Control What You Can As We Are In the Dog Days of Summer

By Keith Happ, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
July 30, 2012

(L) A few minutes spent cleaning around irrigation heads provides more efficient and effective irrigation coverage. Water distribution is always important but at this time of year it could mean the difference between healthy or dead grass! (R) Maintaining sharp mowers does not have to be a time consuming endeavor. Small hand tools can be used if spin grinders are not available for use. Sharp bed knives and reels are essential for the maintenance of healthy turf.

Rainfall continues to be variable throughout the region. In some areas of the region rainfall amounts have wreaked havoc for turf managers, while in other areas irrigation systems have been stretched to the max. Golfers should not assume that the weather at their house or at one golf course is the same as what is experienced at another. Superintendents are not purposely overwatering. Isolated areas of the region have received excess precipitation, some totaling as much as 6 inches in over 72 hours. When combined with high temperatures this uncontrollable element of turf management forces superintendents to play defense and react to changing conditions. Often, it is what is not performed that makes a difference. When the soil is saturated it may not be possible to perform even the most basic mowing procedures. 

While some have experienced significant precipitation, others continue to be dry and must irrigate to maintain their golf turf. Poorly functioning heads are either leading to localized dry spot problems, are not providing proper coverage or are overwatering some areas while under watering other areas. Checking the spreader and range nozzles is critical during this hot season. Grass and other debris may be affecting the efficiency of coverage. This is particularly important for irrigation heads that may be weeping onto greens. When things are dry and you have to rely on the irrigation system it is critical to make sure it is functioning properly. It is also a good time to evaluate coverage to determine if additional heads may be needed.

Whether it has been dry or wet, take the time to sharpen the mowers during the season. Maintaining sharp leading edges on cutting units will help to support healthy grass. It may only take a few minutes and the effort could save grass by minimizing potential damage from bruising and wounding of the grass blades. Not all golf course operations have state of the art grinding (sharpening) equipment. There are hand held sharpening tools that can be used if spin grinding machines are not available at your facility. Back lapping can also help keep mowers sharp. As they say, “Where there is a will there is a way,” and a way to maintain healthy grass is to use sharp and well-adjusted mowers! 

We continue to see Hyperodes weevils activity in the field. In fact, bentgrass has been damaged by this pest in central Pennsylvania. Take the time to examine all signs and symptoms of the off-color or declining turf before control procedures are implemented. Don’t automatically assume it is wilt. Check it out. Treating for insect activity rather than a secondary disease may be what is needed. Product selection can make all the difference. Call our offices if concerns or questions arise. 

Always remember that the agronomists of the Mid-Atlantic Region are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question of concern, especially now, give us a call or send an email. Stan Zontek, (szontek@usga.org) or Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610-558-9066 or Keith Happ at (khapp@usga.org) at 412-341-5922

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image