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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Grigg Brothers has developed an enhanced formulation of one of its popular foliar fertilizers for turf managers seeking a product that results in both increased stress tolerance and improved green up capabilities.   The new version of Gary's Green Ultra, which is a combination of Gary's Green and Ultraplex, is a 13-2-3 formulation that also includes 1.4 percent chelated iron, 0.2 percent manganese, 0.2 percent zinc and 0.12 percent copper.   This enhanced foliar fertilizer formulation also has been fortified with additional Ascophyllum nodosum, which is a seaplant extract that promotes improved stress tolerance as well as 0.5 percent magnesium, which aids in the plant's ability to conduct photosynthesis, for improved green up and plant nutrient status.   Gary's Green Ultra also promotes an increasingly common phrase in the T&O market: plant health.   "The additional seaplant extract provides improved abiotic stress tolerance for turfgrasses by up-regulating a plant's natural defense mechanisms, most notably via cytokinin activity,? said Grigg Bros. agronomist Gordon Kauffman III, Ph.D. ?Turfgrass managers can expect subtle, yet meaningful, results and importantly this strategy requires a preventative approach, with sequential applications necessary prior to the onset of environmental stress for maximum effectiveness."   Gary's Green Ultra is designed for use in all seasons, and contains proprietary Elicitor technology, a non-ionic surfactant, and buffering agent. Gary's Green Ultra, which comes in a 2.5-gallon jug, also is available without phosphate, the company says.    
  • For 13 years, the Operation Pollinator program has been providing tips and tools for helping people the world over protect and promote the revival of hundreds of species of pollinating insects. In that time, the program, which was initially developed by Syngenta, has become increasingly popular on golf courses.
    In response to the challenges facing bees and other pollinators, Syngenta Turf and Landscape is offering new resources for golf course superintendents interested in creating and expanding Operation Pollinator habitats. 
    For information on how to establish an Operation Pollinator habitat or how to expand awareness of existing pollinator protection efforts, golf course owners and superintendents can now visit and download information from GreenCastOnline.com/OperationPollinator.
    Operation Pollinator provides golf course managers with the tools and information to successfully establish and manage attractive wildflower resources that are crucial for native bees and other pollinating insects to thrive, while enhancing the visual appearance of the course and the overall playing experience. The Operation Pollinator program is focused on four pillars of success: global bee health, promoting community involvement, promoting environmental stewardship and reviving pollinator populations. The program r habitats are currently helping pollinators on golf courses across 26 states and participation continues to grow.
    The new site offers advice on why and how to get involved, how to establish a pollinator habitat; communications tools, news release templates, brochures and signage that help managers market their efforts to external audiences; real-world success stories; and additional resources from outside Web sites such as BeeHealth.org.
    "The new Operation Pollinator website helps owners and superintendents explore how they can help protect pollinators and share their efforts with the community," said Syngenta key accounts manager Walt Osborne. "Pairing the expertise of local Syngenta territory managers with these resources provides superintendents a foundation to further their service as environmental stewards and inspire pride for their golf course." 
    Golf course managers can use the available communication tools to help tell their story about why they are involved with Operation Pollinator. Sample templates for a news release and an e-newsletter provide a starting point for golf courses to express how they support native pollinators and bee health while enhancing the course's appearance and overall playing experience.
    Paul Carter, CGCS, has won many awards for his work in environmental stewardship at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay near Chattanooga, Tennessee, including his work at promoting a healthy environment for nesting bald eagles. He also has developed a successful pollinator zone on the golf course.
    "For many years, golf courses have been accused of damaging the habitats of natural pollinators, such as bees and butterflies," Carter said. "In an effort to raise the awareness of the need and importance of these pollinators to golf courses, we are happy to be involved with Operation Pollinator at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay."
  • At some point, Anthony Williams might need a bigger room for his trophies and awards. But right now, he'll settle for simply being around to collect them, regardless of where he has to store the darned things.   Two months after a helicopter ride from one hospital to another to keep a date with a heart surgeon, Williams was named the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association Superintendent of the Year.   The award was presented recently during the association's annual awards banquet at The King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island.   Director of grounds at Stone Mountain (Georgia) Golf Club near Atlanta, Williams has won several awards throughout his career including the GCSAA Excellence in Government Relations Award earlier this year. The Georgia chapter win capped a tumultuous period that tested Williams' faith like nothing in golf ever could. In August, his stepbrother Terry McWaters died of a heart attack, and a month later his wife, Phyllis, suffered one as well while the couple was on the road for one of Williams' many speaking engagements. Thankfully, Phyllis is recovering quite nicely. Less than three weeks after her ordeal, Williams himself fell ill at work, was transported to a local hospital and later that day transported by helicopter to another Atlanta-area hospital for same-day open-heart surgery.  
