Don Bloom eats grilled food in the middle of ultramarathons.
“Cheeseburgers are the best at about mile 50,” he says.
We’ll take Bloom’s word on this one. We’ll also take grilling and life balance guidance from the western New York turf manager.
Bloom is the supervisor of park and golf course at Durand Eastman Park in Rochester, New York. His team maintains 10 miles of marked trails, an arboretum, picnic shelters and an 18-hole golf course where Donald Ross and later Robert Trent Jones Sr. worked.
Away from the park and course, Bloom trots through the woods — and he’s running a 100-kilometer race later this summer. Bloom also enjoys cooking and grilling for family, friends and co-workers. His passion for food brought Golf Course Industry and AQUA-AID Solutions to Durand Eastman on May 18 for a #TurfheadsGrilling cookout.
National sales manager Russ Warner served as the grill master, with a veggie assist from managing editor Matt LaWell. Entrées included pulled pork, hot dogs and, yes, cheeseburgers. Bloom submitted a wings recipe (he lives in western New York, after all) for the inaugural Turfheads Guide to Grilling published in our December 2021 issue and Durand Eastman was selected as the site for a #TurfheadsGrilling cookout.
The #TurfheadsGrilling campaign returns in 2022. All are encouraged to submit a recipe for the published guide. Everybody who submits a recipe receives #TurfheadsGrilling swag. Industry professionals whose recipes make it to print receive a spices and sauces kit and a chance to have us visit and feed your team in 2023.
Heck, you might even get to sign an autograph. Bloom’s brother, Brian Bloom, is a trained chef, yet the trained agronomist became the family’s first published cook. “When the grilling guide came out, I autographed it and gave it to him,” Bloom says. “He was pissed.”
“Growing up, we cooked,” Bloom adds. “We always had a lot of food in the house and friends would always come over before football or soccer games. I then cooked in college for roommates. I now cook almost every night at home. My brother went to culinary school and it’s always a competition to see who can cook better.”
Camaraderie isn’t the only side benefit of cooking. Bloom started trail running with his father, Doug Bloom, in 2010. The pursuit has blossomed into Bloom running thousands of miles and burning millions of calories.
“I wish I would have started it earlier,” he says. “I try to live a healthy lifestyle. I still eat like crap. But if I go for a run, I don’t feel so bad about it. Make time for yourself. It’s been a challenge to figure out how to work to live instead of live to work. Everything from family to your health improves if you figure out how to work to live and do something else away from the golf course. You’ll figure out you’ll enjoy the golf course a little bit more.”
Bloom has one more item to determine over the next few months: the recipe he wants to submit for the 2022 Turfheads Guide to Grilling.
“I really want to figure out poor man’s burnt ends,” he says. “I have tried it a couple of times. It’s not great … yet.”
Tartan Talks 71
David Ferris, a central New York native, moved to South Florida in 1996 for a landscape architecture position. A year later, he landed his first golf course architecture job — and he has never left.
Ferris is celebrating 25 years of working with John Sanford in 2022. This year started with Ferris becoming a partner in the firm now called Sanford Ferris Golf Course Design.
“When you get into this profession, you realize how hard it is to get your foot in the door,” Ferris says on the Tartan Talks podcast. “And once you get your foot into the door, you really don’t want to leave. And it’s not like the grass is greener on the other side. There’s really no grass on the other side. I was very fortunate to go to work for John. The projects are amazing and he’s fun to work with. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”
The job will become especially fun this summer when Ferris and Sanford begin a renovation at Calvary Club outside Syracuse, New York. Ferris played the course often as a child. His uncle was a charter member and his father served as an assistant golf professional.
Giving the big speech
By Rick Woelfel
Dr. Devon Carroll had a powerful message for graduates at the recent University of Tennessee hooding ceremony: break down your big dreams into smaller dreams that can be pursued and achieved “One bite at a time.”
Carroll was chosen by the dean of the graduate school, Dr. Dixie L. Thompson, at the conclusion of a process in which each department of individual schools within the university put forward the name of a student to be considered for the honor. Carroll received the invitation to speak in mid-March and spent the intervening two months considering the points she wanted to make in her five-minute address.
“I’ve given a lot of talks,” she says, “but this was probably the most difficult one I’ve ever had to prepare. It’s difficult to be personable and inspiring without being cheesy in five minutes, so definitely it was a lot of trial and error, and kind of revisiting the message and tweaking it over time to be sure that I had it just the right way.”
Carroll’s audience in Thompson-Boling Arena included 750 students — the largest class in the history of the university’s graduate school — along with 250 faculty members and around 3,000 friends and family members of the graduates. Another 3,000 viewed the ceremony virtually.
“Achieving a graduate degree is something really difficult,” she says. “I just wanted to remind our graduates that they’ve already achieved a massive accomplishment, and that in the future they have the skills and hopefully the confidence to continue pursuing other big goals.
“The theme of my talk was the quote, ‘The way to eat an elephant is a bite at a time,’ and reminding the graduates that taking small bites and breaking goals down as small goals to meet bite by bite turns into big achievements over time.”
Carroll encouraged graduates seated in front of her to be open about their personal and professional goals.
“I challenge you to verbally share your bites [from the elephant],” she said during the speech. “Vocalize your goals, big and small. Tell your boss, a colleague, or a friend what your next step is and when you think you will take it. I found that these small, self-imposed deadlines have kept me accountable in taking the next bite of my elephant and making my goals more manageable.”
The graduates included Carroll, who received her Ph.D. in plant, soil and environmental sciences with a concentration in weed science from the Herbert College of Agriculture. She successfully defended her degree this past March and has accepted a position with Bayer.
Calling Carroll’s academic record “distinguished” is an understatement. It includes a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science from Penn State, which she earned in just 2½ years, a master’s degree in agronomy from Penn State, and a second master’s degree in agricultural leadership from Tennessee with a focus on opportunities for women in the turf industry.
Carroll, who was a guest on the Wonderful Women of Golf podcast last year, is a staunch advocate for women in the industry.
“The sky’s-the-limit-type messaging is really important,” says Carroll, whose academic influences include Tennessee’s Dr. Jim Brosnan and Penn State’s Dr. John Kaminski. “One of the things I wholeheartedly believe in is that we’re all capable of a lot more than we think we are. Sometimes you just need a nudge to get there and that’s really what I wanted to communicate.
“Looking back, I always had Dr. Brosnan and Dr. Kaminski giving me that piece of advice. Certainly, that turned out well for me, so it’s really exciting to be able to pass that on and hopefully inspire some of my colleagues and classmates to continue their successes.”
Rick Woelfel is a Philadelphia-based writer and frequent Golf Course Industry contributor.