2010: A Year Like 1995

Aug. 24, 2010


Joseph W. Rimelspach
Department of Plant Pathology / The Ohio State University

This is a reprint, read and think about where we are today 08/10/2010.


The following items were noted on golf courses that were successful in maintaining high quality turf throughout this difficult summer. These are in no particular order and by no means are all factors needed to have healthy turf. As you will note, most of these are known practices for growing turfgrass and must be implemented into the complex world of golf course management.

  1. Mowing height raised prior to stress or decline symptoms. Higher mowing heights (i.e. public courses prevailed.
  2. Grooming was suspended prior to turf decline.
  3. Grooved rollers were replaced with smooth rollers prior to decline.
  4. Clean up passes frequently not made at first signs of stress. Minimal turning of mowers on collars. Reduced mowing (i.e. days skipped).
  5. Greens and tees core aeration completed a minimum of 2 times a year and fairways annually.
  6. Greens were deep tine aerated annually.
  7. Water injection aeration was used every 2 weeks throughout summer.
  8. Topdressing was suspended prior to summer stress.
  9. Suspended granular fertilization and maintained nutrient levels by using weekly “light” applications of liquid fertilizer.
  10. Suspended use of any material that would reduce growth prior to stress and decline.
  11. Correct applications of pesticides: accurate rates, proper delivery, minimal mixing of materials.
  12. Minimal annual bluegrass on course, especially the true annual types.
  13. Course had well designed surface drainage.
  14. Adequate tile and internal soil drainage was present.
  15. Well designed irrigation system that provides adequate water delivery and even distribution.
  16. Syringing of “hot” spots or wilted turf by well trained and conscientious employees. Late day syringing and early morning (i.e. 5-6 a.m.) irrigation advantageous where roots shortened.
  17. Accurate diagnosis of problems.
  18. Using preventive fungicides properly and implementing well designed fungicide programs was crucial.
  19. Successful disease programs for Brown Path, Pythium Blight, Summer Patch, and Anthracnose were based on weather information, monitoring indicator sites most prone to disease and history of disease.
  20. Restricted play when conditions lead to turf injury.
  21. Courses designed with large or multiple access points to greens.
  22. Relatively “low” number of rounds was played.
  23. Relatively “large” greens were present on course.
  24. Spikeless golf shoes in use.
  25. Properly managed sand-based greens out performed native soils on course that received heavy, frequent, excessive rainfall.
  26. Mature turf and golf course survived better than turf that was young (i.e. less than 1-2 years old).
  27. Courses had adequate budgets for turf management.
  28. Superintendents had long term experience at the course and a sound knowledge of growing plants.
  29. All the right decisions were made at the right time.
  30. Luck!