    "We were in the Lord's hands," Williams said during the awards ceremony. "It seemed very unlikely that I would be able to attend the annual meeting. We set a goal to not let that happen. God was good and rehab went well for Phyllis and I. Everything worked out all right. I have never been so blessed to be with you all and soak it all in."   Williams has a closetful of awards for his service to the golf industry. The 2009 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year winner, Williams has served on the Georgia GCSA board of directors since 2001. He received the GCSAA President's Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2010, was the overall winner of the GCSAA and Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award in 2006 and twice was a chapter winner, and in 2012 published "The Environmental Stewardship Toolkit," a collection of best practices and ideas for the environmental management of golf courses.   "Anthony Williams personifies the maximum of every criterion we weigh when we consider this award," said Georgia GCSA president Mike Brown of The Standard Club. "The work he has done for his facility, for his association, for this profession, and for golf as a whole, establishes a new standard that stands as inspiration and motivation for the rest of us."   The award ceremony was preceded by the induction of this year's class of the Georgia GCSA Superintendent Hall of Fame: William Shirley, CGCS at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta, Ron Sinnock, who retired in 2005 after a nearly 40-year career between Chattahoochee Golf Course in Gainesville and Coosa Country Club in Rome, and the late Bobby McGee, who in 1976 was the host superintendent for the only U.S. Open Championship played in Georgia.
  • Shades of winter

    By John Reitman, in News,

    As the term Polar Vortex crept into the mainstream vernacular last winter, Kevin Frank, Ph.D., might be the only person on the planet who didn't greet the weather phenomenon with disdain.
    "I was kind of excited. I thought we might finally get to do some winterkill research," said Frank, associate professor of turfgrass science.
    In retrospect, his enthusiasm falls under the category of "be careful what you wish for."
    The university's Hancock Turfgrass Research Center wasn't the only place where winterkill was on display. Superintendents managing Poa annua greens in the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes region and parts of eastern Canada also got an up-close and personal look at winterkill after periods of rain, followed by freezing cold temperatures and relentless snow events left golf courses throughout that death zone under a blanket of ice for months.
    In parts of Michigan, the cycle of death began Dec. 21 when rain turned to ice, followed by snow. Brief mini-melts here and there helped create a layer of ice underneath that remained for months, long past Poa's threshold for remaining viable under ice.
    Given the widespread damage left in the wake of last winter, it's never too early to start worrying about the next one. Or more specifically, how to formulate a recovery plan in the event of the next winterkill event.
    Frank spoke recently on the topic in successive seminars during this year's Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference, held Dec. 9-11 in Sandusky.
    The ability to recover depends entirely on the level of damage incurred, but such programs often begin with seeding bentgrass. Frank discussed 
    One such program Frank discussed at OTF included seeding with bentgrass, followed by a starter fertilizer application consisting of 0.75 pounds per 1,000 square feet of phosphorus, followed by a foliar program of 0.10 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 applied every four to five days through mid- to late May, and plant growth regulators weren't used until mid-June.
    Annual spring use of PGRs to control Poa seedhead suppression could, Frank said, leave the plants vulnerable and weakened over time.
    "We've been doing that for decades. When you have a massive kill like this, it's not like the Poa is raring and ready to go," Frank said. "That was a challenge."
    Preparing the area for seeding also played a critical role in how quickly an area recovered. 
    The best results last year, Frank said, were achieved using a slit seeder in at least two and sometimes three directions. One pass didn't create enough openings to maximize seed-soil contact. A spiker that created dimples in the surface resulted in seed being deposited in the thatch layer, Frank said. In fact, some greens last winter had so much dead turf that Frank said stripping the greens and starting over from seed often might make more sense, especially when maximizing seed-soil contact. Use of permeable covers also can help speed re-establishment.
    Affected courses throughout the southern half of Michigan that followed such a program typically were ready to reopen their greens by mid- to late June.
    Any re-establishment effort that comes on the heels of something potentially catastrophic like winterkill should also include regular communication with golfers. 
    "You don't want golfers who play your course coming out the second week of April and you have to tell them they can play the alternates or hit balls on the range," he said. "You have to be ready to tell them if it happens, this is our strategy for recovery."
  • Jacobsen believes the best way to support its customers needs throughout parts of the South is for them to deal directly with the manufacturer. To that end, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment will serve as a full-service dealer to golf courses and sports fields in north and central Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
    The company believes it can better support customers in those parts of the Southeast by servicing them directly. They will be increasing stocking levels and adding additional sales and service staff.
    This change comes on the heels of Jacobsen recently establishing direct operations in the Western and Midwestern U.S., which has helped create stability for customers.
    "We believe we can ensure our customers are getting the highest level of support in the industry by serving them directly in Florida, Georgia and Alabama," said Ric Stone, Jacobsen's vice president of sales and marketing.

