The Rewards of Working on a ‘Living Lab’ Golf Course

Most golf course superintendents would consider Matt Gourlay, CGCS, a lucky guy. Since his Colbert Hills Golf Course serves as a “living lab” for nearby Kansas State University’s Turfgrass Management program, he sees first hand which products work well … and which ones don’t. Part of the overall 27-hole golf complex, the experimental nine-hole Par 3 course features eight different varieties of bentgrass on greens, including Penncross, Crenshaw, L-93, G-2, A-4 and SR1020, as well as eight varieties of tall fescue, bluegrass, zoysiagrass and bentgrass on tees. “K-State has one of the best turfgrass management programs in the country, and uses our course as a testing ground for university research projects,” adds Gourlay, who has been superintendent for eight years. “We provide mowing, water and other labor. Their professors and students do all the research. We had five plots this year, including herbicides, turf colorants, fungicides and naturalized native areas.” When Colbert Hills opened in May 2000, Gourlay was there as a 14-year-old cart boy. He progressed to the maintenance team a year later and has remained at the course in some capacity ever since. “I fell in love with golf courses,” says Gourlay, who holds a bachelor’s degree in golf course management from K-State. “My dad and grandfather were both superintendents and my mother owned a soil testing company. It’s in my blood.” Designed by golf course architect Jeff Brauer and professional golfer Jim Colbert, Colbert Hills is owned by Kansas State Golf Course Management Research Foundation, a philanthropic organization for the university. “We are the Number One daily fee course in Kansas,” notes Gourlay. “Anybody can come...

Get a Jump Start on 2015 with the FMC Early Order Program

Now, through December 12, you can purchase popular FMC products at current pricing but defer payment on select products until June 10, 2015 with the FMC Early Order Program. That’s huge! With more products and incentives than ever before, the FMC 2014 Early Order Program offers significant savings, a Build Your Own Bonus program and extended terms on its most popular turf and ornamental products. The program features an amazing early incentive that grants participants an additional rebate of 50% more than the base rebate for purchases of qualifying products from September 15 to October 31, 2014. The base rebate is still competitive in November and December, too. Popular FMC products included in the program are Dismiss®, Dismiss® South, Dismiss® CA, Blindside®, Echelon®, Solitare®, QuickSilver® and SquareOne® herbicides, Onyx®, OnyxPro®, Aria® and Talstar® insecticides; and — new this year — Disarm® fungicides, Triple Crown® insecticides and Xonerate® herbicide. In addition to the early incentive, participants are eligible for a new B.Y.O.B. — or Build Your Own Bonus — program this year. When participants purchase combinations of qualifying products from any two or all three FMC product lines (fungicides, herbicides or insecticides), they can multiply their entire base rebate by a corresponding percentage. To be eligible for the B.Y.O.B. Bonus, participants need only purchase a minimum of $500 of FMC herbicides or insecticides or $1,000 of FMC fungicides. For an example of the B.Y.O.B., if your base earned rebate falls between $200 and $999, you can earn an additional 5% of your entire base rebate if you purchased two product lines and 10% if you purchased all three product lines....

Jumping on the Pigment Bandwagon — Lower Costs and Better Weed Control

Tray Maltby used to overseed all three of his Florida golf courses wall-to-wall six months of the year. But now he’s rethinking that model. “Northerners want to play on green grass,” notes Maltby, director of golf course grounds at Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla. “In central Florida, we can get a freeze and/or heavy frost where bermudagrass will go off-color, so we want to make sure it stays green.” Designed by legendary golfers Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, the Reunion courses, like their creators, each have their own distinctive style. But they have at least one thing in common – their turfgrass varieties. They all feature Tifeagle bermudagrass greens, Tifdwarf bermuda collars and approaches and 419 bermuda on tees, fairways and roughs. Traditionally, Maltby planted perennial ryegrass on tees and fairways and Poa trivialis on greens, collars and approaches each October. “It costs roughly $40,000 to overseed all 90 acres of turf — and that’s just to get the seed here, before I’ve even opened a bag,” he explains. “When you add in fertilizer, herbicides, fuel costs and labor, it jumps up to more than $100,000.” Liquid Overseeding Trial With the advent of “liquid overseeding” — coloring the turf with pigments through winter months — Maltby feels he may have found a lower-cost solution to keeping his grass green, as well as accelerating his weed-control program. “We chose not to overseed the Nicklaus course greens this year and sprayed a few different pigment products as a trial instead,” he adds. “It’s turned out really well for us so far. For starters, it costs about one-third less than...

