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GCSAA Selects Mendenhall & MacCurrach Award Winners 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has awarded scholarship money to 16 college students as part of the Scholars Program administered by the GCSAA's philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf.

The first-place winner, David Golembeski, will receive a $6,000 scholarship as the Mendenhall Award Winner. The second-place winner, William Overly, receives a $5,000 award and is designated as the recipient of the MacCurrach Award. The MacCurrach Award is funded by the PGA Tour.

Golembeski, of New Milford, Conn., is a senior majoring in turfgrass and soil science at the University of Connecticut. Overly, who hails from Louisburg, Kan., is a senior majoring in golf course management at Kansas State University. Both of them will also receive an all-expense-paid trip to the GCSAA Education Conference (January 28-February 2) and Golf Industry Show (January 31-February 2) in Orlando.

Shane Brockhoff (Iowa State), Carole Townsend (Lake City Community College), Chris Parsons (Michigan State), Ian Gallagher (Ohio State), Meghyn Stalcup (Tarleton State), Gregory Caldwell (Virginia Tech), Christopher Skvir (Rutgers), Tyler Wenger (Michigan State), Jonathan Chase Webb (Florida) and Nathaniel Watkin (Lake City Community College) were each awarded stipends ranging from $1,250 to $2,500.

Richard Gillispie (Maryland) and Jon Cancel (California State Polytechnic-Pomona) won $500 each as Merit Winners. Luis M. Casado and Roque Buendia-Perez, international students at Michigan State, were both awarded $2,000 Ambassador Scholarships by GCSAA.

The GCSAA Scholars Program, funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment, was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management. Winners were selected to receive scholarship awards based on the final ranking in a competition judged by GCSAA's Scholarship Committee that factors academic achievement, potential to become a leading professional, employment history, extracurricular activities, the recommendation of a superintendent with whom the student has worked, and a current academic advisor.

Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to golf/turf management and be a GCSAA member. Undergraduate applicants must have successfully completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in an appropriate major.

The Mendenhall Award is given in memory of the late Chet Mendenhall, a pioneer in the golf course management industry. A native of Kingman, Kan., Mendenhall's upbringing on an Oklahoma farm served him well. His career in working with the land began in 1920 as an employee of the Wichita (Kan.) Parks and Forestry Department, where he designed and built his first course despite having no previous experience with the game.

In 1928, Mendenhall accepted an invitation to become superintendent at Wichita Country Club. It was during his tenure there that Mendenhall assisted California-based golf course architect Billy Bell in designing and constructing a new course. Taken by the process, Mendenhall entered night school to learn surveying, drafting, bookkeeping and other related subjects.

He moved in 1934 to the Kansas City, Mo., area, where he served as superintendent of the Mission Hills Country Club for 31 years until his retirement in 1965. Mendenhall was a charter member of GCSAA and his service to his profession included serving as a director of the GCSAA from 1940-46, vice president in 1947 and president in 1948. He received the GCSAA's Distinguished Service Award in 1986, and in 1990 the USGA honored him with its Green Section Award. Mendenhall passed away in 1991 and was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1996.

Recognized for his expertise in the turf management field, Allan MacCurrach began his career as a superintendent at Valley Country Club in Warwick, R.I., in 1962. In 1972, he became the 45th person to receive the title of Certified Golf Course Superintendent from GCSAA. MacCurrach became the PGA Tour's first agronomist in 1974 and played a leading role in establishing a standard of excellence for course conditioning at PGA Tour events. MacCurrach was named senior agronomist in 1988 and in 1994 received the GCSAA's Distinguished Service Award. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 57.
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In The Field: August 6, 2007 

After a relatively easy summer so far, the last two weeks have shown many turfgrass managers why this is such a stressful profession. A number of turfgrass disease samples were brought into the diagnostic lab in the past few days. In almost every case, the problem appears to be less related to disease issues (although Pythium may be present) and more an indication of the poor growing conditions on individual greens. The general thinning experienced throughout the region is almost always prevalent on push-up putting greens grown in areas with poor morning sunlight and limited air movement. To exacerbate the problem, drainage is limited to old aerification holes filled with sand, but no internal drainage. As you can imagine, this combination is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, although poor growing conditions are the obvious cause of the problem, golf course superintendents are given little help in correcting the underlying problems. Thus, the problems will continue to be seen in subsequent years. Below are a few things that will likely assist in improving the overall health of putting greens grown in a poor growing environment.