    In other news, Jacobsen named Chris Makowski as territory sales manager for its Northeast region. A former assistant golf course superintendent for more than 10 years, Makowski has more than a dozen years of experience in equipment sales.

    Based in Rochester, New York, he will serve Jacobsen customers in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
  • For nearly 35 years, Pat Vittum, Ph.D., has been a leading voice in insect pest control on managed turf. A professor at the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture, she has authored some of the most widely regarded books on insects and how to get rid of them and is a regular speaker on the topic at conferences all around the country.
    For her decades of service to the turfgrass industry and to the many students she has taught at UMass, Vittum recently was named the recipient of the 2015 USGA Green Section Award. She will receive the award, which is given annually since 1961 for "distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass," Feb. 7, 2015, at the USGA Annual Meeting in New York City.
    Vittum has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. A recognized industry leader, she is a widely sought-after resource for practical information about turfgrass pests.
    "Dr. Vittum has the unique ability to be a hands-on researcher who can effectively communicate her work with practical advice for the field practitioner," said Kimberly Erusha, Ph.D., managing director of the USGA Green Section. "Her contributions to the study of turfgrass insects have helped to establish industry standards and best management practices. We are proud to recognize her accomplishments and celebrate her legacy."
    A native of western New York, Vittum earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from The College of Wooster (Ohio). She earned her master's and doctorate degrees at Cornell University, where she worked with Haruo Tashiro, Ph.D., an international expert in turf insect biology. Vittum also served on the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee from 2002 to 2008.
    Vittum joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1980, becoming a professor in 2000. She teaches classes on the pesticides use, insect identification and integrated pest management. She was recognized with the Excellence in Teaching Award by the Entomological Society of America, Eastern Branch in 2004.
    "Pat is an exemplary faculty member and a true leader," said Mary Owen, turf specialist and turf program coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Extension. "She has dedicated her career to advance the professionalism and competence of golf course superintendents and staff, with protection of the environment as a high priority."
    Vittum's research has been published in several well-respected industry journals and publications. She is the principal author of the second edition of "Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada," (Comstock) which is widely regarded as the leading publication on turf entomology. She also co-authored the "IPM Handbook for Golf Courses," (Wiley).
    "When Dr. Erusha called to tell me about this honor, I was overwhelmed," said Dr. Vittum. "The list of previous honorees includes so many giants of the turf management world, including people from academia, USGA Green Section directors, and top-shelf golf course superintendents. I am honored and humbled to be joining their ranks as a recipient of the distinguished service award. This is the highest award to which I could aspire, and it is an incredible affirmation of the studies I have conducted as a turf entomologist and the years I have spent as an educator."
  • For a man who's made his living in the dirt, Ken Mangum has a million-dollar smile. And he seems to wear it 24/7. Why shouldn't he? 
    For parts of the past five decades, Mangum has helped redefine what it means to be an ambassador for his profession. Director of golf courses and grounds at Atlanta Athletic Club since 1998, Mangum has dedicated his career to pleasing members and customers, cultivated a legacy that includes dozens of former employees who have gone on to become superintendents, and further shared his knowledge by speaking and teaching to colleagues and future superintendents at industry events throughout the country and around the world. He has promoted the benefits of university research and even dabbled in golf course architecture.
    Mangum, 61, announced Wednesday that he will retire in May, bringing to an end a career that began in 1973 as an intern for Palmer Maples Jr. at The Standard Club in Atlanta. He is to be inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in January at AAC.
    Mark Hoban, superintendent at Rivermont Country Club in Atlanta, interned with Mangum at The Standard Club. He recognized early on that his colleague had what it took to be a rising star.
    "Ken rose quickly in turfgrass management due to his passion for excellence and an affinity to seek, connect and learn from people that were industry leaders," Hoban said.
    Not one to forget where he came from, Mangum has been a fixture as a speaker at regional, chapter and national meetings; assistant workshops; and other industry events ever since, even though he also is accountable for daily playing conditions at one of Atlanta's most high-profile private clubs.
    "He's always been giving of his time and knowledge. He's always making new friends and willing to do something for someone else," said Mike Crawford, CGCS at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia and a Mangum protege. "What other legacy could you want other than to be known for helping others?"
    Crawford worked for Mangum from 1990 to 1995, first as an assistant superintendent and later as superintendent of Atlanta Athletic Club's highly regarded Highlands Course. During that span, Mangum designed and built AAC's par-3 course.
    "He not only did things at the club to make it successful and be a world-class facility and host for major championships, but he also felt a responsibility outside the club to the profession," Crawford said. "You can see that in the 50-plus superintendents who once worked for him. It shows he took his role outside the club seriously."
    For Mangum, giving back to his peers has been about helping to elevate the status of the golf course superintendent profession and educate the industry's next generation, traits he says were instilled in him by Maples.
