Banner image

August 5, 2011 -- Volume 49, Number 31 

Fore The Golfer
You will never see this on television.
Unfortunately, you might during your next round.

by James F. Moore, director
It should never happen - but it does. Someone gets mad over missing a putt and takes a swipe at the ball or at the green and leaves a large divot in the putting surface. So what do you do? It depends somewhat on who you are. If you are the course superintendent or one of the maintenance staff and you see someone do this you might be tempted to move the player out of bounds. But what if you are a golfer? What are your options?

Divot on the putting green

Putting is tough enough without a divot lying between your ball and the hole. What do you do?

The answer can be found by reading Rule 16 - The Putting Green. Specifically, Rule 16-1c is very clear. While a player may repair an old hole plug or damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball, any other damage to the putting green must not be repaired if it might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole.

In a tournament situation, the player could appeal to the committee to declare the damaged area as ground under repair and relief could be granted. It is also worth reviewing the decision 16-1a/13 Line of Putt Damaged Accidentally by Opponent, Fellow-Competitor or Their Caddies. This decision addresses the situation in which the players ball was at rest on the green when the damage occurred on the line of the putt. "In equity (Rule 1-4), the player may have the line of putt he had when his ball came to rest. The line of putt may be restored by anyone."

This decision also states: "If it is not possible to restore the line of putt, the player would be justified in requesting the Committee to grant relief. If the damage is severe enough, the Committee may declare the area to be ground under repair, in which case the competitor may take relief under Rule 25-1b(iii)."

If a member of the Committee is not readily available you should play the ball as it lies.  If you believe that the damage should be considered ground under repair you do have options.  In match play, you could choose to take relief but if your opponent does not agree, he can make a claim.  In stroke play, you may play two balls under Rule 3-3, one from the original location and another after taking relief.  If a claim is made or you play two balls, the Committee must be notified to obtain a final ruling.


 You also would be doing the course and your fellow-players a favor by notifying the course management of the damage so it can be repaired. 


Some Greenkeeping Lessons Taught in 1935
This article could have been written for the summer of 2011
Think fans on the golf course are a new idea? Read this article.
Think fans are a new idea? Read this article - you might be surprised.
In March of 1936, Mr. John Monteith Jr. of the Green Section wrote an article for The Greenkeepers' Reporter (a very early predecessor to today's GCSAA Golf Course Management magazine) about the difficulties experienced by golf courses across the country during the summer of 1935. Monteith sounds like he was visiting courses across the U.S. in 2011. He describes problems and solutions that virtually every superintendent and most golfers can relate to - more than 75 years later! Watering and fertilizing programs, the limitations of the grasses in use, the control of diseases, and even the importance of air movement, are all discussed.

Whether you are a golfer, superintendent, or involved in the management of a course in any manner, It will be well worth your time to read this article. Here is a short except to give you an idea.


If one tries to summarize last year's experience in greenkeeping he becomes immediately aware that no single development stands out as new. This can by no means be interpreted as labeling last year as wasted from the standpoint of turf culture. On the contrary the season proved to be decidedly interesting even without any new problems presented from perhaps a slightly new angle or with new intensity.


The extensive loss of turf on many of our golf courses during the past summer naturally made many club members raise the question as to what benefit has been derived from all the educational programs and recent scientific improvements in greenkeeping. The criticisms of greenkeepers and greenkeeping methods that were so prevalent during the past season were generally due to the fact that club members in their turf demands made little attempt to distinguish between progress and perfection. Progress in greenkeeping methods in the past few years was clearly demonstrated by the large number of cases where turf was maintained with little loss during the extremely trying weather conditions that prevailed in many parts of the country during the past season. Perfection in greenkeeping, as, all of us closely connected with turf culture are quick to recognize, is still far in the future.


Read the entire article

Using Turf Fans In The Northeast
Limited air movement isn't just a Southeast or Transition Zone problem
by Adam Moeller and Brett Chapin
Portable fan

Fans on portable trailers offer flexibility to improve air movement at many green sites.

Imagine yourself playing golf with friends or family on a warm summer day. Everyone is enjoying the game and then you get to that one green. Suddenly the air feels stagnant and hot, you start to sweat more, your clothes stick to your body, and you can't wait to get to the next hole, where there always seems to be a nice cooling breeze. Now imagine staying on that green the whole day, throughout the entire summer, with endless hot, humid days without any relief from a cool breeze. Pretty miserable, right? Well that's exactly what the putting green turf suffers through when it is located in a microclimate that has limited air movement.


The microclimates in which putting greens are located play a major role in the superintendent's ability to produce good golf conditions. Many articles have been published in the Green Section Record about the negative effects that shade have on putting greens, but only a few articles discuss the consequences of poor air movement.


Read the rest of this article. 


Adam Moeller is an agronomist in the USGA Green Section Northeast Region, and Brett Chapin is the golf course superintendent at Redding Country Club in Redding, Connecticut. 



