Golf Course Management

JUN 2018

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

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06.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 67 The RESEARCH SAYS • The USGA recommendations for green construction were revised in 2018 to take advantage of new scientific research, modern construction techniques and technology, and advances in material testing methods. • In many cases, local materials can be used successfully without the need to import sand and gravel. • The revised recommendations focus on new technology for testing material stability and the possibility of iron oxide layers forming at the sand/gravel interface. • A discussion of alternative construction methods includes variable-depth construction, geotextile fabrics, crumb rubber, carbonate dissolution in root zone and gravel and other topics. • The biggest change is the expanded discussion on customizing root-zone materials to meet a course's specific growing environment and golfer expectations. expressed reservations about the longevity and integrity of the geotextile fabrics. As such, these materials are currently not in - cluded in the recommendations, but fur- ther research may shed light on whether new technology in geotextiles will hold up over time. • Crumb rubber. Crumb rubber was dis - cussed during one of the review commit- tee meetings as an alternative for gravel. e USGA is interested in strategies and technology that will lessen the cost of con - structing putting greens and take advan- tage of recycled materials. At this point, more research is required to confidently recommend such materials. • Carbonate dissolution in root zone and gravel. ere has been discussion among the review committee regarding the po - tential for root-zone materials containing high concentrations of calcium carbonate to dissolve over time with neutral or low- pH irrigation water. e result of such dis - solution could be a decrease in aeration porosity and saturated hydraulic conduc - tivity, not from carbonate cementation, but rather an increase in very fine sand or silt and clay. While this issue has been reported, there is little scientific research, and the intent is to investigate whether this is a problem that requires adjustments to the recommendations. Conclusion e 2018 revisions of the USGA Recom- mendations for a Method of Putting Green Con- struction were the result of an industrywide collaborative effort. e review committee considered relevant research, new technol - ogy, alternative materials and new construc- tion methods. e revised document has an expanded and enhanced discussion on root- zone selection, designed to allow courses to optimize and customize root-zone characteris - tics for their specific site conditions and golfer expectations. Acknowledgments ank you to the participants on the put- ting green recommendations review commit- tee, the USGA Green Section staff and Dr. Norm Hummel for their valued assistance and input during the review process. References 1. Frank, K.W., B.E. Leach, J.R. Crum, P.E. Rieke, B.R. Leinauer, T.A. Nikolai and R.N. Calhoun. 2005. Effect of rootzone material and depth on moisture retention in undulating USGA putting greens. USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online 4(11):1-9 (June 1, 2005). (http://usgatero.msu.edu/v04/n11.pdf) Accessed April 25, 2018. 2. Obear, G.R., and D.J. Soldat. 2014. Iron-cemented layers in putting green soils. Golf Course Manage - ment 82(4):96-100. (http://gcmdigital.gcsaa. org/i/284784-apr-2014/100) Accessed April 25, 2018. 3. USGA. 2015. An alternative to the gravel in USGA putting greens. (www.usga.org/course-care/ an-alternative-to-the-gravel-in-usga-putting- greens-21474858770.html) Accessed April 25, 2018. 4. USGA. 2015. Iron layer development in sand- based greens. Feb. 27, 2015. (www.usga.org/ course-care/iron-layer-development-in-sandbased- greens-21474861127.html) Accessed April 25, 2018. 5. USGA. 2015. Quality control sampling of sand and rootzone mixture stockpiles. 6 pages. (http://gsrpdf. lib.msu.edu/ticpdf.py?file=/article/anon-qual - ity-01-22-16.pdf) Accessed April 25, 2018. 6. USGA. 2018. Building the USGA putting green: Tips for success. 31 pages. (http://archive.lib.msu. edu/tic/usgamisc/monos/tipsforsuccess-2018.pdf) Accessed April 25, 2018. 7. USGA. 2018. USGA recommendations for a method of putting green construction. United States Golf Association, Liberty Corner, N.J. (http://archive.lib. msu.edu/tic/usgamisc/monos/2018recommendation smethodputtinggreen.pdf) Accessed April 25, 2018. 8. USGA. 2018. What is a USGA green? (www.usga. org/course-care/infographics/what-is-a-usga-put - ting-green.html) Accessed April 25, 2018. 9. USGA Green Section. 2018. Genesis and prevention of layers in putting green rootzone profiles. March 2, 2018. (http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home- page/course-care/turfgrass-and-environmental- research/research-updates/2018/genesis-and- prevention-of-layers-in-putting-green-rootzone-profi. html) Accessed April 25, 2018. Brian Whitlark (bwhitlark@usga.org) is an agronomist for USGA's West region and is located in Gilbert, Ariz.

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