Iowa State wins international turf bowl competition for sixth straight year

AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University team won first place in the 13th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl at the annual Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, Calif., last month. It's the sixth straight year ISU students have returned home with the top honor.

The show draws more than 20,000 golf industry professionals from around the world and is sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

With this victory, Iowa State has won eight of the last nine competitions.

The competition lasts three and half hours and requires teams to solve turf and business problems, appropriately apply mathematical formulas to turf problems, identify weeds, insects and diseases, and write an essay.

This year's winning team was made up of Matt Klingenberg, Marcus; Mark Newton, Ames; Adam Hebbel, Bettendorf; and Brad Johnson, New Germany, Minn.

In addition to the exposure this brings to the Horticulture Department at Iowa State at the conference, there are other advantages to the competition.

"This is a great learning tool," said Nick Christians, a University Professor of horticulture and the faculty advisor to the club. "They learn a lot. I can't get them to work this hard for the coursework they have, but they put a lot of hours into this and really take pride in doing well."

Another team from Iowa State placed second in the competition, giving the Cyclones a 1-2 sweep for the first time since 2005. In all, Iowa State had 19 participants on five teams competing at the conference.

The turf teams spend many hours preparing for the competition. Much of that is with team coach Marcus Jones.

"We have weekly study sessions and I prepare quizzes that I put them through," said Jones, who is assistant superintendent at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames and was part of the 2002 and 2003 teams that won the competition.

With the victory Iowa State now starts looking toward winning next year.

"They're sure going to go after it again," said Christians.