Sharpen Your Pickleball Skills At Upcoming Clinic In Rosemont

Photo caption: Mark Renneson from Third Shot Sports, left, is pictured at a clinic with Dick Barton, COO, Barton Marketing Group.

The Barton Event Management team announces it is bringing one of America’s favorite pickleball coaches to Rosemont Jan. 12-13. All sessions will be held at Rosemont Health & Fitness Center.

Mark Renneson from Third Shot Sports will offer two days of clinics, drill sessions and private lessons. Renneson is recognized as a leader in the pickleball world and travels across North America to deliver pickleball clinics to players of all levels.

Clinics for 3.0-3.5 and for 4.0+ level players will be offered, plus there are times available for small group (up to 4 players) lessons. Visit this page for full information and to register:

The sessions are:

Defense Wins Championships
One of the things that separates levels of players is their ability to get out of trouble. Being a good defender means that you can get yourself out of a jam whether at the net, back at the baseline or somewhere in between. In this intermediate session players will develop the strategies and techniques needed to become a more consistent player by playing great defense. Saturday, Jan 12, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (3.0/3.5) $55

Advanced Training
If you’re an advanced player and you want a great workout, join us for this fun and fast-paced drill session. Less instructional than our clinics, this session is all about hitting a ton of balls in the most important situations: serve & return; third shots; dinking; volleys and smashes. This will be a fun — and tiring — drill session. Saturday, Jan 12, 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (4.0+) $55

Super Third Shots
What you do with the third shot has a major impact on how the point will unfold. This intermediate clinic is devoted to understanding the strategies and techniques needed to be great at playing this critical moment of a point. Join us for Super Third Shots if you are serious about advancing your game. Sunday, Jan 13, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (3.0/3.5) $55

Sharpen Your Pickleball Skills At Upcoming Clinic In Rosemont

Meet Dick Barton!

Dick Barton

By Jennifer Mackowiak, Nonprofit |

In the mid-1990s, Dick Barton started Barton Marketing Group. His son and partner, Alexander, joined the company in 1998 and is the current President. This fall the duo decided to refocus their efforts on providing total event management. With a new website (, Barton Event Management (BEM) was launched and positions itself as a full-service resource for event management, marketing and onsite logistics execution.

“Our advance planning model creates all the specifications from the event schedule, room sets, catering, banquets, audio/visual design and security. We have relationships with national entertainment acts and award-winning speakers as well as some of the best local talent in the Chicago area. When you work with us, you don’t have to be concerned with quality or safety since we have a proven track record of attention to details with a flair of creativity,” said Barton.

Dick Barton has been a member of the Park Ridge Chamber for over 20 years. He has been active in the communications committee which used to put together a printed newsletter, the First Friday Cruisin’ Park Ridge Car Show Committee, and, of course, on the Board of Directors including being President in 2006. He has been awarded a Community Star and the President’s Award for service. Barton enjoys attending Park Ridge Chamber events, in particular, the Monthly Networking Luncheons where he met one of his best clients.

Interested in working with Dick Barton? Contact him at [email protected] or (847) 720-4495.

(as published in the Park Ridge Patch)

Top Pro Dave Weinbach Spreads Love of Pickleball

By Dick Barton USAPA Member

As a top professional in pickleball, Dave Weinbach, also known as The Badger, spreads the love for the game far and wide. At age 49, Weinbach competes in about 18 tournaments a year often against pros half his age and wins a lot! He also travels extensively to give clinics. I have taken two of his clinics and loved the experience.

His achievements on the court are many. He has 85 gold medals including those from six USAPA national championships and eight US Opens. How does he do it? Weinbach says by being very fit, eating healthy and practicing relentlessly his game of patience and consistency. As a real people person, Weinbach loves meeting and socializing with players all across the country during what he calls his “Spread the Love Tour”.

In his clinics, he preaches “Respect the Net”. He advises to worry less about the height that the ball goes over the net as long as two things happen. One, hit an unattackable shot and secondly put pressure on the opponent. “Make fewer unforced errors than your opponent and you’ll generally win,” he says. “No matter what keep the ball in play. Don’t get greedy and force shots.”

