Golf Course Management

JAN 2014

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

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Greg Pheneger is the director of golf course management at John's Island Club in Florida's Indian River County. Photo courtesy of Greg Pheneger Aid over a leak in a dike." This is not to say that water quality is not an issue in Florida. Some bodies of water are genuinely threatened because of nonpoint-source nitrogen and other pollutants. "I'm for water quality. I fsh. I drink water. I need it to survive. But I want what they're basing their ordinances on to be science-based," Pheneger says. At John's Island, Pheneger manages three golf courses. Two of the courses are in the city of Indian River Shores. The third course is in Indian River County. The county and city have conficting restrictions. Indian River Shores follows the model ordinance, based on science that exempts golf, but the county adopted a blackout period that also requires at least 50 percent slow-release fertilizer on all common areas, around the clubhouse, croquet court and landscaping. To cope with the conficting rules, Pheneger says he's compartmentalized his 70-person crew as to who can do which tasks where and actually removed turf in certain areas, replacing it with ornamentals, to reduce confusion. Not too far away from Pheneger's facility, also in Indian River County, is The Moorings Yacht & Country Club. GCSAA Class A superintendent W. Craig Weyandt, who is also 50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 a Florida Master Naturalist, has been an outspoken proponent for keeping golf courses out of the fertilizer restrictions. His course borders the Indian River Lagoon, a 156-mile-long body of water that is home to 700 species of fsh. Weyandt says the lagoon is "nutrient impaired" and he cares deeply about the health of the waterway. Yet, he believes that it's not the golf courses along the water that have threatened the health of the lagoon. Imposed buffer zones along the water that help keep fertilizer apps where they're needed, and out of the water, are standard practice for superintendents in the area. Recent scientifc surveys back up Weyandt, a 23-year GCSAA member, and his fellow superintendents. The Ocean Research and Conservation Association recently conducted a test using a water-quality monitoring device called a Kilroy on the Indian River Lagoon. Weyandt says the device, used to measure salinity, temperature and pollution, actually showed the water adjacent to golf courses on the lagoon to be "cleaner" than in other areas tested. Still, no matter the scientifc evidence, emotions run high when it comes to environmental issues. Weyandt says following meetings where he's spoken on behalf of the golf industry he's been "verbally attacked" and has received some nasty letters from the opposing side. Unruh has witnessed similar tactics. "The environmental groups, the Sierra Club, put people on a bus holding up signs that say if you fertilize your lawn, you're killing manatees. It's all emotional. That's been a challenge for our side. An emotional response can never be combatted with a logical response. It won't win," Unruh says. Pheneger says he's heard that Hernando County, north of Orlando, is considering an ordinance that includes restricting golf course fertilizer on the playing surfaces, and other governments may be looking at golf, too. The best defense the industry can take against these kinds of restrictions, says Josko, is to "get out ahead of the issue." Josko helped the FTGA and allied associations to craft a plan to educate local governments about the benefts of proper fertilization regimens, pushing the state model ordinance as a framework, and keeping golf out of the mix. Since 2010, Josko reports that nine local governments have passed blackout periods and 44 have adopted the DEP model. The FGCSA helped to create a BMP certifcation program for golf course superintendents. According to Ralph Dain, GCSAA's feld staff representative for the Florida region,

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