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Fescues getting favorable environmental attention 

By Ron Hall

STORRS, CT An ambitious program investigating the potential for turf-type tall fescues and fine-leaf fescues to play a greater role in preserving water quality and also conserving water is getting high marks in Connecticut.

In fact, what researchers are learning about these two species in regards to producing acceptable-quality lawns and parks with less irrigation and fewer nutrient inputs (at least compared to other popular cool-season grasses) is starting to attract favorable attention from state and regional environmental agencies.

Read entire article here.
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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: 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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Nor'Easter Floods Local Golf Course  

By Alex Putman

Entering into mid-April, golf was beginning to pick up in New England. "Everything was in great shape," said John Ruzsbatzky, CGCS, for opening day at the Country Club of Farmington, CT (CCF) on April 14th. The Nor'easter that arrived the following day, however, spoiled the remainder of opening weekend with 5" of rain.

The Farmington River flows adjacent to three holes on the northwest edge of the course, and may cause some low-level flooding in select areas during heavy storms. This storm on April 15th, however, caused a rise in water level enough to cover half the golf course. "Seven of our greens, including one practice green, were completely underwater," said John. "It was definitely the worst flooding that I have seen here, and the water may have reached the highest level since 1955," he remarked, referring to the Great Flood of 1955.

Those at CCF will be able to draw comparisons to future floods, as waters rose halfway up the Club's recently renovated snack shack, ruining thousands of dollars of new equipment. The 40 foot tall driving range fence was forced over by the rushing water and will need to be replaced. Several driving range mats and walking bridges were carried away by the water. In addition to property damage, sand from several bunkers washed away, and silt built up on several greens.

Persistent flooding ten days after the storm has forced a few holes to remain closed. John remarked that clean up operations have been a setback, but noted his turf has responded well. "The membership has been very understanding," he said, "and we hope to resume normal operations soon."
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UConn Turfgrass Research Featured on TurfNetTV 

The University of Connecticut's Turfgrass Science Program is featured this month on TurfNetTV. Filmed in February, TurfNetTV visited UConn's Turfgrass Research Facility and discussed current nozzle research with John Kaminski, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology.

Highlights of the interview include an overview of the Turfgrass and Soil Science Program initiated by Dr. Karl Guillard back in 1998 and its rapid growth in recent years. Dr. Kaminski discusses the growth of the University's Turf Program over the last few years incuding the hiring of three new faculty members, the construction of a new Turfgrass Resource Unit, and the expansion of field and research plots at the Plant Science Research and Education Facility.

Results of an ongoing study conducted in a collaborative research effort with Dr. Michael Fidanza, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Penn State Berks and Dr. Kaminski are also featured. Ongoing research has focused on the proper selection of nozzle types in an effort to improve fungicide efficacy for controlling dollar spot of golf courses. Dollar spot, a foliar disease caused by the pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is one of the most common and chronic diseases found on golf courses in the United States. Results from this ongoing study found that disease suppression can be improved with proper nozzle selection. Although more research is needed, potential benefits include a reduction the overall quanitity of pesticides used to suppress dollar spot and a reduction in application interval.

It is clearly an exciting time of growth and expansion in Storrs. To find out more about the UConn Turfgrass and Soil Science Program, please visit our www.turf.uconn.edu.

Click here to view the video.
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