Golf Course Management

JUL 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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66 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.19 e GCSAA's best management practices initiative (www.gcsaa.org/environment/best- management-practices) is aiming to establish state-specific BMP guidelines for every state by 2020. It is an admirable goal, as it recog- nizes that the 50 states have vastly different environmental legislative concerns to address. Fortunately, GCSAA provides a template and planning guide for making BMP guidelines (www.gcsaa.org/environment/bmp-planning- guide). Sixteen states have already developed BMP guidelines, and 25 more have guidelines in progress. On a globe or a map of our world, Michi - gan and Florida are two of the easiest states to pick out because they are both bordered pri- marily by water. at geographic fact is the principal reason that both states were among the first in the U.S. to establish environmental practices for the turfgrass industry. In the 1990s, Michigan golf course super- intendents requested support from Michigan State University in regard to environmental legislation. is request ultimately led to the formation of the Michigan Turfgrass Environ- mental Stewardship Program. e MTESP is based on 12 modules required for certifica- tion. e primary focus of the modules is the protection of ground and surface water, with an emphasis on storage, handling and con- tainment of petroleum products, fertilizers and pesticides in and around the maintenance facility. It is an outstanding document and workbook, but it is void of turfgrass mainte- nance management practices in regard to the environment. e Best Management Practices for the En- hancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses was published in 2007. As stated by Craig Weyandt, then-president of the Flor- ida Golf Course Superintendents Association, the best management practices were "born from the desire of Florida golf course super- intendents to demonstrate that environmental stewardship is a responsibility that is taken seriously." e main priority of the BMP was to correct any identified existing water qual- ity/quantity problems resulting from land use and operations. It's an outstanding document, and it does cover turfgrass maintenance prac- tices. However, it covers them in an elemen- tary manner, with the intention of explaining common practices to a novice. e aim of GCSAA's BMP initiative is for facilities to promote golf course sustain- ability, with an emphasis on four key areas: water conservation, water quality protection, pollution prevention and energy conservation. With that in mind, I would like to encourage each state BMP committee to consider includ- ing common maintenance practices in order to tell the reader how the golf industry uses practices and technologies to reduce inputs and costs and thereby promote sustainability. Given the confines of this column, I would like to point out the following changes/ad - vancements in our industry that promote sus- tainably. • Proper turfgrass cultivar selection for your site. is is IPM 101, and our industry has come a long way in the past 30 years with improved cultivars. Choosing the best spe- cies for a site can have a long-term impact on turfgrass health and will significantly re- duce water and pesticide inputs. • Use of time domain reflectometry to establish the proper amount of irrigation water. is will save irrigation water and decrease pump use, which decreases electrical use and wear and tear on heads while it reduces cost. • Frequent lightweight rolling to increase soil moisture (see above) and decrease dollar spot and other diseases. Frequent lightweight roll- ing should take place a minimum of three times per week and a maximum of twice a day, depending on the soil and location. e reduction in disease outbreaks should, at a minimum, result in fungicide being ap- plied at the lowest recommended label rate. Many superintendents have reported the elimination of at least one fungicide appli- cation per year. • Frequent foliar applications of nitrogen to re- duce the amount of nitrogen applied per appli- cations and per year. is minimizes (almost eliminates) the potential for fertilizer con- tamination into ground and surface water. I could go on and on, and perhaps I will with the Michigan chapter. I just hope I en- couraged some of you to please consider the cultural and mechanical practices our indus- try currently uses and the impact they have on sustainability compared to the way we used to maintain turf. It is a great story, and we should all be proud to talk about it. Thomas A. Nikolai, the "Doctor of Green Speed," is the turfgrass academic specialist at Michigan State University of East Lansing, Mich., and a frequent GCSAA educator. Best management practices for all The aim of GCSAA's BMP initiative is for facilities to promote golf course sustainability. Thomas A. Nikolai, Ph.D. nikolait@msu.edu (up to speed)

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