Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

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

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30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 Teresa Carson Twitter: @GCM_Magazine Presented in partnership with Barenbrug (turf) dents to take a chance. "Nutrient deficiencies are scary, but easy to fix — you just add more of whatever you need. With excess nutrient appli - cations, there's nothing you can do. Everything you do on a daily basis — mowing, irrigation, etc. — could destroy your golf course, so don't fear a change like putting down less potassium. Just try something for a single season." On the other side of the continent, on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Crowther care - fully tends a nine-hole layout designed in 1936 by golf course architect Wayne Styles. Although Mink Meadows GC is not required to forgo synthetic pesticides, Crowther says he voluntarily hit the pause button on insecticides in November 1995, and he has made only one fungicide application in the past 21 years. In - stead of synthetic pesticides, Crowther began using a BioJect system to inject organic pes - ticides in 1998, and in 2011, he switched to a spray BioJect system and Pseudomonas aureofaciens. The evolution of his organic pro- gram continued when he started preparing his own P. aureofaciens brew in 2015. The course is not pristine. Small areas of the fairways and roughs sometimes suffer dam - age from skunks that dig up the turf in search of grubs, but the turf is simply repaired. Crab - grass is picked by hand. Red thread makes an appearance in spring. "You learn to live with a little bit of damage, but I maintain the greens as consistently as I can," Crowther says. "The organic program would not be successful with - out buy-in from the players, who are willing to put up with less-than-perfect conditions, and the staff who support the entire program. I am living proof that if the greens are good, a lot of sins are forgiven." A final word of advice from superinten - dents who manage their courses with the en- vironment in mind: Write a blog, publicize what you do, and, if you are recognized for your work, let the world know how you and your peers are caring for the environment. Teresa Carson is GCM 's science editor. Coast-to-coast sustainability At the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Or- lando last month, three superintendents whose courses span the continent — from the Sun - shine Coast of British Columbia to an island off the Massachusetts coast — discussed their success at maintaining courses that satisfy both golfers and Mother Nature. Each of the trio — Matthew Crowther, CGCS, Mink Meadows Golf Club, Vine - yard Haven, Mass.; Jason Haines, superinten- dent, Pender Harbour Golf Club, Madeira Park, British Columbia; and Chris Tritabaugh, su - perintendent, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn. — is growing cool-season grasses in either the northern United States or southern Canada. Haines and Tritabaugh emphasize their use of soil testing to reduce inputs. Although sur - veys have shown that, in general, superinten- dents who test their soils actually apply more inputs in order to meet conventional soil nu - trient guidelines, these keepers of the green are taking cues from recent research and the Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) guidelines (see the January 2014 issue of GCM, Pages 132-138). In the past, soil test results at Hazeltine had prompted Tritabaugh to apply more potassium in order to meet conventional guidelines, but reducing potassium applications from an N:K ratio of 1:2 to soluble applications in a 1:1 ratio has produced positive results. Snow mold pressure is lower, less product (potassium) is being used, and less labor (and therefore time) is expended making unnecessary applications. All of this translates into cost savings, and the surface quality of the turf has not been reduced. At nine-hole Pender Harbour, Haines says following the MLSN guidelines has had a big impact on fertilizer costs. He applies nutri - ents only as needed and is using less calcium, the soil has a low pH, and clover is no longer a problem. Proper timing of nitrogen appli - cations has also reduced dollar spot and fu- sarium. No potassium means no snow mold and no Poa annua. The overall results are "im - proved conditions, less disease, less expense and better grass," Haines says. One of the primary concerns expressed by turf managers who are still following conven - tional nutrition guidelines is a fear of nutri- ent deficiencies, but Haines urges superinten- At Pender Harbour GC, Jason Haines maintains an idyllic landscape with limited inputs. Photo by Jason Haines

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