WCTA Remains Committed to Scientific Turfgrass Research

One of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association’s foundational pillars is funding turfgrass research.  If you were unaware, 10% of membership revenue goes directly toward turfgrass research projects.  Additionally, 30% of any surplus at year-end also goes to research funding.

During our annual conference, the WCTA and KPU Turf Club raise more funds through the annual silent auction and a golf raffle.  In years past, other groups such as the BC Golf Superintendents Association and the BC Golf Association would contribute funds to support turfgrass research.

With little or no funding from allied groups and the challenges of fund raising in general, our annual totals have fallen very short of industry needs.  These past two years, over 25 proposals came in for funding requests totaling over 1 million dollars!  The solid science resulting from many of these proposals would benefit turf managers in managing their turf by allowing for less use of water, fertilizer, or, my favorite, less fungicide. 

Of all the turf areas on the golf course, greens are most important.  Since 1960, when the USGA started to research how to best build putting greens, more money has been spent on turfgrass research on putting greens than any other part of the golf course combined.  Over the past 50 years, research on turfgrass species/variety, irrigation and drainage, equipment improvements, fertilizer, soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, has given the golf course superintendent tools to maintain turfgrass with very few guesses. 

To continue turfgrass research funding, the WCTA will be reaching out to you for support. Your continued support can come in several ways including attendance at the annual WCTA conference, donation to the silent auction, direct invoice payment for facilities (coming soon) and annual membership dues. 

At the Annual WCTA Conference and Tradeshow in Richmond BC for 2019, we will be having some of those researchers that have made turf managers more knowledgeable.  In past conferences, the WCTA has brought in some of the best, well known researchers across the globe supporting turfgrass managers from golf and sportsfields alike. 

Included in the list of speakers, was renowned professor and turfgrass researcher from Cornell University Dr. Frank Rossi (http://hort.cals.cornell.edu/people/frank-rossi).  Dr. Rossi has spoken at previous WCTA conferences and has always been able to deliver his turfgrass research to help superintendents maintain better turfgrass.  Several years ago, Dr. Rossi spoke on the use of an innovative product, a horticultural oil that he researched at Bethpage (Black), the site of the 2002 and 2009 US Open Golf Tournament.  His research showed this horticultural oil turned on the turfgrass’ own self-defense mechanism to protect against disease fungi. 

Closer to our area, another speaker Clint Mattox, under Alex Kowalewski, (http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/content/alec-kowalewski) at Oregon State University, has followed up some of Dr. Rossi’s research and given us an alternative to fungicides for the management of Microdochium patch.  Dr. Thomas Nikolai has also spoken at WCTA conferences in the past and has presented best management practices to turf managers. Among the many research projects done by Dr. Nikolai from Michigan State University (http://www.michiganturfgrass.org/dr-thom-nikolai.html), an unexpected best management practice was developed from a research project using “Lightweight” rollers to reduce disease. 

Turfgrass research has taken the guesswork out of turf maintenance by using scientific studies for best practices.  The above three researchers have significantly helped all turf managers but only if you are willing to read, listen and try something different.  I know someone who has used this research and has not sprayed a fungicide on their golf course this year for Microdochium patch control.  

Turfgrass research works; support it, learn from it, try it out.


Peter Sorokovsky
WCTA President