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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    It's been a good week for Kevin O'Neill.   A student at Oaklands College in Hertfordshire, England and the deputy head greenkeeper as Muswell Hill Golf Club in North London, O'Neill recently was named Toro's Student Greenkeeper of the Year. He learned of winning the award just days before he was scheduled to head to Scotland to volunteer at this year's Ryder Cup Matches at Gleneagles.   As the winner, O'Neill receives a trip to the University of Massachusetts where he will take part in a six-week training session as well as a trip to next year's Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, courtesy of Toro.   He was chosen by a panel of judges from a field of six finalists that included: Andy Foulds, Wimbledon Park Golf Club and Merrist Wood College; Aaron Bowen, Ipswich Golf Club and Easton Otley College; Daire Higgins, St Andrews Links and SRUC Elmwood College; Wesley Lenihan, Ealing Golf Club and Plumpton College; and Thomas Freeman, Kingsdown Golf Club and Myerscough College. The competition was held in cooperation with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association.   Part of the selection process was a two-day exam and interview process.   The procedure for the final was refreshed this year to include a discussion panel, a multiple-choice test, an essay question and a presentation by the candidates prior to interview. The finalists were asked their views on varied topics in the industry including the public perception of greenkeeping, data collection, heights of cut, the use of organic products in turf management and education.   Day two of the final began bright and early with the six sitting a multiple-choice test on various aspects of greenkeeping, then answering an essay question.   "I'm very proud, I put a lot of work into this," O'Neill said. "The final was an amazing experience. I don't think there was much between the six of us."   O'Neill began his greenkeeping career at Gleneagles before stints at Charlton Athletic and Barnet football clubs. He joined Muswell Hill in 2008.
  • There are more nutritional products on the market for use on intensely managed turf than ever before, and many schools of thought regarding their use. It seems every researcher has his or her own opinions on one what to use, what not to use, which ones work, which ones don't and when to use them.
      If you would like to learn more about the many kinds of turf nutrients available today, their benefits, exactly how they work, how they differ from one another, laws regulating their use and ultimately how they affect playability on the golf course, then join us for Turf Nutrition Week.   Scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and presented by Grigg Brothers, Turf Nutrition Week is a series of three FREE Webinars by leading industry researchers will shed light on some of these questions and more.   OK, so it's not really a week, but it's a week's worth of quality turf education packed into three seminars.   Scheduled presentations include: Nutrient Fate and Use - Solutions for a Changing Landscape, by Jim Murphy, Ph.D., of Rutgers University; Innovative Nutrient Use by Gordon Kauffman III, Ph.D., of Grigg Brothers; and 60 Minutes on Nutrients with Dr. Nikolai, by Thom Nikolai, Ph.D., of Michigan State University.   Dr. Murphy will discuss fate of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers and help attendees develop guidelines for efficient nutrient-management programs. Dr. Kauffman's presentation will focus on new information that may change the way turf managers best determine the need for fertilizer inputs and investigate conventional and more currently constructed guidelines for fertilizer use recommendations. The program concludes with Dr. Nikolai who will discuss different nutrient carriers and their impact on plant health and playability, as well as provide an update on current topical research.   All sessions are one hour in duration and also will be available afterward for on-demand viewing.
  • Although golf and sustainability have become hopelessly linked in the pursuit of environmental stewardship, golf courses probably aren't the first things that come to mind when the topic of zero waste is broached. Stadiums and other sports venues that host thousands of people per event are more likely subjects for such sustainability efforts.   An upcoming conference is designed to shed light on how golf courses can get in on the zero waste movement, and will tap the efforts of several facilities already undertaking such a philosophy and how other golf courses, including maintenance operations, can learn from their experiences.   The Sustainability in Golf workshop is designed to help stakeholders in the golf business better understand and implement integrated sustainable practices. The three-day event is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina that includes a sustainability symposium and a series of zero waste workshops.   Almost 20 speakers are scheduled to present during the all-day symposium, including Paul Carter, CGCS, of The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay (Tennessee); Bob Farren, CGCS, of Pinehurst Resort; Anthony Williams, CGCS, of Stone Mountain (Georgia) Golf Club; Dana Lonn, managing director of Toro's Center for Advanced Turf Technology; Josh Heptig, director of golf operations for San Luis Obispo County in California; Brian Stiehler, CGCS, of Highlands (North Carolina) Country Club, and course architect Andy Staples of Staples Golf.   Some of the many topics to be included are the electric equipment initiative at Harrison Bay, where Carter has reduced fuel usage by more than 9,000 gallons annually and cut maintenance repair costs by more than $30,000. Williams will discuss how sustainability efforts can impact an operation's bottom line and how to communicate those efforts to the non-golfing public. For example, at Stone Mountain, Williams collects all organic debris and stores it until there is enough to grind, upon which time he converts it to mulch that is used on nature trails and other mulched areas throughout Stone Mountain State Park where the golf course is located. The program, Williams said, helps keep this material out of local landfills, saves money on removal costs and the expense of buying mulch, helps conserve water in the natural mulched areas and allows the organic wastes to replenish raw nutrients and effectively sustaining a natural life cycle for tree and organic assets.   Also on the docket is golf facility farming, such as the program in place at Highlands CC, where Stiehler maintains 1.5 acres of flowers and produce for the club's food and beverage and clubhouse operations.   The second annual event is presented by Experience Green, a group of concerned individuals and businesses in Beaufort County, South Carolina, who work to promote the area's economic and environmental well being as well as to build sustainable communities through education, connecting community resources and advancing sustainable development.
