The USGA Green Section
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May 6, 2011 -- Volume 49, Number 18

"A Gem In The Game Of Golf"
The Game Loses a True Champion
by David Shefter, USGA

Tom ChisholmTom Chisholm, who served on the USGA Executive Committee for seven years (1990-1996), died on May 3, 2011, just six days shy of his 77th birthday in his hometown of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Among his several duties on the Executive Committee involved chairing the Green Section, Museum and Library, and Amateur Public Links Championship committees.


Before joining the Executive Committee, Chisholm, the former vice president of Eaton Corporation, had been a long-time green committee chairman at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. When he was appointed chair of the Green Section Committee by USGA President Reg Murphy in 1994, Chisholm brought a keen interest and passion to the importance of turfgrass and the environmental programs, and he recognized that playing surfaces on golf courses would decline unless the USGA applied essential resources to the need. He continued to volunteer on the USGA Green Section Committee from 1997 - 2011, and supported funding turfgrass research at Michigan State University for the benefit of the game. In addition to his long volunteerism to the USGA, Chisholm was dedicated to working with the GCSAA to combat criticism that golf courses jeopardize the environment.


"Tom was a gem in the game of golf," said Jim Snow, the managing director of the USGA Green Section. "Long after his tenure on the Executive Committee, Tom continued to visit with Green Section staff and promote the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program. He will be sorely missed."


Outside of his Green Section commitments, Chisholm worked as a Rules official at many U.S. Opens and Masters events, and he was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.


"My dad's dedication to the game was surpassed only by his love for his family and friends," said his son, Tom Chisholm Jr. "His handshake was his word. He embodied honor and integrity, which are the core attributes in the game of golf."


On the state level, Chisholm served as president of the Golf Association of Michigan and was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. Chisholm was in the same induction class as former USGA Women's Committee chairman Jeanne Myers.


Chisholm is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carol, daughters Donna Chisholm and Kathleen McInerney, and two sons, Tom Jr. and Patrick. He also is survived by six grandchildren.



Fore The Golfer
It's time we give you credit for your efforts!
by the Green Section Staff

Many a Green Section Record article has been written discussing the need for golfers to take better care of the course they play, and no doubt more will come in the future. However, it is equally important to recognize that many players care a great deal about "their" course to the point of spending their own time, labor, and money to help with the upkeep.

The Green Section would like to recognize such efforts and share them in the Record in the hope that other players will follow suit. Send us a picture or two along with a short description of how the players at your golf course contribute to its care. Send the pictures and write-up to Jim Moore at


Divot Filling Party


This week's example comes from the Club at Sonterra in San Antonio, Texas. On Friday, April 22, the club held a divot filling party from 5:30 to 7:00 PM on their North course. More than 50 members showed up for the event, and, in less than two hours, filled divots throughout the course. The club provided the tools, divot mix, and a demonstration of the proper method of ball mark repair.  There also was a refreshment wagon for the volunteers at work, followed by a fish fry on the club's patio where "divot-fillers" enjoyed a discounted meal. In addition to improving the playing quality of the course, this activity builds member pride in the club as a whole.


Divot filling

A divot filling party can be conducted at any golf course - private or public. All it takes is a little coordination on the part of the staff and a group of players anxious to help out.

Remember to send us examples of the good work done by golfers at your course so we can give credit where credit is due!




Make The Most From Your USGA TAS Visit
Communication is key
by Chris Hartwiger, senior agronomist
TAS visit

The USGA Turf Advisory Service is a tool to encourage open discussion about golf course conditioning and maintenance.

Communication. You know it is important and a challenge. But time and time again, communication arises as the most common problem facing golf course superintendents. As the focal point of golf course maintenance operations, the superintendent is communicating daily with golfers, employees, and managers. Building successful relationships with these groups is as important as understanding the principles of turfgrass management.


Each year the USGA Green Section agronomists conduct Turf Advisory Service (TAS) visits at nearly 1600 golf courses. In addition to providing technical information, many superintendents use the TAS as a means to enhance communication between important personnel at their course. In this article, we share several ways superintendents have used the TAS to improve communications at their courses.


Read the rest of this article.



Regional Updates  

north central gifNorth-Central Region 

by R.A. (Bob) Brame, director, North-Central Region 


Rhizoctonia large patch disease has been active and the wet weather has intensified the spread, making control efforts more difficult. In a few cases, the disease has remained active despite recent fungicide applications.  In such situations a second fungicide application may be needed, especially if the wet weather lingers.  So far, scattered occurrences of Microdochium patch (pink snow mold) has been the only real disease on cool-season turf.  However, that could change quickly if temperatures warm up and moisture levels continue.



Brown Patch and rain

Be very guarded with needed aeration this spring, and don't allow the wet weather to cancel what will directly affect turf quality through the coming summer months. Postponing needed aeration is certainly a reality of working with Mother Nature, but skipping or canceling is an unnecessary risk. Aeration scheduling should always include an alternate date in case the desired target date is compromised by weather conditions.

Read the rest of this update   



NorthwestIreland Links - Firm and Fast Can Last!
by Larry Gilhuly
, director, Northwest Region 


Ireland linksA recent vacation to Ireland once again confirmed that the Irish have it right.  Their golf courses have shown that firm and fast conditions can be obtained in a climate that is nearly identical to the Pacific Northwest.  Do they have secrets we don't know about?  Not really, but with a few of their concepts in place, firm and fast playing conditions can be achieved in the Pacific Northwest.  Let's take a look at how it does and does not apply to this part of the country.  


Larry examines soil types, "buggy" usage, trees, and color in the rest of this update. 


Read the rest of this update. 



Southwest RegionAddressing Shade Issues
by Pat Gross, director, Southwest Region 


Based on visits from Los Angeles to central Mexico this past winter, there was no doubt that heavily shaded areas of golf courses sustained more turf injury and delayed recovery in the spring.  Now is a good time to take a closer look at sun and shade patterns throughout the golf course and develop plans for tree pruning and selective tree removal so that that turf growth will be as vigorous as possible going into summer and the same problems can be avoided next winter.


Shade issuesMost turf species require at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day for healthy growth and development.  Emphasis should be placed on insuring good early morning and mid-day sunlight by evaluating the eastern and southern sides of greens, tees, and fairway landing zones. Reducing shade in these areas will stimulate stronger turf growth, help dry the turf in the morning, and melt frost during the winter season. 


Recognizing that tree removal can be a controversial issue, there are several tools available to identify specific trees that need to be addressed and communicate the rationale for these programs to owners and golfers.  The following references and tools will be helpful as you evaluate sun/shade patterns and develop your program for the coming year:


Read the rest of this update.    


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