2017 "Thank A Super" Week

Appreciating the men and women who make golf courses look, and play, this good.

Appreciating the men and women who make golf courses look, and play, this good.

Running from May 8 - 14, National "Thank a Golf Course Superintendent Week" aims to thank the superintendents responsible for keeping your courses playable and sustainable. "If you love golf, you owe much of your enjoyment of the game to superintendents," said Rhett Evans, chief executive officer of the GCSAA. "They diligently work each day to provide excellent playing condition, and they lead the charge on sustainability so the game can remain strong for decades to come."

What are a few notable achievements U.S. superintendents, as a whole, have made in the past decades?

  • Reduced water consumption by almost 22 percent from 2005 to 2013 (saving more than $150 million dollars)
  • Used more recycled water, which now accounts for more than 25 percent of water use on U.S. courses
  • Introduced advanced irrigation systems to further reduce water consumption, while simultaneously reducing total irrigation acreage

So be sure to thank a superintendent the next time you run into one on the course. Or, since Rhett Evans said it better, "If you love golf like I do, then next time you're on the green, offer your thanks for the playability and sustainability of the course. And thank your super with a social media shout out using #ThankASuper."

The original article from Golf Course Architect is available here, or through the link below. 

Future-Proofing Public Golf Courses

While the opportunity to expand or upgrade infrastructure is enticing, setting aside resources for unforeseen expenses-- such as solving drainage or irrigation issues or fixing outdated or obsolete features-- is one way to ensure a course's longevity.

And Jeff Danner, author of this article for Golf Course Architect, takes his hometown course Park Hills as an excellent example of this model. A 36 hole municipal golf course in Freeport, north-western Illinois, Park Hills has weathered, and thrived, even through tough economic times.

And according to Jeff Hartman, head pro at Park Hills, that's because the course itself has always been the priority. "In our best years, there was a lot of temptation to expand; once upon a time there were plans for a bigger clubhouse. There was even an opportunity to buy adjacent land to build another 18 holes."

But instead of those projects, the Park Hills reinvested the money into the course itself, allowing them to upgrade maintenance facilities and irrigation systems, as well as bunker and green drainage, all while remaining debt-free. 

For the full article click here or on the link available below.

New Science on the Prevelance of Harmful Algal Blooms

This maps show all of the lakes tested and those in which samples contained cylindrospermopsin toxins. Credit: usgs.gov

This maps show all of the lakes tested and those in which samples contained cylindrospermopsin toxins. Credit: usgs.gov

An assessment conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sampled 1161 inland lakes and reservoirs throughout the United States, and what they found about the extent, distribution and make-up of toxins from harmful algal blooms challenges several long-held assumptions.

Focusing on cylindrospemopsins, microcystins and saxitoxins-- three types of cyanobacterial toxins (or cyanotoxins)--  the study found that harmful algal blooms, and their respective toxins, are far more prevalent throughout the United States than previously thought.

"Some had believed that toxic cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms were just a local or regional occurrence, but this study shows that they are distributed in lakes throughout the nation," said USGS scientist Keith Loftin, lead author on the assessment. "This assessment shows that multiple classes of cyanotoxins are present in lakes in diverse settings throughout the United States. This is a significant finding given the perception that cyanobacteria blooms [sic] are increasing in frequency and severity."

Additionally, the study showed that testing for the presence of chlorophyll to determine microcystin levels is not reliable either.

For the full article on usgs.gov click here, or on the link available below.

Magnetized Water, Reduced Irrigation

     With droughts predicted to worsen in the coming years, the golf industry is on the lookout for new, economical ways to increase water efficiency. And one study, "The Effects of Magnet Treated Irrigation Water on Kentucky Bluegrass in a Greenhouse Environment," documented a 20% reduction in the amount of water needed to sustain healthy turf when a magnetized irrigation treatment was used. 

     To put that into context, the U.S. golf industry uses around 2.08 billion gallons of water daily; if all courses began using the magnetized water, that would put potential annual savings at 151,850 billion gallons. 

     "Being a golf course superintendent for 30 years, I was somewhat skeptical at first," said Dean Piller, superintendent at Cordova Bay Golf Course, Vancouver Island, B.C. "So I decided to run a few informal tests here at Cordova Bay before I made any real investment in the products, and I was happily surprised at the results we got. With the Magnation treatment, soil moisture and overall chemistry was enhanced, hydro-phobic turf was restored to a healthy state and dry patches disappeared.... Our irrigation run times were 80,000 gallons less per night; a 2.5 million gallons savings of water per month."

     The basic principle behind the magnetized water, according to the article, is the restructuring of water molecules into very small clusters, each made up of six symmetrically organized molecules. This allows for easier entry into turf cell membranes, hydrating turf more effectively