Take A Closer Look

By Chris Hartwiger, senior agronomist, Southeast Region
March 18, 2014

Washing soil and sand from the profile reveals differences in shoot density.

Sometimes things are so familiar to us that we do not take the time to stop and look closely. Our update this week features an exercise in making observations and a closer look at the USGA Course Consulting Service. 

Two Varieties – Many Differences.  

During a recent USGA Course Consulting visit, the superintendent and I had the occasion to take a cup cutter sized sample from a Tifdwarf putting green and a MiniVerde putting green on his golf course. We washed off all the sand rootzone and topdressing and spent the better part of an hour carefully observing the differences between these two varieties. When viewed from a unique perspective (all plant material and no soil), the differences were startling. Interestingly, crew members began gathering and they too were intrigued by the samples.

The two photographs were taken after washing and served as the basis for our observations. When we studied the samples, we asked many questions:

  • Which one had a deeper root system? 
  • Did one or the other seem to have more growing points near the surface?
  • How was the grass different on the surface?
  • What would we see if we looked under a magnifying lens? 

After comparing and contrasting the samples, we asked the most important question:  Given the differences observed, how should this impact the management protocol? 


March 20, 2014 -2  
  A close look at the surface shows differences in plant growth as well.

Take a Look at the USGA Course Consulting Service  

The USGA Course Consulting Service has undergone numerous changes recently. After 60 years, the name Turf Advisory Service was retired and changed to Course Consulting Service. In addition to our normal half day and full day general assessment visits, we have added a selection of visits focusing on the following topics.

  • Playing Quality Evaluation
  • Tree Evaluation
  • Bunker Evaluation
  • Putting Green Evaluation
  • Irrigation Evaluation

For more information on our Course Consulting Service and the visits we now offer, please visit:  USGA Course Consulting Service . We would welcome the opportunity to come to your course this year. Contact us soon as our early payment discount ends on May 15, 2014. 

Source: Patrick O'Brien (patobrien@usga.org) and Chris Hartwiger (chartwiger@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  

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