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August 19, 2011 -- Volume 49, Number 33

The Drought Of 2011 Continues 
Green Section Mid-Continent Director Bud White provides important insight when 
dealing with the one of the most difficult years on record.

by the Green Section Staff
Overhead of drought stressed fairway

This bermudagrass turf will recover once the rains return - assuming it is not worn out by excessive traffic in the interim.  


There is no better time to document the failings in an irrigation system than with aerial photos taken during a drought. If you are wondering how to get inexpensive aerial photos like this one, check out othis brief video -  Kite Aerial Photography  by Jim Moore, USGA 


Much of the country suffered severe drought this year, and in some areas the dry, hot conditions continue to cause major damage to golf courses. With home lawns and parks also burning up, most golfers recognize that superintendents can only do so much to minimize the damage to their course. However, many are not aware that the damage suffered this year will affect courses for years to come. Facilities in the hardest hit areas have seen severe injury to trees, cracking of cart paths, and widespread damage to irrigation systems, in addition to the large-scale losses of turfgrass. Next year is likely to bring heavy weed pressure and reduced water allotments along with the continued loss of trees.  


As is the case with every challenge, those who are best prepared stand out from the rest. This free webcast covers a wide range of issues and provides real-world suggestions and observations to help you and your facility deal with a summer that many of us can't wait to be over.


The link below will take you to a site where you can view and/or download the webcast recording. No recording key is required so leave that field blank. Also, we recommend selecting the Microsoft Live Meeting Replay option since it is more compatible with various computers.


Please note that the webcast is approximately one hour in length so allow time for it to begin to play (depends on your connection speed). View or download the webcast recording 


Also, select this link to review a collection of USGA Green Section articles relating to drought and irrigation issues.

View the articles. 



Fescue And The 111th U.S. Amateur
Erin Hills, Erin, Wisconsin, August 22-28, 2011 
Fescue will be the subject of a lot of talk next week - here's how you can brush up on your "fescue facts"
by the Green Section Staff

Erin Hills 

Photo USGA/Kirk H. Owens 


Video - The Green Section Talks Fescue

This brief video discusses the attributes, failings, playing characteristics, and regional adaptation of fescue.


Article - The Fescue of Your Dreams
Fescue is a catch-all term often used to describe a broad group of grasses. There are many different types of fescues - sheep's fescue, creeping red fescue, tall fescue, chewings fescue - to name just a few examples. The classic fine fescue rough that most golfers would encounter is most likely composed of some combination of sheep's, chewings and hard fescues.  

Article - Fine Fescue Roughs and Fairways - Green alternative or niche grass?  

At first glance, fine fescue turf is ideally suited for a golf course desiring low-input playing surfaces. The term "fine fescue" describes a group of at least five closely related, fine-bladed grasses in the genus Festuca that have similar desirable characteristics, such as persistence under low fertility and tolerance to shade and drought.  



All Things Considered
Trust But Verify 
Don't just assume - test putting green drainage characteristics
by Todd Lowe, Green Section agronomist
Sampling a green profile

Undisturbed core analysis can determine important soil physical properties and whether soils drain adequately.

USGA Guidelines for a Method of Putting Green Construction ("USGA Guidelines") were created in 1960 to  provide healthy putting greens with good soil physical properties. They were developed following years of research by Dr. Marvin Ferguson and other notable soil scientists, and they have been revised on several occasions since that time. USGA Guidelines provide the most reliable form of putting green construction, offering consistent drainage and compaction resistance.

Quality control measures can be implemented during the original construction or renovation, and there are several helpful resources on the USGA Green Section website to assist courses with this endeavor. However, following construction soil saturation problems can arise that may or may not have anything to do with the construction process. There are several techniques, tools, and analytical services that can be used to help determine the causes of various problems.

Read the rest of this article

Related articles

Building the USGA Green - Tips for Success  


Quality Control Sampling of Sand and Rootzone Mixture Stockpiles 

Regional Updates  

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North Central Region

Hot Cocoa In July 

by Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist


Cocoa mat drag

Cocoa mats are a highly versatile and effective tool for moving sand topdressing into a putting green without causing excessive abrasion to the turf. A lightweight mat is also a less aggressive substitute for a stiff brush or broom when used to lift dense, grainy turf just prior to mowing operations.

Cocoa probably wasn't your first choice of beverage during the torrid weather we experienced across the upper Midwest during July and early August.  However, cocoa may just be your best friend when you need to groom a putting surface for competitions or special events during the heat of midsummer.


It's strange how some basic turf maintenance practices seem to fall in and out of favor through the years.  Rolling, brushing and grooming come to mind.  During the early 90's, groomers were the rage and it was hard to find a roller or brush attachment on a mower being used at any golf course.  Now, everyone rolls, brushing is gaining momentum, while grooming is so "last decade."


It's too bad that the use of cocoa mats falls into the category of trendy maintenance practices.  When I inquire about cocoa mats at Turf Advisory Service visits the typical responses are: never tried them, too expensive or too old school.   Yet, they remain a highly useful, versatile and underutilized option for grooming a putting surface during stressful conditions.


Read the rest of this update. 



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Northeast Region

And You Thought 2010 Was A Tough Year 

by David A. Oatis, director 


Diagnostic laboratories have been overrun with disease samples, and outbreaks of summer patch and anthracnose both have been very common.  'Abiotic stress' has been a common diagnosis, and in plenty of cases, annual bluegrass has just run out of gas.  As is usually the case this time of year, annual bluegrass is the species that is failing most often.  This is a good year to have more bentgrass!


Depending on your location, your golf course may have experienced winter injury, torrential spring rains, a few weeks of mild weather, and then record-breaking July heat interspersed with a few more heavy rain events. Even August hasn't been easy.  And let's not forget the two to three generations of annual bluegrass weevils that have chewed their way through annual bluegrass populations and a little bentgrass at many courses this year.  Not surprisingly, plenty of golf courses have experienced problems as a result of the extreme weather conditions.


Read the rest of this update. 




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