Weinbach is “all in” in other parts of pickleball. He has his own branded paddle, a Tempest made by Paddletek since 2017. Plus, he has a line of apparel and many instructional videos on You Tube and the Pickleball Channel.

As a lifelong tennis player who started at age 4 and later a top-rated table tennis athlete, Weinbach finds pickleball to be the perfect fit for his skills. He was first exposed to the game in 2007 when his parents moved to Surprise, Arizona. He was playing tennis one morning and heard “all this noise” from nearby courts. Upon investigation, he saw pickleball being played by maybe 100 people. Once he played, he was hooked for life.

The guy who put a paddle in his hand that day became his first coach. Pat Kane is a tall man with long arms. Kane made Weinbach practice his drop shots until he could get 80% or more in the kitchen. “Pat was tough to beat especially with those long arms,” he said. Weinbach is still one of the best in the pro game at third shot drops. He calls good dinks and drops the “great equalizers”. He adds, master those shots and you can play with anyone.

When not at his day job as a Certified Financial Planner running an investment management company in Madison, Wisconsin, he enjoys golf, tennis and being an official at local high school basketball games. His wife, Dina, and their three sons Jake, 19, Ryan, 17, and Sam, 13 all play pickleball. In a 2018 Rockford (IL), tournament all the Weinbach men won gold medals and Dina took a bronze. It’s no surprise that the family has its own court!

In his clinics, he teaches patience, consistency and discipline. These all relate to his approach to good shot selection based on a risk-versus-reward ratio. “It’s my passion to teach the game the right way,” he says. “About 90% of recreational players I see don’t play the right way because they never learned the proper fundamentals.”

So, he advises players at any level who want to get better to learn to love the soft game by being patient, being consistent, and staying disciplined. And, of course, practice as much as possible even if just 20 minutes before a match.

What’s in the future for Pickleball? Weinbach sees great growth worldwide and predicts there will be 10 million players by the end of 2019. With 10 million in the game, more TV coverage, bigger prize money, and major sponsors will follow. He also sees pickleball in the Olympics in the next 15 years. In the meantime, Weinbach will be on the road spreading the love.

About the author: Dick Barton is a USAPA member, Pickleball magazine author, and active participant in the Park Ridge (IL) Pickleball Club. He helped organize the inaugural Des Plaines Illinois Pickleball Tournament earlier this year and worked with several top professionals in putting together clinics in the Chicago area.

Clean water requires clear thinking

Everyone loves the wide green expanse of suburban lawns and the carefully manicured fairways and greens of golf courses. Or do they? While those of us who grew up in suburbia have become accustomed to these staples of the environment, the environment is not always so happy with the runoff that these vistas produce—especially when it comes to water quality and pending algae blooms.

For example, Lake Erie, which has always seemed to be ground zero when it comes to monitoring water quality, was well known for severe algae blooms and dead zones in the 1960s. The smallest Great Lake saw significant improvement in water quality after the 1972 federal Clean Water Act and the 1978 bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement which led to impressive reductions in phosphorus. However, now problems are on the rise once again. In 2011, the most severe algae bloom on record was recorded and in the fall of 2013 another toxic algae bloom caused the shut-off of a public water supply in Ohio. And more problems are predicted for this coming summer.

While the agricultural use of phosphate‐containing fertilizers which has increased as the acreage of farmlands has expanded over time has come under increasing fire for the situation, golf courses and residential runoff also contribute to the problem. Related to agriculture, the companies that are responsible for those fertilizers are beginning to promote sustainability initiatives. And farmers, who are making a difference to improve America’s water resources as they provide America’s food supply, have adopted nutrient use management practices which minimize nutrient runoff from their operations.

The next step is finding solutions for golf course and residential runoff. If they are designed with the environment and water quality in mind, a golf course or a backyard has the potential to be an active biological filter that generates clean water.

The first place to start with a golf course is where it is to be located. It’s easier to site the course in a place where environmental concerns can be minimized. Instead of looking at the vacant site only with the idea of how it would best suit the golfer, look at the site with an eye to protecting the environment.

