Headline Speakers Set For Bandon Dunes

The two headline speakers for the annual conference of the Northwest Turfgrass Association at Bandon Dunes in October will be Dr. Brian Horgan from the University of Minnesota and Dr. Michael Richardson from the University of Arkansas.

The Education Committee of the NTA interviewed five potential headline speakers for the 73rd annual conference, and then extended invitations to Dr. Horgan and Dr. Richardson to join us and inform us at the conference Oct. 27-29 of this year at Bandon Dunes on the southern Oregon coast.

Both speakers will give at least two presentations during the two days of educational sessions, and numerous other turfgrass researchers and experts will be making presentations during the conference as well.

Dr. Horgan will be discussing sustainable turfgrass systems. He did his undergraduate studies at Michigan State and his post-graduate work at North Carolina State and Illinois. He recently received the President’s Award from the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association. He is the past chair of the Turfgrass Science division of the Crop Science Society and science editor for Turf News.

Dr. Richardson will give presentations on shade and soil surfactants. He did his undergraduate work at Louisiana Tech and his post-graduate work at Louisiana State and Georgia. He recently was awarded the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award by the Crop Science Society of America. In 2016, he was honored with the Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence.

Registration information for the conference at Bandon Dunes as well as sponsorship opportunities will be available in the coming weeks. More information on the conference is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

NTA Donates To Honor Dave Kennedy

Members of the Northwest Turfgrass Association, through a donation from its Board of Directors, paid tribute to the life and work of Dave Kennedy, the former superintendent at Vancouver Golf Club who died Dec. 31.

Kennedy was a member of the Board of Directors of the NTA. The NTA Board made a $500 donation to the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation in Vancouver in Dave’s honor and memory.

Research Studies Available Through CTRF

The Northwest Turfgrass Association, through its new role as part of the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation, has a bevy of new turfgrass research studies now available to its members.

The NTA joined the CTRF in 2018 and was a part of the process in supporting 2019 turfgrass research. Those research studies and supporting information are listed below.

Meanwhile, the NTA continues in its normal practice of independently supporting turfgrass research in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, generally to the tune of roughly $50,000 a year. The NTA Research Committee and the Board of Directors currently is examining research proposals for 2019.

Here is a breakdown of what the NTA supported via the CTRF. More information on these studies and the relationship with the CTRF is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Foliar Applications of N and K for improving Cold Tolerance of poa annua

Currently there is conflicting information on the effects of Nitrogen (N) focused fall fertility programs for improving cold tolerance during the acclimation and spring recovery (deacclimation) time frames. In general, the literature shows a trend of positive effect for improving frost hardiness during the acclimation period with N applications (Taulavuori, et al., 2004).
Click here for the latest report in this study.

The Effect of Snow Cover and Anti-Transpirants on the Persistence of Snow Mold Fungicides

The objective of this project, coordinated by Dr. Paul Koch at the University of Wisconsin, is to determine the rate of degradation of fungicides chlorothalonil and propiconazole applied alone or as a mixture with an anti-transpirant under constant snow cover and in the complete absence of snow. It will also correlate the fungicide concentrations on the leaf blades sampled from the field with the level of disease symptoms on creeping bentgrass plants inoculated with snow mold fungi incubated in a growth chamber.
Click here for the latest report in this study.

Testing Lower Risk Fungicides Against Turf Diseases

This project, coordinated by Dr. Thomas Hsiang at the University of Guelph, is to investigate the use of lower-risk fungicides against turfgrass diseases. The specific practical objective is to quantify the extent by which common diseases such as dollar spot, fusarium patch and snow molds can be reduced in lab and field tests, using different application regimes of low risk chemicals such as acetic acid (vinegar), borax, citric acid, garlic powder, hydrogen peroxide, iron sulfate, lime sulfur, phosphites, soaps, sodium chloride, and sulfur.
Click here for the latest report in this study.