    "Palmer Maples Jr. was a great mentor to me and lifelong friend. He set a great example on how to treat people and help enhance our profession through education," Mangum said. "I always wanted our profession to receive the recognition we deserve for what we do for the game of golf. I also really enjoy helping people be successful. I am so proud of the over 50 young men who have worked with me over the years and moved on to have successful careers on their own.  Pass it on!"
    A true renaissance man of the turf maintenance industry, Mangum also has been one of its pioneers. He oversaw a revival of AAC that included regrassing bentgrass greens with Champion ultradwarf Bermudagrass and the fairways with Zeon zoysia in preparation for the 2011 PGA Championship, the fifth national championship held at the club during his tenure there. 
    He also has worked closely through the years with University of Georgia researchers on various trials, including new cultivar evaluations, firmness studies and weed-control research, and has made those areas available for inspection for anyone who wants to see them, said Clint Waltz, Ph.D., University of Georgia professor and extension specialist.
    "The University of Georgia turf team always valued his input. He is an innovator who valued new ideas and concepts that come out of university research," Waltz said. "This is bittersweet. I'm happy and proud for him. But, we're going to miss him. He has been an excellent ambassador for the game and the profession."
    The true benefactors of his desire to better himself and those around him include members at AAC and the pros and top amateurs who play there during the five major championships that have been held there during the Mangum era.
    His work drew the attention of TV's David Feherty, who stopped by the maintenance facility after the 2011 PGA to commend Mangum and his staff for playing conditions during the tournament, especially in the fairways. Feherty's thoughts were captured on video  ).
    "I have never in my life, not at Augusta, not anywhere else, seen fairways like this," Feherty said in the video. "These are better than anything I ever putted on on the European Tour -- and they're quicker as well.
    "This golf course is as perfect as anything I've seen in the 16 years that I've been broadcasting."
    An avid outdoorsman, Mangum says he plans to do a lot of fishing during his next adventure, as well as spend time with family, promoting the benefits of zoysiagrass to other superintendents and, of course, helping colleagues wherever and whenever he can.
    "I owe my career to him, because he gave me a chance," said Crawford. 
    "When I think of Ken, I think of a true Southern gentleman. I hope others see that as well. With Ken, what you see is what you get."
  • Pre-emergent herbicide applications can do wonders for controlling winter and summer annual weeds. And although those herbicides provide extended residual control, they do not compromise stress tolerance in warm-season turf, which is good to know for superintendents who manage golf courses with brisk autumn play.
    That's the verdict of a recent University of Tennessee study. 
    The study, conducted in 2012-2013, examined the effects of four common herbicides (indaziflam, prodiamine, pendimethalin, oxadiazon) on traffic tolerance of established, weed-free Tifway Bermudagrass.
    Treatments were made at eight-week intervals in early March and early May and were watered in within 24 hours.
    A total of 18 simulated traffic events, three per week, using a CADY simulator were applied from late August to late September in both years of the study. Turf was mowed three days per week using a Jacobsen triplex greens mower.
    The UT research team noted no significant differences in turf cover between any of the treatments in either year of the study, leading them to conclude that pre-emergent herbicides, or at least the active ingredients in this study, can be applied in spring without compromising the turf's natural traffic tolerance traits in fall.
  • In the 12 years it has been buzzing around North America, the Emerald Ash Borer has been pretty busy. The tiny, invasive pest initially got off to a slow start in its first couple of years as an unwanted visitor, but has since been in the fastlane of a path to destruction, and any chances at controlling or even slowing its spread might be largely dependent on other non-native insect species.
    First found in the United States in 2002 in Michigan, EAB spread to Ontario, then Ohio, Maryland and Virginia throughout 2003. A year later, it was found in Indiana, but it had been quickly eradicated in Maryland. By 2005, it failed to increase its North American range, providing a brief glimmer of hope that its spread could be controlled and its population eradicated.
    So much for hope.
    Today, EAB is found in 24 states and two provinces in Canada. Its range has spread to previously unlikely locations, including southward to Tennessee and Georgia and westward into Kansas and Colorado. Scientists estimate that EAB has wiped out 8 billion trees worth as much as $280 million. More than $29 million is spent annually to combat the spread of EAB, according to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service.
    And it's going to get worse.
    It is believed that the pest that is native to eastern Asia and came to the U.S. aboard a Chinese freighter that docked in Detroit, eventually will reach the entire ash tree range in North America, an area that covers parts of at least 42 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces. Each ash borer, however, only flies a few miles throughout its lifecycle. Its rapid spread, says Dave Smitley, Ph.D., of Michigan State University, is largely blamed on moving infested firewood. All species of ash in North America are thought to be susceptible, scientists say.
    "Yes, I believe EAB will eventually spread to all states with ash trees," Smitley said. "The natural range in eastern Asia covers a large gradient from cold to warm climates. We have already seen it spread to our northern-most states. I am not sure if there will be any warm temperature limitations."
