our annual conference brings together professionals from golf courses, sports fields, and more for an exceptional educational and networking experience. Also, our conference provides valuable insights and industry updates to help you stay ahead of the curve. Join us for a dynamic event that brings together the best and brightest in the turfgrass industry.

Workshops - Tuesday, December 5, 2023

7AM - 8AM - Registration & Breakfast

Pesticide Applicator Prep Workshop - 8AM-3PM

  • Pesticide Applicator Prep Course - Lisa Blecker - CSU - Prelicense PREP course will explain basic principles for the safe and effective use of pesticides and will follow the general commercial applicator study guide. Core Credit CEU will provide all 7 core commercial applicator credits (Laws and Regulations (2), Public Safety, Applicator Safety, Environmental Protection, Use of Pesticides, Pesticides and their Families). You are encouraged to pre-purchase the study guide for this workshop.

AM Workshops - 8AM-11AM

  • Disease Management (Category 206) - Mike Fidanza - Penn State University - This workshop will review the most troublesome diseases of turfgrasses; the biology of turfgrass pathogens; environmental conditions that favor disease development, and cultural and chemical practices to effectively manage turfgrass diseases.
  • Turf and Weedy Grass Identification (Category 206) - Dr. Tony Koski - This workshop will discuss why correct identification of both the weed and desirable turf is essential for developing integrated management programs for weeds in turf management. Also, the importance of correct identification allows the applicator to make better decisions on which herbicides are most likely to control the weed, while reducing the potential for phytotoxic responses from the turf. Identification will be taught using live samples and an assortment of hard copy keys/books and internet-based keys and phone apps.
  • Right Plant Right Choice: Turf Grass in a Changing Western Environment - Zach Johnson, Scott Curry, Chris Tragakes - CSU - Explore turf grass in the changing western landscape. Where does turf grass fit in through the lens of landscape design, water conservation and government regulations. Examine strategies for water use reduction in the built environment.

11AM- 12PM - Lunch Not provided - several nearby restaurants available

PM Workshops -12PM-3PM

  • What Works In Latest Trends in Golf Architecture - Kevin Atkinson - Atkinson Design Group, Andy Staples - We will look at the latest trends in golf course architecture including green design, bunkers design and construction, firm and fast conditions, native areas, proper tee placement for all players, practice facilities and putting courses.
  • Plant Detectives: Identification and Diagnostics (Category 207) - Dr. Alison O'Connor, Eric Hammond - CSU - This hands-on session will focus on the plant diagnostic process. Tree and shrub samples will be used to help students become more proficient in plant identification. Plant diagnostic samples will be presented for diagnosis and discussion.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023


  • Registration and Breakfast


  • Keynote Speaker - Matt Makens - Makens Weather - A look at the weather and extremes from El Niño and La Niña, the current Megadrought, and long-range climate outlooks.


  • Japanese Beetle Grubs (Category 207) - Whitney Cranshaw - CSU - Japanese beetle is a relatively recent addition to the Colorado landscape but in the past decade has proved to be capable of seriously damaging a wide variety of commonly grown landscape plants in many areas of Colorado. A better understanding of the habits of this insect are fundamental to how best manage it in yards and gardens. A wide variety of methods have been developed to help control Japanese beetle, including cultural controls, trapping, biological controls and selective chemical controls. Collectively the appropriate use these can provide an integrated pest management plan to best control this insect.
  • Athletic Field Safety Best Management Practices - Dr. Chrissie Segars - Research Scientist PBI Gordon - Attendees will learn best management practices for athletic field safety. Topics will include field safety measurement devices as well as cultural practices field managers can do to alleviate safety concerns.
  • Sustainability in Golf Architecture - Kevin Atkinson - Atkinson Design Group, Andy Staples - How to create the right balance between sustainability and still providing a great golf experience. We will take a close look at key golf course features and how we determine their overall value.
  • Turf Equipment Operation & Diagnostics - Michael North - Colorado Golf and Turf - Introduction to current manufacturers such as John Deere, Toro, Jacobsen and others. Common equipment and their uses as well as diagnostic tips and common issues. Introduction to reel and bedknife grinding as well as relief grind purposes and explanation.
  • Improving Spray Efficacy - Don Frantz - Wilbur Ellis - I will enthusiastically cover all topics with an upbeat, fresh presentation that convey my passion for the industry, while having an information dense talk. Will discuss importance and understanding of label instructions. Ways to enhance spraying efficacy and applicator safety. Defining spray drift and cultural methods to improve drift risk. Options to improve the water quality of our pesticide spray mixes. Overall tips and tricks of the proper mixing and loading. General importance and methods for calibrating equipment.