  • Mark Twain once wrote: "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are pliable." The message here is that numbers can be bent and twisted to mean just about anything.    Take golf for example.   Rounds played in July were up 1 percent compared with the same month in 2013, according to Golf Datatech's monthly rounds played report. The reason for the slight uptick primarily is weather, which often is cited as a barrier or bridge to the game.   Golf playable hours, Pellucid Corporation's measure of the daylight hours in which one could play golf factored against climatological influences, such as wind, rain, snow and severe cold, also were up by 1 percent. So, despite the good news about a marginal bump in rounds played, golfer demand really was just keeping up with the weather.   According to Pellucid's Jim Koppenhaver, July was the fifth consecutive month of overall favorable weather nationwide. Still, July was only the second time in that period where there was a positive year-over-year increase in rounds played. The result: all that favorable weather aside, rounds played are down by about 1.5 percent for the year.   Those darned statistics.   As a matter of fact, rounds played were up in 28 states and down in 21 others, according to Datatech. The study, which does not include Alaska, is based on self-reported statistics from 3,600 private and daily fee facilities.   The greatest gains were made throughout the South. Mississippi had the highest year-over-year increase at 19 percent, followed by Kentucky (15 percent), Tennessee (13 percent) and Georgia (10 percent).   The most significant drops in rounds played occurred in Arkansas (down 13 percent) and Nebraska (down 11 percent).   Twain also penned another quote that though it was surely never meant to refer to golf, lends itself nicely to the game's inexorable link to the weather: "The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it."
  • As a media company, TurfNet receives a lot of press kits, some of which are better than others. Some of the most innovative ones have included things like turf-scented cologne and Bigfoot slippers designed to help introduce new products. But you know you have a good media kit when it's one that won't make it through airport security.   Imagine the alarm caused by a large, yet deceptively light package that contains two clear vials of an unknown substance and an electronic device with flashing red lights flashing and a small video display screen.    It wasn't an incendiary device, or an anthrax hoax gone awry. It was an ingenious video-in-a-box sent by former superintendent and current Lebanon marketing manager Chris Gray promoting the company's Pro line of products formulated with Lebanon Stabilized Nitrogen.   Unfortunately, the Samsonite gorilla must now work at the post office because by the time the package arrived, the lights were flashing uncontrollably and the onboard power source seemed to have expended itself. But we liked the idea so much we went online to learn more about LSN anyway.   Without the benefit of the video, here is what we learned.   LSN is found in the Lebanon Pro portfolio of stabilized nitrogen products, as well as herbicides on nitrogen and insecticides on nitrogen that are formulated to reduce volatilization, making more N available to the plant.   According to Lebanon, as much as 30 percent of nitrogen in urea-based fertilizers can be lost into the atmosphere if the product is not watered in after application. Treated with a urease inhibitor, LSN is stabilized and reduces volatilization.   According to research in the scientific community, ammonia in fertilizer is activated by the enzyme urease, but it also is easily lost into the atmosphere since ammonia naturally occurs in a gaseous state when released, thus requiring watering in after application.   Urease inhibitors act as a substrate for the urease enzyme, allowing the ammonia to stay in the solution longer. It's technology that has been popular in agriculture for many years, but is a relative newcomer to turf.   In the case of Lebanon's LSN, reduced volatilization can help superintendents reduce fertilizer rates by as much as 30 percent.   Lebanon's LSN portfolio includes straight fertilizer products as well as herbicide on fertilizer containing Prodiamine or Dimension, and insecticide on fertilizers formulated with Merit.
