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Looking Back To Move Forward, USGA Central Region Update

Posted on January 15th, 2021
Zach Nicoludis, agronomist, Central Region

Identifying and documenting turf health issues, such as localized dry spots, makes it possible to implement corrective measures in the upcoming golf season.  

Each golf season delivers a unique set of challenges that test all aspects of an agronomic program. While it is understandable that people don’t want to spend time dwelling on the past, taking the time to reflect on the successes and struggles of the past season makes it possible to identify which practices are proving effective and where changes need to be made.

Tony Mancuso, CGCS, who oversees the agronomic teams at The Club at Nine Bridges and Haesley Nine Bridges in South Korea, makes it a priority during the offseason to produce a summary of how the playing surfaces performed during the previous golf season to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the agronomic program. Once the summary is complete, an action plan – including changes to the agronomic program and where capital improvements need to be made – is developed for each playing surface.

A copy of the summary and action plan for both golf courses is sent to all the decision-makers at each facility. This type of effective communication strategy ensures all decision-makers are aware of planned changes to the agronomic program, and that everyone understands where capital investments should be made in the future.

Throughout each golf season, Tony routinely reviews the summaries and action plans he developed during the offseason. The purpose is to ensure all the changes that could be made have been enacted or plans are in place to make the adjustments when necessary.

As far as what should be included when going through this process – the more detailed the summary and action plans can be, the better. Topics as complex as rebuilding greens could be documented, but you should also include something as simple as making it a priority to record data, such as clipping yield, to better understand putting green performance. USGA Surface Management is a tool developed by USGA agronomists that allows you to record both inputs and playing characteristics to analyze how putting greens perform throughout a season and the impact of various management practices. Incorporating a new tool like this into your agronomic program would be something that is absolutely worth noting in your action plan.

Depending on the resources available at a given facility, it may not be possible to implement all the changes detailed in an action plan during a given year. However, identifying and documenting where improvements can be made will allow you to present a strong case when decision-makers meet to discuss how turf health and playing conditions can be optimized.

Central Region Agronomists:

Paul Jacobs, agronomist – pjacobs@usga.org

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist – znicoludis@usga.org

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