Keeping grass happy is vital to course care


April 04, 1993|By JOHN STEWART

Stress leads to death.

In this particular instance, it is turf grasses that are the focus o attention. Or, as Stanley Zontek, a United States Golf Association Green Section official recently said, "I never knew grass to commit suicide."

Zontek, the Mid-Atlantic director for the turf management arm o the USGA, was the keynote speaker for a recent seminar that attracted greens chairmen and superintendents from area clubs.

"Golf courses of today are maintained better than U.S. Ope courses of 20-25 years ago," Zontek said, "but superintendents still have to be careful of what they do."

Some factors that contribute to this are the use of lighte JTC equipment, proper water control -- a balance between mud and dust -- and chemicals, without which quality courses can't be maintained.

"Superintendents don't control their destiny [weather usuall does], so the emphasis should be on things they can control," Zontek said.

"The key is water control in the soil. Perfect soil is 50 percen each of solid and air.

"One problem related to this is compaction. I've seen soi samples from greens that were solid -- no air at all. Grass needs air to breathe, so you need holes to allow the entrance of air.

"The same is true of grassy surfaces. Tree-shaded green restrict the growth of grass. These areas should be opened. Fans -- the Club Corporation of America uses 65 of them on its seven courses in Pinehurst, N.C., -- are one way of helping ease the situation."

The amount of play a golf course receives, and the resultin stress, was included when Bob Brame, another Green Section official, cited what he considered were 10 pitfalls for superintendents.

"A course can't tolerate unlimited play," Brame said, "and whe turf quality goes down, maintenance costs go up."

The rest of the list: communications (with pro staff and club officers,for example), over-watering, fast green speeds, use of pesticides, continuity of club officials, pesticide storage and/or maintenance building, labor (not enough or under-qualified) and equipment.

Free State Seniors

The Free State Seniors Golf Association will begin its 23rd season with the first of seven monthly events on April 19 at Eagle's Nest.

Bob Bonnell of the Elkridge Club is the new president of th organization, which has 350 members (and a waiting list) of 55-and-over from about 50 clubs across the state.

Other officers include George Stewart of Elkridge and Sa Hastings of Argyle, vice-presidents; Bill Hyssong, Hunt Valley, secretary; Skip Young, Hillendale, treasurer; and Don Lighter, Lakewood, executive secretary.

The schedule: April 19 -- Eagle's Nest; May 18 -- Swan Point; June 21 -- Talbot; July 12 -- Woodmore (previously named Prince George's); Aug. 16 -- CC of Maryland; Sept. 17 -- Suburban; Oct. 12-13 -- Championship at Wakefield Valley.

MAPGA events

The Middle Atlantic PGA will open its tournament season with a two-day Pro-Invitation, Thursday at Ocean City Y&CC and Friday at The Bay Club in Berlin.

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