Championship Rejuvenation 2017: Experimentation, desire to learn reaps rewards for 5 superintendents

By |  December 20, 2017 0 Comments

This year, five golf courses participated in the “Championship Rejuvenation” program where superintendents put various BASF products to the test. In this article, each superintendent weighs in on how their treatment programs impacted their courses.

For Josh Pope, superintendent at Greenbrier Old White TPC in West Virginia, one of the pleasant surprises of his 2017 treatment program was the impact the BASF products had on his overall turf health.

“I was eager to see what the products would do from a disease prevention and treatment standpoint, but one of my main takeaways is what the Intrinsic Brand fungicides provided to my turf,” Pope says. “It definitely created healthier plants.”

The program, developed with BASF, included Lexicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide on fairways, greens and tees, as well as Honor® Intrinsic® brand fungicide on his bunker banks. Pope says Lexicon, in particular, stood out.

“We used it wall-to-wall on playing surfaces prior to this year’s tournament,” Pope says. “It provided us a foundation of preventing disease, and a healthier plant during high-stress weather conditions.”

Pope says the course was in excellent condition at the start of the season, but for less than ideal reasons. In 2016, a 1,000-year flood devastated the course, causing the Greenbrier Classic to be canceled. The damage required the course to essentially be rebuilt.

Pope’s program also included Insignia® SC Intrinsic® brand fungicide on bunker banks, and Xzemplar® fungicide for dollar spot control on his fairways and tees.

“Working together with BASF has shed light on the fact that they not only are looking to help keep turf clear of diseases, but also provide a foundation for the turf to become stronger and healthier during the process.”

Sterling Farms Superintendent Drives Successful 2017 Turnaround

Sterling Farms Superintendent Mike Golden says he knows his turnaround efforts have paid off. How? His golfers have repeatedly told him that the course has never looked and played so well.

Golden inherited a tall task when he arrived early in the year. The public course, which sees more than 50,000 rounds a year, was suffering from tees and fairways that had been crowded out by Kyllinga. To kick off the turnaround efforts, Golden and his team planted 3,000 square feet of nursery sod, and performed multiple aerifications and over-seedings. To make things even more challenging, the area experienced a wet spring and an early summer.

Through the summer months, Golden applied Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide to the greens four times. The tees and fairways received a spring application of Emerald® fungicide, two summer applications of Xzemplar® fungicide, and another application of Emerald fungicide in the fall.

“Dollar spot was held at bay all season,” Golden says. He adds that Lexicon kept the putting surfaces healthy and strong, making for great conditions despite the amount of play and the stresses of summer heat.

One other aspect Golden says he appreciates is the extended treatment time of many of the products in his program.

“BASF products allowed us to stretch out the timings of our tee and fairway applications, which in turn gave us time to focus on improving other aspects of the property.”

Faster Turf Healing, Luscious Landscape Beds Boost Edina Country Club

Improvements outside of the playing course was also something noticed by Brandon Schindele, superintendent of Edina Country Club in Minnesota.

Schindele and his team utilized Pendulum® AquaCap herbicide, along with applications of Orkestra™ Intrinsic® brand fungicide, on their annual and perennial landscaping beds. He credits Orkestra with his flowers and landscape plants being robust and large this year.

“Our members told us those areas had never looked better,” he says. “But I also noticed that the landscaping beds stayed clean, allowing me to use less labor there and focus on other things.”

The other important improvement Schindele observed during his BASF treatment program this summer was quicker healing after aerification. With the aid of Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide, turf healed faster and the greens were back in great condition quickly, to the delight of the club’s members.

“One of my goals with this program was to identify problems and the correct solutions within the BASF portfolio. Together, we identified some solutions that I plan to incorporate moving forward,” he says.

Willingness to Experiment Pays Off for Ruth Lake Superintendent

Ruth Lake Country Club Superintendent Dan Marco also found the Championship Rejuvenation program to be beneficial for both himself and the golf course.

“I’ve been at Ruth Lake for 16 years and I feel like I know the property extremely well. But being part of this program showed me how to tweak a few things to make conditions even better,” he says.

One of those tweaks will help him address what he calls his “nemesis disease,” dollar spot. Marco says dollar spot has never been so bad that it killed his grass, but it has been “very pesky and expensive to remediate.”

The solution proved to be Xzemplar fungicide. “Having Xzemplar in the program now, I feel like we might be able to put the dollar spot problem in our rearview mirror,” he says. “If used wisely, it seems like Xzemplar will continue to show great results on dollar spot for years to come.”

Marco encourages other superintendents to keep an open mind about trying new things in their program.

“You don’t have to go full throttle right off the bat, but if you’re not trying to expand your knowledge on products, you might slowly start to lose your edge on delivering the quality your golfers expect,” he says. “One thing is for sure — you can always get better. In our industry, fellow superintendents are constantly striving to improve course conditions. Having an open mind to change is important, and it helps me keep up with our constantly evolving profession.”

Ortmeier Taking Houston Course from Hurricane Harvey to U.S Women’s Open

Being located in Houston, the seasonal treatment considerations are a bit different for Chris Ortmeier, superintendent of Champions Golf Club. Cool weather diseases such as take-all patch and gray leaf spot can be a big problem if left unattended. Ortmeier has scheduled 3 to 4 applications of Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide from the fall through spring, so it will take some time for him to evaluate the success of his prevention efforts.

But it’s not too early for Ortmeier to tell that he is controlling the troublesome doveweed that has popped up more frequently in recent years. He is doing that with a combination of Tower® herbicide — a broad-spectrum preemergence herbicide – and Pendulum® AquaCap herbicide, a water-based formulation featuring the active ingredient, pendimethalin.

“I plan to work these products into our weed program again next year,” he says.

Keeping his course in top shape is essential, Ortmeier says. Not only do his members expect championship conditions, but Champions Golf Club is hosting the U.S. Women’s Open in 2020.

Ortmeier describes the current course conditions as “phenomenal,” which is amazing considering the damage brought by Hurricane Harvey this summer, which left 90 acres of the course under water. He credits the quick recovery to lessons learned from past flooding, using advanced warning protocols to prepare, and the hard work of his crew — who take great pride in the quality of the course.

“BASF has been a great partner, and a huge help,” Ortmeier says. “I’m very pleased with their products and their support.”

BASF would like to thank our 2017 Championship Rejuvenation participants. The program is an important opportunity to work with leading superintendents so they may experience the benefits of BASF products first hand, and tell their stories to their peers.

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