Sunday, January 31, 2010

Waste Reduction through Repurposing

I recently read an article in GOLF Magazine called, “The Guilded Age of Golf Course Design is Dead.” The article discusses how the economic downturn has affected the golf course architecture and construction business and speculates how the industry will move forward in the future. In the article, one golf course architect points out the excess inventory that currently exists. He predicts that the new trend in construction will be renovating existing golf courses rather than starting new projects. Part of the renovation would include reevaluating all of the components of the business in hopes of creating a successful facility, a philosophy he calls “repurposing.” Part of the reevaluation would include such key strategies such as incorporating sustainable principles that help lower the operating costs of the facility. One thing that most architects agreed upon was that the days of lavish spending and unlimited resources were gone.

The maintenance side of golf is experiencing the same concerns. Superintendents are rethinking and reevaluating how they conduct business, or repurposing. An easy way to get started repurposing is to evaluate the waste generated from your maintenance facility. A guide for golf courses designed to help them identify and employ pollution prevention techniques can be viewed below. The guide discusses various wastes common to golf courses and provides pollution prevention recommendations for each.

Marcus Jones
Graduate Research Assistant

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iowa Turfgrass Conference & Trade Show Recap: Jeff Wendel, CGCS

First, I want to thank ALL our Exhibitors, Attendees, Speakers and Staff for making the 2010 ‘show’ a success despite the incredible challenge presented by our delightful Iowa weather. It is no surprise to me this group was able to deal with inclement weather, as they do so all the time. Our show works because Turfgrass Managers work. I could not possibly imagine a better group of people to work for!

I also want to thank Marcus Jones for his numerous contributions to the 76th Annual Iowa Turfgrass Conference & Trade Show. All of Marcus’ presentations were excellent and everyone appreciates his enthusiasm and dedication to Turfgrass Management.

Very Special thanks to the management and staff at the Downtown Marriott for their expert handling of our Reception. I think they proved that electric power is a luxury that is needed but not a ‘deal breaker.’ The Reception was perfect and the attendees and Marriott staff deserve another ‘whoo- hoo.’

While Conference is fresh in people’s mind I would encourage them to contact the Iowa Turfgrass Office with ideas for the 2011 event. Anyone who is interested is moderating a session, speaking, or who has a topic or speaker idea can contact me: or 515-232-8222.

Finally, I must thank our Keynote, Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE for his contribution. The ‘bummer’/’whoo-hoo’ theme fit perfectly for the ‘hills and valleys’ that constituted the 2010 Iowa Turfgrass Conference & Trade Show. I cannot possibly count the number of times someone told me, “Best Keynote Ever.”

Jeff R. Wendel, CGCS
Iowa Turfgrass Institute
17017 US Hwy 69
Ames, IA 50010-9294

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Contracting Fuel: Troy Martinson, CGCS

After experiencing 2008’s extremely volatile fuel market, I looked for some security. Many of us remain entirely at the mercy of open market fuel prices, however; there is an option.

I called my fuel provider and began looking at contracting fuel at a pre-determined set price. This enabled me to budget an amount based upon my contracted price, regardless of what the fluctuating open market did. Not only did this benefit me in regard to accurate budgeting it saved money compared to purchasing on open market.

Fuel contracts are divided into four quarters: 1st (Jan, Feb, Mar) 2nd (Apr, May, Jun) etc… I agreed to contract fuel for the 2nd & 3rd quarters, which most golf courses will. Knowing the amount of fuel that we use, on average, during the months of these quarters I contacted 3000 gallons of unleaded and 3000 gallons of diesel. This secured my costs for the entire season. At time of contract the fuel broker will typically require 20% down. This down payment will be put toward the future purchases of the contract.

You must take delivery of all contracted fuel during the contract period or you will lose that fuel. I did not find this to be a problem. Contracting fuel is not fool-proof. You may contract at a higher price than the open market ever gets to, thus you are losing x amount per gallon contracted. However, the inverse is just as likely to happen. Regardless, you know how much your fuel is going to cost and that security is worth something to any operation running on a tight string.

