Golf Course Management

APR 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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62 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.14 GIS highlights 62 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.14 USGA looks to the future of golf With a promise of "better times ahead for golf," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans opened the General Session on the Golf Industry Show's fnal day. After introduc - ing the elected and appointed leaders of the associations that join GCSAA in pre- senting the Golf Industry Show, Evans turned the program over to the USGA Green Section's managing director, Kimberly Erusha, Ph.D. Erusha began the USGA's presentation by announcing that the USGA Green Section will be renaming its Course Consulting Service, which was established in 1953 to provide agronomic advice to golf courses. The newly christened Turfgrass Advisory Service's 16 agronomists will continue to pro - vide the services that USGA is known for, including on-site services; written reports following visits; year-round consultation by correspondence and tele - phone; and availability of agronomists to speak at meetings, conferences and seminars. Erusha also introduced a video about the career of Peter Dernoeden, Ph.D., professor emeritus from the University of Maryland, who was presented the USGA Green Section Award on Saturday, Feb. 8, in Pinehurst, N.C. The General Session featured the USGA Green Section's technical director, Matt Prin - gle, Ph.D.; director of education and outreach, Jim Moore; and USGA agronomist for the South- east Region, Chris Hartwiger. The speakers all focused on pace of play and golf 's use of water. Pringle, who is responsible for the USGA's technical standards department, said that the USGA is using science and technology to preserve and enhance the game of golf. According to Pringle, pace of play, like a traffc jam, is an engineering problem, and players are no more at fault than drivers stuck in traffc. If golfers come onto the course faster than they leave, then pace of play is slowed. As part of its campaign to improve pace of play, the USGA will be giving golfers GPS devices to carry in their pockets while they play a course. After completing a round, golfers will return the devices, and the data will be collected and analyzed to determine golfer activity for each course and what changes can be made to improve the pace of play. To participate in the program, contact Pringle at mpringle@usga.org. Golf should be fast, friendly and fun, according to USGA's Hartwiger. Pace of play is impor - tant because golfers are buying an experience, and anything that mars that experience, such as waiting to take a shot, should be avoided. USGA has an online resource center for superintendents who want to improve the golfng experience at their courses by improving pace of play ( www. usga.org/paceofplay ). Making golf friendly also means that all players should be treated fairly. Bad placement of women's tees has become a common complaint, and superintendents and golf course owners should realize that women want to be challenged, but they don't want to be intimidated (by the staff, other players or the environment at the course). Tees should be placed to accommo - date the average handicap (15 for men, 27 for women). Water has become a serious concern for golf courses, and water conservation is also connected to pace of play. "It's about more than conserving water," said USGA's director of education, Jim Moore, "it's about staying in business." The challenge for courses is to conserve time and water. To maintain the pace of play, courses can remove trees and lower roughs. Superintendents can re - duce maintenance and water applications in areas that are seldom played, and reallocate resources to areas that come into play most often. Expanding rough areas and giving some areas minimal maintenance can reduce fuel, labor, fertility and chemical inputs and water use. The GPS pro - gram described above can be used to see where golfers go — and where they don't go. Where they don't go, maintenance can be reduced without lessening the quality of the golf experience. Another way to reduce maintenance and water use is to enhance native areas. USGA is working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildfower Center outside of Austin, Texas, on converting stands of grass to native wildfowers. Addressing pace of play and water use beneft the game, reduce expenses for the golf course and can make the game more enjoyable, Moore concluded. USGA leaders take the stage for the Golf Industry Show General Session (from top): Kimberly Erusha, Ph.D.; Matt Pringle, Ph.D.; Chris Hartwiger; and Jim Moore. Photos by Roger Billings 056-067_GIS_Recap_14.indd 62 3/18/14 2:49 PM

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