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Waste Reduction through Repurposing

January 31, 2010

I recently read an article in GOLF Magazine called, “The Guilded Age of Golf Course Design is Dead.” The article discusses how the economic downturn has affected the golf course architecture and construction business and speculates how the industry will move forward in the future. In the article, one golf course architect points out the excess inventory that currently exists. He predicts that the new trend in construction will be renovating existing golf courses rather than starting new projects. Part of the renovation would include reevaluating all of the components of the business in hopes of creating a successful facility, a philosophy he calls “repurposing.” Part of the reevaluation would include such key strategies such as incorporating sustainable principles that help lower the operating costs of the facility. One thing that most architects agreed upon was that the days of lavish spending and unlimited resources were gone.

The maintenance side of golf is experiencing the same concerns. Superintendents are rethinking and reevaluating how they conduct business, or repurposing. An easy way to get started repurposing is to evaluate the waste generated from your maintenance facility. A guide for golf courses designed to help them identify and employ pollution prevention techniques can be viewed below. The guide discusses various wastes common to golf courses and provides pollution prevention recommendations for each.

Golf Course Waste Reduction

View more documents from iaturfblog.


Marcus Jones
Graduate Research Assistant



Jacobsen's Future Turf Manager's Program

January 11, 2010

Jacobsen's Future Turf Manager's Program gives graduating college seniors the opportunity to get a real-world view of the turf industry and the opportunity to visit some of the nation’s most prestigious golf courses and interact with some of the top names in the industry. The annual program takes place at Jacobsen’s Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For a student or recent graduate to be considered for this program they must be graduating within the 2010 calendar year and need to provide letters of recommendation from their professor and from a superintendent they have worked for. This program is open to one student per university and will consider students nationwide. Ryan Madden, Assistant Superintendent at WingHaven Country Club and recent ISU graduate, was selected and took part in the program this past year. Ryan shares his experience of the program below.

The first day of the seminar began when we boarded a chartered bus to travel to Jacobsen’s Wilmar Plant. The Wilmar Plant is Jacobsen’s manufacturing plant for virtually every product the company makes. We were able to see all of their products being built and were allowed in the Research and Development area to view their future products.

The next stop for the day was Jacobsen’s Quality Drive plant which is also home to the company’s world headquarters. We took a plant tour and had lunch at the facility. After lunch we listened to guest speakers including, Ed Seagle from Abraham Baldwin University, John Patterson, Fleet Manager for Doral Golf Resort & Spa and current President of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA), Lyne Tumlinson from the GCSAA, and Quinn Derby, Jacobsen’s Product Manager. We were then invited to demo all of the new equipment outside of the plant.

The second day of the seminar we headed to Augusta, Georgia for a tour of The Augusta National Golf Club. Brad Owen, the Superintendent, spoke to us for about 40 minutes and gave us a tour of their facilities and the course. After our tour of the maintenance facility, Mr. Owen surprised us and let our bus driver take the bus through the golf course out to Amen Corner. I’d like to think this had to be the first time a tour bus drove across the 2nd, 8th, and 18th holes at Augusta National. This was possibly the highlight of my life getting to walk down the 12th and across Hogan’s Bridge.

After departing Augusta National, we headed over to the E-Z-GO plant, also in August, Georgia. We toured the facility which includes a test track where we were able to test out the future of golf carts and utility vehicles. At the end of the tour we were given a presentation by E-Z-GO President, Kevin Holleran. We then departed for University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. We toured the USC Gamecocks new, state-of-the-art baseball stadium complete with indoor practice facilities.

The third and final day of the seminar began with a brunch at the hotel with an awards ceremony presented by the President of Jacobsen, Daniel Wilkinson. The entire Jacobsen staff made this a very memorable and rewarding experience. I owe a thank you to my professor, Dr. Nick Christians, and department head, Dr. Jeff Iles, for writing me letters of recommendation which allowed me to participate in this memorable experience. I would also like to thank my current employer, WingHaven Couuntry Club, and Superintendent Brent Rockwell for letting me take the time off work to attend the seminar.

For more information about the Future Turf Managers Seminar and Jacobsen, visit or call 1-888-922-TURF.

Ryan Madden
Assistant Superintendent
WingHaven Country Club
O'Fallon, Missouri


A "New" Normal for Golf Course Maintenance

January 31, 2011

This article was submitted by Ty McClellan, USGA Green Section Record Mid-Continent Region Agronomist.

We’ll get back to (insert any maintenance practice or budget line item cut in recent years) as soon as things return to normal.” Sound familiar? At face value, this comment suggests that, while the business of golf is down, the situation is only temporary and operations and staffing levels will return to normal. So, what exactly is normal? For many, normal is the general state of golf that existed prior to 2008.

