Turfgrass Management

winter golf courseWinter is just around the corner, so as course traffic begins to slow for many clubs in the North, that doesn’t mean the course maintenance does. If you think about it, during the prime golfing season, a super’s focus is on general course maintenance and making sure daily play is the best it can be. But during the months when it’s too cold for golfing, this is the time to catch up, get organized and start planning for the next year. Here are some suggestions to help you be prepared come spring. Can you check all of these off your list?

hand sanitizerThroughout the ongoing fight against COVID-19, I think it’s safe to say we have all now learned the importance of washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. It truly is the best way to avoid spreading germs. Even on the course! However, though hand sanitizer helps your golfers play safely and comfortably, what is less commonly known is that hand sanitizer is harmful to your golf course turfgrass.

golf course droughtWhen managing a golf course, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when it comes to water. You never know when something like a pipe failure, a fire, or in most cases, lack of rainfall, will affect your course’s water supply. Since a golf course uses, on average, about 312,00 gallons of water per day, it’s best to create a water-management plan. In fact, it’s often required by the state for courses to have this. If you wait until a drought occurs, you’re too late. Your course will need to have reduced water use long before your area is actually in a drought.

beautiful fairwaysThough most golfers focus on getting to the green, most of their time is spent in the fairways. After all, fairways account for, on average, 29% of the overall property, while greens are only 3.2%. Therefore, it would make sense that creating fabulous fairways would be a focal point for golf course supers, ensuring the grass has uniformity, with smoothness and good density. How does one achieve that? Here are the four key ingredients.

pollinatorAs we all WELL know, there are many contributors to any successful golf course operation. It wouldn’t thrive without the super, pros, investors, players and grounds crew, but other important cast members include natural wildlife and pollinators. They're responsible for encouraging plant growth and pollinating flowering plants. Integrating wildflowers into your course landscaping is a simple way to support pollinators, and they can bring a whole slew of benefits.  

golf course managementIt's been a hell of a year, and it's only June. It's likely to be rough for awhile. Courses across the US were shut down as early as March, and only in the last month have slow streams of players been allowed back on, and with stringent restrictions. No golfers means no revenue and boards are tightening the purse strings for supers. The problem is, if you want a viable course when players are back in full swing, you can't just stop maintaining it for a couple months. But, we've been here before. We learned some valuable lessons in 2009 and these are five important takeaways on what you can, and what you can't, sacrifice in a time like this.

irrigation systemFor golf course superintendents, the number one priority is to provide golfers with the best possible playing conditions. And as we all well know, that is no easy feat especially when it comes to turf management. Your course’s irrigation system plays a huge part in that. The challenge lies in the fact that it is probably the most expensive investment on a golf course but it can have the biggest impact. When considering making upgrades to your course’s irrigation system, it’s important to understand what’s really involved. Here’s a glimpse at the reality.

golfing frustrationThere are plenty of frustrating moments on the golf course. For players, when a drive lands in a water hazard, a green is misread, or a heavy rainstorm hits in the middle of a great round can all send them over the edge. For golf course supers, when equipment breaks down right before a major tournament, a greens committee micromanages your work, or turf that just won’t cooperate are examples of the frustration we face every day. Like everything in life, some things are out of a manager’s control and it comes with the job. But other problems, like spring dead spot popping up, are manageable.

Fall golf course Golf Course Superintendents aim to create an amazing experience on the course, with lush greens, pristine sand traps, and healthy soil for better landscaping. But a common hurdle many supers face is working within their budget. Many managers have to look at what’s necessary and what’s not, which means cutting costs, like rescheduling aeration, skipping topdressing and scaling back landscaping. It’s hard to do more with less!