Rain gardens for residential property offer an attractive way to soak up rain water. Creating an appealing area for birds and butterflies, they can improve local water quality by giving rainwater time to slowly percolate into the ground where impurities can settle out. They also can reduce local flooding. Most people don’t realize that because of the solid surfaces in a residential area such as streets, roofs, driveways, and sidewalks, the typical city block generates five times more runoff than undeveloped land. And this water that has picked up heat from pavement and other contaminants along the way ends up degrading our water supply.

The Barton Marketing Group which specializes in life sciences and agriculture can help get your message about ensuring the quality of our water supply to the audiences who need to hear it.

Digging sticks, hoes, mattocks, tractors, and… smartphones? The Evolution of Agrimarketing.

Ever since the rise of farming around 9,000 B.C. fundamentally changed the way people have lived, new technologies have helped further the progress of agriculture. For example, the use of digging sticks, hoes and mattocks among people who were learning to till the land transformed farming. The story of agrimarketing and the technologies have furthered that field has a similar narrative. We have moved well beyond the days when one farmer told another about a new idea that worked. Today, a wide variety of tools are at our disposal as we tell the story of the important role that agriculture plays in every aspect of our civilization.

Since 1905 when the University of Pennsylvania offered a course in “The Marketing of Products,” the growth of agrimarketing has paralleled the general field. Print, radio, and television have all played a role along with targeted marketing, relationship marketing and guerilla marketing. We have learned that we must play the advocate with the general public because such a small percentage of the general public really understands where food comes from and how it is produced. And since anti-agriculture groups are so passionate about concepts such as non-GMO-labeling, water usage and animal rights, if the general public is to understand the depth and breadth of those topics and others like them, it is the people who work in the field—no pun intended—who must provide them. And we must learn to provide them in a channel that will best reach each audience we seek to reach.

New devices are joining the toolbox to make that job more effective every day. I was not surprised to learn recently that 69 percent of farmers now use a Smartphone with that figure expected to rise to 87 percent by 2016. Twitter provides an avenue for short messages limited to 140 characters which appear on followers’ home pages and link to websites. Facebook provides a venue for videos, photos and longer descriptions—including testimonials. Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pintrest all have their place in a total agrimarketing program that increases the impact of crowdsourcing to provide immediate results on messaging.

Whether you are comfortable with all these new methods for executing a total marketing plan or if they sound like a foreign language to you, when I think about marketing today I am reminded of a song my sister used to sing when she was in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” As we embrace the new media, we must not forget the old.

At the Barton Marketing Group, we specialize in life sciences and agriculture so we can help you craft a message with a holistic approach. We will help you reach the audiences you need by using the best new tools available and continue to use the channels that have proven the test of time.

Point of Origin

Water conservation is critical to life on earth. But as important as the conservation of water is, it is equally—if not more important—that the water we conserve is safe. The specter of climate change and an ever increasing population that needs water not only for the hydration of crops and livestock, but for thirsty people as well, makes this the 21st Century’s major challenge.

Regulation and sustainability are key when it comes to water. Pollution can come from many sources and some of them many not be immediately obvious. Of course we all remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill—also known as the BP oil spill or the BP oil disaster—that began on April 20, 2010, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. As you can imagine with an event of such notoriety, regulators were able to identify the point of origin and levy the appropriate fines and penalties.

But as dramatic as that spill and the subsequent cleanup efforts were, it is important to remember that pollution can come from many sources that don’t make the headlines. For instance, some such as fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides are harder to diagnose. They come from places such as farm land, golf courses and suburban lawns. It is important to remember that they helped to increase our food supply and enhance our environments. But over the years, we have come to know that they do cause pollution. Although the tributary network that feeds the Mississippi River is vast, there is absolute proof of pollution in the Delta dead zone. Additionally, algae blooms in lakes and rivers impact marine life affecting the fishing industry for both food and sport.

But there is good news on more than one front. The companies that are responsible for those fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides are beginning to promote sustainability initiatives. Although there is no standardized comprehensive definition for a sustainability initiative, there are three important features that distinguish a program as sustainable. They are the effective use of material and energy, a shift away from non-renewable, non-biodegradable materials, and the prevention of emissions and contaminants from having a negative environmental impact.

