Golf Course Management

JUL 2013

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

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gcm ex t ra The author is shown emerging from the rhizotron at the University of Georgia, where wetting agent research is carried out. Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia Wetting agent chemistry: Who cares? What do consumers really know about the chemical composition of the wetting agents they purchase? An acknowledged expert in the field asks, 'Does it matter?' Keith Karnok, Ph.D. 70 GCM July 2013 At the recent Golf Industry Show in San Diego, a superintendent asked me which wetting agent chemistry was best. He then began to rattle off long and impressive chemical names such as "alkyl polyglucosides," "polyoxyethylene," "super-blocked end polymers," etc. My response was a polite but straightforward, "Who cares?" That is, who cares about the chemistry? Of course we should all be concerned about the chemicals we use in terms of the environment and health, but here I am discussing the chemistry of wetting agents in terms of the mode of action and/or the performance of the product. The only question should be, "Does the product perform as the manufacturer claims?" The individual was obviously surprised by my response. Here I would like to explain why I believe too much attention is being paid to the advertised chemistries of wetting agents. 'Old' versus 'new' chemistry It has become quite common over the past several years for some companies and individuals to refer to certain wetting agents as having "old" chemistry and other

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