I have found this practice to be very beneficial to my operation and will continue to contract fuel as long as it is reasonable to do so. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or call your fuel provider.

Troy Martinson, CGCS
Sioux City Country Club
Sioux City, IA

Friday, January 22, 2010

Iowa Turfgrass Conference & Trade Show…WhooHoo!

The Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show was held at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott & Polk County Convention Complex January 19-21. I always enjoy conference season and the opportunity to network and listen to all the different presenters. One of the themes of this year’s show was environmental stewardship. Jim Sluiter, Audubon International staff ecologist, and Greg Lyman, GCSAA director of environmental programs, spoke about environmental stewardship and how to conduct an environmental assessment at your facility. Brett Hetland, CGCS, Brooks National Golf Club was presented with the first ever Iowa GCSA Environmental Stewardship Award. Congratulations Brett!

I had the opportunity to present about my interseeding research and about iaTURF and related electronic resources. I also tried my hand as a game show host during the pesticide applicator training (I better not quit my day job).

I was encouraged by the number of people who seemed excited about the possibility of contributing to iaTURF or even starting their own blog. In case you missed it, or want to see it again the presentation can be viewed below.

Marcus Jones
Graduate Research Assistant

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Blogs First Year in Review

Back when the blog started on June 24, 2009 I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect. Our goal for the blog was to provide a convenient, quick way to provide relevant information and updates for golf course superintendents. It appears as though the blog is off to a fast start in 2010 and iaTURF even received some notoriety from the GCSAA (read the article here). With the start of a new calendar year still lingering I thought I would take the time to reflect on how the blog performed during its first 6 months.

• iaTURF had over 5,000 visits from across the globe. The majority of these visits (95%) came from the U.S.

• Within the U.S. the state of Iowa provided the most traffic (66%) with Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kansas rounding out the top 5.

• 69 articles were posted in 2009. The source of the articles came from a variety of sources including superintendents, industry professionals, and educators.

New Year’s Resolution
My new year’s resolution for the blog is to better these numbers during the next 6 months. I want to thank the industry for supporting iaTURF and everyone that has participated and follows the blog. I encourage you to participate by posting an article sometime during the season about what’s happening at your facility. Remember, the articles don’t have to be long and pictures are always welcome.

Marcus Jones
Graduate Research Assistant

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jacobsen's Future Turf Manager's Program

Jacobsen's Future Turf Manager's Program gives graduating college seniors the opportunity to get a real-world view of the turf industry and the opportunity to visit some of the nation’s most prestigious golf courses and interact with some of the top names in the industry. The annual program takes place at Jacobsen’s Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For a student or recent graduate to be considered for this program they must be graduating within the 2010 calendar year and need to provide letters of recommendation from their professor and from a superintendent they have worked for. This program is open to one student per university and will consider students nationwide. Ryan Madden, Assistant Superintendent at WingHaven Country Club and recent ISU graduate, was selected and took part in the program this past year. Ryan shares his experience of the program below.

The first day of the seminar began when we boarded a chartered bus to travel to Jacobsen’s Wilmar Plant. The Wilmar Plant is Jacobsen’s manufacturing plant for virtually every product the company makes. We were able to see all of their products being built and were allowed in the Research and Development area to view their future products.

The next stop for the day was Jacobsen’s Quality Drive plant which is also home to the company’s world headquarters. We took a plant tour and had lunch at the facility. After lunch we listened to guest speakers including, Ed Seagle from Abraham Baldwin University, John Patterson, Fleet Manager for Doral Golf Resort & Spa and current President of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA), Lyne Tumlinson from the GCSAA, and Quinn Derby, Jacobsen’s Product Manager. We were then invited to demo all of the new equipment outside of the plant.