  • Perfect marriage

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Talk to enough people in the business of golf turf maintenance, and sooner or later someone is bound to mention how it's one that is built on relationships. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Research and Education Facility at Ohio State University.   While many university turf programs are supported by a separate turf association, it's rare when both entities are located in the same municipality. It's even more rare when they call the same campus home. The odds of them coexisting in the same building? Almost infinitesimal.    Almost.   At the OTF research facility on the northwest corner of the OSU campus, the member organization and the university's turf research share the same building. Construction of the building in 1996 was funded by OTF, which has since donated the property to the university. The building houses offices for OTF and Ohio State staff, meeting facilities, a mixing lab for the university's research team and storage space for chemicals and mechanized equipment.   "When we funded the construction and donated the research facility to Ohio State back in 1996, the board at the time had the foresight to include an option for us to occupy space to conduct our business," said OTF executive director Brian Laurent. "We finally executed this option back in April. Our proximity to the team has already resulted in more timely communication to our members and is helping us develop new tools for turfgrass managers. Ultimately, being able to interact with Ohio State faculty and staff on a daily basis will only improve our ability to connect the industry with academia."   OTF's mission is to raise funding to promote turfgrass research and education. Much of that research and education takes place on site with the help of OSU's turf faculty and staff. During its 53-year history, OTF has contributed nearly $5 million to support research and educational outreach throughout Ohio, including through the annual OTF Conference and Show each December as well as a field day held each August, both of which are held in concert with OSU's turfgrass researchers, staff and students.   Matt Williams is a 2001 OSU turfgrass science graduate who worked for Doug Gallant on the Cincinnati Reds grounds crew for more than two years and spent four seasons as head groundskeeper for MLS's Columbus Crew before becoming the research center's program coordinator in 2007. As a university employee stationed at the research facility, Williams, 38, is its defacto superintendent and equipment manager, and as such he oversees ongoing research projects and maintains the property's mechanized equipment.   "We wouldn't be here without (OTF)," Williams said. "I'm not exaggerating. They built the building, and they fund the operation of the building, too.   "They're a separate entity, but a lot of their mission involves the OSU turf program. It's been a good partnership for us."   "There is no question that OTF and Ohio State go hand-in-hand," Laurent said. "Our support over the years has provided opportunities for research trials, outreach and even faculty and staff members. In return, the turf team serves as an excellent resource to our members, stakeholders and the industry as a whole. It's a true partnership with a very bright future now that we share space."   That financial support helps fund research projects involving several turf varieties scattered across the facility's 25 acres.   Current projects include a recent field day demonstration of the Koro scarifying system on Penncross creeping bentgrass, which has become a preferred method for restoring European soccer fields.    Penncross is the most prevalent variety of turf found at the research facility for many reasons. It's susceptible to disease and insect pressure and is very responsive to nutrients, making it a good barometer for fertility studies. It also doesn't require intense management common to some newer varieties of bentgrass.   "We can get dollar spot like it's our job," Williams said.   "We over-fertilize and we under-fertilize.  We definitely don't do things by the book.   Despite the relatively northern location of the OSU turf research farm, Bermudagrass is the second-most common variety under management there, and professor John Street, Ph.D., has been growing it in Columbus for 15 years.   Currently, professor Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., is overseeing a graduate research project that is examining whether any one of several types of Bermudagrass  - Northbridge, Latitude 36, Riviera and Patriot - are an option for summertime golf course practice range tees or high school athletic practice fields in Ohio.   The facility also has a state-of-the-art Hunter irrigation system that delivers water only where it's needed and when.   "We have 40 different zones," he said. "It is so precise we can conduct drought research next to an area that has been over-irrigated."   Unlike many turf research complexes that are tucked away in a far-off corner of town, the OTF/OSU facility is located smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. And that means being a good neighbor. When several black walnut trees that were dying needed to come down for the sake of appearances and safety, Williams sent letters to about 100 nearby homeowners.   "When you have one tree, it's no big deal, but we're talking eight 40-foot-tall trees that were diseased that needed to come down. They looked bad," Williams said.   "We know we have to have proactive communication with the neighbors. We sent letters to all of them telling them what we were going to do, and we didn't hear anything from anyone."   Native flowers that hug an old fence and a blue heron hunting fish in a quiet pond just inside the entrance make it seem like one is in the country rather than on the outer edges of one of the nation's largest universities. Indeed, Williams, along with his boss, OSU professor Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., and Laurent in the OTF office, like to keep the entrance to the research center neat and tidy. That means keeping the front entrance weed-free, or reasonably so. That can cause a conflict at times, however, with other researchers who view weeds as a thing of beauty.   "If Dr. (David) Gardner finds an outbreak of chickweed, he doesn't want me to do anything about it," Williams said. "He wants to study it."   Being a good neighbor has its rewards. When a waterline on the northwest corner of the property ruptured, it was a neighbor who called Williams in the middle of the night to tell him.   "We recognize the neighbors are there, and I'll go and chat with some of the ones I know," Williams said. "And if something is going on here that doesn't look right, they'll let me know, like the time we had a 4-inch mainline break and one of the neighbors called me at 1 in the morning to tell me we had a flood out here."   While the OSU/OTF relationship promotes research and education for those working in the industry, it also is a laboratory for students enrolled in the university's turf program.   Here, students can conduct graduate-level research projects, gain practical experience by helping maintain turf and also get their hands dirty by assisting Williams in maintaining mechanized equipment. With more than 50 pieces of equipment, Williams has students conduct preventive maintenance and manage a parts inventory and ordering system.   "I have the students do a lot of the preventive maintenance on the equipment," Williams said. "They have fun doing it.   "There's nothing I won't let the students do. They're not going to be spraying or riding on mowers right away, but they'll get the opportunity to do whatever it is they want to do. If they come to me and tell me there is something they want to do, we'll make it work."
  • The application period is open for the second annual Bayer Environmental Science Healthy Turf, Healthy Tomorrow Plant Health Scholarship. Two superintendent applicants will receive a $2,500 scholarship to continue their education in the area of plant health as part of the Healthy Turf, Healthy Tomorrow program Bayer developed in collaboration with the GCSAA.   The Plant Health Scholarship is part of Healthy Turf, Healthy Tomorrow, a multi-faceted initiative to advance plant health research and education for the turf industry through scholarships, webinars, demonstration courses and the Plant Health Academy.    John Petrovsky, superintendent at Greenbriar Woodlands Golf Club, Toms River, New Jersey, is using his scholarship winnings from a year ago to help fund his studies at Penn State University.   "Going back to school is one of the best decisions of my life, and I'm learning things that help me just about every day on the course," Petrovsky said. "It's not your grandfather's superintendent job anymore ? you need to be thinking ahead, long-term, all the time, and this program is helping me to do that."    Scholarship recipients can use the award to attend local, regional or national educational conferences, or to enroll in continuing education programs at an institution of higher learning. Applicants must be employed as a golf course superintendent in the United States only, and must be a Class A or superintendent member of GCSAA and be enrolled in My Bayer Rewards customer loyalty program.    Click here to apply. Application deadline is Oct. 10.
