MYRTLE BEACH — When it comes to turf, a group of Clemson University students recently showed they’re tops in the Carolinas.

Turf Club teams with trophy

Clemson Turf Club members pose with the traveling trophy after the university’s two teams took first and second place in the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association Student Turf Bowl in Myrtle Beach. Pictured are (front row, from left) Nathan Bailes, Graham Gowan, Andrew Massey, Tyler Babb, (back row) Ben Childress, Justin Beitz, Blake Ware, Ryan Anderson, club adviser Don Garrett, Brandon Waddell and Will Landry.

The Clemson Turf Club took first and second place in the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSA) Student Turf Bowl competition as part of the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show from Nov. 13-15 in Myrtle Beach.

Competing against 10 teams from North Carolina State, Horry Georgetown Technical College, Sandhills Community College and Central Piedmont Community College, Clemson’s two teams advanced through the preliminary rounds and advanced to the three-team finals, where the team of seniors Justin Beitz of Seneca, Will Landry of Camden, Brandon Waddell of Spartanburg and Blake Ware of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, came out on top.

The second-place team included senior Graham Gowen of Spartanburg and juniors Ryan Anderson of Richmond, Virginia, Nathan Bailes of Clover and Ben Childress of Clinton.

Tyler Babb, Andrew Massey and Brandon Welch are also members of the Turf Club, which is composed of Turfgrass majors in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Science’s department of plant and environmental sciences.

The GCSA Student Turf Bowl is a “Jeopardy”-style quiz bowl competition in which players use buzzers to signal their intent to respond to trivia in a variety of turfgrass management and related topics.

“This is one of their big events,” said Don Garrett, club adviser and golf course superintendent at The Walker Course at Clemson University. “They want to have dominance in the Carolinas. It’s kind of the highlight of the year for them, especially if they don’t go to the national event. They got to participate in not just the Turf Bowl, but all aspects of the conference.”

First place in the contest awarded $700 and the traveling trophy, while the second-place team earned $500.

“Of course, they were carrying the trophy around like the Stanley Cup,” Garrett joked. “So they’re pretty proud of that. They haven’t won it in a couple of years. Our kids did very well this time. I was here in school in the early ‘80s, and our turf program has really come a long way.

“We have some of the top instructors and researchers in the turfgrass science field at Clemson, which our students get to work with on a daily basis. The kids are in high demand for internships from superintendents all over the country.”