Golf Course Management

JUL 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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70 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 Leo Feser award CANDIDATE This article is eligible for the 2015 Leo Feser Award, presented annually since 1977 to the author of the best superintendent-written article published in GCM during the previous year. Superintendents receive a $300 stipend for articles. Feser Award winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Golf Industry Show, where they are recognized. They also have their names engraved on a plaque permanently displayed at GCSAA headquarters. challenging and enjoyable for the golfers. The fnal aspect of the course shutdown was accommodating the members through reciprocal agreements with a number of golf courses within 30-100 miles of the Coun - try Club of Decatur. We are also fortunate enough to have a local park district that op - erates three outstanding golf courses, and the district and the club reached an agreement al - lowing members to play these public courses for a similar reciprocal fee. This was a great way to meet the needs of our members and to help stimulate the local economy. Lessons learned Word of our zoysiagrass conversion spread quickly, and before I knew it, there was a pa - rade of superintendents, sales reps and educa- tors coming out to see the show. Who could blame them? Ours was the frst club in the area to venture into zoysia, and since I was one of the frst guys on the block to go this route, it was always nice to have another set of eyes on the course and to discuss the project with a colleague. The driving point of this mission was making our fairways heat- and drought-tol - erant, along with the benefts of watering less and worrying less about a hot day of heavy play. Since the grow-in, irrigation amounts have changed drastically, and we expect to save more than 7 million gallons of water per year at this course. The transition provided the opportunity for a true audit of our Toro SitePro system. While the grow-in was wind - ing down, this audit brought many changes to our irrigation system — simple things like changing nozzles and switching from full to part circles in other areas. These changes, along with paying close attention to each individual head's output and percentages, really streamlined our water output to coincide with our actual needs. It's true that numbers never lie, but one thing I've discovered in conversations during this time is how few superintendents know how much water they actually use. Whether the number is high or low is never really to be disputed from one course to the next because it is the superintendent's call and he or she is the one monitoring the need. But if your only record of how much water you're using is "10 minutes on this and 12 minutes on that," then it's really diffcult to plan how to conserve or, in many cases, to apply a healthier amount of water. I believe that the support of everyone at the Country Club of Decatur as well as the public- private engagement made this entire project a huge success. It started with open minds and communication — something that should be stressed to any golf course community or club that pursues a project of this magnitude. It also invites the members/golfers who have witnessed the grow-in process to take owner - ship and pride in the course, and that is the goal for every superintendent. Jonathan Pokrzywinski is the GCSAA Class A superinten- dent at the Country Club of Decatur (Ill.) and a 16-year member of the association. Ten months after seeding with zoysia, this CC of Decatur fairway was ready for play. The progress from seed to lush turf in one season exceeded expectations. The zoysia also held up under extremely tough winter conditions. 062-071_July14_DecaturCC.indd 70 6/17/14 2:31 PM

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