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President Could Make Organic Golf History This Week

Superintendent Jeff Carlson surveys the condition of a green on his organic golf course.

Superintendent Jeff Carlson surveys the condition of a green on his organic golf course.

Our friends at Beyond Pesticides were buzzing today about the possibility of President Barack Obama playing golf at The Vineyard Club while on Martha’s Vineyard this week. The leader of the free world played at nearby Oak Bluffs golf course on Monday, but speculation is that he will test his golf swing again during his vacation.

The Vineyard course, which has won widespread praise as one of the only truly organic golf courses in the nation, would almost certainly be the first organic course to host a president. What a great coup it would be for the organic movement if Mr. Obama were to remark about the favorable conditions at the course.

I had the opportunity to visit the course last summer. Hosted by renowned superintendent Jeff Carlson, I toured several holes and was thoroughly impressed by the tenacity, intellect and, most notably, patience that Carlson brought to his job.

“Nothing in organics is an overnight fix,” he said. “That’s the biggest adjustment that superintendents and homeowners need to make.”

That doesn’t mean that Carlson doesn’t act swiftly when needed. Constant monitoring of conditions, which can change daily if not hourly in a hot, steamy and breezy place like Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. Being able to recognize fungal diseases almost before they happen, for example, is key.

That’s a lesson that homeowners should remember, especially this time of year. Be on the lookout for the sudden appearance of brown patches — which could be the result of anything from grub damage, to peeing dogs, to lack of water or attack of a fungal disease. Never assume anything. Get out on your lawn and be your own scout. If you can’t figure out the source of your problem on your own, dig up a small plug of the affected area, with the soil and roots intact, and take it to the Cooperative Extension for a proper ID.

And while we wait to see if President Obama does in fact show up at the organic golf course, we’ll spend this week blogging about specific tips for late summer lawn care.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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