Turf research keeps golf course green – and saves some green

By Peter Hull

Turfgrass expert Dara Park has saved a Myrtle Beach golf course thousands of dollars a year in labor costs and tens of thousands of gallons in wasted water.Researchers examining turf grass

In early spring, maintenance staff at Burning Ridge Golf Club noticed large leopard print-like patches appearing on the course’s greens. When weeks of laborious hand-watering didn’t help, they turned to Clemson.

Park, a horticulturalist at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center, was shown photographs of the affected areas and immediately recognized that the turf was hydrophobic, which means the soil was repelling water.

The condition creates green and brown areas of the turf – green where water gets in, brown where it doesn’t. Affected areas can be separated by only a few inches, which create the leopard pattern.

“No one wants to play on brown grass,” Park said. She prescribed a series of chemical treatments that returned the turf to full health.

For information: Dara Park, 843-662-3526, ext. 206, darap@clemson.edu