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March 02, 2012 -- Volume 50, Number 05    

2012 USGA Green Section Award 
Dr. Wayne Hanna, recipient of the Green Section's highest honor
Dr. Wayne Hanna
Dr. Wayne Hanna, 2012 USGA Green Section Award Recipient


Turfgrass scientist Dr. Wayne Hanna, of Chula, Ga., is the recipient of the 2012 USGA Green Section Award from the United States Golf Association for his achievements in developing environmentally friendly grasses that have made a tremendous impact on golf courses around the world.

Presented annually since 1961, the Green Section Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the game through their work with turfgrass.The USGA Green Section was created in 1920 to conduct research and to collect and distribute information about the proper maintenance and upkeep of golf courses to Member Clubs and courses.

During his 40-year career, Hanna has produced bermudagrasses such as TifSport, TifEagle and TifGrand, all of which are hardier and less costly to maintain, while providing excellent fairway and putting surfaces for the enjoyment of millions of players, including those competing in USGA championships.

"I've gotten a lot of feedback over the years," said Hanna, "but when an honor like this comes from the USGA Green Section, it's the icing on the cake. The USGA is the leader in making sure these grasses we develop perform to expectations and beyond."

A native of Texas, Hanna earned multiple degrees, including a Ph.D. in genetics, from Texas A&M University. He settled in Tifton, Ga., in 1971, beginning a long career as a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia.

Hanna collaborated with Dr. Glenn Burton, recipient of the 1965 USGA Green Section Award, and their breakthroughs over the years are a big reason Tifton is known as the bermudagrass capital of the world. Hanna's innovations have provided ideal surfaces for home lawns, public spaces and sports fields, including many college football and NFL stadiums.

The golf industry has been one of the biggest benefactors of Hanna's turfgrass advances, and the USGA's Green Section staff has worked closely with him for decades, funding his research and consulting with him. The best example of the successful relationship between Hanna and the USGA is the development of TifEagle, which was released in 1998 and offered an improved putting surface for courses in warm climates.

The Plantation Course at The Landings Club, in Savannah, Ga., was the first course in the country to install TifEagle greens. Thirteen years later, The Landings was the host club of the 2011 USGA Women's State Team Championship, and it had TifEagle on all six courses.

"TifEagle provides a much higher-quality putting surface on a year-round basis," said Mike Perham, the director of golf course maintenance at The Landings Club. "It allows us to meet the demands of the modern golfer."

Designed specifically for greens, TifEagle can trace its origins to a Green Section meeting in 1983, when USGA agronomists made Hanna aware of the need for a high-quality bermudagrass for courses in the southern United States.

"I always felt like we were a team," said Hanna, 68. "It was because of the USGA that I started on TifEagle, and golf people have used it effectively. When you're watching a golf tournament on TV and they say that the greens are TifEagle, you get goose bumps."

Hanna's legacy in golf is secure, but it is hardly complete. Although he retired two years ago, Hanna is still involved in the University of Georgia's turfgrass research program and will continue to have an impact on future advancements. He built a strong team of scientists that includes protégés such as Dr. Brian Schwartz, who is developing a bermudagrass that can stay green longer without water.

"For the future, water is one of the most precious natural resources we have," said Hanna. "Anything we can do to use less water is a big benefit."


Nutrient Fate And Transport
Research You Can Use

by Drs. Jeff Nus and Mike Kenna
What happens to nutrients after fertilizers are applied? How much are these nutrients transported to groundwater or  surface waters, and what are the ecological effects? What can be done to minimize this risk? During the past decade, the USGA Turfgrass and Environment Research Program continued answering these questions. The focus of this effort was to determine adverse ecological effects when nutrients are transported from the site of application. The two nutrients receiving attention were nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and much was learned about how to effectively limit  the risk of these nutrients finding their way to surface and groundwater. Read the rest of this article.

The use of constructed wetlands to filter runoff from golf courses is another way to effectively limit the risk of nutrient contamination. In a constructed wetland on a golf course at Purdue University, the wetland efficiently removed an estimated 97% of N-NO3/NO2 and 100% of N-NH3.
Turf Twister 
Why do we have to keep our carts on the paths?
Carts ready for a tournament
Golf cart traffic during the winter months lowers playing quality on dormant bermudagrass fairways. Golf courses make decisions on cart usage based upon what they believe is best for their course.

Q: For some reason, our golf course staff does not want golf carts to be used on our hybrid bermudagrass fairways during January, February, and March. I know of no other golf course in our part of the world that has this guide, and a large majority of our golfers disagree with it. What do you say?


