I visited Tennessee this month, speaking at the packed Tennessee Turfgrass Association conference, meeting with faculty in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (of which I am an adjunct faculty member), learning about some of the turfgrass research projects now underway at the University, and teaching this semester's first session of the Turfgrass Rootzone Construction and Management course.
I participated in a panel discussion with Rodney Lingle (Memphis CC), Matt Shaffer (Merion Golf Club), and Chris Hartwiger (USGA Green Section) in which we discussed ultradwarf bermudagrass management, preparation for the 2013 US Open, cold tolerance of bermudagrass, and heat tolerance of creeping bentgrass. I gave three other presentations at the conference, on topics ranging from course preparations for the Open Championship, fertilizer for sand rootzones, and turfgrass management in Asia. The attendance at the conference was superb. In fact, for many of the presentations it was standing room only, and the trade show was bigger than I had expected too.
At the University of Tennessee I saw the now completed Center for Athletic Field Safety with some really great looking synthetic surfaces along with natural turf. This impressive facility is being used for some cutting-edge research about sporting surfaces, biomechanics, and athlete safety.
I saw a lot of other research as well -- zoysia trials, lots of weed control work, many with the new herbicide indaziflam, rooting experiments, seedhead control of zoysia -- suffice it to say that there is a lot of interesting information being developed by the turfgrass team at the University of Tennessee.
We also discussed turfgrass educational programs in Asia and weed control in India for upcoming sessions of the Indian Golf Union's Greenkeeper Education Programme.
At the end of my week in Tennessee, I taught the Plant Science 442 course, Turfgrass Rootzone Construction and Management. I talked about sand rootzones, why we do core aerification (coring, hollow-tine aerification), and what some of the challenges are in managing turf in sand rootzones. I spoke, basically, about these topics: