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It's U.S. Open-a-licious

Not much to report from the West this week; temps seem pretty mild with weather in the 60s - 80s through most of California although the Central Valley has been hiting 90s and Palm Springs is already in triple digits!

Anthracnose seems to be active - not massive death and destruction anywhere, but we're picking it up here and there in the diagnostic lab and through reports from superintendents in California.

Reddish-brown symptoms already kicking in on Poa at UCR

Our poa plots at UCR are already getting anthracnose so it's shaping up to be a good year for anthracnose experiments.

The 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and a Pest You Might Not Know (& Don't Want to Have!)
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you probably know that the 110th US Open is on at Pebble Beach. On TV, the weather looks awesome (clear sunny days) and the course is lookin' sweet.

One problem that you won't be seeing on TV, but one that almost all of the superintendents in the Monterey and SF-Bay area with Poa greens battle is the Anguina gall nematode.
Galling on Poa annua caused by Anguina pacificae

It's a pretty unique Monterey and SF Bay area specific problem that's a pain in the fanny to manage.

Here's a great story from TurfNet about the nematode and how it affected decisions made for the upcoming 2012 Open at the Olympic Club in SF:

Some shots of damage by Akoni Ganir (Cypress Point):

and a USGA Green Section Pub on the problem:

In any case, Chris Dalhamer and crew, and the army of volunteer superintendents out on the course are doing a fantastic job! Kudos to you guys and best of luck in the next few days!

Grilling (and Chilling) With GCSA of Southern California

GCSASC President Robert Hertzing (Lakeside GC), Pat Grodoville (Palos Verdes GC) and Fred Eckert (BASF) overlooking #12 at Palos Verdes GC.

Just a quick recap of the GCSA of Southern California's Scholarship and Research Tournament held last week at Palos Verdes Golf Club on June 7th. It was great to see all of the superintendents who came out to raise money for the universities and academic scholarships!

I got to grill tri-tips all morning long with Greg Fukumitsu and Dean Mosdell from Syngenta Professional Products to feed all of the hungry superintendents and affilates who particpated in the tournament. I am convinced that I'd rather be grilling tri-tips for superintendents instead of saying "yep, you got Waitea" any day!

Thanks to course superintendent Pat Gradoville for hosting and to chapter manager Cyndy Neal for organizing the event!

Ok - until next week, signing off from the right coast.....

11 Responses to “It's U.S. Open-a-licious”

Megan said...

You guys look cute in those aprons!

Aussie Golfer said...

So is the nematode the reason for the patchy green problems at Pebble Beach? Or is it a fungi of some sort?

John Kaminski said...

from my Facebook page...

Everyone keeps asking me about why the greens at Pebble are so mottled. This is the new way of golf people. The USGA is trying to show everyone that they can have great conditions without worrying about the look of the turf. I think they suceeded this week! Thanks USGA for trying to save golf in the US!


John Kaminski said...

Sorry for the spelling...that's what happens with my junkie crackberry!

Aussie Golfer said...

But surely the mottled greens are caused by something?

Does the poa normally grow with this mottled effect?

Apart from the hardness of the greens which has caused problems, the mottled nature of the greens does not seem to have affected the event but it would be nice to hear a reason for the patched look.

Frank Wong said...

Ok - here's my long winded two cents. Since the Poa comes from natural invasion into the greens over time, you'd have a few dozen to a few hundred different biotypes of Poa in those greens. You may also have some surviving bentgrass in low amounts here and there in the greens.

My best guess is that in drying down the greens and firming them up, the different Poa biotypes (and bentgrass survivors) would react differently to drought stress - thus the mottled look.

Since Poa's got such a short root system, it's a lot harder to toe that super thin line between green and brown when drying out greens - throw in that variable genetic background of all of the biotypes (and maybe some bent in there) and voila - you get that mottled look pretty easily.

Ok - that's my 2 cents on the issue- but I'm very curious to know how the greens firmness and speed compared to Torrey Pines in 2008 - somewhat similar environmental conditions for the Poa greens, but it looked like Pebble was more aggressive in greens managment.

That being said, would McDowell winning by shooting even reflect that Chris Dalhamer and the USGA created a damn hard challenge for the players this year?

John Kaminski said...

OK, to throw more of a monkey wrench into the mix.

The PGA and sometimes the USGA in the past had allowed green filters to be used during the televised coverage. It is my understanding that at this year's US Open at Pebble Beach the USGA had it in its contract that NO FILTERS could be used. In the past I think that you would have seen a similar situation, but it would have been hidden by the filter. The filters have been removed for this event and I can confirm at least one future US Open site too. You probably WILL NOT see this at a PGA event as green is still regarded as what represents a healthy and "good" course. I vote for NO camera filters at all future events...then you will really see some dead turf!


Leah Brilman said...

I think the mottling came from the many biotypes responding to reduced water and possibly cold temperatures differently (and possibly with some nematode effect). The green ones were better adapted.Typically we may have thousands of biotypes on a green, although many of them may be related to each other, especially since Poa annua tends to self pollinate. As the greens age you get less biotypes but periodic shifts in management or stresses may favor some types more than others. We also get segregation on bentgrass greens.

Frank Wong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Wong said...

Thanks Leah for the insight!!!!!!!!! It's always great to get an opinion from someone who knows the biology of the plant.

Just for clarification - we had no reports of Anguina nematode problems at Pebble before the open.

Work by Giat et al. (Journal of Nematology, 2008) indicated that "the number of galls and nematode populations (eggs, juveniles and adults) peaked from late-spring through midsummer, and then declined rapidly during late-summer (usually at the end of August) the same year" at two northern California courses.

so..... it's possible that there was some nematode activity, but I am 100% sure that Chris & Co. were agressively managing any nematodes and that the dry-down was the most important factor that resulted in the greens appearance by Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt those pebble beach greens will look so mottled next June when people are paying hundreds of dollars. They stress them out for speed, drying them out thus the wilted appearance. If they were really talking sustainable golf that will help the average superintendent they would raise heights on greens and worry about a true ball roll. Only courses in temperate climates can take a chance on brown and hard. The majority of courses cannot. It is also easier to stress turf out by closing the course a couple weeks before and having an army of volunteers too. If the usga wanted to help the average golf course they would be telling the public not to expect US Open conditions at their home courses because in the long term US Open conditions are not sustainable.

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