Turf Cultural Practices
Designing and building a world-class facility will eventually decline if time-tested industry-accepted turf cultural practices are not rigorously implemented. Golf courses require year-round daily cultural practices to maintain a quality playing surface and an aesthetically pleasing turf. Mowing, watering, fertilizing, and aerifying are necessary examples for this, and a well-defined and conceived short- and long-term maintenance plan often elevates courses above local competitors. When such necessary practices are curtailed or stopped, courses typically begin a slow decline for which the superintendent erroneously receives blame for creating. Cultural practices such as vertical mowing, grooming, aerifying, and topdressing are necessary to keep the organic material buildup in check and to maintain sufficient soil porosity—prime contributing factors to golf green failure. This chapter outlines contemporary cultural practices and considerations for timings and frequencies superintendents can use when developing their master maintenance program. Topics include mowing, aerification, vertical mowing/grooming, topdressing, winter color, bunker maintenance, and organic golf course management. The importance of these is emphasized as well as the results that courses typically incur when these activities are not followed.