Have You Heard? FMC Professional Solutions to Market DISARM® Fungicide and XONERATE® Herbicide

It’s true! Yesterday we announced that FMC Professional Solutions has signed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and market two key turf and ornamental product lines, DISARM® Fungicides (fluoxastrobin) and XONERATE® Herbicide (amicarbazone) in the U.S. and Canada. This agreement means FMC Professional Solutions now offers insecticides, herbicides and fungicides — providing a full portfolio of turf solutions. We spoke with members of the FMC turf team for their reactions: “This agreement brings some exciting technology to FMC. These active ingredients are great solutions for turf managers, and this relationship opens new development opportunities.” – Bobby Walls, PhD., Product Development Manager   “The agreement between FMC and Arysta allows us to go to customers with a full portfolio of insecticide, herbicide and fungicide products. It demonstrates FMC’s commitment to growing our turf and ornamental business long-term.” – Maureen Thompson, FMC, Business Manager, T&O segment   “This is a big opportunity for FMC. Not only do we have amazing herbicides and insecticides, we now have the best strobilurin fungicide on the market. More specifically, I’m excited to provide my customers with a great solution for dollar spot on bermuda grass, which is a unique problem that DISARM can address.” – Mike Kellum, FMC Market Specialist, Southeast region   “Having a broad spectrum fungicide to offer our customers is huge. My territory is otherwise known as the ‘disease belt’ so the DISARM line of products is truly fulfilling a need for disease control—particularly in the upper Midwestern states, where snow mold is a severe problem.” – Jay Young, FMC Market Specialist, Mid-West region   This agreement will not affect your ability...

Sedge Control that Works, Even After the Storm

Hurricane Sandy came onshore 50 miles north of Ocean City Golf Club in Berlin, Md., in late 2012. With almost two days of 80 mph prevailing west winds, the storm hit the 36-hole facility pretty hard. “The way our golf course sits between the bay and the coast, it was like a Perfect Storm for us,” says Mike Salvio, CGCS, superintendent for the past three years. “I had three feet of water in my office and in the shop. More than a year later, I’m still finding equipment with salt water damage.” But the worst part was debris that washed onto the golf course from the marshes. Dead grass, garbage and extraneous foliage littered the entire area. Nonetheless, at least 27 holes were passable and two days after the storm, golfers were back on the greens. “Cleanup was really tough,” adds Salvio. “Probably the biggest challenge of my career was staying positive for my crew. I focused on the things that were going right and encouraged them to do the same. If you are the leader, people feed off you. They watch you and take on your attitude.” The first golf course in the Ocean City area, the Ocean City Golf Club encompasses the Seaside course, built in 1959, and the Newport Bay course, which began play in 1998. “Seaside is more traditional — tree-lined and park-like, while Newport Bay has all the bells and whistles – water carries, back bays and water chutes,” adds Salvio, who is incoming president of the Eastern Shore Golf Course Superintendents Association. Sedges have traditionally been a problem on the Seaside course, which...

Game On: Silvery Thread Moss vs. Putting Greens

Got moss? If you are on a golf course from northern Minnesota to southern Florida – you probably do! A steady decline in golf course mowing heights has led to a dramatic increase of silvery thread moss on putting greens, according to Dr. Jack Fry, professor of turfgrass science at Kansas State University. “Lower mowing heights lead to thinner turf and increased amounts of sunlight reaching the soil surface, which favors moss encroachment,” says Dr. Fry. “In addition, shorter bentgrass roots necessitate more frequent irrigation, which moss prefers.” To add insult to injury, pesticides containing heavy metals are no longer labeled for use on greens. Since moss is sensitive to these products, it proliferates more in their absence. “Silvery thread moss is a plant – and yet it’s not,” explains Fry. “It contains chlorophyll and photosynthesizes but doesn’t have roots and absorbs all of its water and nutrients through foliage. Since it can survive in extreme conditions, most of our efforts are to suppress it, rather than to control it.” Fry notes that his research has shown a few others things about moss: It most likely spreads on greens when you move fragments around through aeration, mowing and verticutting. Mowing heights higher than 0.125 inches will help suppress it. Soluble nitrogen fertilizer applied as a liquid will encourage its growth and so will ammonium sulfate. QuickSilver® herbicide will suppress it without injuring creeping bentgrass when used according to label directions. Topdressing alone helps to suppress moss and is even more effective when used in combination with QuickSilver. Silvery thread moss has had millions of year to adapt to new...