Photo Quiz: Black area, holes in green

Do you have what it takes to identify the sources of these turf troubles?


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

STEC Equipment

Problem A: Black area void of turf 

strange brown marks on golf course
Location: North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Turfgrass area: Fairway
Turfgrass variety: 419 bermudagrass

Problem B: Hole in the green after it had been repaired

strange brown marks on golf course
Location: Rockledge, Fla.
Turfgrass area: Putting green
Turfgrass variety: Diamond zoysiagrass 

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Close-up of green, muddy and dark with grass rhizomes visible above the ground

Problem A: Black area void of turf 

The black area void of turf is one of two marks that were found on this fairway. It was easy to figure out the cause, as the remains were left on the course; the two black marks were scorch marks that were caused by boat flares. Now, why someone would burn boat flares on a golf course remains a mystery. This course, located in North Myrtle Beach, gets all sorts of tourist play, but people can also easily sneak onto the course and do things like this. The culprits seemed to have let the flares burn out entirely. The superintendent’s best guess is that someone had a few too many drinks and decided it was a nice spot for flares, maybe using them as party lights. No marshmallows or any other party favors were found. This damage occurred right before aerification, so the crew just aerified and fertilized and let the area recover on its own.

Photo submitted by Matthew J. Harvey, superintendent at Azalea Sands Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., and a seven-year GCSAA member.

SeaDwarf paspalum putting green

Problem B: Hole in the green after it had been repaired

The hole in this Diamond zoysiagrass putting green was caused by a feral hog. It was odd to see the hog in that area because there are homes that surround the course, and the only area of the course up against trees is quite a distance away. This means that the hog most likely came in from the woods and crossed the majority of the properties on the course before deciding that this was a good place to dig. It has not happened since. The crew gathered all the ripped-up sod pieces and replaced them as well as they could, like a jigsaw puzzle. They topdressed the area to achieve a smooth rolling surface and rolled the area. The green’s damaged area did take some time to recover completely.

Photo submitted by Jerry Yeomans, GCSAA Class A superintendent at Rockledge (Fla.) Country Club and a 30-year member of GCSAA.

Editor’s note: Have a photo of an on-course anomaly? GCM would love to have a look! Email it to Photo Quiz author John Mascaro.

John Mascaro is the president of Turf-Tec International.