  • Fairy Ring Biology & Control (Category 206) - Mike Fidanza - Penn State University - This presentation will review the biology and ecology of fairy ring disease in intensively managed turfgrasses; examine environmental and edaphic conditions that favor the develop of fairy ring symptoms in turf; and discuss cultural and chemical practices to successfully manage fairy ring in turf.
  • Turfgrass Paint - A Revisited Idea For Turfgrass Recovery - Alfie Gardiner - Target Specialty Products - Sports field managers are always looking for new ideas to improve turfgrass recovery. Field paint or dye is not a new concept in aiding in plant health. With advances in these two products over the years, have we as managers overlooked the potential they have in turfgrass recovery, especially during our slowest growing months. In an exciting new study we will present our findings from two organizations by using turfgrass paint on cool season and warm season grass. Attendees will learn: The benefits of using field paint during the slowest growing times for warm and cool season grass. (prolonging growing days, turfgrass density, quicker green up and recovery in the spring, etc.) A potential alternative to field blankets for organizations that can't afford or have the time to manage. (alternatively adding field paint to turfgrass blanket program) Lowering overall nitrogen inputs and the possibility of eliminating an early season nitrogen application altogether.
  • Colorado’s Water and Turfgrass Replacement Trends - Catherine Moravec - Colorado Springs Utilities - Overview of Colorado’s water and drought situation, including the Colorado River issues. • Landscape water use in Colorado • Recent legislation regarding “Non-Functional Turfgrass” • What turfgrass managers can do to manage and conserve water, and how that fits in with the Colorado Water situation
  • Sprayer Maintenance and Repair - Scott Hosie - Professional Tree and Turf - Tips for maintaining spraying equipment.
  • How To Integrate Modern Technology Into Your Current Golf Maintenance Operation - Kevin Hauschel - Greensight - Come learn about how to properly integrate Autonomous Drones, Robotic Mowers, and Wireless Soil Sensors into your current golf maintenance operation. Technology can be scary but with a proper approach and integration strategy you can bring your golf maintenance operation into the 21st Century.


  • Turf Industry Trade Show Open


  • Lunch Served on Trade Show Floor


  • Biostimulants for Turfgrass Management - Mike Fidanza - Penn State University - This presentation will review the complex and confusing category of biostimulants; examine science-based evidence of biostimulant properties that can potentially benefit turfgrasses; and discuss how biostimulants can be included within turfgrass management programs.
  • Using HDPE Fittings - Dave Krause - Harco - Overview and description of the different kinds of fittings used with HDPE pipe systems. Explanation of the difference between Molded fittings versus Fabricated fittings. Overview of the installation methods: Butt Fusion, Socket Fusion, Electro Fusion, Sidewall Fusion, Compression and other Mechanical methods.
  • How Adjuvants Aid in the Landscape - Don Frantz - Wilbur Ellis - This discussion will cover general understanding of what an adjuvant is, and why we use them. Defining the different categories of adjuvants i.e. Surfactants, Oils, DRT’s, and more. Discussing adjuvant types that we can use to address the timely and important topic of improving our water quality when we spray, and mixes that have issues with varying levels of hard water and/or high pH water. Best practices in proper adjuvant selection, the relationship between adjuvants and active ingredients, and much more.
  • Maintenance and Repair On Pumps Big and Small - Joel Monroe - Winpump - We will cover routine maintenance and winterization of common irrigation pump systems. We will also discuss what repair tasks are appropriate in the field and when a professional pump shop should be utilized.
  • World Cup 2026 Research Update - Dr. Trey Rogers - Michigan State University - The 2026 World Cup will be held in 3 countries in North America at 16 different venues over a 50-day period. Of the 16 venues, 8 have artificial turf and 5 of the 8 are domed. All World Cup games are mandated to be played on natural grass. FIFA contracted with the University of Tennessee and Michigan State University to research and devise strategies to solve turfgrass construction, installation and management challenges for these venues and subsequent practice facilities. This presentation will provide the latest research updates.


