Headed Toward The Finish Line And Education Opportunities

By John H. Foy, director, Florida Region
March 27, 2012

The 2012 winter golf season in Florida has been one of the best in the past several years. The lack of any significant cold weather has been very favorable to increased play at most courses and at the same time minimizing the impact of peak season play, traffic and wear damage. As the saying goes, “all good things come to an end” and in another few weeks this will be the case with the 2012 South Florida winter golf season. After the Masters, Easter and spring training baseball, seasonal residents will begin migrating north and back to their home courses. No doubt many courses would like to extend the current winter season for as long as possible and maintain maximum revenue flow. With spring arriving four to five weeks early in the north however, a delay in the migration north will probably not occur and with car haulers starting to be spotted around town, there is further confirmation that the end of the season is near.

However, it is not too late to take advantage of an education opportunity prior to the end of the winter season. As USGA agronomists, we see and hear it all. A common concern is always how to get golfers and course officials to understand why basic golf course maintenance practices are so important. Times have changed, and we all have less to work with and greater demands to meet. Doing more with less, or even keeping basic levels of maintenance practices in place is more important than ever before. To help your facility successfully meet such challenges we invite course officials to attend a Regional Golfer Meeting to hear USGA staff explain golf course maintenance practices, why they are important, and the long- and short-term ramifications of cutting back the maintenance program. A USGA rules official will also be on hand to discuss changes in the 2012 Rules of Golf. This is a good opportunity to have course officials hear from an unbiased source and to have all of their questions answered. 

2012 USGA Regional Golfer Meeting Program:

8:00 – Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – Welcoming Remarks

8:35 – Trees – Growing Turf Amongst Shady Characters: Trees are integral to golf course playability and design but create challenges for maintaining good turfgrass growth. Learn about how to maintain the best of both worlds and when it is time to say goodbye to those beloved trees. Robert Vavrek Jr., Senior Agronomist, North-Central Region, USGA Green Section

9:05 – Seasonal Gripes:Learn the causes of seasonal gripes like, "Why do we punch holes in greens each summer?", and "Why are our fairways so tight in winter?" Hear a overview of warm-season turfgrass growth and the mechanical and weather factors that affect turf health and playability. Todd Lowe, Senior Agronomist, Florida Region, USGA Green Section

9:45 Overview of 2012 Changes to the Rules of Golf: While it is considered important that the Rules be faithful to their historical principles, they must be clear, comprehensive and relevant to today’s game, and the penalties must be appropriate. The Rules need regular review to ensure these goals are met. This set of Rules is the latest stage of this evolution. Kathy Gordon, Director, Regional Affairs, Southeast Region, United States Golf Association

10:30 – Stretch Break

10:45 Bunkers – Hazards or Havens? Next to putting green speed, bunkers are one of the most common and controversial topics discussed on TAS visits. Learn some of the factors that affect sand firmness and bunker consistency so that you can properly address comments concerning bunker conditioning.  Robert Vavrek Jr., Senior Agronomist, North-Central Region, USGA Green Section

11:15Firm and Dry for Everyday Play: Maintaining firm and dry conditions is best for the game, budget and the environment. Can this be achieved and still meet aesthetic expectations? Yes!  John Foy, Director, Florida Region, USGA Green Section

12:00 Questions and Answers About Grass and the Game: John Foy, Todd Lowe, Robert Vavrek, Kathy Gordon

12:30 – Lunch

This meeting qualifies for CEU credits from GCSAA and PGA

To pay by credit card, click on the online registration link below for the meeting you wish to attend.  In order to pay for multiple registrations online with one credit card, each attendee will have to be registered individually.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Audubon Country Club, 625 Audubon Blvd.  Naples, FL  34110

$55.00 per person                             Limited to 125


Link: https://register.usga.org/userlogin.aspx?evntID=904

Online registration code: florida


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Frenchman’s Reserve, 703 Cote Azur Dr.  Palm Beach Gardens, FL  33410

$40.00 per person                               Limited to 100


Link: https://register.usga.org/userlogin.aspx?evntID=906

Online registration code:  green


Thursday, April 12, 2012


Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, 1601 MacDill Ave.   Tampa, FL  33629

$45.00 per person                                Limited to 100


Online registration code:  section



If paying by check, email sfoy@usga.org, or call, 772-546-2620 for a registration form. 

Don’t forget that you can save $600 on your 2012 TAS visits by pre-paying before May 15th.  You can download a TAS application at http://www.usga.org/course_care/turf_advisory_service/How-to-Subscribe

Source: jfoy@usga.org

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