The 1990s and early 2000s can certainly be referred to as the good ol’ days when golf was bursting at the seams with optimism in every sense of the word. There were an increasing number of golfers, new course construction, and strong revenue streams at golf facilities of all types. Positions for superintendents and assistants were being created faster than turf students could finish their education. In an atmosphere of pure optimism, golf courses were also being designed for the best of times and maintained to achieve the wow factor. This meant extravagance at many levels, including more bunkers with high faces, more tees, more yardage, and more acres of manicured turf. None of this came cheap, and courses became more expensive to maintain with unsustainable business models.

In response to the recent economic recession and fewer rounds, golf facilities needed to reduce expenses. As a result, golf course budgets have generally decreased, and important cultural practices have been scaled back. Central to cost-saving plans were fewer staff and less overtime, which consequently meant less detail work on the golf course, use of inferior products, and fewer capital improvements. Many, if not most, of these cost-cutting measures have at least some adverse effects over time, and some even have detrimental effects with costly future implications. Educating golfers about the difference between frugal spending and harmful cost cutting is a whole other topic of great importance to the Green Section.

While the economy will eventually stabilize and create greater financial security, I believe there may be a “new” normal for golf course maintenance and golf operations. Many of the same management and operational philosophies that worked in the good ol’ days simply won’t cut it any longer. For those who consider 2009 and 2010 to be years during which maintenance operations, staffing levels, and budget cuts were only temporary, the “new” normal for golf course maintenance is more likely to include a sustained focus on efficient operations. At first glance this view may appear gloomy, but this is not necessarily the case. Sure, the number of golf courses (supply) must be further reduced to better align with play (demand), and this adjustment will be painful at times. But golf course superintendents have always proven to be innovative and resourceful, and now is their time to shine.

To help close the gap between limited resources and high expectations, research will also continue to produce more effective products that meet stringent regulatory policies. Equipment, tools, and irrigation systems will continue to become more specialized, more accurate, and more efficient, given the need for fewer inputs and greater environmental awareness. In time it will be commonplace to recycle grass clippings, food waste, and other kitchen byproducts into bio-fuels that can then be reused as electricity, natural gas, or equipment fuel. Golf course superintendents will continue to become better educated and more fiscally savvy. Again, science and innovation will help lead the way, and golf will survive. Will it return to normal as it once was? That’s a different question altogether.

What we do know is that maintaining golf courses during the last golf boom was reflective of the times — somewhat extravagant and rarely sustainable. This should not be viewed as normal. Many of the adjustments that were necessary during the past few years may not be as temporary as some would like to believe. There may be a “new” normal in golf course maintenance, and it will likely resemble the philosophies, budgets, and practices in place today. So, rather than playing the waiting game for a return to normal, start planning for the future by finding ways to get things accomplished.

If you would like more information about a Turf Advisory Service visit, do not hesitate to contact either of the Mid-Continent regional offices: Ty McClellan at or (630) 340-5853 or Bud White at or (972) 662-1138.


Isaac Mertz

Isaac Mertz is a graduate research assistant working on a Ph.D. degree at Iowa State University.
Graduate Research Assistant
Area of Expertise: 

ISU Turf Field Day Recap

July 29, 2016

The 2016 ISU Turf Field Day is in the books, and attendees enjoyed perfect weather, informative talks, and great food. Speakers covered topics including: pollinators, athletic field safety, irrigation audits, putting green organic matter management, how to prune trees on a golf course, weed control for ground ivy, just to name a few topics. The group also participated in the popular and informative weed, disease, and insect walk, and finished with lunch and a trade show with exhibitors. Exhibitors provided demonstrations and answered questions after lunch. We look forward to a bigger field day next year with many new projects being underway!
Field day attendees learning about NTEP results from Dr. Christians

Graduate student Isaac Mertz discusses control methods for Ground Ivy




9th Annual Derek Harmon Golf Outing

April 14, 2017

Please join us for the 9th Annual Derek Harmon Classic Golf Outing on Saturday April 22, 2017 at Veenker Golf Course in Ames, IA. This golf tournament benefits scholarships for Iowa State University Horticulture students in the turfgrass option. Proceeds from this event and auction go to the scholarship endowment thorough The Iowa State University Foundation in Derek's name to benefit this year's winners and future students. Registration starts at noon with a shotgun start at 1. Over 20 Derek Harmon Memorial Scholarships have been awarded. Previous Derek Harmon Scholarship winners have been named: the Assistant Superintendent of the Year by the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Toro Super Bowl Internship Award winner, and  many are now working in the turfgrass industry.

Before golf a silent auction will be happening. Specialty hole prizes include a hole-in-one for a Ford Mustang and other fun prizes. After golf there will be complimentary food and a live auction for various golf equipment, restaurant coupons, rounds of golf, and other fun items. 

For more information and to register please visit:

Hope to see everyone next week!!


Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day

August 24, 2017

The annual Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day will be Sept. 12, 2017 at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station 55519 170 St. Ames, IA 50010. Registration starts at 8:00 am with coffee and donuts. Education will begin at 9:00 a.m. with three area's of focus: Golf Course, Sports Turf, and Lawn Care. Attendee's will be free to travel between area's of focus. The event will showcase the newest cultivars of turfgrass and how they perform in Iowa, cultivation demonstrations, how to recover a putting green from the summer, new aerification devices, a session on what's bugging your lawn, how to prune a tree, a weed identification tour, a comparison of lawn fertility products, and ask the expert time slots. Also for those looking for Pesticide Applicators Certification and Education that is available for Categories 3-O, 3-T, and 3-OT. A lunch will be provided with registration. After lunch demonstrations of various turf equipment will take place, so feel free to check out the newest in turfgrass equipment. To register go to:  and register. We hope to see all of you on September 12! 


Bentgrass recovery from the summer will be on display at the Field Day.
Come see various methods of recovery from Pythium damage.


New aerificaiton methods will be on display.
New methods of battling compaction will be on display at Field Day.


Learn about turfgrass variety differences in Iowa.
Check out differences in turfgrass performance.


2017 Turfgrass Field Day

September 22, 2017

The 2017 Iowa State Turfgrass Field Day in partnership with the Iowa Turfgrass Institute was held on September 12, 2017. This year’s field day was moved to September to better display the research results from the traditional July date. Attendance increased greatly with 225 registered attendees, up from around 80 last year. This year’s event also included a return of the turfgrass equipment and management demonstrations, with 21 companies taking part in the demonstrations.

The field day started with three hours of education in three separate areas of focus: golf course management, sports turf management, and lawn care. Each area of focus had research projects currently underway at the Horticulture Research Station, some of the trials discussed were: turfgrass variety trials, amino acid effects on creeping bentgrass putting greens, putting green rootzone recycling trials, new products for athletic field paint, fertility and seed blends performance for lawn care professionals, improving drainage on your course or athletic field, and comparing aerification methods for optimizing athletic field safety and performance. The event also had Iowa Pesticide Applicator Training, and a demonstration on how to treat for European Ash Borer.

The last hour of education included a turfgrass pest walk coving everything from turfgrass weeds, diseases and insects. Lunch was from Hickory Park, and demonstrations of equipment were from 1 to 3 pm. Look on the Iowa State Horticulture Homepage and Turfgrass Blog for the date of next year’s field day. We hope to see many of you in 2018!

Dr. Nick Christians discusses turfgrass weeds at the 2017 Iowa State Turfgrass Field Day.
Dr. Nick Christians discusses turfgrass weeds at the 2017 Iowa State Turfgrass Field Day.


Mr. Ben Pease, Turfgrass Research Associate, discusses sports turf research projects to attendees of the 2017 Field Day.
Mr. Ben Pease, Turfgrass Research Associate, discusses sports turf research projects to attendees of the 2017 Field Day.

Dr. Adam Thoms presents the performance of various turfgrass and fertility treatments to the lawn care professionals in attendan
Dr. Adam Thoms presents the performance of various turfgrass and fertility treatments to the lawn care professionals in attendance.

Not all was turfgrass at the recent turfgrass field day; Jay Goughnour measures an ash tree to demonstrate how to treat for E.A.
Not all was turfgrass at the recent turfgrass field day; Jay Goughnour measures an ash tree to demonstrate how to treat for E.A.B.



August 29, 2014

Her is an interesting situation that I have not seen before.  The pictures come from Mike Vander Pol, superintendent at Emerald Hills golf course in Northwest Iowa.  This is on a Kentucky bluegrass fairway with a history of Summer Patch caused by the fungi  Magnaporthe poae.  The symptoms clearly look like Summer Patch, however, I would not expect the hyphae forming a myclial mass around the outside of the ring.  It was Pythium weather at the time that the pictures were taken, but Pythium is rare on Kentucky bluegrass and the mycelia mass is clearly around the circumference of the patches. 

I had Mike treat a test area with Teramec SP (chloroneb), a pythium control and send a grass sample to the Iowa State Plant Disease and Insect clinic for identification.  Mike reported to me that the Teremec did stop the hypha.  The laboratory was able to find oospores of pythium on the sample and runner hypae in the roots.  They were not able to clearly identify the species of the runner hyphae.

Evidently, the summer patch developed as is common on Kentucky bluegrass at this time of year.  This weakens the grass in the infected area.  That must have coincided with just the right conditions for Pythium development and the two diseases happened simultaneously.  Like I said earlier, I have not seen that before.



April 16, 2014

Here are some pictures from Tim Christians and Brian Thomson who are both superintendents in the Chicago suburb of Barrington.  The storm was last weekend.  The hail stones were the size of golf balls and larger and did much of the same damage that a golf ball would do.  They ended up having to fix thousands of holes in the same way they would fix a ball mark.

They also had quite a bit of damage to cars in the parking lots.

Tim reports that this hardly slowed the golfers down.  Right after the storm, the pro shop sold out of colored golf balls and the players just kept going.