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UConn Graduate Takes Knowledge to Hawaii 

By Thomas Barry

I graduated from the University of Connecticut’s turfgrass science program with a Master of Science degree in December of 2006. Upon graduating, I took the position of Assistant Superintendent at Elleair Maui Golf Club in Kihei, Hawaii working under Head Superintendent, Bryan Taylor. Elleair is an 18 hole public golf course currently undergoing some major renovations to the design and layout with an ongoing attempt to improve its reputation. My experience working in Hawaii has been a positive one and I owe much of my success to the University of Connecticut. The turfgrass science program at the University of Connecticut is geared towards producing well-rounded students. Emphasis is placed on both classroom education and field experience. Internships are considered extremely important by the turfgrass faculty and every student is assisted with finding the right internship for their interests. Students are encouraged to aim high and follow their passion when finding a job upon graduation.

As a graduate student in the program, I was given the chance to teach the Introductory Turfgrass Science course and also serve as a Turfgrass Technician at the University’s research farm, assisting faculty members with research projects. The transition from student to Assistant Superintendent has been a smooth one on account of my educational experience at the University of Connecticut. The field experience I gained through internships and classroom education has certainly made me a more qualified and confident turf manager. I have moved from working with cool-season grasses to an all bermudagrass golf course with little difficulty. Management skills and business savvy I acquired at UConn have been vital to decision making and crew supervision which I encounter every day. The personal relationships I made during my time at the University of Connecticut have made me a better individual. I owe a debt of gratitude to the program and the great individuals who helped me along the way.
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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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Kennedy named CAGCS Superintendent of the Year 

Les Kennedy Jr., CGCS at The Blind Brook Club in Purchase, N.Y., has been named the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, 2006 Superintendent Of The Year.

Kennedy has been a GCSAA member since 1979 and a member of the CAGCS since 1984. He has also been a member of the Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Rhode Island Association of Golf Course Superintendents.

He served on the CAGCS Board of Directors for three years, has represented the association as a voting delegate and has also served on numerous committees. He is also a lifetime member of the Golden Tee Club. His father, Les Kennedy Sr., was golf professional and superintendent at Pawtucket CC.
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UConn Students Earn Pesticide License 

By Steve Rackliffe

A collaborative effort between the Connecticut DEP and the UConn Turfgrass Science program was established to provide students the opportunity to take the Connecticut Pesticide Operators exam on the Storrs campus. Students taking and passing the exam will be issued a Connecticut Operators license. Graduating students, and students preparing for field internships that have obtained their operators certification will be qualified to apply pesticides under the direction of a licensed supervisor. The Operators Certification focuses on pesticide safety, reading pesticide labels, and Connecticut pesticide law. UConn graduates holding a pesticide operators license will be much more competitive in the job market. Licensed interns would be able to apply pesticides on their internships. The collaborative effort between DEP and the University of Connecticut Turfgrass Science Program benefits both the student and the field supervisor. It is our goal to have UConn graduates and interns enter the workforce with the education and credentials that will allow them to be competitive and successful.
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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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