Management of Take all Patch in High Ph Soils

The work and reports for this project will be performed under the direction of Katerina Jordan, Principal Investigator at the University of Guelph. The disease take-all patch, caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. avenae has been a major issue on golf sites in Ontario and the prairie provinces, likely due to the alkaline soil pH levels found in those regions. The primary objectives of this study are to positively identify G. graminis from golf turf samples throughout Canada and to develop best management practices for the disease in areas with alkaline soils.
Click here for the latest report in this study.

Identification of Drought Resistant Turfgrass Cultivars for Water Conservation

The work and reports for this project will be performed under the direction of Jim Ross, Principal Investigator at Olds College and Dr. Eric Lyons Ph.D., Principal Investigator at the University of Guelph. Water use in urban environments is an important issue, and over the past few years watering restrictions have become commonplace. Restrictions on turfgrasses as landscape plants have been proposed in a number of jurisdictions in North America. This project will assist the turfgrass industry by: 1) helping the industry select turfgrass varieties that maintain green cover and playability with less water use, and 2) determining the actual water use of different turfgrass species and varieties at different mowing heights.
Click here for the latest report in this study.

Sean Watts Welcomed to NTA Board

The Board of Directors of the Northwest Turfgrass Association has voted to appoint Sean Watts of Nutrien to complete the term on the Board of Dave Kennedy, who passed away last month.

Watts will complete the term that ends this October when the NTA annual conference is held at Bandon Dunes.

Watts the turf and ornamental agronomist for Nutrien (formerly Crop Production Services) and has been with them for more than seven years covering Oregon and Western Washington. Before that he was the superintendent at Skamania Lodge for nearly 10 years. He is a graduate of Washington State University with a degree in turfgrass management.

For a complete list of NTA Board members, click here.

New Format For NTA at Bandon Dunes

When the annual conference of the Northwest Turfgrass Association returns to Bandon Dunes on the southern Oregon coast in October, it will be with a new schedule format.

The 73rd edition of the NTA Conference will be Oct. 27-29 at the famed Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. It will again be Sunday through Tuesday, but the golf outings, the dinners and the number of nights lodging will be different.

Instead of golf at mid-day on Sunday, we will leave Sunday as pretty much a travel day because of the distance to get to Bandon Dunes. The NTA plans to greet you with a drink and maybe some appetizers after your long journey, and include lodging for Sunday night in the total registration package, but everything else Sunday is on your own.

That means Monday morning will start with breakfast, then the education session, lunch, golf and then dinner, and overnight accommodations. Tuesday will be the same, with morning education, then golf, then dinner and overnight accommodations. Three nights of lodging will be included in the registration package, and come Wednesday morning you’re on your own to travel home, or stick around Bandon Dunes for some more great golf.

Because we are adding a third night of lodging, plus adding an additional lunch, plus increased costs at Bandon Dunes, the registration fee will be higher than past years at Bandon Dunes. The final cost, and the registration form, will be available in the coming months.

At this time, though, if anyone has any questions or wants more information, Paul Ramsdell, the executive director of the NTA, would be happy to help. He can be reached at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Michael Bednar Elected President of NTA

In a vote of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Turfgrass Association, Michael Bednar, the superintendent at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., was elected president of the NTA for the next year.

Elected by the NTA membership to three-year terms on the Board of Directors were Chris Concienne of Helena Agri-Enterprises, Ivan Gibbs of Leavenworth Golf Club and Geoff Haynes of Galena Ridge Golf Course.

Click here to view the complete list of the NTA Board of Directors.

Bednar spent the past year as vice-president and chairperson of the Research Committee for the NTA.

He first started working on the old nine-hole golf course on the campus of Washington State University in 1997, and then played a major role in the construction and grow-in of Palouse Ridge, which opened in 2008 and has been ranked as the No. 2 college course in the country.

He received a B.S. degree in geology from WSU in 1992 and then a B.S. degree in turfgrass management in 2004.

