Golf Course Work Continues In The Offseason

By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
January 23, 2013

Drainage work is often performed during the winter when the golf course is closed or play is very limited.

The mid-point of winter in the Northeast Region is here and thankfully the weather has not been unbearable up to this point. Serious concerns for turf damage from ice or freezing and thawing have not been a major topic and hopefully this continues. At many facilities, the maintenance staff (albeit trimmed significantly from summer levels) is busy preparing for the upcoming season. Drainage work, equipment repair and maintenance, and continued storm cleanup from Hurricane Sandy seem to be keeping most superintendents busy this winter.

Many superintendents are also busy creating maintenance guidelines in collaboration with course officials. Maintenance guidelines/standards are something every golf course should have because they clarify maintenance priorities and keep the entire facility moving in the right direction. The short list of benefits of maintenance guidelines/standards include: 1) maintenance priorities become identified, 2) course expectations become transparent, 3) continuity from year to year is created, and 4) an appropriate operating budget can be developed. Useful information about the value of Maintenance Guidelines and how to create them can be found from the Green Section Record Articles below:

Setting Standards

When In Doubt - Spec It Out

Unreasonable Expectations

Turfgrass management practices to produce the best conditions possible are constantly evolving. Winter educational conferences and seminars along with networking with fellow superintendents and agronomists is the best way to stay up-to-date with new ideas and innovative and economical programs to manage golf courses. Unfortunately, the tough economy has caused many golf facilities to suspend educational opportunities for superintendents and golf professionals. Attending educational conferences is not always inexpensive, but their value is far greater than the upfront costs.    

Upcoming USGA Regional Conferences

New England Regional Turf Conference, Providence, R.I., March 5   

USGA Regional Conference, Park Club, Buffalo, N.Y., March 21

New England Green Section Seminar, Blue Hill CC, Canton, Mass., March 26

Met Golf Association/USGA Green Chairman Seminar, Willow Ridge CC, Harrison, N.Y., March 27

U.S. Women’s Open Volunteers Needed

The 2013 U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, NY June 27-30. Volunteers to assist in golf course maintenance during the championship are still needed. Fill out an application by clicking on the link below if you would like to volunteer for the championship:

Golf Course Maintenance Volunteer Application

USGA agronomists can provide insightful and invaluable information involving all areas of golf course maintenance, which will help maximize turf health, playability, and efficiency. Contact Dave Oatis, director doatis@usga.org; Adam Moeller, agronomist amoeller@usga.org; or Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist jskorulski@usga.org for a Turf Advisory Service visit this season.

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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.

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