    Several companies have developed chemistries that have proven to be effective against EAB, but cost has made saving anything more than target trees economically unrealistic. Introduction of biological parasites has provided a more realistic approach to widespread control.
    EAB populations have been largely unaffected by native parasitic wasps. However, parasitic wasps native to Asia, such as Oobius agrili, Spathius agrili and Tetrastichus planipennisi have been more effective, parasitising from 50 percent to 90 percent of the pest's ova and/or larvae. The non-native parasitic wasps are raised in and distributed from a USDA laboratory in Brighton, Michigan. Nearly 1 million parasitic wasps have been released since that site opened in 2009.

    "Oobius agrili and Tetrastichus planipennisi have been recovered at release sites and their establishment and parasitism rates are gradually increasing," said Therese Poland, Ph.D., research entomologist at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station in Lansing, Michigan. "They are currently being reared at the APHIS biocontrol rearing facility in Brighton.  However, Spathius agrili has not been recovered at the sites where it has been released. It is believed that the climate here may be too cool for establishment since it was collected in southern China. It is no longer being reared and released."
    Spathius agrili exhibited control of EAB larvae of up to 90 percent, but scientists believe the U.S. climate is too cold for it, so it is no longer raised at the Michigan lab. Research on a fourth non-native species, Spathius galinae, is under way, Poland said. That wasp is native to Russia, and scientists believe that its natural range could make it more adaptable as a control tool here.
    Those interested in acquiring and releasing parasitic wasps must have a release permit issued by the USDA, which has a host of recommendations for the size of the wooded area that has been affected, age of the trees involved and density of EAB population at the site.
    EAB kills ash trees by disrupting the uptake of water and nutrients through the trunk and into the upper reaches of the tree.
    Adult females, which grow to about a half-inch in length and can be difficult to spot, create a hole in the bark into which they deposit their eggs. After hatching, the larvae feed on and chew galleries through the tissue beneath the bark layer, disrupting the tree's ability to move water and nutrients through its vascular system. In the spring, new adults chew through the bark and emerge, flying into the canopy to ingest ash leaves and the reproductive process begins all over again.
    Symptoms of infestation include thinning of the canopy and sprouts growing from holes in the trunk that were created by the pests, along with a healthy population of voracious woodpeckers that find EAB especially pleasing to the palate.
    Tree canopies can be wiped out within two years, and mature, healthy trees are dead usually within three to four years.
  • Time is running out to nominate a deserving candidate for the 2014 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year Award, presented by Syngenta.
    Since 2000, the award has highlighted the accomplishments of golf course superintendents throughout North America who go above and beyond, often during times of severe adversity, to maximize the golf experience for members and customers.
    Golf course owners, operators, general managers, club members, golf professionals, vendors, distributors, colleagues, spouses, friends and others can nominate a deserving candidate by clicking here and filling out our online nomination form. Deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 15.
    Nominees are judged on their ability to excel at one or more of the following criteria:
    labor management maximizing budget limitations educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants negotiating with government agencies preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances service to golf clientele upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions. Please be as specific as possible when relating your candidate's accomplishments.
    A panel of judges will select a list of finalists and a winner, who will be named at next year's Golf Industry Show in San Antonio.
    Winners of the award include Chad Mark, Kirtland Country Club, 2013; Dan Meersman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 2012; Paul Carter, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Tenn.), 2011; Thomas Bastis, California Golf Club of San Francisco (Calif.), 2010; Anthony Williams, Stone Mountain Golf Club (Ga.), 2009, Sam MacKenzie, Olympia Fields Country Club (Ill.), 2008; John Zimmers, Oakmont Country Club (Pa.), 2007; Scott Ramsay, Golf Course at Yale (Conn.), 2006; Mark Burchfield, Victoria Club (Calif.), 2005; Stuart Leventhal, Interlachen Country Club (Fla.), 2004; Paul Voykin, Briarwood Country Club (Ill.), 2003; Jeff Burgess, Seven Lakes Country Club (Ontario), 2002; Kip Tyler, Salem Country Club (Mass), 2001; and Kent McCutcheon, Las Vegas Paiute Resort (Nev.), 2000.
