Thanksgiving Thoughts February 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Thoughts

By Stanley J. Zontek and Darin S. Bevard
December 3, 2009


A long and challenging year is nearing the end, and most of us are thinking more toward the holidays than about the golf course. The grass has slowed its growth to a semi-dormant state, and most of the leaves are down and have either been blown away, mulched, or picked up. Play has slowed due to the weather, or is it due to the football season?

Mowing heights have been raised in preparation for the winter, late fall or dormant applications of fertilizers have been applied, snow mold protectant fungicides also have been applied, or have they? Don’t forget that while the bentgrass is going dormant, Poa annua will continue to germinate as long as the ground is not frozen. Continue your suppression programs through this time period. It’s that time of the year where turf managers can become trapped with an early winter snowfall before the final work that puts the course to bed for the winter has been completed. Take a long, hard look at the future forecasts. Take a look back at when that last snow mold application was made. Is it time for a retreatment?

If your agronomic intuition tells you that the growing season is largely over, you best have your winter turfgrass work in-place, literally. Don’t get caught not having made the final applications. Next spring will be here before you know it and regretting then what should have been done now is never good.

During this slow growth season, it also is important to attend winter educational conferences. The fall and winter are times to mark your calendar for the winter turf conferences you plan to attend in preparation for the coming year. Remember, 2010 is only weeks away! In no special order of importance, the following are some important items everyone needs to be aware of:

  • Education. Make your reservations now for winter seminars.

    University of Maryland Turf Conference, Jan. 4-5, 2010

    Penn State-Valley Forge, Jan. 12-14, 2010

    Virginia Turf Conference and Show, Jan. 19-21, 2010.

All of these conferences contain the latest research information, along with other presentations of interest. There is no better money spent than on education to make your golf course maintenance as efficient as possible.

  • Green Section Regional Meetings. An important part of our USGA educational efforts are regional meetings. Mark your calendars for:

    March 9, 2010, Oakmont CC, near Pittsburgh, Pa., and March 16, 2010, DuPont CC, Wilmington, Del.

Our meetings are developed to provide information for turf managers, course officials, club managers, golf professionals, and interested golfers.

  • Drought Contingency Plans. A notice to Pennsylvania superintendents. Drought Contingency Plans may be expiring soon. Don’t delay; while a drought may be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind right now, should there be a drought you will need to have filed the paperwork beforehand. The ability to use the water your golf course needs is obviously important. Do not wait until the last minute to complete this requirement.

The following Web site accesses the forms to complete this process: PA Act 110 drought monitoring is: Go to top right "Search" and type in "drought forms." This will bring up a page with general forms, public water supply forms and Golf Course Athletic Field Forms.

There is the option of Approval of Golf Course Drought Emergency Operations plan in a PDF format and Instructions on how to fill out the form. Also a month irrigation report for golf course-drought emergency operations plan is listed.

  • Turfgrass Advisory Service (TAS). There will be no increase in the 2010 Green Section TAS fees in addition to a $500 discount offered to those courses which pay prior to May 15, 2010. The USGA recognizes the economic downturn has affected all courses. Holding the line on this expense was one of the ways to help everyone save money and help make your golf course maintenance, management operation as efficient as possible.

Our visits can be tailored to find ways to save money. It takes a team effort to effectively manage a golf course and the USGA Green Section can be part of your team.

In summary, it is easy to sit back and watch the seasons change, but the reality is there is little off-season anymore. Hopefully, this update will help you make your list of what needs to be done sooner versus later.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail. Stan Zontek ( and Darin Bevard ( at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( at 412/ 341-5922.