The last time the Oregon GCSA asked me to speak, the year was 1997, my topic was “An internship at Augusta National Golf Club,” and I showed a carousel full of slides using a real slide projector. You can imagine how excited I am to be invited again, 22 years later, to their fall meeting on November 6 at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem.
Registration is open to anyone, here. I’ll be traveling all the way from southern Thailand to attend this meeting, and I expect a lot of friends and turfgrass managers and students will be traveling to Salem on November 6 as well.
I’ll be making some prepared remarks on three distinct topics.
Soil conditions for the best turf today
With Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter from PACE Turf, I helped to conduct the Global Soil Survey (GSS). This project invited turfgrass managers from around the world to submit samples from good-performing turf at their facilities. Based on an analysis of the properties of these samples, I have many interesting things to explain and to suggest about turfgrass nutrient management.
This is a different project than the well-known MLSN, although I’ve heard some people use the GSS and MLSN interchangeably. I’ll explain exactly what the GSS is, what the results were, how the results compare to MLSN, and what the implications are for fine turf management in the current era.
Turf around the world
I hope there is a big screen to see the photos and perhaps a few videos, because I’ll be showing and explaining interesting stories of turfgrass management challenges around the world. I can pretty much guarantee that some of the situations, equipment, climate, and golfer expectations will be unlike those you’ve seen before.
In addition to the fun and unusual stuff, I’ll describe how the observation of turfgrasses and their management around the world led me to develop the system that I call the Short Grammar for making adjustments to, and communicating about, turfgrass management practices. The challenges and their solutions share the same underlying framework no matter where one is in the world.
Is it possible to maintain a high performing putting surface without core aeration? Perhaps, but under what conditions? And if no coring is done, how much sand topdressing would be required? Case studies and data from golf courses around the world are discussed in this seminar, in which I make the case that it might be possible, and not just humbug.
I used to recommend, pretty consistently, that high performance turfgrass surfaces should have 20% of the surface area removed each year and that sand topdressing be applied at 12 to 15 mm per year. I don’t make those recommendations any more, because I’ve seen so many high performing surfaces, in a range of climates, that are produced with a lot less disruption and sand addition.
I’ll be talking about how to make this a site specific decision, based on current and desired conditions at a particular site. For more about this, and to follow the development of my thinking about this topic over the past five years, see managing soil organic matter, which is also chapter 6 in the Short Grammar, data to support an anecdote, and transforming putting greens from usually good to consistently great.