  • For the most part, TurfNet is a pretty secular Web site. However, extreme weather conditions and green committee meetings can instill the power of prayer in just about anyone. And if ever there was a bible in this business, the University of Kentucky's fungicide guide might be it.   The annual Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases by UK's Paul Vincelli, Ph.D., and Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D., is indeed one of the most anticipated publications of the year.   The 2015 edition of the guide is available for download through the University of Kentucky Extension Service. It contains information on a variety of common fungicides listed by active ingredient.   The guide also addresses risk of resistance for each chemistry, and ways turf managers can minimize the threat of resistance.   Other tips include improving product efficacy through proper application, non-target effects of fungicides.   Significant space is dedicated to reducing summer stress on cool-season turf putting surfaces. The authors show how raising mowing heights by 0.031-0.062 inch can be enough to provide relief to cool-season turf during times of heat stress, and can be combined with a program that includes reduced mowing frequency and increased lightweight rolling.   Other advice includes using smooth rollers rather than grooved, the role of foliar nutrition during times of stress, the importance of managing water use and minimizing leaf wetness from dew.   The authors also dedicate a considerable amount of space to control methods for specific diseases, including anthracnose, algae, brown patch, dollar spot, fairy ring, Pythium root dysfunction and various leaf spot and patch diseases.   Each disease-specific section includes information on conditions that are optimal for an outbreak, tips on disease avoidance and applicable curative control methods.    Finally, the authors include links to other online resources from within the UK turf community as well as from Purdue University and the University of Missouri.
  • Pete Dye has made a life out of playing in the dirt. The 88-year old golf-course architect and his partner in life and design Alice Dye, 87, charmed an audience of Golfweek course raters, friends, colleagues and former field staff at a three-day architecture summit recently at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.   The occasion was simply to appreciate the life work of this remarkable couple. Fine amateur golfers in their own right, they set up shop out of their home north of Indianapolis in the late 1950s and proceeded to transform the American golf landscape. They also spawned a whole generation of new designers, who all studied under them and went on to establish themselves. That list includes two sons, Perry and P.B. Dye, as well as Bill Coore, Tom Doak, Tim Liddy, Jason McCoy, Lee Schmidt and Bobby Weed.   Renowned golf course designers gathered at Kiawah Island Golf Resort Nov. 9-11 for the second-annual Golfweek Architecture Summit.   Those who gathered out of respect for the Dyes told stories of a design team that relied a whole lot less on formal plans and documentation than simply scratching designs out of the dirt. Nelson Caron, superintendent at the Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, Ga., spoke and showed field images of Dye on his hands and knees there last year as he laid out his ideas for renovating the golf course that he had opened there 25 years earlier. Weed, who ran the project at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., more than 30 years ago reminded everyone of Pete Dye's work ethic ? rousing the crew at 5:30 a.m. and working them hard through 90-degree heat and dust.   Doak paid homage to the generosity of spirit in which Dye shared everything he knew.   "There were no trade secrets," said Doak. "He was amazingly patient in explaining what he had in mind and asking us, encouraging us, for our input."   The Dyes' influence reached far beyond their immediate circle of former associates. Course designer Jan Bel Jan, a Jupiter, Fla.-based course architect who was the second woman accepted for membership into the American Society of Golf Course Architects, paid homage to the first female member. Bel Jan praised Alice Dye's work on behalf of female golfers and golfers of all handicaps and her encouragement of modern architects, including her husband, to build courses for all players.   Bel Jan recounted her own upbringing into the golf industry working on maintenance crews, in the pro shop and calculating by hand members' handicaps, and reminded everyone of the hard work and long hours that go into making the modern game. It was all part of honoring two distinguished, self-effacing folks who have spent decades turning dirt into fascinating golf ground.   - Golfweek
  • For the first time in nearly two decades, major changers are underway at the USGA Green Section.
    Among the changes is a realignment that reduces the current eight regions to four.
    The current Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions will combine to form the new Northeast Region. Dave Oatis will serve as the Regional Director. Elliott Dowling, Adam Moeller, and Jim Skorulski are the agronomists available to the golf courses in the Northeast Region. Another agronomist position, to be based in the Glen Mills, Pennsylvania office, will be added.
    The new Southeast Region will be a combination of the states within the current Southeast and Florida Regions and the addition of Louisiana and Arkansas. John Foy will handle the Regional Director duties with the support of agronomists Todd Lowe and Patrick O'Brien.
    The current North-Central and Mid-Continent Regions will combine to form the new Central Region. Regional Director Keith Happ will be joined by John Daniels and Bob Vavrek as agronomists providing expertise to golf courses in the Central Region.
    The current Southwest and Northwest Regions will combine to form the new West Region. Pat Gross will serve as the Regional Director. Larry Gilhuly, Ty McClellan, and Brian Whitlark are agronomists in the West Region. Early in his USGA career, Ty worked as an agronomist in the Mid-Continent Region and in recent years focused his efforts in the Green Section's Education Program. Ty will relocate to the Southern California regional office, joining Pat Gross.
    In other changes, Darin Bevard has been promoted to Director, Championship Agronomy. He will be the lead agronomist for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur. In addition to his work for these specific championships, he will oversee the Green Section agronomy staff as it continues its involvement with the agronomic preparations of the other USGA championships. Bevard has a wide breadth of expertise in his new role as he has been a staff agronomist in the Mid-Atlantic Region since 1996 and director of the region since 2012.