USGA Continues To Support Vital Turfgrass Research 
Deciding where the funding goes is a tough but important job
by Dr. Kimberly Erusha, senior director, Green Section

This week, the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee met in Denver, Colorado to discuss nearly 60 research proposals submitted from universities across the country in response to the 2011 call for proposals.  More than $300,000 will be distributed to the final 12-15 project selections.  The grants will range up to $25,000 annually, with the potential to be renewed up to three years.  


The research projects are distributed in the areas of integrated turfgrass management, breeding, and product testing.  The results of these studies will lead to the development of turfgrass management programs that conserve natural resources, investigate economic impacts, and address quality playing conditions.  The USGA has a long-term commitment to improving golf course playing conditions for golfers and supporting scientific research..   

Research committee

The USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee meeting in Denver. From left to right, Dr. Paul Rieke, Mr. Jim Moore, Dr. Scott Warnke, Dr. Mike Kenna, Dr. Ali Harivandi, Dr. Kimberly Erusha, Dr. Clark Throssell (photo by Mr. Jim Snow).


Concerned About The Ramifications Of Severe Drought?
This Green Section webcast should be on your schedule!

Date: Friday, August 12, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM Central

by Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region

It's official...Texas is now suffering through the most severe drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.  In fact, the lower Mid-Continent Region is setting records in extreme temperature highs and drought.  The hottest day on record was hit in the Texas Panhandle in Borger, Texas at 113°, and Pecos, Texas, has had no rain since September 23, 2010, which is one of the longest rain-free periods for a U.S. city in recorded history, outside the desert regions of California and Arizona.  Not only is Texas affected, but Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, and portions of Kansas are being blasted with these same conditions as well.   


Invite your green committee, board members, and staff to be a part of this webcast as we review current conditions, the role of the irrigation system, how to prepare your turfgrass if there's no break in current conditions, turfgrass drought stress in dormancy, surviving potential winter kill, and preparing for spring in 2012.  It will be a webcast you can't afford to miss!


Be sure to check next Friday's issue of the The Record for connection information to the webcast.  




Regional Updates 
by the Green Section staff

Mid-Atlantic gif 


Mid-Atlantic Region


Is The Worst Over?

by Stanley J. Zontek, director



July soil temperatures from a course in Richmond, Virginia shows just how hot soil temperatures became along with the air temperatures. With the elevated levels, the roots of cool-season grasses become less functional.

It's official, July, 2011 was the hottest month for the number of days above 90 degrees F in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Seemingly everyone in the country is dealing with oppressive heat and humidity and it has taken a toll on golf course turf.  


The following update will pass on a few agronomic points that worked or didn't work this summer (in no special order):


Location, Location, Location.  The worst damaged greens were generally located in areas of shade or pockets of poor air circulation.  Grass growing in the shade is always weaker than grass growing in full sunlight.  


With prolonged heat stress, weaker greens suffered. The solution is simple, clear underbrush, selectively remove trees, or install a fan.  


Read the rest of Stan's points 



Florida Region 


Florida Region


Growing and Mowing Like Mad 

by Todd Lowe, senior agronomist


Mowing scalping and clumps of clippings can be problematic for courses that are not adequately staffed to mow frequently.

Mowers are working overtime on many Florida golf courses.  Increased rainfall, heat, and humidity have had a significant impact on turf growth and quality. Golf courses that were brown and dormant from drought stress six weeks ago are now quite healthy.  In fact, some golf courses are now growing so much that it is difficult to keep up with daily mowing.


Mowing frequency is directly correlated to growth rate. As growth increases, so does the need for frequent mowing and mowers scalping into underlying stems causing turf to become yellow to tan in color. Constant scalping can have a negative impact on golf course aesthetics and turf health. Also, infrequent mowing at this time of year produces an abundance of clippings that must be dragged back into the turf canopy, if not, clumps of clippings will decrease golf course quality and injure the underlying turf through heat stress. Constant and heavy rainfall makes daily mowing difficult as lightning is unsafe for golf course staff. 


Read the rest of Todd's update




We've all heard the phrase "no pain, no gain" as it relates to exercise. The clear message is that improving physical conditioning requires sacrifice and exercise.  Based on the USGA championships I've worked during my career, it seems the same can be applied to preparing a course for a high level event.


Once exercise and healthy living become a lifestyle, endurance is improved. Doesn't the same apply to golf turf conditioning and preparing for a big event? If the turf has not been well conditioned in advance, the resulting pain from hosting a big event will be intensified.  In the same way, when the turf is not well conditioned in advance it will not handle tough weather - there will be more weakening and potential loss.  While there are times to pull back, it is not possible to maintain a permanently pulled back posture and still provide top-notch conditioning for a high level event, especially when weather conditions are harsh.


