If your facility operated at a loss in 2015, you are in the industry minority. Sixty-nine percent of superintendents reported their facility either turned a profit or broke even in 2015. The number of profitable facilities increased from 39 percent in 2014 to 45 percent in 2015. Still, superintendents aren’t ready to declare the industry has fully recovered from the economic downturn. Forty-five percent of respondents say the industry is “seriously” or “somewhat” struggling while 26 percent say the industry is “drastically” or “somewhat” improving.
Let’s eliminate one industry myth. Superintendents aren’t hired and fired at the rate of NFL or major-college football coaches.
The average superintendent has held his or her current position for 12.2 years while only 9 percent have been fired for job performance reasons. Long tenures at a facility aren’t anomalies, as 17 percent of superintendents have held their current position for 20 or more years. The survey also suggests most superintendents are satisfied with their respective jobs. If given a career mulligan, 76 percent said they would still pursue a job in the golf industry.
Let’s also eliminate another myth held by those outside the industry. Superintendents don’t play golf every day. In fact, they are lucky to play once a week.
Less than one-third of superintendents (27 percent) play golf once or multiple times per week. Plenty of superintendents are watching their clubs collect dust, as 34 percent indicated they play less than monthly or never.
Years in current position
Would you still pursue a job in the golf industry
How satisfied are you with aspects of your job?
Importance of passion for career success
How often do you play golf?
As with years past, Nufarm continues to evolve as an international organization and a trusted supplier to the golf industry. 2015 has been no exception for BIG NEWS announcements. The launch of Anuew PRG has been in full force with demo programs throughout the country. Aloft is now brought to you by Nufarm, expanding our insecticide line up. And a new leader at the helm, CEO Brendan Deck from
Australia has already made strides in getting to know our customers; driving the Nufarm customer-centric culture.
However, NEW is not the only thing Nufarm has been up to. IMPROVED is also a theme we embraced in 2015 and will continue to ride in 2016. Updates in processing at our Chicago manufacturing plant will continue to improve production and supply. An upcoming launch of a new micro site for distribution and golf course superintendents will bring valuable content to your fingers faster. And improved customer service tools will increase transparency in the ordering process.
As we eagerly look forward to 2016, we anticipate work within all categories serving the golf course market. Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides are in development to join our popular product line including 3336 Brands, Affirm, Last Call, Millennium Ultra II, Stellar and Tourney. Nufarm will continue to innovate in chemistry and service to provide solutions to the golf course industry’s most challenging pest problems.
We are again proud to sponsor Golf Course Industry’s State of the Industry Report. The study identifies opportunities we can all leverage to improve and grow our businesses.
At Jacobsen, we understand the more we can help your courses increase rounds, revenue and profit, the more we all succeed. We serve the industry as a true partner by manufacturing superior-performing products, providing world-class service, and supporting key industry organizations.
For 95 years, the Jacobsen brand has been synonymous with superior turf conditions. From Oscar Jacobsen’s industry-first professional greens mower to the revolutionary technology of the ECLIPSE series of greens mowers, Jacobsen has been an industry leader in turf equipment reliability, innovation and performance.
We also understand how important it is for your team to be up and running every day. Through our parts distribution center in Charlotte, N.C., to our national network of certified dealers, we provide the service and parts you need to keep your team performing at the highest level.
Moving forward, Jacobsen will continue to work as a true industry partner, providing products, service and support that make you more successful every day.
David Withers President Jacobsen
Want a compelling reason to believe 2016 will be a better year for the industry than its immediate predecessors?
Study the budget numbers on these pages.
The average non-capital operations budget is increasing from $697,000 to $750,000, a robust and encouraging 13.2 percent increase. For those wondering, the average maintenance budgets in 2012 and 2013 were $651,392 and $622,500, respectively. More than half of superintendents (52 percent) will see their maintenance budgets increase in 2016 while only 16 percent will be forced to trim expenses.
Of the 18 budgetary line items annually included in the survey, 12 will experience spikes in 2016, including all forms of pesticides and fertilizers. Equipment suppliers should be primed for a solid 2016. The biggest budgetary rise will be in mowing/cultivating equipment, with the average course spending $42,800 on iron in 2016 compared to $31,300 in 2015.
Receiving the necessary financial resources to produce a quality product isn’t a major concern among superintendents entering 2016. Forty-three percent of superintendents say they are “very confident” the maintenance department will have the financial resources to succeed in 2016. Only 4 percent say they are “not confident at all.”
Spending on capital projects should be conservative in 2016, with the average facility devoting $94,500 to course improvements, a 31.5 percent decrease over 2015. Only 3 percent of superintendents indicated their facilities will spend more than $500,000 on capital improvements this year.
2015 vs. 2016
Confidence maintenance department will have financial resources to succeed in 2016
Projected non-capital operations budget, including labor and overhead but excluding water costs, for 2016
Projected capital budget for 2016
White grubs deliver a one-two punch to superintendents fighting to keep their golf courses healthy and thriving. Initial injury to turf occurs from larval feasting on the roots, which results in infested areas first turning yellow, then brown, and finally dying. It’s the secondary issue, however, that leads to the most damage.
