July Regional Roundtable
June 29, 2015
By John Foy and Patrick O'Brien, agronomists, Southeast Region
A common concern during recent Course Consulting Service visits has been drought stress in fairway and rough areas; a consequence of erratic rainfall combined with extremely high temperatures. While bermudagrass has good drought tolerance and can quickly recover when adequate soil moisture is reestablished, controlling cart traffic on drought-stressed turf is very important to prevent additional problems.
Every year, the USGA Green Section selects several outstanding students from universities offering turfgrass management degrees to participate in the USGA Green Section Internship Program. This year, three summer interns – Wendell Hutchins from North Carolina State University, Jordan Craft from Mississippi State University and Nickles Mirmow from Clemson University – traveled with Southeast Region agronomists Todd Lowe and Patrick O’Brien in Charlotte and Pinehurst, N.C. The interns participated in several Course Consulting Service visits where the students had a chance to interact with general managers, golf professionals, course officials, golfers and golf superintendents.
Some highlights from the internship program included:
- Viewing pollinator plots that promote pollinating insects on golf courses
- Observing turfgrass-reduction areas that reduce the use of resources like water, fertilizer, labor and pesticides
- Viewing a putting green conversion from bentgrass to ultradwarf bermudagrass
- Learning about the benefits of a tree-management program to promote specimen trees that enhance course presentation and playability
- Using specialized iPad applications to assist with shade analysis
- Observing how superintendents take advantage of new plant genetics with improved playability characteristics to repair winter injury on fairways, roughs, and teeing areas with big-roll sod, sprigs and other methods.
- Discussing the difficulty of finding labor with golf course superintendents. Finding labor remains a significant issue for golf courses in the Southeast Region.
The USGA Internship Program is a rewarding and enjoyable educational experience. We encourage all eligible undergraduate students or graduate students majoring in horticulture, agronomy or a related field to seek out this opportunity through their academic advisor. Visit the USGA Green Section Internship Program website for more information.
Southeast Region Agronomists:
John H. Foy, regional director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick M O’Brien, agronomist – email@example.com
Todd Lowe, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org