Turf & Ornamental News   |   January 22, 2018

Target Specialty Products President Todd Ferguson discusses the return of Scotts to the golf market.

The following interview with Target Specialty Product's President Todd Ferguson first appeared on GolfCourseIndustry.com...

January 18, 2018
Guy Cipriano

One of the behemoths in turf is returning to the golf industry. 

Target Specialty Products recently announced it has established a partnership with Scotts to develop a line of new professional products backed by Scotts PRO technology. The marketing agreement allows Target Specialty Products the exclusive ability to co-brand with the Scotts PRO logo.

Target Specialty Products President Todd Ferguson calls the agreement “exciting” for the golf market, which is displaying encouraging signs in early 2018. GCI chatted with Ferguson about specifics of the agreement with Scotts.

What led to your agreement with Scotts?
“It was really a year or more of conversations that led to that final agreement that we reached to have an exclusive co-branding opportunity with Scotts PRO. It was about our desire to have a differentiated offering that provides value-added solutions for our customers. We wanted to be able to provide products that were new brands and new technology that would be powered by who we perceive as a leader in the industry.”

How recognizable do you feel the Scotts name is in the golf industry and how can you leverage that name recognition?
“A couple of things … Scotts was a significant player in the golf market for many, many years. I think they developed quite a brand during that period of time and early feedback from our customers has been very positive to the Scotts opportunity and having Scotts re-engaging in our markets.”

What type of products will be offered to golf course superintendents?
“We are going to brand them through our Turf Fuel brand. We have a very successful brand with Turf Fuel going through our company. We are going to be offering products called Turf Fuel G, which are premium, high-performance products. And then we are also going to be offering a TS PRO line, which is a standard quality offering for less technically demanding situations. Both of these will be powered by Scotts technology, so we are going to use their polymer-coated urea, their short-chain methylene urea and a polymer sulfur-coated urea. We are going to use all of those products and put them in either the Turf Fuel G line or TS Pro line. Both of them will say ‘Powered by Scotts.’ They will come in greens grade, mini and standard sizing, and multiple release durations so we can meet all the superintendents’ needs.”   

How will this agreement help golf course superintendents? 
“I think it’s going to be great for golf course superintendents because Scotts, we believe, has the best technologies. They invest millions into the professional space. They have been working in new technologies in various different areas that we are going to be able to leverage. All of our new technologies are going to power our fertilizer products. We’re going to have better greening, better release characteristics, better duration of release, better particle size, and we are going to be able to provide that at a value that will work well for their budgets.”

What type of distribution channels are available?
“Turf Fuel G and TS Pro lines, both powered by Scotts, are going to be available at all of our locations throughout our network. We have over 40 locations throughout the U.S. and we have a goal to reach 50 of the top 50 markets by 2020. We are currently at 43 markets. We have close to 100 turf and ornamental sales people that support our customers. All of those products will be available through that network. We are going to do products directly from Scotts that can go directly to end users and we are also going to provide blended products from our network of formulators across the U.S.”

What type of year are you expecting in 2018 and where do you see Target Specialty Products in the current golf market?
“We had a great 2017. Our sales continue to grow and we are able to continue to invest in this space. We are expecting a fabulous 2018. We think the Scotts energy will propel us into a great 2018 where we are able to provide great products and services to our customers, and we have a couple of other tricks up our sleeves as well that we really think will be able to provide value to the market.”

When will the Scotts PRO products be available?
“We are starting to make them available, but we intend to have them ready for full launch capability by the spring period.”

Guy Cipriano is GCI’s senior editor.