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Rounds4Research Beginning to Pay Big Dividends

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Due to the slumping economy, state governments across the country are struggling to meet huge budget deficits. This almost always means significant budget cuts at land grant universities that do turfgrass research. Some have been cut worse than others, but we're all feeling it in one way or another.

Most people don't realize that we receive little to no resources from our universities to run our programs. You want to hire a technician? Fine, come up with cash and then maybe HR can make it happen. Need to drive across the state to give a talk? You can go wherever you want if you can pay the gas bill. You want a cell phone? Sure, if you have the money you can do that too.

That's why the financial support that we get from the turf industry is so important. Without it, we can't do a thing. This is also why the recent decline in research funding from national organizations like the USGA and GCSAA is so troubling.

Many of the southeast's best golf courses participate in R4R
For as long as I can remember, people in the turf industry have been asking "How do we get the golfing public to support turfgrass research?" Several years ago, Tim Krieger of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association initiated Rounds4Research to do just that. Golf courses and resorts can donate rounds of golf or vacation packages to be auctioned off to the general public, with the proceeds going to support turfgrass research in the participating states. The Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia are participating in 2011.

Last fall, the Carolinas GCSA funded 4 research projects at Clemson and NC State for a total of $94,225. The funded projects aim to address major issues like water conservation, nutrient fate, doveweed management, and perhaps most importantly, nematode control. Bruce Martin and I are collaborating on the nematode project, which I will write more about in the coming weeks.

If you have problems with nematodes, or just want to support turfgrass research in the Carolinas, Georgia, or Virginia, then it's not too late to participate in the 2011 Rounds4Research auction. Donations of rounds and golf packages are being accepted until April 4, and the online auction will run from April 10 to 17. All of the details can be found at Please help by encouraging your facility to donate, and also by spreading the word to golfers at your club about this rare opportunity to play golf at some of the nations top golf courses!

One response to “Rounds4Research Beginning to Pay Big Dividends”

Larry Stowell said...

The sad reality is that $94,000 isn't even enough to fund one experienced technician's salary fully loaded (lab space, field space, equipment, supplies travel, benefits). I don't think that the "industry" knows the real cost of university support. We all need to think about new ways to fund turf grass research throughout the country - maybe using locations like Rutgers as a model - we might come up with a solution for the future.

Maybe there will be fewer locations with turf research programs - pool funds and support fewer universities, but fund the ones with established programs to the level that applied short term and long term research projects can be balanced.

Tournaments and Rounds 4 Golf are a great component of the big picture, but we all need to also think about other alternatives for funding and possibly restructuring research funding and research management across the nation.

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