COURSE CARE
Highlights From The Southern California Regional Conference January 20, 2015 By Pat Gross, director, West Region

The Southern California Regional Conference took place January 12 at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif. For more than 12 years, this conference has brought together superintendents, general managers, golf professionals and club officials to share information on a wide range of topics impacting golf in Southern California. The following are highlights from several of the presentations:

 Overseeding and transition

Brian Whitlark shared several strategies for overseeding and transition:

  • Renovation prior to overseeding must keep in mind the protection of the bermudagrass base and transition programs the following summer. Successful strategies that courses are employing include: 1.) the use of Reward® (diquat) and/or Turflon® (triclopyr) herbicides to burn down the bermudagrass and reduce the amount of green waste generated, and 2.) minimize vertical mowing to preserve the bermudagrass base.
  • Successful transition programs begin in February by applying Embark® (mefluidide) growth regulator to bermudagrass greens and fairways at three- to four-week intervals through April and initiating light vertical mowing and brushing.
  • Withholding water and fertilizer is one of the worst things that can be done during transition since it ends up damaging bermudagrass more than the overseeded perennial ryegrass.

 Carbon sequestration research at University of California, Riverside

Dr. Jim Baird gave an overview of a research project underway at UC Riverside quantifying the ability of 10 different turfgrass species to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Turfgrass and all green plants naturally do this through photosynthesis but at differing rates depending on the species and type of plant. The study includes measurements under both well-irrigated and irrigation-deficit conditions. Of the cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue statistically sequestered the most carbon under both well-watered and deficit-irrigation schedules. Of the warm-season grasses, St. Augustinegrass and seashore paspalum statistically sequestered the most carbon. The next phase of the research is currently underway and involves taking in-field measurements at three golf courses located in different climates: coastal (West Los Angeles), inland valley (Riverside) and desert (Palm Springs).

Five reasons to be optimistic about the golf business in California

Craig Kessler, of the Southern California Golf Association, finished the program on an upbeat note by listing his five reasons to be optimistic about the golf business in 2015:

  1. The November elections in California included the passage of a water bond initiative that will help expand water storage in the state.
  2. The golf industry is prepared to deal with the water issue as a result of better dialog with non-golf audiences.
  3. The California Alliance for Golf (CAG) is better organized to impact policies that affect the business of golf.
  4. The golf industry in California has a good relationship with the media, mainly as a result of the proactive efforts of various golf water task groups that have been formed throughout the state.
  5. Despite several years of stagnant growth, golf is still standing. In Craig’s words, “There’s nothing wrong with the game. We’ve come through some tough times and we’re leaner, meaner and ready for growth.”

Source: Pat Gross (pgross@usga.org)

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