GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS OFFER OPINIONS

According to a 2003 survey of superintendents conducted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), 59 percent contend Jack Nicklaus faced tougher competition during his career while 41 percent believe Tiger Woods has the greater challenge. But that does not necessarily mean superintendents think Nicklaus would win a head-to-head match up with Woods conducted when both men were in their prime. In fact, in GCSAA's 2002 survey, 47 percent thought Woods would win such a competition, compared with 41 percent for Nicklaus, with another 12 percent unable to discern a winner.

THE FUTURE OF COURSE CONDITIONING

Fifty percent of superintendents responding to the survey believe Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass will have the biggest impact on the profession in the next decade. Intended primarily for putting greens, this product is not currently on the market but could be introduced in the next year. It has been bred to withstand the application of Roundup, which would leave the turf unaffected but kill the weeds. The only other turfgrass to receive a significant response from superintendents was Paspalum, which 18 percent thought was the grass of the future. Found in the warmer climates of the United States' Southeast coastline and Hawaii, Paspalum is inviting for a variety of stress environments, including drought, acid soils, high and low temperature, high-bulk density soils and salinity (salt).

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In terms of capital expenditures for the 2003 calendar year, superintendents are largely focused on buying new equipment, as 45 percent said this is the area where most capital expenditures would occur. Upgrading irrigation systems was next at 15 percent, followed closely by the reconstruction of greens, tees and bunkers at 14 percent.

PERCEPTION VS. REALITY

Perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings in golf is the impossibility of providing year-round course conditions that rival what is found at major golf event venues. But how well is this understood by avid golfers? Superintendents contend not very well. Half of those queried said that fewer than 10 percent of avid golfers understand that courses hosting majors are brought to peak condition and those conditions are sustainable for no more than a few days. Almost three-quarters (74 percent), said fewer than 30 percent of avid golfers are aware of the fact.

For a complete set of results from the survey, visit www.gcsaa.org/pr/results03.asp.

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