    The second departmental change is the promotion of Chris Hartwiger to Director, Course Consulting Service. Chris' duties will involve overseeing the planning, direction and execution of the USGA Course Consulting Service. He will work directly with Green Section agronomists on the development and dissemination of science-based and practical sustainable management practices solutions to help golf facilities. Hartwiger has been an agronomist in the Southeast Region since 1995. He will continue to conduct some CCS visits in the Southeast while guiding the business plan for the overall program. 
  • Team-building 101

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Throughout his career, Eric Greytok has preferred working in the field with his crew to sitting behind a desk pushing a pencil, or crunching away on a keyboard.    "I don't like the detail stuff," Greytok said recently at an educational seminar for assistant superintendents. "I'd much rather be out on the golf course."   That said, it took Greytok a while to realize that assistants whose skills complimented his, not mirrored them, were the best fit.   "When I hired assistants, who did I hire? I hired people like myself," Greytok said during last month's Northern California Golf Association Assistant Superintendent Bootcamp in Monterey. "It was a train wreck. It took me years to find out in retrospect what was going on. It wasn't (the assistant's) fault things weren't getting done. It was my fault.   "You have to hire to your weakness. When I started hiring assistants who were different than me, it was amazing how much more enjoyable my job became."   Now, rather than beat his head against a wall over staff management issues, Greytok teaches others how to build and train a staff that reflects a superintendent's goals and management style.   Developing a team, Greytok said, is a six-step process that includes self reflection, getting to know your team, defining roles and responsibilities, proactive training, acknowledging and rewarding your team members, and celebrating success.   Greytok has enjoyed a great deal of success throughout his career. He has worked at places like Pebble Beach, Winged Foot, Riviera, Merion and Congressional, and he has accomplished things that no other superintendent has done before or since.    Greytok, who most recently served as director of golf course maintenance at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, began his turf career in 1996 as spray tech at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. He followed up with brief stints as an assistant at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland and Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, before being named superintendent at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1999, the following year, at age 27, became the youngest superintendent to host a U.S. Open.    A year later, his career journey took him to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, site of the 2006 U.S. Open. At age 33, he was the youngest superintendent to oversee the Open twice.   A graduate of Penn State's turf management program, Greytok has since been the grow-in superintendent at Remington Ranch in Powell Butte, Oregon, followed by Belfair Plantation in Bluffton, South Carolina, and Eagle Point, a job he left earlier this year to allow an injured disc in his back to heal.    Be aware of how you work
      It is impossible for a superintendent to build a good team around him if he doesn't understand himself first.   "Are you grumpy, happy, a yeller, do you have realistic expectations or unrealistic expectations?" he said.   "Until you understand yourself and how you work, I don't think you can do the right kind of hiring. You need to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. You can't correct them, but you can manage them," he said, pointing to his hiring mistakes noted above.   "These are things I didn't know when I became a superintendent. If I'd known these things, it would have been easier and more stress-free.   Get to know your team
      Just as important as knowing yourself is knowing the members of your team. A good way to get to know them better, Greytok says, is by working alongside them.   "How do you lead? Do you point fingers and tell people what to do, or are you in the trenches with them," he said. "You'll be respected more if you're the guy who jumps in the trenches with them."   Greytok says it helps to look at individual members of a team as pieces to a puzzle that can be put together in more than one way.   "You have to fully know your team," he said. "Some people are all about hours. They can ride a mower all day. Some like to be congratulated for work well done. You have to figure out what motivates them.   Clearly define roles and responsibilities
      Clearly defined roles are for everyone in the operation, from the assistant superintendent to the mechanic to every worker on the team. It gives each person a degree of ownership in what is going on and also builds a system of accountability, says Greytok.   For example, the irrigation tech should be responsible for everything associated with the irrigation system; the same goes for the spray tech, with both responsible for maintaining all equipment, inventory and records.   Follow-up is an important part of this step to ensure that work is being carried out to the superintendent's expectations.   "Don't give responsibilities and expectations without follow-up. You have to follow-up," he said. "Each person on the team is dependent on one another. We're dependent on the mechanic to make sure mowers are set and working properly. We depend on the operator to mow straight lines and we depend on the superintendent to manage the budget so we all have a job at the end of the year. And I am dependent on my whole staff to do their best on a daily basis so I have a job. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. That is the cold, harsh reality of it. If something doesn't get done to the members' satisfaction, where are they going? The superintendent. And they're not going to come to you too many times and say ?that's OK, you'll get ?em tomorrow.' They're going to say ?I want it fixed, and I want it fixed today.' "   Be proactive with training
      Greytok says it is important for the superintendent to do staff training rather than delegate it, and to do it in the right order, starting with assistants, then secondary management followed by core staff.    "That's your job. You're a leader, and that is what you do, you do the training," he said.   "The club hired you and your expertise. Once they get what you want and become proficient at it, it becomes easy. It's not going to happen in the first 30 days. It's not going to happen in the first 60. I might not happen in the first year. When it does, then you'll get the product you want."   Acknowledge and reward
      "Always acknowledge and reward people," Greytok said. "People want to feel like they are making a difference. Be sincere about it. If you pay a compliment, be sincere and that person will work harder for you."   A successful superintendent is constantly evaluating the staff. Years of experience have taught Greytok the art of using feedback as a training tool.   "It's the key to ensuring people always stay on track," he said.   "Never assume a job is getting done correctly. Always communicate and always give feedback. It's your job to ensure everything is done correctly, not the assistant's."   Celebrate success
      A key to maintaining a long and successful career includes getting away from it once in a while, or "playing" as Greytok called it.   Whether it's hunting, fishing, playing golf, vacationing with family or friends, stepping back and keeping job-life balance in perspective can help prevent burnout.   "Remember, you're only as good as your last day," he said. "It's the brutal reality of being a golf course superintendent. You have to perform every day. If the greens are rolling 13, you're a hero. If they're rolling 9, you better run for shelter."  
