By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.
[Note: This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]
I just had one of those days on the golf course when you sit back and think, “Wow, what a great day!” I played a fabulous course in Carlsbad, Calif., where the ocean breeze is cool and refreshing and the sun warms your soul.
The course runs through coastal hills and valleys with impressive elevation changes. From the hill tops, you can see the ocean. Down in the valleys are wetlands, streams, and what are called “environmentally sensitive” areas where the foliage is thick and tall. An impressive 7 miles of cart paths weave in and out of canyons. You may drive 2 to 3 minutes through beautiful surroundings to get to the next tee box.
This day reminded me how much I love the beauty of golf. Not necessarily the game itself, but the actual beauty of the game. Standing on the first tee box with a large ravine in front of me, the green grass of the fairway in the distance, and the ocean to my right, I felt life’s stresses fading away.
I often think about the different stresses of life. As a “turf guy,” I’m aware of the stresses affecting golf courses. Just as stress affects our bodies, the different avenues stress takes are no different with turf. Stress from different angles affects turf health and playability.
Golf turf stresses are similar throughout the country. It’s a warm weather activity and local courses get a lot of play. These factors bring stress, not only to the courses, but to the golf course superintendents.
With spring around the corner, and soon the summer heat, it’s important for superintendents to get an early start on soil health and hydration. The summer heat brings drought, hot spots, water repellency, and other issues. Proper soil health ensures water penetration and retention, alleviating and reducing heat stress symptoms, now and in the future. Huma Gro® Turf focuses on long-term soil health to combat the summer heat.
With summer also comes the stress of soil compaction caused by heavy play. This includes all parts of the course: cart paths, walking paths, fairways, tee boxes, and greens. Running hundreds of golf carts each day takes a toll on golf courses. Superintendents take great care in directing traffic to reduce compaction. Proper soil health can help maintain air pockets in the soil and break up compaction.
Other proactive measures to prevent damage caused by summer heat and heavy play include raising mowing heights and using smooth rollers, alternating mowing and rolling and skipping a day when possible; aerating soil using smaller tines; fertilizing in small doses; and monitoring traffic patterns. Water management is essential—a surfactant should be used for quick water penetration and to increase moisture retention during a drought or to treat hot spots. A preventive fungicide is recommended.
Whether stress is created by the environment or the game, Huma Gro® Turf products can help. Programs have been developed that use a range of turf products to combat stress caused by summer heat and heavy play. Huma Gro® Turf products can be another tool for superintendents to use to prevent many stress issues on the course.
Huma Gro® Turf Surf-Max® soil surfactant improves water penetration and movement through the soil and roots. Turfplex® VII is recommended to nourish and correct deficiencies for vigor, vitality, and color; Calcium is applied for strength, growth, and plant health; Sil-K® for stronger blades for heat and wear tolerance; and Multi-Purpose for improved air and water exchange in the soil. These products are the Heat Stress Program and can be mixed together.
The Heavy Traffic Program includes Turfplex® IV, a fast-acting, long-lasting nitrogen source for vigorous turf, as well as Sil-K® and Multi-Purpose, which are also in the Heat Stress Program. These products are recommended for use prior to tournaments and in heavy traffic areas. They strengthen the grass stem to prevent ball marks, fight cleat damage, and give the ball a faster, truer roll.
In addition to preventing heat and heavy traffic stress, Huma Gro® Turf Promax® is a recommended zero re-entry pesticide to cure and protect against nematodes and diseases in the soil. Huma Gro® Turf products can be mixed together.
Huma Gro® Turf provides the tools for stress-free turf. Whether you’re a superintendent enjoying your stress-free turf, a turf guy like me, and/or a golfer, the next time you’re standing at the tee box, look out and enjoy the beauty of nature, take a deep breath, and feel the stress trickle away.
Consult your local Huma Gro® Turf representative or turf specialist for specific recommendations. Huma Gro® Turf products include Micro Carbon Technology®, a proprietary blend of very small organic molecules that allows for more effective absorption of nutrients by plants.
Huma Gro® Turf Special Turf Programs can be found at https://humagroturf.com/special-turf-programs/.