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Green Section History

In 1920, E.J. Marshall, a Toledo, Ohio, attorney and then Green Committee chairman for the Inverness Club, was in charge of course preparations for the U.S. Open Championship.  He sought, but could not find, impartial and authoritative agronomic information.  His efforts led him to the USGA and the United States Department of Agriculture.  The two organizations agreed to collaborate in the development of scientific information relating to golf course turf.  Thus, on November 30, 1920, the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association formally created the USGA Green Section.

This not-for-profit agency, free from commercial connections, was a pioneer and remains today a chief authority in turfgrass management for golf.  The USGA Green Section is directly involved in every phase of golf course maintenance and management from the control of diseases, insects, and weeds to the breeding and release of improved strains of turfgrass.  The Green Section is involved in research pertaining to cultural practices, equipment development, soils, fertilizers, irrigation, and other maintenance.  In 1960 it developed and published the USGA Method of Putting Green Construction.  Since then, this method has been regularly researched and improved, and is now used throughout the world.  The Green Section’s Construction Education Program serves as a central clearinghouse for this information.

The USGA supports the largest, private turfgrass and environmental research effort in the history of golf.  Since 1920, the USGA has placed more than $40 million in funding university research projects.  The goal is to achieve a significant reduction in water use, pesticide use, and maintenance costs.  A wealth of new grasses, improved maintenance practices, and information pertaining to the environment is available.

The Course Consulting Service (CCS) takes research information directly to subscribing golf facilities through on-site visits and educational outreach programs, and thereby contributes to better playing conditions at lower costs.  The combination of research, direct golf course visits, and education is the key to the success of USGA Green Section operations.  When a golf facility subscribes to the CCS, they are not simply subsidizing the cost of the site visit, but also supporting the mission and activities of the entire USGA. By supporting research and offering sound, experienced agronomic advice about the scientific and practical aspects of golf course turf management, the Green Section’s Course Consulting Service provides ever greater value and better golf turf to the golf facilities and course officials it services.