Expectations? Poa or Bent You Make the Choice Analyzing the costs and playability of annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass putting greens

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1 Expectations? Poa or Bent You Make the Choice Analyzing the costs and playability of annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass putting greens Adam Moeller Agronomist USGA Green Section Northeast Region Flawless Putting Green = Perfection!!! The current golf economy is not a pretty picture This is neither attainable nor is it sustainable..(environmentally, socially, economically) Surfaces can be peaked for periods of time but ultimately there is a price to what we do (both in terms of $ and turf health) and at what cost? How can we help some struggling facilities? The Global Philosophy Behind the Madness of Putting Green Management Practices In Europe GREEN SPEED is generally not a focus as it is here in USA Golf Turf Manager s Goals? Meet/Set Expectations of Clientele??? Ultimately: o Consistency, Uniformity, Trueness Persistence (sustainable surfaces) Remember Putting Greens are a lot like high performance athletes taking these plants to the edge all the time without rest is asking A LOT of these surfaces. Chasing Greenspeed = Child s Play? 1

2 Two Major Grass Species are Found on Putting Greens in the Northeast 1. Creeping bentgrass 2. Poa annua (Annual bluegrass) o o o Various % of Poa/Bent, Bent/Poa Courses 20+ years old = Mostly Poa Courses 1-15 years old = Mostly Bent Poa annua or Mostly Poa Surfaces Can Provide Very Good Golf Turf Surfaces America s Greatest 100 Golf Courses Golf Digest Pine Valley Golf Club Poa annua 2. Augusta National Golf Club Creeping bentgrass 3. Cypress Point Club Poa annua 4. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Poa annua 5. Oakmont Country Club Poa annua 6. Merion Golf Club (East) Creeping bentgrass 7. Pebble Beach Golf Links Poa annua 8. Winged Foot Golf Club (West) Poa annua 9. Sand Hills Golf Club Creeping bentgrass 10. Fisher s Island Club Poa annua Why Not Poa? Golfer Superintendent Summer & Winter Reliability Playability Limits Pest Issues Increased Maintenance Expenses? 2

3 Golf Course Management: Oct Dr. Cale Bigelow, Purdue University - Input provided by USGA Agronomists Some Assumptions: 3 Acres of putting greens (Apr.-Oct.) Labor rates: Surveyed regional managers Mowing = walk-mow Fuel $3.80/gal Product costs: surveyed regional vendors Does not include little extras like clean-up mowing, collars, etc. Additional Supplemental Costs Were Not Accounted For What Does a Typical Putting Green Maintenance Program Actually Include? Maintaining vs. conditioning? Routine daily/weekly maintenance practices o Daily mowing, irrigation, fertilization Buffing/polish types of practices (rolling, grooming, cup cutting, topdressing) Periodic routine large maintenance projects (Core aeration, drainage work, etc.) Pest management Putting Green Mowing & Rolling Economic and Agronomic Benefits 3

4 For Poa annua surfaces a Seedhead Mgmt/Suppression Program is a NECESSITY for Surface Consistency Plant Growth Regulation Will often involve grooming & use of plant growth regulators Surface Organic Matter MUST be Managed Image: J. Zimmers Not All Sands are the same! Price cannot be only selection driver Choose carefully Putting Green Fertilization Goal = Not to Maximize Yield but Rather Just Enough to Maintain Appropriate Vigor 4

5 Water Management is CRUCIAL! Wilt Watch Manual Watering is Labor Intensive but Pest Management Insects Diseases Weeds Hand Watering at the Ryder Cup Annual Bluegrass Weevil Annual Bluegrass Weevil 5

6 Disease Prevention Program Bentgrass fungicide needs are likely to be lower than Poa and even further reductions could be achieved with newer cultivars which possess substantial differences in resistance to Dollar spot Creeping Bentgrass vs. Poa annua Bentgrass (few disease) $103,034 for 3 Acres Poa (high stress + ABG weevil) $122,481 for 3 Acres If Poa Costs More, is Less Reliable, and Can t Provide Consistently Superior Conditions Over Bentgrass, Why Do We Have It? Mowing and Rolling Grooming Core aeration Sand topdressing General fertilization Other Fert Hand-water/Syringe Soil surfactants PGRs Fungicides Herbicides Insecticides Mowing and Rolling Grooming Core aeration Sand topdressing General fertilization Other Fert Hand-water/Syringe Soil surfactants PGRs Fungicides Herbicides Insecticides Biggest cost differences in Hand-Watering and Pest Mgmt Water and pesticide use are highly controversial and subject to regulations Bottom Line Golf is Played on Grass 6

7 Adam Moeller Agronomist USGA Green Section Northeast Region 7

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