In 2015 and 2016, he was honored by the GCSAA and Golf Digest as a chapter winner (IEGCSA) for the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA) and as a merit winner in 2017. The awards recognize superintendents and their courses for overall course management excellence and best management practices. He currently is secretary-treasurer of the IEGCSA.

In other votes by the NTA Board of Directors, Cory Brown, the superintendent at Overlake Golf and Country Club, was elected vice-president. Concienne was elected secretary and Haynes treasurer.

For 2018-2019, Russell Vandehey of The Oregon Golf Club will head up the Education Committee, and will be joined on the committee by Concienne, Gibbs and Haynes. Brown is the chairperson for the Research Committee and will be assisted by Blane Hezel of Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, Rick Michels of Broadmoor Golf Club and Vandehey.

More information on the NTA is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the executive director, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

NTA Awards Two $1250 Scholarships

During its annual business meeting, the Northwest Turfgrass Association awarded two $1,250 scholarships to students of the turfgrass management program at Walla Walla Community College.

The Bill Griffith Turfgrass Management Scholarships were awarded to Zachary Sherman and Chris Werschkul, with NTA president Jacob Close doing the honors during the NTA Conference at The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla.

Sherman and Werschkul were the recipients based on their program work at WWCC, their applications and essays, with the final determinations made by Bill Griffith and Dr. Gwen Stahnke, who runs the turfgrass management program at WWCC.

Sherman is a freshman in the program at WWCC and has a 3.83 grade-point average. He currently works full time at the Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake, Wash., after first starting at the nine-hole course in 2015.

Werschkul is a sophomore in the program with a 4.00 GPA. Chris grew up in Bellingham, attended the University of Arizona for three years and then graduated from Washington State with a degree in sports management. He spent 10 years as a sales representative for a flooring company and then a medical device company, all the while playing golf every chance he got. He was fascinated with the maintenance aspect of a golf course, so much so he decided to give up the sales rep work and applied for a seasonal job at Overlake Golf & Country Club in Medina, Wash. Within two months, he was hooked and began the program at WWCC and is now an assistant-in-training at Overlake.

The $2,500 in scholarships was just a part of the $46,160 the NTA donated to turfgrass research and education during 2018

A Great Three Days in Walla Walla

The 72nd edition of the annual conference of the Northwest Turfgrass Association is in the books after three tremendous days in Walla Walla.

From the opening session of golf at Wine Valley Golf Club to the final educational update on the turfgrass program at Walla Walla Community College, the 107 attendees had a good time as the rain stay away for the most part.

Carl Taylor, among the large contingent of participations from our presenting sponsor, Western Equipment/Turf Star, put together a little video presentation, which can be seen by clicking here.

The NTA would like to thank the great speakers who came from far and wide to help out. Dr. Elizabeth Guertal from Auburn University was informative and entertaining in both her sessions. Bob Vaughey from Rolling Hills Country Club and Nick Schaan from DMK Golf Design shared the story of the massive remodel project at Rolling Hills. And it was great that all three Oregon State University turf researchers—Dr. Alec Kowalewski, Brian McDonald and Clint Mattox—were able to join us.

The NTA also got great cooperation and enjoyment from the various venues we visited, and we would like to thank those key individuals – Walla Walla Country Club (Jeff Blanc, Nick Ellis, Lisa Hyland, Angie Cremins), Wine Valley Golf Club (Cory Spencer, Tyler Daniels), The Marcus Whitman Hotel (Chris Coates), Three Rivers Winery (Stacy Buchanan) and The Chef’s Creation caterers (Marty Bray).

Golf was fun both days. While the rain stayed away, there was still some blustery weather that added to the challenge.

Here are the results from Sunday at Wine Valley Golf Club.

Here are the results from Monday at Walla Walla Country Club.

We had a low gross competition Monday at WWCC, which ended in a three-way tie at 1-over 73 between Matt Schudt of Seattle Golf Club (four birdies, three in a row), Larry Gilhuly of the USGA (two birdies) and Nick Schaan of DMK Golf Design (an eagle on No. 10).

