Fall Is Time To Reenergize The Batteries And Plan For Next Year

By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
October 25, 2013

Leaf cleanup and removal is an important fall task. Keep fine turf areas such as greens, tees and fairways free of leaves to ensure sunlight is able to reach the turf.

With the recent change to unseasonably cool weather, many golf facilities have experienced their first frost. As this year’s golf season comes to a close, preparations for winter and next season are now in full swing. Strategies implemented on a golf course during fall/winter are often a good indicator of spring success.

Leaf cleanup is important to turf health and playability, plus the golf course simply looks better if leaves are removed. Left on the surface, leaves prevent sunlight penetration to the turf. Fall is an important time for plants to regenerate from summer stress by producing and storing carbohydrates (the plant’s source of food and energy) within the plant in preparation for winter and spring greenup. Sunlight is critical for these processes. Do not allow leaves to block necessary sunlight as the combination of sunny days and adequate temperatures are already limited at this time of year. Leaf cover can also encourage development of winter snow mold diseases in turf, adding another reason to remove leaves.

If unpractical to remove leaves, mulch them with a rotary mower. Following the mower with a blower, when necessary, helps to disperse the mulched leaves into the turfgrass canopy. Leaf cleanup and removal is often predicated by staff levels and available equipment. If one or both are lacking, focus on fine-turf areas (e.g., greens, tees and fairways) and ensure these areas stay clear of leaves through the winter. As time and resources permit, efforts can be shifted to bunkers and rough.

As winter approaches, now is the perfect time to recharge the batteries from a long summer. Take time for yourself and reinvest in your family. The grind of summer takes a mental and physical toll on everyone. Winter is a good time to take note of programs on the course, evaluating their success or failure. It is also a good time for continuing education.

November marks the beginning of education season in the Mid-Atlantic region. There are many educational opportunities now through mid-March. These meetings provide opportunities to keep up with emerging technologies and to reconnect with friends and share stories from the past season. Many use this time to acquire all important pesticide license credits as well. Remember, first and foremost, these meetings are educational in nature. It is important that golf facilities provide the financial resources for their employees to attend these meetings. It is equally important for the attendees to take these conferences seriously. One good strategy is actually writing down what was learned at a particular conference. This can prove the worth of attendance.

Course officials can also benefit from winter education meetings. There are many topics that relate to superintendents and stakeholders in the golf facility. For instance, USGA regional meetings focus on golf course playability, budgeting, the Rules of Golf and much, much more. Mark your calendars for the upcoming USGA Green Section regional meetings in the Mid-Atlantic region:

  • March 4, 2014 at DuPont Country Club, Wilmington, Del.
  • March 11, 2014 at Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.

Source: Elliott L. Dowling (edowling@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

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 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 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 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