Updated: Jan 31, 2022
So how does a golf superintendent with a great idea actually commercialize it? It helps when they have someone like Micah Gould in their corner.
Gould has been Jeff Stahman’s point-person at Barenbrug Seed for more than three years and he’s helped TurfMend become the high-quality product it is today.
“I came onboard about the time Jeff approached us,” said Gould, who serves as the company’s market development manager. “He had a great concept and the building blocks were simple enough to source…peat moss, USGA spec kiln-dried sand and Barenbrug seed. That was the right recipe for the professional markets like golf and then later we developed a version without sand for wider use.”
When Stahman first reached out to Barenbrug, Gould and his predecessor Bo Lacy both instantly saw the value for areas like driving ranges and the importance of having consistent mixes with good germination. “I’m a former assistant superintendent – and Bo a GCSAA certified superintendent – and the real appeal for us was professional quality products with professional quality ingredients.”
So, the big question: why not make it at home? “TurfMend won’t make sense for everyone. If the turf manager has the man-hours and quality ingredients, they’re probably good. But for many others, depending on resources for labor and time, this makes a lot of sense. It’s kind of a plug and play solution.”
That’s because it’s top quality and essentially fool-proof, says Gould. “It’s a great thing to put in the cart barn or to have on hand for volunteer divot filling parties. It’s perfect every time.”
Gould agrees that time and labor savings are a big factor in the appeal but consistent quality is what matters most to customers. “There can be so much variation in hand mixes that we really wanted to get TurfMend right and keep it right. We looked at the peat-to-sand ratio, how much seed we needed, etc. We experimented a lot to get it right.”
Barenbrug has been a huge supporter of TurfMend’s production as well. “We do all the stuff in the background while Jeff is out doing everything else largely by himself,” says Gould. “It’s really been fun to watch his company grow. He’s so passionate about turf management and he knows it’s a great product.”
Another benefit the Barenbrug partnership provides is access to their Yellow Jacket® proprietary seed coating that contains a natural water-absorbent material made from corn starch. The enhanced coating can hold up to 600 times its weight in water and research at the University of New Mexico, North Carolina State University, and Texas A & M University shows that seed coated with Yellow Jacket establishes better and requires less water.
“For users, that means lower seed mortality and repair with less concern about watering,” says Gould.
Gould is excited for the future as momentum builds behind TurfMend. “I think the biggest thing that sets TurfMend apart is using high-quality seed,” says Gould. “Jeff never wanted this to be a basic patch repair product. He wanted it to be a quality product for the professional market. It’s giving the customer the best product overall. Best sand, best peat and best seed. That’s why TurfMend works and why more and more turf pros will love it.”
By Pat Jones