A: This is a case where the maintenance standards of the golf course have placed a premium on having the best possible hybrid bermudagrass fairways in the winter and spring.  As a result, your course has decided appropriately to restrict carts to the path during January, February, and March. On the other side of the coin, we receive calls or emails during March from golfers who complain "there's no grass on the fairways."  This happens because carts beat down the dormant bermudagrass. Our position is that as long as the course officials know the facts, they are free to decide what's best for them.


Letting the numbers tell the story on cart damage



Defining A Cutting-Edge Superintendent
A USGA Green Section Webcast
The top ten characteristics of today's cutting-edge golf course superintendent
by R.A. "Bob" Brame, director, North Central region
The title attached to the person charged with the maintenance of the golf course has changed over the years. The age-old title of greenkeeper still has strong historic ties, but turf manager, grounds manager, director of grounds, and others have all been applied. The most common today, however, is golf course superintendent. While a job description or employment contract should be in place to guide the specifics, what is the definition of today's golf course superintendent - a cutting-edge golf course superintendent? That question is the focus of this webcast.

The webcast is free. Simply click on this link and allow a little time for it to load.

Watch the webcast

Read the article

Regional Updates


Florida Region

Florida Region




Pros and Cons of a Mild South Florida Winter 


As noted in the January and February regional updates, we have been enjoying very mild to warm temperatures this winter. This is in stark contrast to the past two winters of prolonged and record setting cold temperatures. On a positive side, the weather has been great for getting out and playing, and during recent TAS visits most courses are reporting that increased rounds are being hosted. It has also been encouraging to hear that as a result of innovative campaigns, a number of clubs have successfully increased membership levels. Furthermore, the very mild to warm temperatures have helped reduce turf damage from carts on courses in the southern half of the state.  


On the other side of the coin, increased pest pressure has been a concern at many courses. As previously reported by Todd Lowe, leaf spot disease problems typically subside in early January with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Yet, during the mid to latter part of February, warm temperatures in combination with higher humidity levels and overcast conditions resulted in a perfect storm scenario for leaf spot disease and other fungal pathogens. At one point, disease pressure was so high that outbreaks occurred even on putting greens receiving aggressive preventative fungicide treatments.  With the extended weather forecast calling for more of the same, continuing fungicide treatment programs on putting greens is advised. Exercising care with nitrogen fertilization and making sure that sufficient levels of potassium and magnesium are maintained can aid in reducing the susceptibility to leaf spot disease outbreaks.


Another pest problem that is starting to be encountered is plant parasitic nematodes.


Read the rest of this update 





Northwest Region





Got Ice? 

Ice being removed with shovel and blower
The Powder Horn, Sheridan, WY maintenance staff members use a backpack blower to force air under ice to help loosen it. Opening up channels for water to get off the green as it melts is critical


Recent travels to turf conferences identified that ice covered greens are a hot topic.


While various techniques have been utilized to remove ice from golf course greens there is no single best solution. Do you or don't you take action? That is a tough question to answer, and each location likely has their own customized plan.


The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association recently held their national turf conference in Calgary.  All of the Canadian provinces deal with winter issues, but many superintendents in the Calgary and Edmonton areas are witnessing more ice than usual. Attendees to the Peaks and Prairies spring conference in Wyoming, as well as the Idaho Superintendent's conference in Boise also expressed ice cover concerns.


Mechanical removal often is employed to reduce the amount of ice, but this is no guarantee the turf will be saved or emerge undamaged from the removal process itself. At least, as we look at the calendar and the sky, the days are getting longer. The sun is starting to provide some warming, so, now is the beginning of the critical time to get ready to get ice off the greens.  No matter how the ice was formed, its removal involves some key steps:


Read the rest of this update 




southeast gif

Southeast Region




Save These Dates: USGA SE Regional Meeting March 26-27


Plans are set for the 2012 USGA Regional Meeting on March 26-27, 2012 at the Grandover Resort, Greensboro, NC. Co-sponsors of this meeting include the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, Carolinas Golf Association, and the South Carolina Golf Association. Everyone associated with golf will find this meeting enjoyable and educational including superintendents, club managers, golf professionals, golf course owners, architects, Green and Golf Committees, and any golfer interested in the topics. 

The Line Up

March 26 - Golf at Grandover Resort

The format is a two-person best-ball. Cost is $80 per person and includes green and cart fees, prizes, and a reception. Golfers also must register for the conference to participate. Registration is limited to 120 golfers. 