  • Running on fumes

    By John Reitman, in News,

    The quest for sustainability on golf courses is a noble one that typically focuses on efforts to save water and reduce chemical inputs. It's not often that fuel usage enters the conversation, other than to minimize an operation's carbon footprint through a reduction in mowing frequency. That discussion has been evolving recently as more and more operations in the turf and ornamental business look at propane as a way to reduce emissions and positively influence the bottom line.   According to the Propane Education and Research Council, the technology that allows a gas-powered engine to be run on propane has been around for more than 50 years. That movement is gaining traction because propane is cheaper than gasoline and burns cleaner than gasoline.   Gas-to-propane conversion kits are available for most small engines, including Briggs & Stratton and Kohler. John Deere offers after-market conversion kits and even makes many of its products used in landscape available off the line with propane-powered engines.   Although external propane tanks are extremely unattractive and even make a piece of equipment appear more bulky and awkward, the technology offers safety advantages. According to the PERC, all propane tanks are constructed from carbon-strengthened steel and as a result are 20 times more puncture resistant than standard gas tanks. Propane has a much higher flash point (940 degrees) than gasoline (430-500 degrees), making accidental combustion less likely to occur.   All conversion kits are different, and depending on which one is used there might be some loss of power, however, it doesn't have to be that way. Standing as an example are hundreds of police cars across the country that have been weaned off gasoline, many at the expense of confiscated drug money.   Most recently, the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana has begun converting some of its municipal fleet to alternative fuels, including transitioning mowing and maintenance equipment to propane. During the past two years, Pacific Landscape Management of Hillsboro, Oregon has converted most of its mower fleet to propane, citing reduced fuel costs, increased operating efficiency and cleaner emissions.   A study conducted through the University of Texas system also showed that engines powered by propane used less fuel, burned cleaner and were cheaper to operate (after conversion) than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
  • Adverse weather might be blamed for keeping golfers off the course, but about 30 Chicagoland-area superintendents braved threatening skies for the second annual Turf Science Live.   Held at the Merit Club in Libertyville, Illinois, Turf Science Live is a multi-station field day demonstration that allows superintendents to get up close and personal and kick the tires on some recent offerings from Syngenta, Jacobsen, Smithco and Turfco.   The eight-station field day included information on new products as well as preliminary results on bentgrass brushing research being conducted at Ohio State University under the direction of Karl Danneberger, Ph.D. (above).   1. Make Spraying More Efficient, Convenient and Accurate: Jeff Churchill, Smithco
      Smithco displayed its aptly named Sharpshooter Capstan system at this year's Turf Science LIve.   Used in agriculture for many years, this technology from Smithco combines two nozzles and a solenoid at each nozzle location, allowing users to deliver 0.40 gallons to 4 gallons of product per 1,000 square feet at an operational range of 2 mph-10 mph.   The nozzles pulse at up to 19 times per second in a staggered opposite pattern designed for improved coverage.   The operator can change spray pressure and sprayer speed to get a larger droplet size and guard against drift in windy conditions.    Some users, according to Smithco, are reporting increased spray efficiency of up to 30 percent.   Keeping the Sharpshooter clean is key in maintaining efficiency.   "Cleaning is an important part of when after you are done spraying. Triple rinse should be practiced by everybody, but not everybody does it," said Smithco?s Jeff Churchill. "For those who have a good cleaning program, I never hear from them. Those who don't clean out their system as often as they should, those are the guys I'm getting calls from."   2. Using GPS to Guide and Control the Spray Vehicle: Steven Johnson, Smithco
      Another holdover from agricultural use, GPS-assisted spray technology helps prevent sprayer operators from applying to much or too little of a given product.   Smithco's GPS spray technology allows users to spray with or without a pre-set map. As-applied (no map) lets the operator simply turn on the sprayer and go, while GPS prevents any over-application by shutting down individual or multiple nozzles in the event of an overpass.   "It doesn't change how you spray now," said Smithco's Steven Johnson. "It just doesn't allow you to over-apply when you overlap an area."   Using the zone-mapping feature eliminates overlapping as well as missing an area completely. Nozzles will shut off if the operator goes outside the zone, and only the nozzles that are needed will be activated if the driver passes over skipped areas.   Smithco does recommend completing the job within 20 minutes of creating the map because of potential interference with the GPS signal as well as any shifts of the map due to slight orbital deviations in a satellite?s geosynchronous orbit.   "If you wait more than 20 minutes," Johnson said, "that map can shift up to a few inches."   3. Greens Brushing - When Does Physiological Stress Occur? Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Ohio State University
