Decisions Are Made Every Day – What You Decide Not To Do Can Make A Difference

By Keith Happ, North-Central Region
July 10, 2013

We cannot control the weather but we can control how turf care programs are implemented during difficult weather conditions. Trust your instincts to not push for unsustainable greens speeds during periods of soil saturation.

Managing turfgrass in the North-Central region can be a challenging task. Every winter a game plan for turf care and course presentation is developed. This game plan is based first and foremost on growing healthy grass. There are, however, a number of variables that are very difficult to factor into the final equation for success. This season, much of the North-Central region has been experiencing wet and dry cycles, high and low humidity, and temperature fluctuations that dictate how turf care programs can be implemented. We frequently hear the question, “Don’t you think there is too much grass on the greens?” This is a great problem to have, right?

There are times when greens will play differently and pushing too hard at the wrong time of the year could result in catastrophic results. Vertical mowing when greens are too wet, too dry, or under heat stress can result in rapid, self-inflicted turf decline. When conditions are harsh it is what you choose not to do sometimes that makes all the difference. “Live to fight another day” as they saying goes. In so doing, at least there will be grass on golf’s most important playing areas: the greens.

The late Stan Zontek was well-known for telling golf course superintendents to, “Trust your gut. If you don’t feel good about what you are about to do, or asked to do, to the grass, don’t do it.” These words still hold true. Rely on your instincts about growing grass under stressful conditions. Do not hesitate to call our offices to ask for an opinion to help make decisions based on the long-term performance of the grass. All too often we see grass that is bruised and weakened because there was a request for a special course setup despite the fact that soils were saturated and nighttime temperatures remained high. We cannot control the weather but we can control what we choose not to do when the grass is under stress. Trust your instincts. 

Source: Keith Happ (

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