The underlying message is simple - guard agronomic building blocks (proper mowing, good water management, sound fertilization and healthy microenvironments) so that a solid foundation is in place to maximize quality and dependability when the hard race must be run. Then, beyond a solid foundation, the daily details of course maintenance must be fitted to available resources. The best way to candidly evaluate your foundation and daily maintenance operation is through an on-site visit from your local Green Section agronomist. Professional, candid and confidential feedback on the maintenance operation at your course is money well spent when considering the big picture, and the occasional race that must be run. Give us a call to lay out an exercise program that will improve the performance and dependability of your course - if you follow the outlined program there will be much to gain.   






Rolling Poa annua

Courses in California are seeing positive results on Poa annua greens by reducing mowing and increasing rolling frequency to six times per week.

During recent visits in California, very positive results have been observed at courses that adopt a slightly different protocol for managing

Poa annua putting greens - less mowing and more rolling. Oregon State University Researchers Golembiewski, Blankenship and McDonald have shown that rolling greens daily and mowing four days per week produced better green speed than mowing daily and rolling on a frequency of only three days per week. California superintendents who use the Oregon State protocol are seeing healthier turf, improved surface quality, and no significant difference in speed on the days the greens are rolled only.


Although many superintendents roll greens two or three times per week in combination with mowing, they have been cautious about increasing the rolling frequency due to concerns about increased soil compaction and additional wear caused by rolling equipment on the edges of greens. So far, the superintendents who use this new protocol have not seen any detrimental effects with the increased rolling frequency and have been very pleased with the appearance and playing quality of the greens.


As with any new product or practice, we recommended that you test the procedures on a small scale and evaluate the results.  Here are a few key points to consider, based on conversations with superintendents using this new protocol:


Read the rest of Pat's update 





Hand watering

Timely and precise hand-watering throughout the day is one of the most important measures taken to help creeping bentgrass and Poa annua putting greens survive hot summer temperatures. It also is the reason turf managers and their staff must log long hours to maintain the turf.


Although the summer of 2010 was one of the hottest on record and widely publicized for the wake of destruction in the turf industry, it looks as though we've jumped out of the oven and right into the fire in 2011. Popular phrases that include 'the perfect storm', 'equal opportunity destroyer', and 'turf loss of epic proportions' are being bantered about once again, as Mother Nature turns up the heat and tries to roast the cool-season turfgrasses found on many golf courses beyond well done.


Managing turf during June and July in the upper Mid-Continent Region has been anything but easy, given the persistent heat wave. For much of Kansas and Missouri, nearly every other day during the past nine weeks has exceeded 100°F, and nighttime lows have rarely dropped below 80°F. Even though it is hard to imagine, 2011 may surpass 2010 for record heat. Some superintendents are already stretched, as this summer has dealt them an even worse set of circumstances. August conditions may leave some to wonder how they will have any turf to manage as putting green soil temperatures may continue to exceed 90 degrees.  


Somewhat surprisingly, education and communication efforts that were effective last year are not providing the same understanding ears this year. Course officials and golfers seem to be less receptive to the news about heat stress.  This is a good time to revisit some fundamental principles of turf management:

Mid-Continent region 


Mid-Continent Region


 Out Of The Oven And Into The Fire 

by Ty McClellan , agronomist


Southwest Region 


Southwest Region


Less Mowing And More Rolling Benefit Poa annua Greens

by Pat Gross , director   

north central gif 


North Central Region


No Pain, No Gain 

by R.A. (Bob) Brame, director 

Read the rest of Ty's update







Forward The Record To A Friend
It's Easy To Share This Publication With Others
by the USGA Green Section Staff
Each Green Section Record issue includes articles and information that appeal to golfers and those who work in the game. Please help us distribute this publication as widely as possible. The best way to do this is to click the "Forward to a Friend" button below.


Thanks for your help!


Green Section Record Archive 
Looking for a previous issue of the Green Section Record?
The Green Section Record has been published under various names since 1921 and is composed of an amazing collection of full-text articles and photos. This collection is stored and maintained by the wonderful library staff at Michigan State University in the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF). All past issues of the Record, including this one, can be accessed free-of-charge by following this link.

Search the Green Section Record


The USGA Green Section Portal
A Valuable, Free Resource
Take a minute to visit the Green Section's portal at to find information regarding upcoming live webcasts and links to recordings of more than 30 previously-delivered webcasts and announcements of upcoming USGA Green Section activities, education conferences, and meetings.


Important Links


USGA Green Section
 P.O. Box 708
Far Hills, NJ  07931-0708


Join Our Mailing List 



©2011 by United States Golf Association®

Permission to reproduce articles or material in the USGA Green Section Record is granted to

newspapers, periodicals, and educational institutions unless specifically noted otherwise. All materials
must be used in their entirety.  Credit must be given to the author, the article's title, the USGA Green
Section Record, and the issue's date. Copyright protection must be afforded. No  material may be
copied or used for any advertising, promotion or commercial purposes.

Green Section Record (ISSN 2156-5813) is published weekly via electronic mail by the
United States Golf Association®, Golf House, Far Hills, NJ 07931.