In The Final Analysis

By David A. Oatis, director, Northeast Region
September 5, 2012

Agronomists and golf course superintendents frequently (sometimes incessantly) talk about the weather, but that is because the weather has such a profound effect on turfgrass performance and playing conditions. “Extreme” once again is the word that best characterizes the weather we have experienced this year, and as expected, its effect on turfgrass performance, playability and maintenance budgets has been huge. Some courses have had very successful years while others have struggled, and this raises questions and causes confusion among golfers and course officials. How can one course struggle and another one perform well? There literally are hundreds if not thousands of reasons, and regardless of how your course fared this year, now is a good time to start taking stock. Don’t wait until this year’s struggles are a distant memory. Extreme weather conditions frequently expose the strengths and weakness of your course and now is the time to start the campaign to fix fundamental problems that will forever limit the performance of your turfgrass. For more information on this subject, read Factors Affecting Success.

For many courses, this year’s weather once again highlighted the effects of poor grass growing environments, insufficient drainage, and inadequate irrigation. Document these problems now, because memories fade as turf health rebounds.

  • Recent rains are easing drought concerns in many areas of the region, and for some, drainage is becoming an issue. However depleted water sources, water quality, and salt water intrusion issues are still a concern.
  • Annual bluegrass weevils continue to confound. Yet another wave of damage has been experienced at many courses, and one has to suspect that a final wave will yet occur in late September and October.
  • Recognize that aeration and topdressing can temporarily mask the onset of all kinds of turf damage (i.e., anthracnose, summer patch, weevil damage, etc…)
  • For most golfers there is no good time to aerate, but a sound and effectively timed cultivation program is the foundation for good turf. Resist the urge to scale back cultivation programs; doing so will cause much more disruption in the long run.
  • If you don’t have a tree management program, you should. Fall is the perfect time to evaluate the trees on your property and to determine where work is needed. Read, Man’s Friend or Golf’s Enemy?, for more information on this subject. 

As the fall and winter seasons approach, reflect on the goals of your maintenance program and assess whether they are realistic. A reasonable blend of good playability and good reliability is the goal most should pursue, but it means different things in different locations, in different climates, and under extreme weather conditions. 

While the Northeast agronomists have been extremely busy we are never too busy to hear from you. Give us a call if we can help and best of luck for a successful season. 

Source:  Northeast Region Green Section- Dave Oatis, director; Adam Moeller, agronomist; Jim Skorulski, senior agronomist

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