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Getting the Discussion Going...

This weekend the U.S. Open was played at Pebble Beach (image courtesy Associated Press).  Known for hosting many events each year and as a repeated site of the US Open (the USGA announced they will be back in 2019), the course proved to be a great challenge for all the players with the winner McDowell being the only one to finish at even par for the Championship.  Although I wasn't crazy about his winning, my feelings quickly changed when he gave a shout out to his friends and family back in Northern Ireland.  He went on to say that there were probably going to be a lot of Guinness pints poured tonight to celebrate.  Cheers to that.

While the excitement of Tiger coming back and the possibility of Phil overtaking him for the #1 spot, all of the buzz about the event quickly turned to the appearance of the putting greens.  Even people that have no clue about golf were emailing me and calling asking why the greens were dieing?  They suggested that I head out to the West Coast and fix the problem immediately.  While I would love the opportunity to consult for Pebble Beach (fell free to contact me anytime), I tried to explain to everyone that this was in fact not a problem and that the greens were likely not dead.

Anyway, the comments on my Facebook page and on the Turf Diseases Facebook page (and even the comment section on this site for that matter) were all buzzing about the issue.  I don't have any insider information about the issues, but as I understand it the USGA is making a conscious effort to change the perception that the game of golf is only good when it is played on lush, green, well-manicured turf.  Their focus seems to be on proving that playability and the game of golf is the important factor (Thank you Mike Davis).  If they can do this and produce healthy green turf then so be it.  If the turf is dried down and allowed to brown out to achieve the playability conditions they desire then so be it.  While the greens appeared mottled and "dead", they were still providing championship conditions and the best player that week managed to shoot even par to win. My favorite part about the questions to the look of the turf is the USGA's response that they were only doing "corrective watering" to ensure optimal consistency and playability.

Another issue that came up was the fact that the USGA did not allow the use of any green filters on the TV cameras which would have surely masked the discoloration and made everything look green.  In fact, I believe (but don't quote me) that this is going to be an increasing trend with USGA Championships in the future as they push for playability over appearance.  With golf in a general decline or a flatline at the best, I think that the USGA is doing all of us a favor and this forward thinking will help to make golf better and more affordable in the future.

Read this article talking about "brown is good".

For those of you that WANT the green lush turf, all of us on the Turf Diseases blog are in full favor of it.  This will surely result in increasing disease pressure and job security.  So have at it!

Around the NE: Things are heating up and brown patch, Pythium and possibly gray leaf spot may be right around the corner if the temps continue.  All of the usual suspects of dollar spot, anthracnose, leaf spot, etc are still active and need to be managed.  With the increased heat and summer trends, be sure to manage your summer stresses!

2 Responses to “Getting the Discussion Going...”

Jerry Kershasky said...

I commend both Mike Davis and David Fay for applying, advertizing and defending firm, dry, playability and sustainability on national tv. Also great article in May-June issue of Green Section Record, Firm and Fast, At Last! Now it is our turn in the field to keep the Firm,Dry Sustainability ball rolling.
Jerry Kershasky
Westmoor CC

2ndSwingGolf said...

I love the fast and dry greens. Does that really help keep disease off the green's grass though by keep it 'brownish' most of the time?

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