      When the USGA approached Ohio State's Danneberger last fall about starting a study on the effects of brushing on creeping bentgrass greens, he never thought it would be so difficult to produce damage turf.   The study measures the effects of using a soft Jacobsen brush out in front of a walk mower. The Penncross plots are mowed six days a week at a height of 0.125 inches. One area is brushed once per week and another three times per week, with the brush set at 0.1 inches.    The brushed plots exhibit improved turf quality, rolling at about 12 on the Stimpmeter, and are healthier.   Even during times of high stress (with the Poa patches in the bentgrass showing signs of anthracnose) brushing hasn?t produced any damage. Danneberger has gone so far as to recently increase brushing up to five times per week with no negative effects, and will soon incorporate a medium brush into the trial at the OSU turf research facility in Columbus.   Not only does brushing help stand up the turf plant, says Danneberger, it also helps remove some of the organic matter.   4. Dialing in Frequency of Clip: Chris Fox, Jacobsen
      Increasing frequency of clip, says Chris Fox of Jacobsen, is almost like double-cutting in a single pass.   A measure of distance defined as how far the bedknife moves before another reel blade passes over it, frequency of clip is dependent on three factors, number of blades on a reel, reel speed and the walking speed of the operator (or rolling speed of a triplex).   First, it's important to get your hands around the idea that when discussing frequency of clip, a smaller number means increased frequency of clip. Using a reel with more blades, increasing reel speed rpm or operator speed can increase frequency of clip.   Fox (pictured here) used a Pelzmeter to demonstrate the effect of increased frequency of clip on putting conditions and turf quality on a Merit Club practice green.   While increased frequency of clip typically is a good thing when going from one side of the green to the other, it can be problematic in turns and on cleanup passes, where a high rpm rate in turns can produce turf stress.   Jacobsen is a pioneer in variable frequency of cut, which slows reel speed when the mower slows down on turns.   "When you slow down on a cleanup pass, it slows the reels also," Fox said. "They're not spinning too fast, and you don't get that burned look."   5. Maximizing Turf Performance and Stress Tolerance: Matt Giese, Syngenta
      There are many fungicide products on the market today touting benefits that produce results like a fertilizer or other nutritional product. In fact, the term "plant health" has become ingrained in the turf maintenance vernacular.   Matt Giese of Syngenta explained how some of these products work, and pointed to a Merit Club practice green as well as turf maintained at fairway heights that are part of a Syngenta fungicide program as proof.   Giese explained at virtually all strobilurin fungicides exhibit some plant health benefits, ranging from increased water use efficiency, increased levels of chlorophyll in the plant tissue, improved photosynthesis or a more well-developed root mass that reaches deeper into the soil profile.   Syngenta's entry into the plant health arena, Daconil Action, combines chlorothalonil along with a plant activator called Acibenzolar-S-methyl. If poured directly onto turf stricken with anthracnose, brown patch or dollar spot, Acibenzolar-S-methyl would do nothing. What it will do is trigger the plant?s inherent defense mechanisms.   "It gets the disease from the inside and the outside, from the chlorothalonil and the plant activator," Giese said.   6. Turf Application on Target: Luke Dant, Syngenta
      How a product is applied to turf is, according to the folks at Syngenta, almost as important as what is being applied.    To maximize product efficacy, it is important to get as much product on the leaf blade as possible. That means selecting a nozzle that gets as much product as possible onto as many individual leaf blades as possible. Properly calibrating and setting up a sprayer as well as selecting the right nozzle all are key parts of the equation.   The proper nozzles, such as those from Syngenta's XC line or TeeJet Technologies' TeeJet (pictured here), maximize coverage and help a superintendent?s bottom line. The rear-facing 06 air-induction nozzle creates an air bubble inside the nozzle that increases the droplet size to reduce drift.    Syngenta?s Luke Dant was able to show this during TSL by driving a sprayer over specially treated paper that changes color when it comes into contact with, in this case, water. Dant?s demonstration came just before a violent thunderstorm rolled in. Preceded by strong sustained winds and even stronger gusts, the air-induction nozzle outperformed other nozzles in the test by reducing drift when delivered at 50 psi and even 30 psi.   7. Precision Topdressing: Scott Kinkead, Turfco
      In the past, golfers weren't the only ones who had a reason to gnash teeth whenever it was time to topdress. Equipment operators didn?t much like it either, because
    different application rates for different parts of the course often meant doing greens one day and tees another. No more.   The Wide Spin 1550 topdresser from Turfco comes equipped with a handheld digital controller into which operators can pre-program up to four different application rates. That means the equipment operator can go straight from a green to the next tee and change sand application rates with the  click of a button.   And with a hopper measuring 80.5 inches wide, the 1550 has what Scott Kinkead says is the industry's widest hopper.   It also can distribute sand at up to 15 cubic feet per 1,000 square feet.   8. Increasing Seeding Success: George Kinkead, Turfco.
      Slit seeding is a great way to establish turf - when it works, says George Kinkead of Turfco. Problem is, according to Kinkead, it doesn't work as well as it should - until now.   The problem with slit seeding in the past, Kinkead said, is that seeders cut V-shaped grooves that don?t catch enough seed and don't result in sufficient seed-soil contact. Turfco's Triwave 40 seeder features wave-shaped discs that cut flat-bottomed grooves. These grooves catch more seed (leaving less on the surface, resulting in seed-soil contact that outpaces V-shaped slits.   Research conducted by Grady Miller, Ph.D., at North Carolina State University shows that slit seeding with the Triwave 40 results in a 30 percent higher germination rate and a germination rate that after two weeks is 50 percent higher than that realized with other machines. The secret, along with the flat-bottomed groove, is a distribution box that helps distribute seed where it is needed, casting aside what Kinkead called the scatter and hope process.
