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No time for panic

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Frank Rossi


Its that time of year again when panic sets it. Day after day of high heat stress brings many closer to the tipping point for areas that have marginal growing environments. Low light and poor air movement for warm and cool season grasses, even the utlra-dwarfs dont like shade, and the ubiquitous surface organic matter that holds even the slightest amount of water all add up to increased stress and panic.


Panic is defined as a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking. Yup this is it, the end of reason and logical thinking, Ive seen it a thousand times. I understand it from a golf course superintendent perspective as golfer expectations for putting surfaces is high, we have equally high expectations, and we know especially if we are growing annual bluegrass, the cliff is sharp and steep.

Panic is defined as a sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking.

We also know that at this point there is not much that can be done. The best thing to do sometimes is nothing. The discipline required to slip on solid rollers, increase cooling with fans or misting, and even move the cup twice a day to reduce traffic stress is the wise choice over spraying something-anything. Problem is when we panic we dont think straight and often instead of working the problem, we create new ones.



Superintendents need to be that calm presence in the maintenance area, on the course, in the pro-shop that reminds everyone that surface temperatures in excess of 120 F is not conducive to growing healthy annual bluegrass, never mind walking on it! In contrast many of the new creeping bentgrasses are holding up well, even thriving in the heat. The clear difference between a sometimes annual and true perennial.


Theres about 50 days left of potentially stressful weather, is your glass half empty or half full? If it is empty you have some stress ahead and the chance for panic is high, if you are half full, you have the discipline required to make the subtle adjustments to remain calm. Nows not the time to prevent reason and logical thinking.


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