Historic NTA Publications Now Online

Some fantastic historical turfgrass research articles from the archives of the Northwest Turfgrass Association now are available online, thanks to the Turfgrass Information Center at Michigan State University.

More than 1,000 articles pertaining to turfgrass issues in the Northwest and written by the leaders in the industry now can be easily accessed online.

The NTA’s publication from 1959 to 1997, Northwest Turfgrass Topics, is available by following this link: https://d.lib.msu.edu/nwtgt.

The written proceedings and studies from the annual conference of Northwest Turfgrass Association, starting with the third annual conference back in 1950 at the State College of Washington, are available by following this link: https://d.lib.msu.edu/nwtgc.

These archives, an ongoing cooperative project of the NTA and the Michigan State University Libraries, features public access to both periodicals as they were published and as copies are available.

All turf-related articles from within these materials, more than 1,000 in all, also are indexed and linked from within the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database: http://tic.msu.edu/tgif.

For a full list of all publicly-available and restricted-access archives hosted by TIC, please see: https://tic.msu.edu/browse.

Any questions about the NTA material can be directed to Paul Ramsdell, executive director of the NTA, at mpsparks90@aol.com or 253-219-8360.

Poa Annua Control Research Reports

Dr. William Johnston and Charles Golob from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University have prepared a research report on their study on “Biological Control of Poa Annua in Fairways.”

The Northwest Turfgrass Association donated $15,000 toward this research in both 2016 and 2017.

Year One report.
Year Two report.

OSU Presents Update Report on Research

The Turfgrass Management Program at Oregon State University—namely Dr. Alec Kowalewski, Brian McDonald and Clint Mattox—has prepared updates on its research on Fungicide Alternatives Management of Microdochium Patch and Anthracnose.

The Northwest Turfgrass Association donated $15,000 toward this research in 2016 and $40,000 toward similar research in 2015.

Click here for the written report.

Mattox's Microdochium Patch research available

Clint Mattox has completed his masters’ dissertation at Oregon State University and his research is available to you, thanks to the donations the Northwest Turfgrass Association has made to the turfgrass management program at Oregon State.

“Managing Microdochium Patch Using Non-Traditional Fungicides on Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens” is available by following this link: http://hdl.handle.net/1957/57194

Here is a brief description of the research:

Currently, fungicide applications are the predominant method of control for the cool-weather pathogen Microdochium patch. Increasing pesticide restrictions have generated concern regarding management of Microdochium patch. Three separate field trials exploring non-traditional fungicides were conducted between 2013 and 2015 on an annual bluegrass sand-based putting green at the Lewis Brown Horticulture Farm in Corvallis, Ore. The objective of the first project was to evaluate the effects of the cultural practice of rolling in combination with mineral oil and fertility on Microdochium patch incidence. The objective of the second trial was to quantify the effects on Microdochium patch incidence using biological control products in combination with rolling. Finally, the objective of the third experiment was to quantify the effects of different nitrogen and iron sulfate rates in combination with simulated golfer traffic on the effects of Microdochium patch incidence as well as turfgrass recuperation.

Mattox currently is working on his PhD at Oregon State and is continuing his exploration of “Alternatives to Non-Traditional Fungicides.”

2018 Conference Sponsors


Jeff Perry

Kelly Bowen

Ashley Burke

Shawn Frisbee

Roy Studebaker

Carl Taylor


Jason Otto

Jeff Schwab


Scott Mutchler, Horizon

Nick Newman, Horizon


Scott Ellwood, Rain Bird


Chris Concienne


Tom Walrath

Jackie Klein


Rennie Kubik


Jason Hooper

Tony Lasher


Sean Watts


Tim Carlson


Mark Miller


Julia Wiebenga

Richard Simpson

Tyson Stewart


Randy Rider


Kip Kalbrenner


Bert Bos


Michael Steve

Sponsorship Opportunities