  • There is still time to register for one of turf's fastest-growing field days.   Scheduled for Sept. 11 at the East Tennessee Research and Education Center, the University of Tennessee Turf and Ornamental Field Day offers a full schedule of education on timely topics presented by more than a dozen UT researchers and graduate students.   Pesticide recertification credits will be available for attendees from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina, and the entire program is approved by the GCSAA for 0.40 CEU.   Attendees also can register for a behind-the-scenes tour of Neyland Stadium, home of the UT football team since 1921.   Speakers and topics scheduled for this year's field day include:   Crabgrass Control After the Polar Vortex: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. and Greg Breeden, UT;   Golf Course Disease Management: Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., Jesse Benelli, and David Shell UT;   The Working Science Behind Poly Tanks: Fred Whitford, Ph.D., Purdue University;   Managing Synthetic and Natural Turf Athletic Fields: Adam Thoms and Kyley Dickson, UT;   Environmental Buffers to Protect Water Quality: John Stier, Ph.D., UT;   Ornamental Grasses for Tennessee: Tom Samples, Ph.D. and Johnny Parham, UT;   Recent Advances in Technology & Tools to Help Manage Turf & Ornamental Pests: Amy Fulcher, Ph.D., Bill Klingeman, Ph.D. and Javier Vargas, UT;   What's Wrong with My Plants? ? An Overview of Common Ornamental Disease and Insect Pests in Tennessee: Frank Hale, Ph.D. and Alan Windham, Ph.D., UT;   Is This Your Lawn? An Interactive Session About Refurbishing Residential Lawns: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., Tom Samples, Ph.D., Eric Reasor, Daniel Farnsworth, Shane Breeden, Kyley Dickson, and Javier Vargas, UT;   Pulp Fiction: Fact and Fiction on Managing Landscape Plants & Pests: Amy Fulcher, Ph.D., Bill Klingeman, Ph.D., Diana Cochran, Ph.D., and Phil Flanagan, UT;   Preparing Golf Course Putting Greens to Optimize Ball Roll Distance & Consistency: John Sorochan, Ph.D., Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., Corey Yurisic, Jesse Benelli, and David Shell, University of Tennessee.
  • For superintendents who battle localized dry spot, Underhill International has introduced Tournament-Ready Plus with Actosol.
    Tournament-Ready Plus with Actosol improves water's infiltration rate, allowing for more efficient irrigation coverage and reducing hand-watering in hydrophobic soils.
    Hydrophobic soils repel water and do not allow it to infiltrate down to the root zone, causing dry patchy areas. The pellets are used to supplement turf that has poor moisture-holding capacity by increasing water absorption onto soil particles.
    Available in 16 8-ounce pellet packs, Tournament-Ready Plus with Actosol is comprised of a proprietary blend of natural ingredients and surface-active agents, including humic and fulvic acid and micronutrients, Tournament-Ready Plus with Actosol modulates water movement laterally and vertically into the soil profile for up to 14 weeks after treatment.
    It also has root-enhancing properties and helps water infiltrate the soil with uniform moisture management and does not bind in the thatch layer or cause spongy turf.
  • When topics such as playability and customer service come up at Timber Creek and Sierra Pines golf courses, there is plenty of credit to go around. Golf course superintendent, Jim Ferrin says he couldn't do what he does with equipment manager Lee Medeiros. And when he's pressed about his skill as a mechanic, Medeiros says he owes it all to his assistant and the rest of Ferrin's crew.   This mutual admiration society is what makes things run so smoothly at these two courses at Sun City Roseville, a Del Webb active adult retirement community near Sacramento, California.   "Lee embraces technology. . . . He can handle almost any repair we need," Ferrin said. "But the essential thing is the team player concept he brings to the operation. If there are other projects that need to be done, he jumps in and does it. He helps us do other things so we can do the things we are responsible for. He goes above and beyond, and he encourages others to get involved in other things around the club."   Because of his expertise as a mechanic, skills at fabricating parts, managing an ever-shrinking budget and still find time to do all the little extra things that make work pleasant for his colleagues, Medeiros was named the 2014 TurfNet Technician of the Year.    Medeiros was chosen by a panel of judges from a list of three finalists that included Chris Adler of Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Brian Aiken of Kings Point Golf Course in Delray Beach, Florida. Presented by Toro, the award is given annually to a golf course equipment manager who excels at a combination of the following criteria: crisis management, effective budgeting, environmental awareness, helping to further the careers of colleagues and employees, interpersonal communications, inventory management and cost control, overall condition and dependability of rolling stock, shop safety and work ethic.   Previous winners include Brian Sjögren, Corral de Tierra (California) Country Club (2013); Kevin Bauer, Prairie Bluff (Illinois) Public Golf Club (2012); Jim Kilgallon, Connecticut Golf Club (2011); Herb Berg, Oakmont (Pennsylvania) Country Club (2010); Doug Johnson, TPC at Las Colinas, Irving, Texas (2009); Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (Georgia) Golf Club (2007); Fred Peck, Fox Hollow and The Homestead, Lakewood, Colorado. (2006); Jesus Olivas, Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, Marana, Arizona (2005); Henry Heinz, Kalamazoo (Michigan) Country Club (2004); Eric Kulaas, Marriott Vinoy Renaissance Resort, St. Petersburg, Florida (2003). No award was given in 2008.   As the winner, Medeiros, 59, receives the Golden Wrench Award and a trip to the Toro Service Training Academy at the company's Bloomington, Minnesota headquarters.   "I've been around some damn good mechanics in my day, but Lee does more things for you golf course-wise beyond what is job is than any mechanic I've seen," Ferrin said.    "If we topdress and mow right behind it, then there goes the edge on your reels. He knows this is not about what he does. It's about the golf course."   Medeiros doesn't see what he does as being anything special or extra.    "We're all part of a team here striving for the same goal, and that is to make the golf course successful and provide the best conditions we can for the people who play here - our customers," Medeiros said.    "I couldn't do this without my assistant Mohammed (Nawaz). He is a big part of our operation, my success and the success of the golf course. We couldn't do this without him and without the rest of the crew."   