Turf & Rec

Features Agronomy
Questions pertaining to hot summer results in strong turf academy attendance


October 19, 2010
By Mike Jiggens


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STRESS brought on by the hot and humid summer of 2010 resulted in a
strong turnout at each of the venues involved with Plant Science Inc.’s
third annual “turf academy.”

Superintendents in attendance at each of the four participating Ontario golf courses were looking for learned answers to challenging questions related to the amount of turfgrass stress realized this year as a consequence of the extraordinarily hot summer. vargasweb

“This year was interesting because we saw disease pressure that we hadn’t seen in the previous two years,” said Plant Science’s Rob Field. “Anyone who attended a turf academy in the past and attended this time learned something new.”

Turfgrass science professor Dr. Joe Vargas of Michigan State University visited each of the participating golf courses—Oshawa Golf & Country Club, Toronto’s St. George’s Golf & Country Club, Muskoka’s Lake Joseph Club and Bright’s Grove’s Huron Oaks Golf Club—to share his findings and discuss measures to help superintendents cope with the challenges they faced this year.

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Vargas is a veteran in his profession and continues to travel the world to share his insight into the business of turfgrass science.

“He still brings fresh information,” Field said. “All of the courses were in good shape, but we saw some stressed turf that we hadn’t seen in the past, and it was interesting to get Joe’s perspective in a year where we’ve had a lot of stress.”

The academies at Oshawa, St. George’s and Lake Joseph each attracted more than 30 superintendents while the Huron Oaks event drew about 15.

“We didn’t expect 30 at Huron Oaks, but we were pretty pleased with who we had out.”

As has been the custom with past turf academies, attendees at all venues but Huron Oaks were entertained afterward by a show put on by Golf Unleashed’s Bob Martin and Ron Lampman. Martin provides serious golf instruction while Lampman performs trick golf shots in a lighter vein.

Field said Plant Science, which has sponsored the event the past three years, is considering a possible format change for next year’s turf academy.

“We may change the format,” he said. “The turf academy will live on. I’m thinking of bringing in more than one professor to two different locations.”

Superintendents attending the August academies enjoyed good weather for Vargas’ series of tours.

“It was just a different feel to the turf academy because of all the stress we had, and a lot more questions were related to summer heat stress.”