Preparing the Course for Tournament Play

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The arrival of spring brings a flurry of activities to the golf course as play increases, so does the volume of work for the superintendent and staff who keep the course in tip-top shape.

Tournaments bring hundreds of participants to a course and heavy traffic, so it’s an excellent opportunity to showcase a courses’ excellent conditions. Getting turf into tournament condition while preparing for such events and increased play takes planning. Superintendents must have a strategy and contingency plan in order to meet the superior course conditions expected by tournament attendees and club members. Not only can the additional traffic damage turf, but the disruptions and practices a superintendent must engage in to prepare greens for events can be potentially harmful to the turf.

To schedule greens to peak during tournaments and special events, a superintendent must carefully plan backwards to perfect application timing, irrigation and course management. Attaining firm and fast playing conditions without harming turf health is a priority and a challenge. To do so, a golf course superintendent should schedule a complete NPK liquid fertilizer program enhanced with micronutrients and iron every 7–10 days, beginning two to three weeks prior to the date of the event.

To help superintendents achieve and schedule the superior tournament conditions they desire from their course, Huma Gro® Turf has developed a “Tournament Preparation Program.” By providing soil and turf nutrition, these products build healthy soil and strong, healthy turf. Two to three weeks prior to tournament play, the following Huma Gro Turf products can be easily mixed together and applied at a volume of two to three ounces per 1,000 square feet.

Multi-Purpose® because turf health starts with healthy soil. Multi-Purpose builds soil health by feeding beneficial bacteria in the soil, creating a carbon-rich soil and improving the soil structure.

Breakout® provides the necessary nutrients for root growth and root mass development. Encouraging horizontal turf growth, Breakout creates a dense, uniform and consistent turf for superior ball-rolling characteristics. In the fairways, Breakout speeds recovery from verticutting, aerating, and ball marks.

Max Pak® is a stress fighter that promotes healthy turf by providing a highly stable source of many important macronutrients to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients.

Turfplex® IV contains macro- and micronutrients with organic acid to increase the absorption of nutrients, producing a vigorous turf. It’s fast acting and long lasting.

Tuff Greens™ is a blend of potassium, calcium and silica. It’s designed to strengthen the turf blades to withstand heavy traffic and provide a superior playing surface.

For best results, this turf prep program should be started two to three weeks prior to tournament play. A second application should be applied again one to two weeks before tournament events. As the event date draws close and superior turf conditions have been established for tournament play, Turf-Iron™ should be applied together with an additional application of Tuff Greens two or three days prior to the event. Turf-Iron enhances the turf color to put the finishing touches on course conditions.

Additionally, superintendents can prevent the appearance of ugly white pesticide residue by using safe, effective and residue-free turf protection products such as Promax® or Proud 3®. Promax prevents and controls nematodes and soil-borne diseases. Proud 3 is a foliar applied insecticide, miticide and fungicide.

During this two- to three-week process, these products provide soil and turf nutrition, building a healthy soil structure and pushing turf to beautiful, strong, superior conditions. Overall turf health is increased through balanced nutrition. Optimal playing conditions — faster, firmer, smoother greens are achieved by managing proper plant growth and turf blade strength. Most importantly, the course is ready for heavy play and tournament events.

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