Medeiros has a long career in the golf business. He was an equipment technician at several courses in Southern California, including Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach as well as a regional position with ValleyCrest Golf, overseeing operations at 15 courses in Arizona, California and Texas.   During that time, he developed a great deal of expertise and plenty of opportunities to teach others the trade, something he still takes seriously today.   "I enjoy mentoring people. I've never been worried that someone is going to be smarter than me," he said. "I enjoy sharing knowledge and helping other mechanics.   "I've been around a while, and that has helped me develop some expertise with a company that insists on quality."   Aside from his ability to mentor and lead others and promoting the benefits of teamwork, Medeiros also is a skilled mechanic and manager. Conditions on both courses have never been better, and Medeiros maintains the equipment used to produce those conditions on a budget that is nearly half of what it was when he was hired eight years ago.   "I don't have to tell him what to do. When he knows what we've got coming up on the golf course, he knows what he has to do, what parts he needs and that he has to have everything ready for us," Ferrin said.   "If I had to tell the mechanic what to do all the time, I'd be crazy. I can't do it. He runs his department like it's his own little business, and he does it for me, the customer."  
  • A year after transforming a pot-holed pasture into a manicured sports field for boys and young men in the state's foster care system, Georgia golf industry members have built them a new baseball field. The project at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Waleska, about an hour north of Atlanta, was spearheaded by members of the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association. The association coordinated donations of labor, equipment and supplies necessary to complete the project in 72 hours.   Goshen Valley has six residences on a 300-acre cattle ranch and serves 10- to 21- year-olds many of whom have been victims of abuse or neglect. The ranch has the highest occupancy rate of any system facility in Georgia.   "The people who came together to make this baseball field a reality have angel wings on their backs," says Goshen Valley founder John Blend. "They all could have been at home with their feet up on a coffee table. But they came out in the heat and worked and now we not only have a baseball field but we have a venue that families are already using to try and rebuild connections."   The baseball field, which was sodded with Bermudagrass and is equipped with automated irrigation, is set beside a creek and the tranquility is proving a natural draw for visiting families.   "It's a very therapeutic setting the way it's been set up," Blend said. "For families looking to reunify and rebuild their ties with their boys this is a space they are really gravitating towards. So it's not just a place to play baseball or softball. It really serves a deeper purpose."   The baseball field construction was a service project for the Georgia GCSA assistant superintendents committee, which reached far and wide within the association to generate donations and attract volunteers. The same committee drove last year's construction of the 60,000 sq. ft. sports field that is now also used by Reinhardt College and the local high school. About 30 Georgia GCSA volunteers worked with Goshen Valley residents on the three-day project.     "It speaks volumes for the relationship between golf course superintendents and the industry vendors that they can come together so readily on a project like this," Blend said. "I mean for one group to make some phone calls and then the other group turns up with them in the middle of nowhere and produces this field of dreams is just remarkable. It's all the more impressive considering they already built a major sports field for us last year."   Georgia GCSA executive director, Tenia Workman, said her members were equally impressed by the dedication and effort shown by Goshen Valley residents.   "Our members were really touched by how hard those boys worked and how much they appreciated people taking the time to invest in them," she said "They really worked like Trojans. I think the project left a very positive mark on everybody involved."   The project entailed some challenges including a scarcity of sod after wet fall, cold winter and cooler than normal spring, said Scott Lambert, assistant golf course superintendent at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta.   "These kind of projects are also very difficult to volunteers attend due to the nature of our business," Lambert said. "There really is no good time to complete a project of this size but we received great support from across the industry. But as luck would have it, we were blessed with an unusually mild July week of mid 80s, with rain after we laid the sod. The Goshen Valley boys and staff were a great help. I am especially proud of the work ethic of members of our association. Everyone seemed to know where to go and what to work on at all times."     The Georgia GCSA's relationship with Goshen Valley stems from ties between the boys home and Billy Fuller, a former golf course superintendent and now principal of Billy Fuller Golf Design. Goshen Valley's new sports field is just one of a series of community projects the committee has engaged in recent years. Assistant superintendents and other Georgia GCSA members also have made significant contributions to Camp Will-A-Way in Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta.   - Trent Bouts, Tee Media Consulting
  • The companies that brought zombie weeds and obnoxious trousers to the Golf Industry Show in recent years have combined to deliver another loud message to their customers.   FMC Corp. and Arysta LifeScience have reached an agreement in which FMC will develop and market Arysta's Disarm fungicide and Xonerate herbicide in the United States and Canada.   The agreement went into effect Aug. 12.   With the active ingredient amicarbizone, Xonerate is labeled for control of annual bluegrass in warm- and cool-season turf, including Kentucky bluegrass.   Xonerate should be applied in spring or summer, depending on geographic location, at least two to four weeks after turf has begun actively growing. Poa will begin to yellow within about two weeks and will be gone in three to four weeks.   Disarm, with the active ingredient fluoxastrobin, is labeled for control of a variety of common turf diseases, including anthracnose, brown patch, dollar spot, fairy ring, fusarium patch, gray leaf spot, pink snow mold, Pythium blight, spring dead spot, summer patch, take-all patch, Waitea patch and zoysia patch.  
