Budget reductions are here, and likely to stay for awhile. So now is the time to begin an honest course evaluation and golfer education campaign communicating that playability of the golf course is what it's all about. During the past month of USGA conferences in our region, as well as those in many of the other parts of the country, we have discussed critical reviews of how to review budgets. Cost savings versus cost reductions has been the core of many of the presentations given by USGA agronomists. This activity will continue.
The Green Section staff also will continue to be available and in a position to share with you the numerous budget awareness ideas and things we see collectively through our Turf Advisory Service (TAS) program.
In the Northwest Region, USGA Regional Conferences were offered this year in Cody, WY; Lakewood, CO, and Tacoma, WA. Issues concerning budgets and how to identify and prioritize spending were a central topic. An accompanying theme highlighted the importance of concentrating on course playability instead of focusing heavily, (time and resources) on the visual and aesthetic aspects of turf maintenance. Water use responsibility and its management importance also were part of the cost discussions.
Turf wise, with the vastness of the region, many conditions are being observed. The Rocky Mountain lower elevation areas finally received a decent snowfall. Extremely dry conditions have been the norm, so this is a timely accumulation of moisture. Cooler and more wet conditions in the Pacific Northwest should be a reason to postpone the spring aeration of greens until warmer weather arrives. Don't let the calendar dictate the date for aeration! Warmer temperatures assure a quicker healing time for the greens and cause the least disruption time for all players.
Please review other regional updates to keep abreast of the timely topics, some similar to those at your golf course, and also possibly different issues facing golf facilities in other parts of the country. Updates for all of the USGA regions can be found at: http://www.usga.org/turf/regional_updates/regional_updates.html
The USGA Northwest Region is available for TAS visits as well as speaking to members or players to help educate about the challenges of golf course maintenance. Contact Larry Gilhuly, director, ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Derf Soller, agronomist ( email@example.com ) for more information or to schedule a visit. Wendy Schwertfeger, administrative assistant, may also be reached for information at: 208.732.0280 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .