Golf course construction and maintenance often are depicted in an unfavorable light by those concerned with the environment.
And a Paul Harvey syndicated radio broadcast about six weeks ago did nothing to help matters, according to an official of an area course superintendents' group.
"(Harvey's) statements were made without knowing both sides of the story," Jeff Hayden said. "He said golf courses shouldn't use such large amounts of pesticides, so there were no pros and cons. It was an all-negative report."
Harvey's comments didn't prompt the inaugural Envirotron Golf Classic scheduled for next Monday at World Woods north of Brooksville. The tournament already was planned, but the timing of the remarks has served to underscore the need for more public information.
That information soon will come through the Envirotron facility under construction in Gainesville and expected to open in the fall. It's a one-of-a-kind environmental research center dealing with turf grass and related matters such as control of insects, use of fertilizers, and application and after-effects of pesticides.
Hayden is vice president of the Seven Rivers Chapter of the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association, an organization with Citrus and Marion counties at its hub but taking in about 50 members from Gainesville to Pasco County. He and Seven Rivers Golf Course superintendent Stuart Bozeman are organizers of the unique tournament, which has 180 entrants for a four-man scramble over 27 holes beginning at 10:30 a.m.
"World Woods is donating use of their facility for the tournament. Without them, it couldn't be a success," Hayden said.
Bozeman said more than $15,000 to $20,000 should be generated from the fund-raiser. Each golfer has put up a $100 entry fee, and the money will go toward purchase of laboratory equipment at the research center.
"People out there don't really know what goes on on the golf course," Bozeman said. "We don't go around spraying toxic chemicals on birds, plants and into the water. That's not right and totally unnecessary.
"Superintendents now are much more sensitive to these issues than they were 20 years ago when there was no data available to show us what we were doing wrong."
Envirotron also develops new materials that are safer for the environment, answers questions on turf grass diseases, and works to develop a more drought-resistant grass requiring less water, Bozeman added.
Superintendents put together $375,000 to get Envirotron off the ground two years ago and the State of Florida provided matching funds, Hayden said.
"People fail to realize the impact of golf on Florida," Bozeman said. "They think this is just a Citrus-producing state, but Florida has more golf courses than any other state in the United States.
"People think of California or Texas (when the topic of golf comes up), but the revenue generated and number of people employed in the business here far exceeds the citrus industry. Golf is our livelihood and we won't do anything to endanger it."
Kuntz shares title: Seven Rivers head professional Ross Kuntz earned a share of the crown in the 50-59 age group during a West Central Florida Chapter PGA tournament June 14-15 at Lone Palm in Lakeland. He turned in scores of 70 and 77, and ended up tied with Palma Ceia's Jim Pierce.
Conigliaro eighth at open: Twisted Oaks head pro Vic Conigliaro returned from New England with some good news. He finished eighth with a 4-under-par 140 fired June 14-15 in the Vermont Open at Fairle Country Club.
"The golf course wasn't that hard," Conigliaro said. "It was kind of short and tight, but 4 under par and finishing eighth is pretty good."
There were 212 golfers at the 36-hole tournament, which had a cut after the first round. Golfers who missed the cut played a consolation round the second day that began at 5:10 a.m., Conigliaro said.
Conigliaro will be at Plantation in Venice this Saturday to compete in a qualifier for the 52nd annual Florida Open set for July 22-25 at Grenelefe in Haines City. He will be among 43 pros at Venice battling for nine spots.
The Venice tournament is the first of 15 such qualifiers to be held through July 8. A total of 192 golfers, 32 of them amateurs, will compete in the Florida Open.
Ocala junior third at state tourney: Ocala's Jonathan Bartlett finished third among 93 golfers who teed off in the 15-17 age division at the 38th annual State Junior Championship conducted by the Florida State Golf Association last week.
Bartlett posted rounds of 71-74_145 on the 6,553-yard, par-72 course at the Country Club of Mount Dora on June 14-15. He wound up three strokes behind Danny Simmerman of Palm Beach Gardens and two shots back of runner-up Jeremy Anderson from Lake Mary.
Steve Carrington, also from Ocala, carded scores of 79-78 and tied for 25th place at 157 in the same division. Brooksville's Boyd Brown had a 170 total in the two-day event.
There were 35 golfers in the 12-14 division of the tournament. Lake Mary's Matt Kuchar was the victor there with 75-73_148.
Olds Scramble: Plantation Inn Golf Resort will have a local qualifier for the Oldsmobile Scramble this Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
Anyone interested in playing should call the pro shop at 795-7211 to make reservations. Two players from the host club will participate on every team in the event, which has an entry fee of $35.
Juniors clinic: Citrus Hills will offer a clinic for boys and girls of high school age and below July 5-7 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Assistant pro Kelly Gosse will instruct a class of up to eight students. Cost is $25 for the three days.
Call the Citrus Hills pro shop at 746-4425 to register.
Hernando clubs dominating men's league: It seems to have shaped up as a battle between east and west at the midway point in the first half of the Men's Suncoast Travel League season.
Sherman Hills in eastern Hernando County holds a narrow 47.5-47 point lead over Oak Hills in western Hernando County as the men's league prepares for another tournament today at Glen Lakes at 8:30 a.m.
An equally spirited battle for third place involves Plantation (40), LakeSide (38) and Glen Lakes (38), with Pine Ridge (36.5), Sugarmill Woods (35.5) and Citrus Hills (34.5) all bidding to move up in the standings.
Only Seville (24.5), Seven Hills (22.5) and Citrus Springs (22) are out of the race heading into the seventh week. But pride should spur on their golfers to avoid finishing in the cellar.
Travel league coordinator Jim Brennan said there's a possibility of getting a 12th team for the second half of the season, and that will depend on reaction among team captains who will be asked about it today. Brookridge Golf Club has expressed interest in joining the league and, if approved, would replace the Twisted Oaks team that dropped out.
Country connection drawn tight: The women's team from Seville will attempt to open up some daylight from a quartet of pursuers when the High Country Travel League holds a match this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at Sugarmill Woods.
Seville goes into the third match with 23 points. But Sugarmill Woods, Glen Lakes and Brooksville all have 18, and Citrus Springs is just behind at 17.5. Citrus Hills trails the six-club field with 13.5 points.
In the matches this week, Sugarmill Woods takes on Brooksville, Citrus Springs battles Seville, and Glen Lakes faces Citrus Hills.