Walking 'Round In Winter Wonderland...

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Northwest Region
December 14, 2010

Winter desication injury can have devastating results in the spring. Bah Humbug! 

Or maybe not.  Throughout the vast Northwest Region some golf course superintendents are enjoying winter conditions on their courses and others aren’t quite so lucky.  Lucky, you say?  The majority of golf courses in the Rocky Mountains actually look forward to a good snow cover to help protect the turf from the harsh conditions of the winter months. 

The return trip from the 57th Annual Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association Conference & Trade Show took me from a warm and dry front range through greater-than-normal amounts of early season snow in the high country.  While skiers are happy, many of the superintendents and their staffs again were busy charging-up irrigation systems to irrigate dry, exposed turf.   And I left Denver wishing I had snow tires on my vehicle.

One of my personal highlights of the Rocky Mountain Conference was an announcement at the opening session that Dennis Lyon, CGCS, Aurora Golf Division, will be the 2011 recipient of the USGA Green Section Award.  In establishing the Green Section Award, the USGA honors those persons deserving special recognition for distinguished service to golf through work with turfgrass. I hope all in attendance at the 2011 Golf Industry Show can join us at the USGA Educational Program on February 11th, (10 AM- Noon), as the award is presented as part of the program.  Congratulations Dennis!

A year ago, we had a large amount of snow and ice damage to turf on many golf courses throughout the region.  These same areas are now trying to limit the amount of winter damage again, but this time it is caused by desiccation, another type of winter injury.  Winter injury or winter kill, has multiple conditions causing turf loss, including ice cover, plant crown hydration and freezing, rapid low temperature damage, snow mold diseases and desiccation.   It is a moving target and superintendents react each year to the changing conditions. 

Many different snow mold control products were used this fall at courses that had previously relied on PCNB- based products.  Superintendents are experimenting with different products to see what will fit into their programs in future years.  These decisions will be based on product effectiveness and budget.  Hopefully, each superintendent has good records, (and hopefully some photos too) of the application test sites for an adequate evaluation in the spring. 

This year’s Turf Advisory Service golf course visits found me explaining to green committee members, course officials, and players the many causes of winter kill on their golf courses.  While we don’t particularly like seeing lots of dead grass on visits, we do embrace educating people on the difficulty of dealing with Mother Nature in golf course maintenance.  The USGA Green Section staff is available for individual course visits as well as speaking to course officials and golfers to help educate about the challenges of golf course maintenance. 

In the Northwest region, contact Larry Gilhuly, director, (lgilhuly@usga.org) or Derf Soller, agronomist, (dsoller@usga.org) for more information or to schedule a visit.  For information, Administrative Assistant Wendy Schwertfeger also may be reached at:  208.732.0280 or at wendys@usga.org.

Have a safe and happy holiday, and I look forward to seeing you next season. 

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, 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 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