The grubs’ predators are much more destructive than the larvae, itself, says Rob Golembiewski of the Bayer Green Solutions Team.
White grubs are larvae of several beetle species including May-June beetles, green June beetles, masked and European chafers, oriental beetles, Japanese beetles, Asiatic garden beetles and ataenius beetles. They are major pests of higher-cut turf (fairways and roughs) throughout much of the United States, Golembiewski adds, with the greatest occurrence in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The May-June beetle will have a 2- or 3-year life cycle depending on species, while other significant species have a 1-year life cycle.
“Egg lying can occur at various times during the season depending on species and region of the country, but usually begins in late June or early July and continues for four to six weeks,” he says. “In most cases, adult emergence occurs in mid-summer, often after significant rainfall or irrigation, followed by mating and egg lying. The eggs hatch and the small larvae begin feeding on roots with molting from first to second instar occurring in a few weeks. Most of the feeding damage is done by the comparatively large third instar larvae, and it is this stage that causes visible turf damage.”
Overwintering occurs in this third instar stage with larvae moving downward during late October or November into the soil profile for protection from cold weather. The following spring, the larvae move up to the soil-thatch interface to feed and replenish food reserves lost during the winter before moving back down and transforming into the pupal stage. “A one-year cycle will be completed with beetles emerging from this pupal stage a short time later,” Golembiewski says.
And the damage they do can be extensive. When grub populations are heavy, areas of turf are easily lifted from the soil. “Turf damage from white grubs is much less common compared to the damage that results from animals feeding on the white grubs,” Golembiewski says. “Moles, raccoons, skunks and turkeys are the most common animals that destroy turf when feeding on white grubs. Turf can be severely damaged by animal foraging and usually results in reseeding or resodding.”
White grubs thrive in environments with adequate soil moisture and food. Golf courses provide plenty of irrigated organic matter in the soil profile for both larval development and life cycle completion, says Matthew Giese, field technical manager for Syngenta Turf & Landscape.
The term “white grubs” encompasses a significant number of beetle species that affect desirable turf species on any given golf course. “From the largest white grub (green June beetle) to the smallest (black turfgrass ataenius or billbug) and everything in between, each insect has different preferences in terms of what their favorable environment might be for cover (height of cut) and egg laying requirements (turf species),” Giese says.
Turfgrass areas with higher thatch levels are generally preferred, as this provides a significant food source for larval growth, Giese says.
“While it is not always the case, golf course greens tend to have less thatch and therefore, to a lesser degree, lower incidences of white grub infestation,” he adds. “Roughs, fairways, tees and approaches are common desirable areas where adult beetles will mate and lay eggs for optimal larval development and eventually pupation into adult beetles.”
However, Giese reiterates grubs will infest greens. For example, the green June beetle grub – the largest grub species infecting turf – can be found in greens and cause a fair amount of surface damage.
“The bottom line is that if the adult beetle’s basic environmental preferences are met, it’s possible white grubs could be found almost anywhere on the golf course,” he says. “In most cases, the damage is root loss and the inability of the plant to absorb moisture and nutrients for its survival. This type of damage typically results in the visible plant tissues turning yellow or necrotic, and can be mistaken for disease symptoms or even drought stress.”
If the turfgrass is growing vigorously, then it may withstand root system damage and no visible symptoms will be apparent, Giese says. In this latter scenario, where no surface symptoms are visible, indirect damage may occur – critters digging for a meal.
White grubs management strategies on the golf course are unique from other type of pests a superintendent encounters, Giese says. “Disease and weed-control management will typically require multiple applications for control of these pests,” he says. “Most basic grubs can be controlled with a single well-timed application. The exception here might be billbugs and annual bluegrass weevils, both of which have multiple life cycles that may require more than just a single insecticide application. The key is well-timed.”
Different preventive insecticides have different application timings. Not following the specific recommendations will result in less-than-desired outcomes. Giese says. However, he adds preventive applications are the most effective for season-long control control.
The introduction of the neonicotinoids (Meridian, Merit, etc …) for grub control was seemingly a silver bullet. Make one application prior to egg hatch typically in June or July and expect season-long control.
“If grub breakthrough does occur late in the season, some contact type insecticides are useful, albeit short lived, to suppress white grub feeding,” Giese says. “Within the last five years, the introduction of the anthranilic diamide (Acelepryn) chemistry has provided longer soil residual than the neonicotinoids and a broader spectrum (cutworms, sod webworms, billbugs) of pests found in turfgrass. In addition, this chemistry characterizes a friendlier environmental profile, especially around beneficials and pollinators, and as public and regulatory pressures mount for increased pollinator safety and habitat, it offers an attractive option for preventive white grub control.”
And, unlike other pests, resistance hasn’t been an issue.
“There has never been a confirmed report of neonicotinoid resistance amongst any grub species in turf,” Golembiewski says. “Reduced control is most likely the result of excessive thatch, low use rates, improper application timing, insufficient watering in of applications and/or poor environmental conditions. The impact of thatch on insecticide performance should not be underestimated. A turf stand with thatch layers of 0.75-1 inch may prevent 50-80 percent of any insecticide from reaching the soil.”