Golf Course Management

JUL 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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28 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.17 Teresa Carson Twitter: @GCM_Magazine Presented in partnership with Barenbrug (turf) perintendents do more with less," Elmore says. "Our best research projects often explore con - cepts and ideas we get from superintendents." At Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, N.Y., Matt Ceplo, CGCS, winner of the 2013 GCSAA President's Award for Environmen - tal Stewardship, also appreciates the work coming out of Rutgers. "One of the more re - cent impacts of research has been the work that Dr. Bruce Clarke and Dr. James Murphy have done with anthracnose," says Ceplo. "We have saved thousands of dollars on expensive spray programs and provided better conditions because of this research." Like the scientists at Rutgers, other re - searchers across the country are putting GCSAA funding to work. Doug Karcher, Ph.D., is on GCSAA's research committee, and has received funding for his own proj - ects in the past. "At the University of Arkan- sas, we are doing turf management research to develop and identify practices that will pro - duce high-quality turf surfaces, either more ef- ficiently, with fewer inputs, and/or in a more environmentally friendly manner. Our results will be useful to superintendents, because they are science-based and backed by empirical evi - dence," says Karcher. The power of science is also invoked by Doug Soldat, Ph.D., of the University of Wis - consin, who says that, because of the influence of his undergraduate adviser, Wayne Kussow, Ph.D., "I became interested in using science to influence legislation, working to make sure regulations make sense. Science — when you're doing it correctly, explaining it correctly — can bring people together from different sides. The majority of people will come together once they understand. The science will still win — eventually." Teresa Carson is GCM 's science editor. (Re)searching for answers This past spring, two seemingly mun- dane events occurred that are critical to golf course superintendents. GCSAA and its phil - anthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), announced in May that the association had awarded $115,680 in research grants to scientists at six universi - ties throughout the country. And at the end of the month, the EIFG revealed that the on - line auction of the 2017 Rounds 4 Research national fundraising program had raised more than $217,000 — a record amount for the 6-year-old program. The proceeds from the auction are used by affiliated GCSAA chapters and turfgrass organizations to support turfgrass research, while the research grants support specific projects that have been submitted by univer - sity faculty for approval from GCSAA's re- search committee. Why is this funding critical? "Public budget funding for state universities has all but dried up, so research dollars must be raised by chapters, golf courses or per - sonal donations," says Richard Staughton, CGCS, superintendent at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club in Woodstock, Ga., and a member of GCSAA's research committee. Staughton says GCSAA's Georgia chapter funds research through the University of Georgia. These projects have an impact locally, and that the money raised through Rounds 4 Research al - lows the chapter to provide more support than it could otherwise. The mission of the GCSAA Research Pro - gram is "to support applied agronomic and en- vironmental research that will benefit super- intendents and the golf facilities they manage. The research is intended to be applied to prob - lem-solving efforts. ... Results should be avail- able to be immediately implemented by super- intendents to address a specific problem." University researchers submit formal pro - posals to the GCSAA Research Program's committee for review. Committee members evaluate the proposals independently and then meet as a group to discuss the merits of each, eventually selecting the projects they find most worthy of support. Funding is provided to researchers through their institutions, generally over a two-year pe - riod. Researchers may ask for a third year — or even a fourth — to finish a project that hasn't been completed. Projects may be extended for a number of reasons: Often the weather does not cooperate (it's difficult to study the effects of drought at a site experiencing heavy rains), or the pest being studied may not be present one year. After the research projects have been fin - ished, the scientists analyze the data and usu- ally publish their findings in a scientific jour- nal. Analyzing the data and writing a scientific paper can take several months, and publication in a journal is a lengthy process, usually requir - ing six months to a year or more. Accepting GCSAA's support requires the scientists involved to publish the results of the funded project in GCM. The projects sup - ported by GCSAA are applied research, which means that superintendents should be able to use the researcher's conclusions to improve their management practices, although not all projects will be relevant to all situations. Superintendents and scientists have both ex - pressed enthusiasm for GCSAA's support for re- search. Matt Elmore, Ph.D., at Rutgers Univer- sity was awarded a grant in 2017 to develop programs for Poa annua control in creeping bentgrass fairways. "I enjoy research projects where we explore new concepts that help su -

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