Frost Delays Give Turf Management Teams Time to Catch Up

Fall is now in full swing in many parts of the U.S. We have “fallen back” with the time change, leaves are falling, and many mornings for golf course management start off with frost delays. Frost delays for those of you that manage turf in the transition zone and points further north, can be frustrating because they delay the opportunity to get out and perform the daily scheduled activities. By looking at the extended forecast (3-5 day forecast), turf managers can accurately predict which mornings will have frost delays. These frost delays are lengthy and the team finds itself with little to do—I mean, you can only clean up the maintenance facility so many times. But on the bright side, whether the delay is 30 minutes or 2 hours, these delays can provide an excellent opportunity for creative team-building. Here are a few of the ways that I took advantage of frost delays to provide an opportunity to engage in team-building activities with the golf course management team during my previous career as a superintendent. My crew was a mix of Hispanic and American members which created a language barrier. To break through this barrier, my staff created an English/Spanish board and during a frost delay, the crew would review the board and add on to the board. The board consisted of words and phrases commonly used on the golf course. For example, “Rake the bunkers” – “Rastrillar los búnkers.” At first there was some resistance from the crew, but as the crew was sent out and forced to communicate, the language barrier began to break down and efficiency...

Turf Industry Pros Further Water Conservation Efforts

Recently, I was channel surfing one evening and came across In Play with Jimmy Roberts on The Golf Channel. This was the first time I had ever seen or heard of this show. The first story on this particular episode was about water conservation in the golf industry. The piece started off with the following statement: “Water is now oil in the industry.” Water is now oil in the industry — Pretty strong statement in my opinion. As I complete my 20th season being involved in the green industry, it seems as if the industry is under more scrutiny than ever before when it comes to water conservation. But, should it be? I believe the common public perception still today is that golf courses dump copious amounts of water on their sites to keep everything emerald green, when in reality that perception could not be further from the truth. The general public, more times than not, is unaware of what repercussions can result from over watering turf, not only from an agronomic standpoint. In some parts of the country using too much water can come with a stiff fine and many courses are even forced to buy water each year, so they have a vested interest in not buying more than they need. Instead of being scrutinized, our industry should be looked upon as stewards of water conservation. I tip my cap to golf course superintendents today and their efforts in maximizing water conservation. Many superintendents that I know and have worked with in the past are constantly tweaking their irrigation systems daily, if not more often, to maximize...

The Value of University Field Days.

Greetings! It’s official: school is back in session, the football season is in full swing and another summer is in the books. While Summer may be officially over, the Summer-like weather conditions are still holding on strong in many parts of the Midwest. The excitement of the early Spring was quickly replaced with concern. The drought and extreme heat have been the dominant topics of conversation when visiting with customers, and at many of the Field Day events I attended this summer. There is a lot of time and effort put into running a successful University Field Day. This year, it seemed as if many Universities went out of their way to make sure attendees were well cared for. There was plenty of water to drink, and some even set up shade tents at each stop on the tour to help out with the extreme heat. From the University personnel and volunteers that help set up the event, down to research personnel and manufacturer representatives who spend countless hours applying products and gathering data, a lot of time and resources are expended to make sure the most accurate information is presented to those who attend. Unfortunately, a recent trend at these University Field Days is dwindling attendance. A wealth of information can be obtained at these events. Information you may not always be able to gather via text message, the internet or message boards. New products are on display, new uses for older products are demonstrated, and you can gain a better sense of the current, overall state of the industry just by listening to others speak about their...

From mild to wild, unusual weather forces turf pros to expect the unexpected.

As the Turf and Ornamental Market Specialist for FMC Professional Solutions in the Southeast region, I’ve witnessed firsthand a very strange 2012 thus far. The year began with one of the mildest, shortest winters I can remember. Now we are in the midst of one of the calmest and longest springs in recent memory. What’s more, over the past few years the Deep South has become accustomed to multiple snowfalls in January and February, followed by a brief spring and then tortuous summer heat! Although mild overall temperatures may seem desirable, they can present a catch-22 of sorts. At this point, golf course superintendents who maintain bentgrass greens are happy that we’re still experiencing 77° F days with a mild breeze to boot. Their turf is healthy, their root systems are still intact and their fungicide usage is down. But what about the ultra-dwarf Bermuda courses? Bermudagrass needs warm days and nights to thrive along with plenty of sunlight. Unfortunately for these superintendents, the mild days accompanied by overcast skies prevent precious sunlight from reaching their Bermuda greens. Despite the money I saved from my home’s gas heater staying dormant for most of January and February, Old Man Winter still plays a vital role in our ecosystem. Cold weather helps maintain pest populations and keeps spring and summer weeds at bay. Whether you typically deal with aphids, mosquitoes, army worms, fire ants or beetles, insect populations are expected to grow this year due to the mild winter we recently experienced. This affects LCO, golf and nursery budgets as more insecticides have to be sprayed. The same is happening with...