Photo Quiz: Tidy piles of soil, rings on turf

Attention, turf buffs: What do you think produced these two surfaces’ unfortunate fates? See how well your theories hold up.


Filed to: Photo Quiz

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

STEC Equipment

Problem A: Piles of soil on putting green

Moles golf course green
Location: Vicksburg, Miss.
Turfgrass variety: MiniVerde bermudagrass

Problem B: Three concentric rings of damaged turf

Rings on turf
Rings on turfgrass
Location: Southeastern United States
Turfgrass area: Practice putting green
Turfgrass variety: Champion bermudagrass

Scroll down for answers.












Problem A: Piles of soil on putting green

It’s probably fairly easy to guess what caused these piles of soil — it’s mole damage. Over my years of doing Photo Quiz, I have seen a few mole damage photos, but it never ceases to amaze me how some of them can leave these mounds of soil in neatly spaced piles across a green’s surface.

In this case, the superintendent applied an imidacloprid granular insecticide to eliminate the mole’s food source. The damaged area was carefully backfilled, and staff members salvaged as much turf as they could and replaced the rest. The areas were then topdressed by hand. The damage occurred on the green for five days in a row until the mole’s food source was finally eliminated and it moved on to greener pastures. Thankfully, most golfers laughed off the damage.

Photo submitted by Jeff Harpole, a grounds manager at Vicksburg (Miss.) Country Club.

Problem B: Three concentric rings of damaged turf

These three concentric rings of damaged turf were caused by an inexperienced golf professional who marked targets on this course’s practice green with a non-turf paint. The target circles were also pretty irregular in shape when they were applied. This caused the superintendent at the course to wonder whether the targets had just been freehanded with spray paint from the hardware store.

Interestingly enough, as the damaged Champion bermudagrass began to recover, mole crickets found the thinner turf from the paint an easy place to excavate their tunnels, adding a little insult to the turfgrass injury.

Photo from author John Mascaro’s collection.

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.