Spraying on the Golf Course

Spraying on the Golf Course

“No doubt, putting greens are the most important feature of any golf course, so it is not surprising that they receive the most maintenance inputs. We could play an entire round of golf without hitting one bunker or fairway, yet we can’t play a single hole without walking across a putting green – even if you manage to score a hole-in-one.

We expect putting greens to be virtually flawless even though no other turf area on a golf course receives nearly as much stress from foot traffic and maintenance equipment. As a result, putting greens require a great deal of care and timely applications of plant protectants and nutrients to maintain consistent, high-quality conditions.”
USGA.com OUR EXPERT EXPLAINS ‘Why are putting greens so frequently sprayed?’
July 20 2018 By Bob Vavrek, Regional Director, Central Region

Due to some messages from members about the concern of playing while we spray certain areas of the golf course with various spray equipment, I am writing this to hopefully put you at ease or at least help you feel a little more comfortable in what we do. Firstly, let me explain that we spray greens as early as we can in the morning and do our best to be finished by the time any golf has to be played on them. The fairways are different due to their size we can’t even come close to complete this task and therefore some exposure is imminent. However, we do spray in different orders depending on what golf is on to avoid a constant annoyance from us. Most of time that you would ever see our spray unit on the course is for applications of fertilisers or soil conditioners to help maintain the health and appearance of the golf course and really poses no harm to players at all. A balanced nutrition program is the first step in reducing the need to apply any pesticides.

Pesticides are in general, chemicals that protects the plant from weeds, fungi, or insects. Often the simple word pesticides scares people and raises questions about the potential danger from exposure. We may well look at them differently if we called them ‘turf medicines’ likewise if we were to call personal medication ‘Human Pesticides’. The ability to maintain playing surfaces to the expectations of members is only achievable with the use of fertilisers and some pesticides. After all Panadol doesn’t cure your headache just by having it in the cupboard.

Generally, once a spray has dried on the leaf of the plant or it has been washed into the soil it is deemed little to no risk to golfers, workers, or the environment through numerous studies. The following points are things that we do to further to eliminate the hazard and to also reduce pesticide use:

• Keep a balanced fertiliser program.
• Schedule all applications to minimise contact with players.
• Properly train and educate staff to be certified applicators.
• Calibrate and maintain equipment.
• The use of GPS spray unit to ensure no ‘off target’ effects.
• The use of different sized nozzles for intended application.
• The use of shrouded booms to reduce drift.
• Varied application rates.
• Post irrigation when required.
• Water management on all surfaces.
• Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and monitoring.
• Low risk product selection.
• Water and soil testing.
• Constant weather & seasonal monitoring.
• Cultural Practices & Renovations.

As you can see there are several precautions that are taken to limit your exposure and you may also appreciate our operators looking after themselves with the use of personal protective equipment when mixing and using certain chemicals as their subjection is for longer periods and with higher product concentrations.

You don’t get drunk from spilling alcohol on your skin, therefore when you come to play don’t eat the grass or lick your balls and you too will have no need for any concern about the products we spray and please appreciate the extent we do go for your safety and enjoyment of Maroochy River Golf Club.