An Invaluable Page for Superintendents

20 November 2018

An agronomist, former superintendent, and successful entrepreneur (the GRIGG turf products he put on the market with his brother Mark in 1995 were sold to BRANDT in 2014), Gary Grigg launched a Facebook page exclusively for turfgrass industry professionals—and more specifically superintendents—in 2010. Gary Grigg was born in 1941 and although he reached retirement age some time ago, he has little interest in lounging around all day… In addition to taking on episodic consulting assignments, he devotes at least two hours each day to managing his Facebook page. The page, which is in fact comprised of thousands of pages worth of documents, testimonies, help requests, product reviews, pictures, videos and more, serves as a hub for a wide-reaching global community of superintendents. Becoming a member is as easy as contacting Gary Grigg with a request to join the group of people with access to the page.


* Gary Grigg on LinkedIn:

Grassmaniac What were the circumstances and reasons behind your decision to launch a professional page on Facebook’s social media platform?

Gary Grigg I simply believe that we should freely and joyfully pass on what we have learned, for the sake of improving turfgrass conditions throughout the world.

It’s important today for colleges, universities and students to be aware of the vital importance of the non-technical aspects of training, which are unfortunately not taught in turfgrass courses. Institutions address the “science of turfgrass,” but not the mechanics, the business management, the budget preparation, employee management and motivation, and so on. Only a small number of schools have an HR department that offers training in these areas, but most do not, even though it is essential to the work.

I graduated in 1966 with seven years of agronomy training including a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS). I then accepted a superintendent position, but had no experience in the field and had to work hard to learn the many subtleties involved. When I was starting out, I sort of bartered with fellow superintendents, exchanging my agronomy expertise for the practical know-how they had picked up while managing their greens.

After retiring, I launched the Facebook group in 2010 to keep in touch with the business world and to stay active. My goal is to provide a professional page where people truly dedicated to the turfgrass industry can share information. The group now boasts 12,000 members from all over the world!


Grassmaniac Who are these 12,000 group members?

Gary Grigg Most are from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe. Many are also from other countries; the requests are filtered to include only people involved in golf course management. I only accept current or former superintendents, the key members of their teams, the representative of companies that superintendents do business with (as resource persons), and teachers and agronomists actively teaching and studying turfgrass management.

Grassmaniac Besides this filtering process, what other tasks do you have to handle as site administrator? How many minutes a day do you spend on it all? Do you often write posts? If so, what do you enjoy writing about?

Gary Grigg I devote a minimum of two hours to the website each day. I read all the posts, and, when necessary, I send private messages to anyone not complying with the group’s rules. After an initial warning, any repeated non-compliance results in being banned.

My biggest problem is people who like to share jokes or other posts unrelated to golf course management. I delete those kinds of messages and suggest to the authors that they post them to their own pages. I want ours to remain strictly professional.

Because the workload is constantly growing, I have the support of another administrator, Jon Kiger,* from the Turfnet group. We might need another administrator, but I want to avoid it for the time being… For now, I am still working as an ad hoc consultant, and when I have to step away, I ask Jon to cover for me.

I get involved in some discussions if I see that I can be of assistance. Occasionally, I’ll write a post if I think a timely subject would be worth discussing. I’ll try to get professors’ opinions if I think they can be helpful. I know most of them. I’m an agronomist first and foremost, and this shows through in most of my comments; I only speak up if I think I can make a useful contribution. Thankfully, I have 50 years of industry experience to draw from.


Grassmaniac What is the most unpleasant part of your work, if there is one?

Gary Grigg Sometimes when I delete a post that didn’t follow the rules, I’ll receive a nasty reply including some colourful language… I work hard to keep the group professional and to maintain the focus on our mission. It’s even more unpleasant when I have to ban someone from the group and from my personal messaging. I also don’t much like to see disruptive or inappropriate messages aimed at other members.


Grassmaniac What aspect of your Facebook page are you most proud of?

Gary Grigg When I get feedback from new professionals thanking me for having launched the group. When I get messages from people saying that “it is the best group they’ve ever belonged to.” When a member of the group told me he had learned more thanks to Grigg than he had in his turfgrass training. When a teacher from a major turfgrass school recently told me that my page was being used for classroom case studies. When someone told me he put down on his resumé that he belonged to the group.

All of these thanks and positive responses tell me that this work is worthwhile, that there is a need for it in the industry. I personally would have loved to have access to something like this when I was starting out as a superintendent.


Grassmaniac Has your work been officially recognized in any way in the United States or in Canada?

Gary Grigg Pat Jones, publisher and editor in chief of Golf Course Industry magazine, mentioned me in a few texts. Also, on the occasion of the GIS (Golf Industry Show) a few years ago, Pat awarded me a prize for “Best Use of Social Media.”


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Author : François Huot, journaliste