PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Precision Turf Management

Evaluating USGA’s TruFirm for greens firmness measurements

In our continuing efforts to develop programs that assist turf managers in maintaining optimal greens firmness (545 kd pdf), we have followed with interest the USGA's TruFirm. This tool was developed by the USGA to recreate the effect of golf ball impacts, thus assisting in preparation and monitoring of greens for consistent tournament play, day in and day out.

To this end, we were lucky this past January to be able to team up with USGA agronomist Pat Gross and Victoria Club superintendent Mark Burchfield to take a preliminary look at the TruFirm, and to compare the picture it gave us of greens firmness with that provided by the Clegg Impact meter.

As detailed in this Super Journal report (311 KB), there was a good correlation between the two devices. However, further work is needed to identify the potential role of each of these tools in greens management programs.

Project title: Measuring greens firmness using the USGA TruFirm and the Clegg Soil Impact Tester at Victoria Country Club: A preliminary study

Principal investigators: Larry Stowell, Ph.D. (PACE Turf), Pat Gross (USGA), Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D. (PACE Turf) and Mark Burchfield (Victoria Club, Riverside, CA)

Report posted 2/16/09

A summary of precision management resesarch

We have been exploring the use of sensors and precision management for turf for several years, and have found many useful applications, as outlined in some of our previous Updates and articles. We have summarized our research to-date in this field in a poster presentation that we will give at the Crop Science Society of America meetings this week in Houston, TX. You can view and print the poster here, though it is a fairly large (2.4 MB) pdf document. Key cooperators in these studies were PACE Turf members Leif Dickinson (Del Mar Thoroughbred Club), Sandy Clark (Barona Creek Golf Club), and Jeff Beardsley (Big Canyon Country Club).

Overall, we found that soil moisture and turf quality sensors were powerful tools for characterizing turf performance, and for managing turf. But we also found that in their current form, the equipment was difficult to use, with complex data management and interpretation. Equipment manufacturers are now working on more practical versions of the sensor arrays, so that they will be more useful in turf management, hopefully in the near future.

Posted 10/19/08

Using virtual irrigation to forecast disease

Poster presentation at the 2008 American Phytopathological Society meetings, July 26 - 30, Minneapolis, MN.

Authors: Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter (PACE Turfgrass Research Institute) and Frank Wong and Chi-Men Chen, University of California Riverside

Click here to view the poster (130 KB)

Summary: Recent research suggests that soil moisture impacts the severity of turf diseases such as anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum cereale, Pythium root dysfunction caused by Pythium volutum, gray leaf spot (GLS) caused by Magnaporthe grisea and brown ring patch (BRP) caused by Waitea circinata var. circinata. The virtual irrigation audit, a simple computer model that predicts the size and location of both wet and dry areas on golf course turf, was designed to provide diagnosticians and turf managers with a precision turfgrass management tool for disease and soil moisture management. In this study, the virtual audit was successfully used to describe the occurrence of GLS and BRP on golf course turf.

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