March is the month when many golf courses open up from the winter break and make their first mow. However, many are caught up by the Covid-19 scourge. This has greatly affected sporting activities and golf is no exception. We have PGA Tour events including The Masters either cancelled or postponed to a future date.
Despite these unprecedented events, the turfgrass on our golf courses does not understand that its superintendents are under attack. It continues to grow and turfgrass pests will continue to manifest themselves as they have in previous years. Many golf courses around the world have been deemed closed as they are not cited under essential services and those open are constantly trying to create an enjoyable experience while maintaining some level of social distancing.
Even the weather hasn’t followed the norm for much of 2020. There was decreased amounts of snowfall compared to previous years throughout most of the Northeast region. In the mid-west, rain has been spread out with areas like southern Missouri getting up to 4 inches of rain in the last week. This led to outbreaks of cool temperature brown patch. Due to the closure of most diagnostic labs, people are left self-diagnosing using their best judgement or based on previous experience.
Golf courses are faced with reduced mowing times, due to possible staff reduction, and therefore the use of PGRs may assist for both warm and cool season grasses.
Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Yelverton advised supers in the Carolinas in a recent online interview. They suggested removing ryegrass from overseeded courses due to its high maintenance costs in the spring. It would be wise to catch it on a warm day to have a maximum effect of the herbicide. At this point, it is crucial to choose the most critical practices for maintaining turf. This will enable you to hit the ground running when the country ultimately opens up and golf is once again being played.
In the meantime, celebrate the little wins in life as Dr. Yelverton did this week!