Big bucks for them maybe, but better for us?

Submitted by metroparks muse on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 19:54.
[ or is this really 'Part Of Your Life, Naturally'] 


Turfgrass Research - For Better Golf and a Better Environment

Since 1920 the USGA Green Section has conducted and supported turfgrass research to provide better playing conditions for golfers. Major accomplishments have included the development of dramatically improved grasses, cultural maintenance practices, and weed, insect and disease control methods, to name just a few. 

It may seem that after 87 years of research, all the problems would have been solved. Not so! Golfer demands for better and better course conditions are causing more problems than ever before. Greens cut at a tenth of an inch, stimpmeter readings routinely surpassing 10 or 11 feet, cart traffic, fairways cut to 3/8 of an inch, and trees planted 50-80 years ago that now shade our greens, tees, roughs and fairways, all combine to cause stressed turf that is susceptible to disease and pest activity, cold, heat, drought, salt, traffic and other stresses. There are nearly 40 major disease organisms that ravage our turf, requiring tens of millions of dollars for pesticides to contain them.

Today, the USGA leads the way in turfgrass research, allocating $1.3 million annually to address the needs of the turf and the environment. This contribution is doubled or tripled at the 30-plus universities that receive USGA research grants. But considering that golf is an industry that generates tens of billions of dollars annually, more dollars need to be contributed to keep ahead of the problems found on our golf courses.


You got me... wtf is a stimpmeter? I had to look it up. Found it in the trusty wikipedia: stimpmeter. Be sure to click through to the link for Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh. Fascinating to read that we may be making every effort here in our own Metroparks  to be on par with Oakmont, Pennsylvania's "fastest golf course in the world". Silly me, I thought the Metroparks were about natural greenspace for some lame reason...

Oakmont - Though it flanks the Allegheny River (imagine the chemicals flowing into the river... gasp), it has no water hazards and now virtually no trees (4000 were removed in recent renovation). Wow! Now that's somthing to aspire to. Do they yell fore when they get ready to spray on the Roundup or whatever they use?

Playing It Safe

As more diseases are linked to chemical exposure: atrazine as an endocrine disrupter, trichlorfon associated with diabetes, and bacterial resistance to antibiotics in the water supply, a conservation organization needs to walk the walk.


We especially have to be concerned about kids who are generally more sensitive to chemical effects. Is it a wise idea to have them playing on treated courses when the effects may not be recognized for years? What alternatives are there - playing a less 'perfect' but safer course? Metroparks takes great pride in the perfection of its turf and more perfect turf requires more chemicals. Mowing adds to air pollution. Set an example Metroparks - promote slower play and less roll and better health for people and nature.