Less Water = Color Reduction But Not Quality Reduction

By Bud White, director, Mid-Continent Region
July 22, 2013

Many superintendents are seeing earlier browning out this summer than last because of the lack of water in the soil profile.

Fortunately, some areas of the Mid-Continent Region have received relief from the drought that has been ongoing since 2011. However, many areas have not and superintendents – particularly in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas – are experiencing drought stress even more severe than last year. Soils are so dry that rain showers have little effect on turf health and color. Currently, 87 percent of Texas is listed as being in drought conditions. 

Soil profiles reveal extremely dry soil to a significant depth as we have not had enough moisture to wet soils deeper than just the top few inches. There is no capillary water movement in such dry soils so turf goes off-color as soon as hot weather begins. 

The rains that have been received have had virtually no effect on lake levels in many locations because the soil is retaining much of the rainfall. A slow, steady rain is almost completely soaked up in the upper few inches of the soil, with moisture never reaching deep into the soil profiles where severe drought continues. 

Superintendents must focus on drought management for the balance of summer. Raising cutting heights and extra potash applications are two steps that can help maximize drought tolerance. Color will not be as golfers expect or prefer, but this is the future of golf course aesthetics. Reduced water availability is more critical than ever but reductions in playing quality are not necessarily a product of reduced water and turf color. Superintendents are tasked with maintaining turf health and cannot necessarily worry about turf color and aesthetics. Golfer education becomes even more of a focus now so that players better understand necessary turf management practices and the future of golf course playability with limited water availability. 

Source: Bud White (budwhite@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
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