  • De-Turfing Reception - Trade Show Floor


  • Site Specific Turfgrass Selection In Colorado - Dr. Chrissie Segars - Research Scientist PBI Gordon - Attendees will learn how to select turfgrass species and cultivars using data based decisions. They will learn why certain grasses do not work in every location and how to choose the right one for their scenario. Selecting the correct grass for each site will lower the use of inputs like fertilizer, water, and pesticides.
  • Organic Matter Management - Dr. Tony Koski - CSU - There is no one-size-fits-all program for organic matter management. It is critical to identify potential issues, and then determine what practices would best address those needs. Organic matter management is a balancing act between the rate of accumulation and the rate of removal and dilution. Factors such as fertility, irrigation management, soil type and health, traffic, and turf species will influence the rate of accumulation. For this reason, it is also important to review turf management programs when developing plans for organic matter management. This talk will review the newest ways of measuring soil organic matter (sampling, testing) and the newest thinking on cultivation and topdressing methods for organic matter management.
  • Irrigation Troubleshooting Methods - Spencer Jordan - DBC Irrigation - We will be discussing the basic methods for mechanically and electrically troubleshooting an irrigation valve. Why is my valve not turning on? Why won't my valve stop running?
  • Preventative Golf Car Maintenance - DJ Jones & John Namovicz - Masek Golf Cars - The course will be an introduction to golf car preventative maintenance, record keeping, and service trouble-shooting. We will be going over PM’s for both gas and electric cars.
  • Pesticides: Perception vs. Reality (Category 206) - Paul Giordano - Harrels - This talk focuses on public perception of pesticides and the agricultural industry as a whole. I use decades of science to help formulate talking points for turf managers to defend themselves against these negative perceptions and be more comfortable in difficult conversations with people who are unfamiliar or ignorant to the science and the industry.


  • Soil Moisture Sensors for Automating and Optimizing Irrigation - Jay Ham - CSU - Learn how advances in soil sensor technology, online data tools, and AI can be used to improve and automate irrigation in turfgrass and landscape vegetation.
  • How Herbicides Work and Common Herbicide Application Mistakes (Category 206) - Dr. Chrissie Segars - Research Scientist PBI Gordon - Attendees will learn how herbicides work and how to identify symptomology of common herbicide Mode of Actions. Attendees will also learn application tips and how to be sure they are applying pesticides correctly at the right rate and at the right time of year.
  • Using Electronic Testers - Brian Robbins - Inman InterWest - Identifying and locating problems in an irrigation system and learning what the different troubleshooting equipment is and how to use them.
  • Golf Renovation Strategies, Varied Depth Greens and Beyond! - Dr. Trey Rogers - Michigan State University - Since 2010 the United States has been in a golden age of renovation. For most superintendents this is both an exciting and frightening challenge. This presentation will provide the latest strategies for greens construction as well as other ideas for implementing a successful renovation.

Thursday, December 7, 2023


  • Registration and Breakfast


  • Pesticide Applicators Core Credits - Lisa Blecker - Colorado State University - Core Credit CEU will provide all 7 core commercial applicator credits: Use of Pesticides: Label Reading Applicators will learn how to read the label and where to find the information they need to know when making pesticide applications. This will include; Restricted use statement, Brand name, active ingredient list, Ag Use Requirements box, non-ag use requirements box, mode of action, formulation, directions for use, and precautionary statements. Pesticides and their Families: Mode Of Action (MOA) Applicators will learn about what Mode of Action is and why it’s important to pay attention to the modes of action they are using on their crop/site. Applicators will receive resources they can use to help them make more informed and effective pesticide application decisions. Applicators will learn how to use the label to help them identify the mode of action they are using and how to make effective pesticide applications. Environmental Protection: Endangered Species Act (ESA) Applicators will learn about the new EPA requirements regarding the Endangered Species Act and pesticide applications. Applicators will learn how they can use the label and other resources to comply with these new requirements. Applicator Safety: Respiratory Protection Applicators will learn how to properly use respirators and comply with all respirator training/use requirements. This includes; how to find the proper respirator for the job and applicator, how to complete a medical evaluation, how to complete a fit test, and how to complete and document respirator training. Applicators will learn how to read and interpret label PPE statements as they pertain to respirators. Public Safety: Pesticide Spills and Emergency Response Applicators will learn how to prevent spills and emergencies. In case of emergency, applicators will learn proper spill clean-up procedures, as well as first aid and emergency procedures. Applicators will learn how to find emergency and safety information on the label, SDS, and workplace resources.


