Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

2-28-08

Contacts:

Matt Klingenberg, Horticulture graduate student, (515) 294-2751, mkling@iastate.edu

Marcus Jones, Horticulture graduate student, (515) 520-7815, mjones99@iastate.edu

Nick Christians, Horticulture, (515) 294-0036, nchris@iastate.edu

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778, tbarron@iastate.edu

ISU Turf Club mows down national competition to win seventh straight Turf Bowl

AMES, Iowa -- For the seventh year in a row, Iowa State University's Turf Club clipped 92 competitors to place first in the 14th annual Collegiate Turf Bowl Championship. The event is a three-and-a-half hour examination of knowledge about all things turf-from seeds to weeds. It is sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America (GCSAA).

ISU sent six teams to the competition held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla. Members of the first-place team are all seniors in horticulture. They are Shane Brockhoff, Hancock; Adam Hebbel, Bettendorf; Matt Hoffman, Carroll; and Brad Johnson, New Germany, Minn. They were coached by horticulture graduate students Marcus Jones, Ames, and Matt Klingenberg, Marcus.

The examination includes a written essay about an industry-based case study, which assesses students' communication skills. Other sections test mathematics, chemistry, biology, soil science, entomology, plant pathology, species identification, and many specific aspects of horticulture and turfgrass management.

"It's a pretty intense competition," said Klingenberg, a 2007 first-place team member.

Coaches say ISU's domination of the national competition is a testament to students' hard work, the intensity of the curriculum and the quality of faculty in horticulture, agronomy and entomology. And, it's a source of pride for students to carry on the winning tradition.

"We never take anything for granted," said Jones, a member of the 2006 winning team. "The test changes every year and we never know what to expect. The students do an excellent job preparing for it."

For months in advance, students spend countless hours studying. Five formal review sessions cover specific information that might be on the test, Klingenberg said.

"The students really come together and prepare well for this competition," Klingenberg said.

"Our students see it as a way to show that Iowa State is one of the better turfgrass universities," Klingenberg said. "There's a lot of pressure to do well because so many alumni have taken the Turf Bowl test and they want to see us stay the winner. Students want to keep the streak going."

Although the winning team receives a trophy and GCSAA gift certificates, the students gain much more, their coaches said.

"This gives them the belief that they can achieve great things," Jones said. "Faculty tell us that students work harder preparing for this exam than for anything else they do. The knowledge they gain is information they'll need in their careers. So it prepares them very well for being on the job."

"We are always looking for ways to assess the quality of the educational experience and to determine the outcomes of the educational process at ISU," said University Professor of Horticulture Nick Christians. "This is one of the best forms of outcomes assessment available to us."

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Quick look

For the seventh year in a row, Iowa State University's Turf Club clipped 92 competitors to place first in the 14th annual Collegiate Turf Bowl Championship. The event is a three-and-a-half hour examination of knowledge about all things turf--from seeds to weeds. It is sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America. Members of the first-place team are all seniors in horticulture.

Team members

  • Shane Brockhoff, Hancock
  • Adam Hebbel, Bettendorf
  • Matt Hoffman, Carroll
  • Brad Johnson, New Germany, Minn.

Coaches

  • Marcus Jones, Ames
  • Matt Klingenberg, Marcus

Quote

"The students really come together and prepare well for this competition."

Matt Klingenberg
ISU horticulture graduate student and Turf Bowl coach