And farmer heroes, who are making a difference to improve America’s water resources as they provide America’s food supply, have adopted nutrient use management practices which minimize nutrient runoff from their operations. To read their individual stories, go to

For millennia, the Earth’s fresh water supply has washed across the landscapes of the world supplied by rainfall, snow and glacial melt, runoff and infiltration. If telling the story of how you are working to improve the quality of that water supply for the hydration of crops and livestock, as well as for thirsty people is important to you and your business or organization, the Barton Marketing Group which specializes in life sciences and agriculture can help get your message to the audiences who need to hear it.

How Agrimarketing is Different

Do you remember the television ad that shows a man on the phone with his doctor trying to get directions to do his own surgery? After listening for a moment, he says “Shouldn’t you be doing this?” We all want the best counsel when we engage a professional—and that includes marketing. And that’s why when you are communicating about agronomy to people who no longer understand who farmers are, what they do, and how the very civilization of the world depends on them, it makes sense to choose an agrimarketer to tell your story. 

Once upon a time most people lived close to the land. Because they grew their own food, no one had to tell them how vital agriculture was to their survival. Their lives were intertwined with the seasons and revolved around plowing, planting, growing and reaping. Even though they knew that some soils were more productive than others, they rarely examined them below the level where crops grew. Soil was something that would always be there—or so they thought.

When the discipline of soil science was born in 1870, soils began to be identified as independent natural resources, each with distinct properties resulting from a unique combination of climate, living matter, parent material, relief, and time. Coincidentally, when soil science was in its adolescence around the turn of the 20th Century, the basic concepts of marketing began to be explored. By the 1960s when the field of marketing was differentiated according to discipline, the marriage of these two fields resulted in the birth of agrimarketing.

Today just two percent of the total U.S. population works to produce, process and sell the nation’s food. Because such a small number of people have a connection to the land, when most people think about the food supply, they think about their local grocery store. But ultimately soil sustains life and is a finite natural resource.

Today, agronomists are the frontline warriors in the defense of civilization and the protection of the environment. Not only do they help to feed a hungry world, but they also have the power to inspire future leaders in this global struggle to maintain a safe, affordable and abundant food supply as well as a viable environment.

Barton Marketing Group specializes in life sciences and agriculture, I can help you reach the audiences that need to hear the stories that you have to tell.

Conventional Thinking.

You’ve got a booth at an upcoming convention. Now what are you going to do? You paid your money and committed your time to get you and your product out in front of people in your industry and you want to make the most of it. If you’ve never planned a booth before—and even if you have—you may be wondering what is the best way to stand out this time and make yourself and your service or product memorable.

Now is the time to remember that the important thing in the exhibit hall at a convention is not balloons and confetti or even a great giveaway. And although creativity and entertainment may draw large crowds, depending on haphazard booth traffic does not guarantee results for your bottom line.

There are lots of reasons to have a booth at a convention. You may want to generate buzz for a new product or service, or you may be looking for more sales leads, or you may want to increase your brand awareness. Whatever your goal, you want to reach the right people—your target audience. You are looking for people who will want to do business with you in the future. So before you spend time on some outrageous gimmick that might make you memorable in the moment but won’t deliver the results you are after, consider these ideas:

  • Place a distinguishable advertisement in the official event program on either a daily tab or one of the covers.
  • Sponsor one or more of the technical sessions which highlight your product or service.
  • Research the pre-registration list of attendees including exhibitors.
  • Mail or email an invitation to specific attendees on this list and give them a reason to your visit booth.
  • Update your booth display with most relevant product information for this particular audience and provide a call to action which expires after the event.
  • Network with attendees AND exhibitors to collect industry knowledge while evaluating all contacts as potential prospects.
  • Prioritize your prospects so you don’t overwhelm your sales team with too many invalid leads.

Because Barton Marketing Group offers comprehensive professional marketing services specializing in life sciences and agriculture, we can help you plan your booth at your upcoming convention. Our significant expertise working with both corporate and not-for-profit organizations will help you build your brand, create enduring customer relationships and generate revenue. We can help you reach the audiences that need to hear the messages that will help you and your business communicate your solutions to the challenges facing agriculture.