March 27 - Meeting at Grandover Resort

The meeting will be held at the Grandover Resort, Greensboro, NC and the registration fee is $70. The meeting features many distinguished speakers: 


Mr. Tim Kreger, CGCSA - Rounds for Research - Year 3

Mr. Richard Mandell, golf course architect - Can Golf Be Affordable yet Appealing and Profitable as Well?

Mr. John Maginnes, PGA Tour Network - Maginnes On Tap: Live Edition

Mr. Bradley Klein, Golfweek Magazine - Golf, a Great Game But a Lousy Business?

Mr. Bradley Klein, Golfweek Magazine - Golf Architecture 101 

Mr. Gene McClure, USGA Executive Committee - USGA Update

Dr. Fred Yelverton, North Carolina State University - Poa annua: New Control Options 

Dr. Grady Miller, North Carolina State University - New Bentgrass Varieties - A Glimpse into the Future

Dr. Lane Tredway, North Carolina State University - Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens - Game Plan for 2012

Dr. Haibo Liu, Clemson University - Research Update of Foliar Nutrition of Turfgrasses

Dr. Michael Kenna, USGA Green Section -USGA Green Section Research Update


Read the rest of this update for more information and how to register 



northeaseast gifNortheast Region




The Non-Winter Continues  


The oddity of the non-winter of 2011-2012 continues for much of the region with temperatures that have been extremely mild. Some areas in the northern portion of the region have experienced more typical winter weather, but for much of the region, it has been some rain, a few snow flurries, some colder temperatures, and back up to 50 and 60 degrees. It is one of the most peculiar winters we have experienced in the Northeast. As luck would have it, a winter storm is bearing down on the Northeast at the time of this writing, so things obviously could change very quickly


The mild weather has allowed many courses to accomplish a record amount of work outdoors, although the lack of frozen soils resulted in more turf damage from construction traffic at some courses. Interestingly, some courses are actually behind on the typical "inside" winter work. Clearly, this is a small price to pay for getting more projects done on the golf course, but it is something to keep in mind as the rest of the winter unfolds.


The biggest concerns currently relate to pest populations and the possible pest pressure for the coming season. 


Read the rest of this update




Mid-Atlantic gif

Mid-Atlantic Region




Golf and Turf Update 

Winter in the Mid-Atlantic region
As measured by the amount of snowfall,most parts of the Mid-Atlantic Region have received little snow this winter. It has not been a cold and snowy winter and most courses have been open for play.


Comparisons of this mild Mid-Atlantic Region winter to others is a frequent topic of discussion on the evening news, and golf media writers are pointing out the positive effects this weather is having on the game of golf in this part of the country.


Rounds are up, golf income is up, and the usual golfer complaints about winter play are nothing but a bad memory. Unlike most years, our phones have not rung once with golfers trying to find out why their golf course is closed whereas a neighboring course is open for play. It is a good kind of "problem" to have. 


The mild winter adds to a trend of weather extremes that we have been experiencing. We seem to be setting some type of record almost every year. While the purpose of this message is not to discuss all that is involved in managing grass during weather extremes, suffice it to say, growing healthy grass should be your number one priority. Healthy grass simply has fewer problems, is more resistant to and tolerant of weather extremes, and recovers faster once those conditions are over. 


There are agronomic consequences to a mild winter. Some are relatively simple to understand, to manage and to mend. Others are not. These include:


Read the rest of this update 


USGA Green Section - Turf Advisory Service
For more than 80 years, the USGA Green Section's sole mission has been to collect and distribute information on proper construction and maintenance of golf courses.
TAS visit
The Green Section agronomists are the most knowledgeable, respected, and impartial golf-turf consultants in the world. Backed by the USGA, the Green Section's services provide dependable recommendations that course officials can count on.

First started in 1953, this service permits individual facilities to reap the benefits of on-site visits by highly skilled USGA agronomists located in Green Section offices throughout the country. Each agronomist visits more than 100 courses annually. Their experience helps golf course staff and officials produce the best possible golf turf for the dollars that can be spent. The TAS's purpose is not to tell anyone how to run a golf course or what products to buy. Rather, it seeks to bring a wealth of information and an impartial yet concerned perspective regarding turfgrass growth requirements, how these requirements might best be managed for golf, and ideas that other golf courses have found to be beneficial.


The Turf Advisory Service is used by the biggest and smallest golf courses. Golf keeps America beautiful, and day after day, year after year, the Green Section helps golf courses produce better turf for better golf. Your golf course should be a TAS subscriber.


Turf Advisory Service Brochure   

The Value Of A USGA Turf Advisory Service Visit 

Sample TAS Report   

Tips On Getting The Most From A TAS Visit   

Services And Fees  

Contact Green Section Staff 


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