The unexpected gift

Superintendent William Salinetti was seeking turf’s holy grail -- a better way of developing a sustainable, healthy, high-performance turf system.

April 18, 2017
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There are times when an unexpected gift falls in your lap. While William Salinetti, certified golf course superintendent at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, NY, didn’t exactly discovery electricity, he did come across a better way to care for his turf.

“I wasn't trying to solve a specific turf problem, but rather just trying to find a better way of developing a sustainable, healthy, high-performance turf system,” Salinetti says. “I first tried EarthWorks back in 1998 when I started my first superintendent position in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I had taken over a 40-year-old golf course that had a steady diet of synthetic, high salt fertilizer for years. The course was in an environmentally sensitive area and I thought it would be a great site to try and work some organic fertilizer into the program.

“I first tried four different organic products, including the EarthWorks 5-4-5, and evaluated the results through the first season,” he adds. “The EarthWorks performed far and away better than the other three organic products, and I had my Tom Irwin salesman to thank for the recommendation.”

Considering it has been nearly two decades since he first used EarthWorks, you can imagine the process has been fluid for Salinetti and his team.

“I have since tweaked my program, to a late fall granular application followed by a liquid program throughout the growing season,” he says. “My current program is as follows: Late fall application of 5-4-5 to all the fine turf (anything under a half inch), an application of 3-3-3 in conjunction with the spring and fall aerification, the 5-5-5 program on greens (at lower rates) and some various liquid products to help on tees and fairways.”

The finished product can certainly be called a success.

“The results have been amazing ... we have been able to develop turf that can tolerate drought and high stresses, while maintaining a great look and incredible playability,” Salinetti says. “We were never looking for a specific return on investment, but rather a better way of doing things.

“We have long thought that when developing a program to promote playability, we never wanted to see any spikes in growth or color if at all possible,” he added. “Using the EarthWorks products, we have been able to keep clipping yield to a minimum while having a very healthy, durable playing surface.

“This will be my 20th season where I am using EarthWorks as the cornerstone of our fertility program. I am grateful to Joel and his team for their continuous dedication to make their products better.