COURSE CARE
Hitting 21 Every Time – You Will With The USGA Green Section! October 30, 2012 By Larry Gilhuly and Derf Soller

Life is a gamble, and so too are the activities of golf course maintenance. Proper diagnosis and reaction to disease, a fundamental understanding and application of needed nutrients, the refusal to address excess shade issues and daily irrigation decisions are just a few areas where gambles are frequently made with turf health. Attempting to meet golfer expectations for green color at all times, bowing to player pressure to eliminate aeration or aeration timing and low mowing on greens at the wrong time of the year are additional examples of gambles taken at the risk of the long-term health and playability of the golf course.

As we all know, gambling is largely unpredictable and does not always produce positive results. Rather than going the Las Vegas route and gambling with turf health and playing conditions of your golf facility, consider a well-known and documented approach that has benefited thousands of golf courses for 60 years – Turf Advisory Service visits from the USGA Green Section!

The USGA Green Section is comprised of 21 agronomists with more than 200 years of combined experience. Thousands of on-site visits have been made throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries. To cover such a large geographical area which such diverse needs, our staff is positioned all over the country in eight distinct regions. However, thanks to technology we are always in touch. The USGA makes every effort to incorporate cutting edge communications technologies enabling our staff to instantly interact with each other. The power of having 21 interconnected professionals that are in constant contact offers a unique way to answer virtually any question you may have at your golf facility.

In addition to discussing and answering any topic related to golf course maintenance, USGA agronomists also play a key role in the preparation of our 13 national championships. In an era when the expectations of many golfers regarding course conditioning are molded by what they see on television, a visit from a USGA agronomist can identify what is feasible and what is out of reach based on available resources. A complete written report follows every visit. This report is provided to document the items and topics discussed during the visit and provide additional observations and recommendations. Finally, the fee for subscribing to an on-site visit (either  a half or full day) is actually a year’s subscription to the services of our staff. Instead of viewing a Turf Advisory Service visit as a “one and done” visit, it is important to understand that USGA agronomists are available to subscribers year-round via phone or email.

Remember, the Green Section is your best bet of all. You hit 21 every time! To address gambling with your golf course and every topic regarding golf course maintenance and the game, contact Larry Gilhuly (lgilhuly@usga.org) or Derf Soller (dsoller@usga.org). They provide TAS service to all states in the Northwest Region and northern Canadian provinces.