The second day of the seminar we headed to Augusta, Georgia for a tour of The Augusta National Golf Club. Brad Owen, the Superintendent, spoke to us for about 40 minutes and gave us a tour of their facilities and the course. After our tour of the maintenance facility, Mr. Owen surprised us and let our bus driver take the bus through the golf course out to Amen Corner. I’d like to think this had to be the first time a tour bus drove across the 2nd, 8th, and 18th holes at Augusta National. This was possibly the highlight of my life getting to walk down the 12th and across Hogan’s Bridge.

After departing Augusta National, we headed over to the E-Z-GO plant, also in August, Georgia. We toured the facility which includes a test track where we were able to test out the future of golf carts and utility vehicles. At the end of the tour we were given a presentation by E-Z-GO President, Kevin Holleran. We then departed for University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. We toured the USC Gamecocks new, state-of-the-art baseball stadium complete with indoor practice facilities.

The third and final day of the seminar began with a brunch at the hotel with an awards ceremony presented by the President of Jacobsen, Daniel Wilkinson. The entire Jacobsen staff made this a very memorable and rewarding experience. I owe a thank you to my professor, Dr. Nick Christians, and department head, Dr. Jeff Iles, for writing me letters of recommendation which allowed me to participate in this memorable experience. I would also like to thank my current employer, WingHaven Couuntry Club, and Superintendent Brent Rockwell for letting me take the time off work to attend the seminar.

For more information about the Future Turf Managers Seminar and Jacobsen, visit or call 1-888-922-TURF.

Ryan Madden
Assistant Superintendent
WingHaven Country Club
O'Fallon, Missouri

Monday, January 4, 2010

Name Brand vs. Generic Fungicides

This summer at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, Director of Grounds, Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS and two ISU Interns conducted a fungicide study that compared name brand versus generic products for dollar spot control. The two interns from Iowa State University were, Tyler Boley and Tayler Riggen. They worked closely with Luke Dant from Syngenta Professional Products to set up a replicated study on the golf course.

How they did it
Plots were arranged on fairways at two different locations on the course in order to account for spatial variability. The fairways contain ‘Penneagle’ creeping bentgrass maintained at 0.5 inches. One set of plots were located on the north course and the other on the south course. Each set of plots was replicated three times. Treatments included an untreated control, Daconil WeatherStik, Manicure 6FL, and Echo 6F ETQ fungicides. All products were applied at a rate of 2 oz/1000 ft2, to deliver the same amount of active ingredient, using a backpack sprayer with #8002 flat fan nozzles. Carrier volume was 44 gallons/acre. Spray applications began on May 14 and concluded August 13. Applications were made on 14-day intervals for a total of 7 applications. Percentage of turf affected by dollar spot was visually estimated on July 1 and August 14.

What they found
Each plot in the study succumbed to some dollar spot, but it was clear there were differences between the products in our study (Table 1).

Similar trends were evident on each of the test plots between the north and south courses but the disease pressure on the north course was far more severe. An application of Bayleton was made to the plots on the north course on June 22 to help reduce disease pressure. The main findings from the study are summarized below.

- Control plots sustained significant damage and possibly needed reestablishment.

- All chemicals succumbed to some breakthrough if applied on 14-day intervals. At the rate used in our study, shorter intervals are needed with all products.

- Manicure 6FL seemed to have good control until approximately 10 days after each application. After that, there was significant breakthrough.

- Echo ETQ had less than desired control through the 14-day period between applications. Echo ETQ fungicide is green in color which is designed to help cool the turf and in turn help prevent disease. In our opinion, the green colorant has little effect and was barely noticeable after being sprayed.

- Daconil WeatherStik had acceptable control until 13 and 14 days after application, and then some small breakthrough was evident. Recovery was not exceptional, but due to better initial control of dollar spot, Daconil provided the best control of dollar spot.

- One option would be to compare prices of products to see if Manicure 6FL or Echo ETQ could be applied on 10 day intervals for lesser overall price, however; this would increase labor costs and wear and tear on spray equipment, possibly negating any cost savings by purchasing these generic products. In our study, Manicure and Echo provided nearly the same level of dollar spot control.