The most obvious solution is to improve the growing environment by improving air movement and sunlight penetration. This is often accomplished by selectively removing problematic trees and underbrush surrounding pocketed greens. While this is often the most controversial solution, it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve chronic problems with pocketed putting greens. In addition to tree removal, the addition of portable fans can drastically improve air circulation. It is important to note that these fans need to be as large and as close to the putting surface as possible. Although seen as a distraction by some golfers, the ability to putt on healthy greens usually wins out when compared to putting on dirt. Finally, another factor is the poor drainage on putting greens. In a recent Tee to Green article, I mentioned some of the problems associated with push-up greens in the Northeast. Although topdressing has resulted in a buildup of sand and improved infiltration, the lack of internal drainage leaves the water at the soil-sand interface and limits its movement from the putting green. Various companies now offer a quick solution to the problem by installing internal drainage in older greens with little to no disruption to the putting surface. Taking action this year by removing problematic trees, improving air circulation and installing internal drainage should quickly result in a more durable and healthier putting surface.
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Robert A. Ruszala Elected NERTF President 

The New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation announces that Robert A. Ruszala, golf course superintendent of Hickory Ridge Country Club in Amherst MA, has been elected president for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Bob has been serving on the NERTF Board of Directors since 2000 as a delegate of the Golf Courses Superintendents Association of New England (GCSANE) which he served as president of in 2000 & 2001. He replaces Ted Maddocks of Ekwanok Country Club, Manchester VT, who will continue to serve on the board as the immediate past president. William R. Morton, CGCS of The Misquamicut Club (Watch Hill, RI) will serve as vice-president, Bob A. Matthews, CGCS, CIA, of White Cliffs Country Club (Plymouth, MA) will serve as secretary, and Michael A. Buras, of Longwood Cricket Club (Chestnut Hill, MA) will serve as Treasurer. The foundation has recently enjoyed its 10th Educational Conference and Trade Show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. More than 3000 individuals attended the 4 days of education conference and trade show activities. The 11th Annual New England Regional Turfgrass Conference and Show will take place on March 3-6th, 2008. The NERTF has funded more than $763,000 in Turfgrass Research in the New England area since being organized in 1996. More information may be obtained concerning the foundation, the conference & show and turfgrass research funded by the foundation, by visiting our website @ www.nertf.org.
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In The Field: July 20, 2007 

A cornucopia of diseases are being found in the field right now. This includes bacterial wilt, Pythium blight, summer patch, brown patch, anthracnose, dollar spot and others. Another malady of perennial ryegrass and in some cases creeping bentgrass has been the presence of etiolated plants. The problem, commonly referred to as Etiolated Tiller Syndrome (ETS) or Mad Tiller Disease has been showing up throughout the region following all of the heavy rains. The cause of the problem is unknown, but many theories have been suggested including bacterial wilt and a Fusarium species that produces gibberellic acid. Some superintendents have associated the symptoms with applications of certain plant growth regulators, but symptoms have been found this year on golf courses not using PGRs. Check out the photo by Steve McDonald of Turfgrass Disease Solutions in the Philadelphia area to see what ETS looks like.

Bacterial wilt, the most alarming of the diseases due to the lack of control options has begun to appear on at least a couple of golf course putting greens in CT. Although a few products are labeled for the control of bacterial wilt, few if any provide real suppression of the disease. Cultural practices should be adjusted to avoid severe outbreaks. These include mowing affected greens with a dedicated walk-mower and disinfesting the mowers with a 10% bleach solution. Mowing should also be done in the afternoon when the turf is dry if possible. The bacterial pathogen can only gain access into the plant through wounds and mowing during the early morning hours when the disease may be present can increase the problem. For this reason, other cultural practices that cause injury such as topdressing and vertical mowing should be ceased until disease symptoms are no longer present. Finally, every effort should be made to keep the greens as dry as possible. For more information on bacterial wilt, visit our factsheets at http://www.turf.uconn.edu/factsheets.shtml.
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In The Field: June 30, 2007 

Our first week of HOT weather departed as quickly as it arrived. Recent samples arriving into the diagnostic center varied depending on the location in New England. In Maine, brown ring patch is still active and causing minor problems for some superintendents. In the extreme southern portions of New England and parts of New York, fairy ring is beginning to appear and the hot weather diseases have made a brief appearance.

Diseases such as Pythium blight and brown patch caused by Rhizoctonia zeae are beginning to develop. No reports of the traditional brown patch have been reported in our lab, but for those of you in the warmer parts of New England, July 4th is usually the time to look out for this disease. Very few cases of summer patch have been reported, but disease incidence is increasing. Anthracnose seems to be in limbo right now as those courses dealing with the early season type of the disease are seeing recovery, while those who traditionally see damage during the summer months are still waiting for the disease to begin.

The major concerns throughout the region are the apparent record numbers of annual bluegrass weevils. According to UMASS entomologist Pat Vittum, "We have seen the highest populations in at least 20 years on virtually every golf course in the Northeast." Click here to read Dr. Vittum's latest insect report...it sounds like it could be a long summer for these pests.

Dollar spot continues to be severe throughout the Northeast and the mild temperatures forecasted for much of early July should make collecting those dollar spot samples for UConn's Dollar Spot Resistance research a snap. If you don't have any dollar spot, please help us by putting down a small (6" x 6") board on a portion of your putting green and fairway prior to your next spray.
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