The Time Has Come

By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
August 21, 2013

Areas such as this are prime candidates for drainage installation this fall. The addition of perforated drain tile will provide long-term benefits and prove especially valuable during difficult, rainy seasons.

For many, August 15th signifies the beginning of the end of the season. It came and went as gently as a mouse, so let’s hope late August and September does not strike like a lion. As fall approaches, the focus on daily maintenance must be maintained. Many remember the gray leaf spot (Pyricularia grisea) outbreak around Labor Day of 2012. However, late summer and early fall is a time to evaluate broader issues of overall maintenance operations. 

Cultural practices implemented in the fall promote quicker recovery from summer stress and potentially safeguard turf from similar issues in the future. For many, this season clearly showed where surface and sub-surface drainage is lacking. Fall is the perfect time to undertake those much needed (and sometimes neglected) drainage projects. Areas such as low spots in fairways and approaches are ideal candidates for additional drain tile. Sand channel drainage may be a consideration for trouble greens or fairways that need to move massive amounts of water. 

Hopefully, many of you have aeration on the schedule soon or perhaps you have already completed this important practice. After a busy season of play, intensely managed turf welcomes the relief provided from core aeration. Properly timed aeration provides numerous benefits to turfgrass quality, health and reliability. Soil compaction from a busy golf schedule and routine maintenance can deprive roots of oxygen and limit their growth. Opening channels in the soil and backfilling with sand topdressing promotes root growth and development. Additionally, incorporating sand into the soil profile will aid in compaction resistance and help preserve water infiltration in the future. 

Fall is the time to assess the agronomic plan in place. Did it work? What didn’t work? What needs adjusting? These are all questions you should ask yourself. If areas of the agronomic plan fell short, try to figure out why. Also, take advantage of fall and winter turf conferences. Educational conferences provide the opportunity to interact with peers following another season and to keep current with the latest agronomic programs, equipment and products. 

Source: Elliott L. Dowling (

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,, 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

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

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

AmEx image