  • Bruce Witt wasn't content just teaching students at Florida Gateway College. He was intent on attracting new ones to the school in Lake City, Florida, as well.   Witt, who was an instructor in the school's golf course operations and landscape technology department for nearly three decades, died Nov. 17 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 63.   "Alumni responses have been steadily coming; they are obviously saddened," said John Piersol, executive director of the school's industrial and agricultural programs.    "He was a dedicated, caring instructor who developed a strong alumni following which is true for the entire golf/landscape team over the years."   Jonathan Morris, who from 2007-13 trained would-be golf course equipment managers at the school formerly known as Lake City Community College, remembered Witt as someone dedicated to both students and academic institution.   "Bruce was the facility adviser for the student chapters of the GCSAA and Florida Turfgrass Association for many years, chaperoned students to both of their annual conferences,  and cheered many students on through the Turf Bowl," Morris said via email. "He pushed the students for excellence and was always available after hours if any student needed some extra help."   A graduate of Penn State University, Witt taught at Lake City and later Florida Gateway for 27 years.   Ken Mangum, CGCS at the Atlanta Athletic Club graduated from LCCC before Witt's tenure there began, but got to know him in the years since, and says his contributions will be greatly missed by past, present and future Florida Gateway students.    "He was a big part of the success of the program and helped many young men become successful golf course superintendents," Mangum said. "His influence will be felt for many years to come in the lives of the students he taught and mentored."   Stephen Tucker, founder of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association, also is an alum and a current member of the school's advisory committee. As such, he still interacted with Witt several times each year.   "He was a great person who really cared about his students and the college," Tucker said. "He spent many days traveling around trying to recruit students for the program and also coming up with ideas on how we could reach the younger generation. I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people so far in my career and the people you meet that stand out are those that you can see have passion for what they do and I felt Bruce's passion was Lake City Community College and helping his alumni succeed. I think that was the great thing about attending Lake City was that those instructors made us feel like family, something I think is much harder to do at big colleges. Bruce was a great person, great ambassador of the college and a great friend to many of us and he will be greatly missed."
  • With reliance on foreign oil sources resulting in a roller coaster ride wrought with unexpected turns and sporadic fuel prices, the Propane Education and Research Council and R&R Products are working together on a demo program in which propane-powered equipment is used for a year on eight golf course operations around the country.

    Courses participating in the program include Stone Mountain (Georgia) Golf Club, Fernandina Beach (Florida) Golf Club, Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California, Renaissance Vinoy (St. Petersburg, Florida), Columbus (Ohio) Municipal Golf Courses, Reston (Virginia) National Golf Course, George W. Dunne National (Oak Forest, Illinois) and Willow Run Golf Course (Redmond, Washington). Each course is an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf course or is in the final stages of completing requirements for the program. In fact, six of the eight courses were recommended for the alternative fuel program by Audubon International.

    According to the Propane Education and Research Council, propane is nontoxic, colorless and virtually odorless (an identifying odor is added so it can be detected) and has been recognized as a clean energy alternative since the Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1990.
    Each course will receive four pieces of propane-powered equipment from R&R Products, including a Reel Max 331LP finish cut reel mower, Reel Max 744LP five-gang fairway mower, Versa Green 2200 riding greens mower and a Sand Max 521LP utility vehicle.

    R&R says it is the first company to manufacture propane-powered turf equipment for the golf industry.
    The courses will receive equipment through March 2015. R&R Products will oversee the manufacturing, distribution, and periodic maintenance of the propane mowers. PERC will meanwhile serve as a resource in helping courses establish relationships with local propane providers, and Audubon International will assist in evaluating the program's impact on overall sustainability efforts.
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