The growing concern over Bacterial Etiolation has raised the stakes on the already high stakes game of high intensity putting surface management. There is little doubt something is causing the decline and death of putting surface turf and the unknown is what has left many desperate for a solution.
Desperation often can lead to questionable decisions. One such decision in my judgement is the off-label use of antibiotics. If you are wondering how bad this might turn consider the current situation in the golf turf industry in Australia.
During my recent visit to Sydney and Melbourne in late May-early June this year a golf course was cited by the Australian EPA for illegal use of a nematicide. A very prominent golf course that hosts PGA events has what can only be described as an insurmountable nematode infestation.
A simple story really. The club illegally applied a nematicide, a disgruntled employee informed the EPA, the club was fined, the superintendent (an excellent bloke by the way) released, and now a full-on investigation of the entire Australian golf turf industry is underway.
NSW Golf Course Superintendents Association president Craig Molloy said in a recent letter to members: They (the EPA) are unimpressed with what their investigation is unearthing and they will be prosecuting individuals and clubs. Clearly the entire golf turf industry in Australia is under siege.
Is this a harbinger of what may come to the US golf turf industry if we try to play fast and loose with off-label pesticides? If the US EPA finds that there is revenue in selective enforcement dont you think they will come knocking?
Desperate times DO NOT call for desperate measures, rather it calls for increased communication, increased attention to detail and bold (LEGAL) measures.