  • Engaging our Youth and Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Superintendents - David Phipps - GCSAA - I will cover GCSAA initiatives as well as propose ideas suitable for implementation at the local chapter level to effectively engage the youth in the turfgrass industry. Additionally, I will explore strategies for superintendents to establish connections with diverse labor sources, spanning from high schools to veterans. Lastly, I will provide suggestions for fostering career advancement and growth opportunities within the existing staff.
  • Data Driven Decisions For Your Agronomic Program - Matt Giese - Syngenta - We use data in our lives to make daily/hourly decisions (weather apps, google maps, Yelp reviews). Decisions about managed turf are no different. This presentation will discuss tools available for turf managers and how to implement them when making daily decisions on the golf course.
  • Factors That Impact Pesticide Performance (Category 206) - Dr. Raymond Cloyd - Kansas State University - Raymond will discuss the factors that can influence the effect of pesticides (insecticides and miticides) in managing insect and mite pests; such as, improper rate used, insufficient coverage, improper timing of application, infrequent applications, and water quality issues.
  • Water Restrictions & Conservation Policies - Darren Nowels/Spencer Bernard - Northern Water Conservation District - Brief overview of Northern Water and the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. This presentation will introduce the audience to an array of complementary services including landscape consultations, irrigation audits, water efficient landscape grants, training, tools, outreach, and other collaborations for municipalities, the green industry, as well as for- and non-profits. The goal will be to inform the RMRTA community about who we are, what we do, and ensure they can take advantage of our options.


  • Natural Grass Construction and Maintenance - Josh DeJong - Barenbrug Seed - Converting a high school football stadium from start to finish to a sand based natural grass field and the pros and cons of doing it in house. Plus the maintenance required.
  • Utilizing Best Practices For Drought Irrigation - Sarah Martin, CSFM - City of Phoenix - Info Coming Soon
  • Favorites from the CSU Annual and Perennial Trials - Chad Miller - Colorado State University - Every year the CSU trial gardens grow and evaluate over a thousand different annuals and perennials. Between public and industry feedback, along with trial coordinators, the plants are evaluated for their performance. Learn about some of the interesting annuals and perennials from the 2023 trials!


  • Preparations Leading Up To Championship Week Operations - Josh Hester - Cherry Hills Country Club - Preparations leading up to Championship/Championship Week Operations
  • Seed Journey: Farm to Field - Micah Gould - Barenbrug - Attendees will learn the processes and timelines of the seed journey of a large seed supplier. Topics covered will include breeding, packaging and everything in between.
  • Non-Grub Insect Pests Of Turfgrass (Category 206) - Dr. Raymond Cloyd - Kansas State University - Raymond will discuss the different non-grub related insect pests that feed on turfgrass including caterpillars (black cutworm, webworms, and armyworms), chinch bugs, and billbugs. Raymond will provide information on the pest management strategies that can be implemented to prevent/mitigate damage to turfgrass by these insect pests.


  • Snow Mold (Category 206) - Matt Giese - Syngenta Info Coming Soon
  • Aquatic Plant and Algae Management: The Basics (Category 108) - Kaitlyn Quincy - SePro - This presentation covers background information on aquatic issues, causes, and solutions. The audience will learn how to identify common species of nuisance plants and algae and potential reasons for their issues. The audience will also learn management techniques to help them reach their goals for their water bodies and to prevent problems in the future.
  • Pollinator Friendly Lawns (Category 206) - Dr. Tony Koski - Colorado State University - This presentation will discuss the best ways of managing turfgrass to minimize negative effects on pollinator populations which may interact with lawns and other turf areas. Effects of fertilization and pesticide use on pollinator populations will examined.