  • Northern exposure

    By John Reitman, in News,

    An ongoing study in its first year at Ohio State University could help determine whether warm-season grasses are a viable option for some high-traffic areas on golf courses during times of summer stress.   Researchers at Ohio State will measure the viability and recuperative ability of four varieties of Bermudagrass for use during the summer playing season on golf course teeing grounds as well as practice range tees. The study, which is being conducted by OSU program coordinator Matt Williams, sports turf specialist Pam Sherratt and associate professor John Street, Ph.D., in conjunction with the USGA, also could shed light on whether any or all of those Bermuda varieties could be used to cover high school football practice fields.   "We're trying to find periods when we can use Bermudagrass on driving range tees, tee boxes and for practice fields to let them get off the cool-season grasses until October," Williams said.    After meeting with regional USGA Green Section agronomist Keith Happ last September, Ohio State researchers in March rolled out new plots of Patriot, Riviera, Latitude 36 and Northbridge Bermudagrass sod. Cup cutters and two-drum roller from Europe eventually will be used to simulate stress that the turf would be exposed to on a teeing area, Williams said. The roller, a contraption from the British company Sisis, has two drums, one of which spins faster than the other simulating traffic and divot wear.   The project hasn't been without its challenges so far. Since sodding took place in March, lingering winter conditions resulted in winter kill that necessitated resodding some isolated areas. Subsequently, prevailing cool summer conditions have forced researchers to maintain the turf at higher heights of cut than they had hoped for.   "This has not been a good Bermuda summer in Ohio," said Williams, who joked that Happ might have been turned down for the research if he'd asked after this year's winter rather than before it. "We've had plenty of water, but it's been mild, and the temperatures just have not been up there where it would thrive. We've spent the summer nursing it into condition."   Although this past five months have been an inhospitable one for growing Bermuda in Ohio, Williams said the research should be fruitful in the long term and could yield groundbreaking information for this part of the country. For example, a 250-mile stretch of Interstate 71 connects Ohio's three largest cities - Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The average high temperatures in August - 80 degrees in Cleveland, 83 in Columbus and 84 in Cincinnati - are far greater, especially for those desiring to grow Bermudagrass.   In Cincinnati, sports turf manager Darian Daily is growing Bermuda at the Bengals' practice facility outside Paul Brown Stadium. But does that mean other locations throughout the state will have the same or similar success? Time will tell, Williams said.   "The farther north you go, every degree counts," he said.    "I think 90 miles (the approximate distance between Columbus and Cincinnati and Columbus and Cleveland) is significant. It might not seem like it going from Cincinnati to Columbus, but another 90 miles and you're in Cleveland. The farther north you go, every degree counts."   Although this project is in its early stages, Bermudagrass research has been conducted at Ohio State for many years, and Williams isn't concerned that cooler conditions will inhibit the newest trials. In fact, long-term weather trends will only help validate the research.   "This is my eighth season here. We have 10,000 square feet of Bermuda here, and this is the first sign of winter kill here since I've been here," he said. "Are we going to see it moving forward? Is it going to be one out of three years, or one out of 10 years? Those things will help people evaluate whether it is worth it to grow Bermuda where they are."   Previous Bermudagrass research at Ohio State by Street that began as long as 15 years ago has included looking into prolonging color retention beyond summer.    "Can we extend the color and still beat it up into late September or early October?" Williams said. "You can't play football on it, or use it on a tee if you can't beat it up."
  • New breed of 'Cat

    By Peter McCormick, in News,

    Jacobsen has announced a completely updated TurfCat® out-front rotary in the 60-72" deck class.
    The traditional Jacobsen hydraulic-over-belt deck drive has been replaced by individual hydraulic motors on all spindles, which now feature sealed bearings to eliminate grease points. The hydraulic lines have quick couplers for easy implement exchange.
    Traction drive has also been updated to all hydraulic. Two- or four-wheel drive options are available. Combined, the new traction and deck drive systems eliminate all belts, pulleys, gearboxes, driveshafts and clutches for reduced maintenance and lower total cost of ownership.
    Powerplant is a 24.8hp Tier 4-compliant Kubota diesel.  Because it is below the 25-hp threshold, the Kubota engine is considered Tier 4 compliant without all the added filtration and other bells and whistles (and cost) associated with higher horsepower Tier 4 engines.
    Deck options include 60" and 72" rear discharge, 63" and 72" side discharge, and the 60" fine-cut flail mower popular for roughs, native areas and core processing.
    The weight transfer function previously performed by deck springs has been transferred to the deck lift cylinder, with a dial adjustment.
    Foldable ROPS is standard, and a premium suspension seat available as an option to the standard suspension seat. A cab, rotary brush, plow, snow blower and turbine blower are available to extend the utility of the TurfCat to all seasons.
    Availability is slated for August, 2014.

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