Photo Quiz: Brown trail of turf, peculiar prints

What’s to blame for the blemishes on these two greens? Join the investigation in this month’s Photo Quiz.


Filed to: Photo Quiz

GCM’s Photo Quiz is presented in partnership with STEC Equipment.

STEC Equipment

Problem A: Brown line of turf

Brown line dead turf
Location: Vicksburg, Miss.
Turfgrass area: Putting green
Turfgrass variety: Tifdwarf bermudagrass

Problem B: Strange prints on turf

Insect repellent turf
Location: Greeley, Colo.
Turfgrass area: Putting green
Turfgrass variety: Bentgrass/Poa annua

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Problem A: Brown line of turf

Putting green drain

The brown line of turf on this putting green is obviously a human-made problem, as grass never dies in a straight line. When I first saw the photo, I speculated a mower-scalping incident might be the culprit. As it turns out, a drainage line is to blame for this strip that appears from time to time on a Mississippi golf course.

About five years ago and before the current superintendent arrived at the facility, this green, built on a heavy soil, would get standing water on portions of the surface after rainfall. To mitigate the problem, the facility decided to install a drainage line. The low spot was excavated, and a drain was installed. Next, a drainage-line trench was excavated to carry the unwanted water downhill and off the green. After the drainage line had been installed and connected to the drain, the area was backfilled with sand.

When dry conditions occur, the sand dries out more quickly than the surrounding soil, causing this brown appearance. This past year, the superintendent aerified the area seven or eight times, which lessened the effect, but because of labor and budgetary constraints, the drain will remain for the time being.

Photo submitted by Paul Wood, assistant superintendent at Vicksburg (Miss.) Country Club.

Problem B: Strange prints on turf

I have to say, we have featured similar photos in the past in which insect repellent or sunscreen caused dead turf, but I’ve never seen damage with bare feet before, so I had to use this submission.

When the superintendent was mowing greens one morning, he came across this area and assumed Bigfoot had played a round. I asked whether he gets many barefoot golfers on his course, and he reported that, because it’s Colorado, they get only a few each year. With so many new golfers in 2020, it seems one shoeless player just wanted to relax and be outside. Hopefully next time they’ll apply insect repellent on the cart path.

The area was left to grow out on its own.

Photo submitted by Dwight R. Staats, the superintendent at Highland Hills Golf Course in Greeley, Colo., and a 25-year GCSAA member.

Editor’s note: Have a photo for Photo Quiz? Email it to author John Mascaro.

John Mascaro is the president of Turf-Tec International.

Filed to: Photo Quiz

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