Golf Course Management

JAN 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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28 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.19 Turfgrass research is constantly evolving, and our knowledge base is expanding quickly. It can be tough to absorb all that information and even more difficult to put it into practice, as turfgrass managers are increasingly becoming data managers. In response to this problem, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a helpful tool called GreenKeeper to simplify the way managers handle data acquisition and analysis and implement the latest turf research. GreenKeeper was originally designed to help track growing degree day (GDD) models for plant growth regulators (PGRs). Over the past 10 years, complex models for predicting PGR performance have been developed using temperature data. Although the models are useful, using them onsite was often a challenge. As more models were developed, the task became even more laborious and confusing. GreenKeeper incorporates 570 different PGR models. e website automatically selects the best PGR model based on factors such as grass species, mowing height, PGR active ingredient and application rate. e past weather data and forecast data are then automatically used to show the user how the PGRs are working at their facility. e 10-day weather forecast is also integrated into the models to help managers prepare for future applications. During development of the GreenKeeper app, it became obvious that the app had to be able to track turf management products like pest control products, fertilizers and other specialty products. It was also a short leap to automate the turfgrass mixing math. Since GreenKeeper launched in early 2016, about 6,100 users have been linked across 4,100 courses, which means that GreenKeeper now stores more than 100,000 different product applications. In 2017, the Smith-Kerns dollar spot forecast model was added to GreenKeeper. e dollar spot forecast uses weather data — like the PGR GDD models — to predict the likelihood of a dollar spot outbreak. e Smith-Kerns model has been developed and promoted by Damon Smith, Ph.D.; Jim Kerns Ph.D.; and Paul Koch, Ph.D. ey've shown that their model can reduce the number of fungicide applications needed to counteract this disease. GreenKeeper uses their model to show which areas are "at risk" or "protected" from dollar spot. Soil testing is also integrated into GreenKeeper. Interpretation of those results is based on university and MLSN recommendations. Incorporating soil testing into the tool led to the addition of performance tracking in 2017, and the idea of more formally tracking daily clipping volume has expanded over the years. Measuring the volume of clippings collected from putting greens or other areas being mowed is becoming more popular because the measurements allow superintendents to adjust management tasks like irrigation, nitrogen fertilizer application and PGR rates to strive for a consistent growth rate. Clipping volume can also be used to estimate fertilizer requirements and possibly help schedule Turning research into practice with GreenKeeper (turf) Bill Kreuser, Ph.D. wkreuser2@unl.edu @UNLTurf GreenKeeper is a free app for computers and mobile devices that provides golf course management information (pest reports, product applications, pest outbreak models, weather reports and more) to several users on the same course. Photo courtesy of Bill Kreuser topdressing applications. e Performance Tracker in GreenKeeper can be used to store and visualize data such as clipping volume, green speed, soil moisture, etc. GreenKeeper will continue to evolve as management tools are needed to help turfgrass managers turn research into practice. e rapid implementation of sensors, GPS sprayers and other technologies can be overwhelming if the data are not consolidated and well-organized. Tools like the GreenKeeper app have the potential to help turfgrass managers quickly visualize data, make the best management decisions and store the data for future reference. To try GreenKeeper, visit http:// GreenKeeperApp.com and register for your free account. Note that GreenKeeper is a web-based app that is accessed via any web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and does not need to be downloaded from an app store. Multiple users can be added to one course, and users can easily move from course to course. GreenKeeper can help you bring university turf research to your facility in 2019. Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and Exten- sion turfgrass specialist in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. He will be presenting at GCSAA's Education Conference at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego.

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