Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Economics of Managing Creeping Bentgrass Putting Greens in the Transition Zone.

W. Daniel Strunk1, John C. Sorochan1, Charles Hall1, J. Scott McElroy2, and Thomas Samples1. (1) University of Tennessee, 2431 Joe Johnson Dr Rm 252, Knoxville, TN 37996, (2) 2431 Joe Johnson Dr, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Tennessee, Plant Sciences Dept./ 252 Plant Sciences Bldg, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561

A challenge for golf course superintendents in the transition zone is to manage Agrostis stolonifera L. (creeping bentgrass) putting greens during the summer.  Heat stress and disease pressure make it difficult to maintain a high quality and consistent putting surface.  In 2004 and 2005, a study was conducted to compare the effects of alternating rolling and mowing with traditional methods of everyday mowing on green speed, turf quality, and disease occurrence for creeping bentgrass putting greens in the transition zone during summer heat stress.  Treatments consisted of mowing six days week-1 (MOW), mowing six days week-1 with rolling three days week-1 (MWR), and mowing three days week-1 alternating with rolling three days week-1 (MAR).  Visual quality ratings for treatment effects determined a treatment by time interaction.  MAR had no change in turf quality throughout the study.  However, the MOW treatment maintained as high of quality through two months, but not after three months, and  MWR decreased turf quality at two months.  Green speeds were different for many of the collection dates for all locations.  However, these speeds were only realistically different for 4 of 37 collection dates.  Results from this study determined that MAR will maintain the highest quality putting surface during periods of summer heat stress.  In addition, a full population mail survey was conducted to determine the standard mowing and rolling practices for golf courses in Tennessee.  From survey data and equipment parameters, a partial budgeting analysis was performed to determine the additional costs or savings generated by comparing the aforementioned treatments.  Results determined that golf course superintendents can reduce or increase total costs of mowing and rolling when using a triplex mower.  However, the cost of mowing for golf courses using walk behind mowers decreased total cost when alternating mowing and rolling was employed.