The Club at Old Hawthorne, located in the rolling hills of Columbia, Missouri, and home to the Mizzou men’s and women’s golf teams, is a relatively young course, having opened for play in 2007. It is comprised of 7,221 yards of wide fairways, undulating greens, and large tees, which make for challenging and fun rounds of golf. What sets it apart from other young courses is how the course is cared for. The grounds staff are charged with ensuring the highest standards are maintained so that every round at The Club at Old Hawthorne is like a final round on “the tour.”
Casey Cunningham has had the honor of maintaining the course since 2014 as the Golf Course Superintendent and reaches for Foliar-Pak to keep his course in tour shape all season long.
“I would say our biggest challenge has always been a loss of color,” Cunningham said. “The nitrogen products we used before Foliar-Pak would lose the color and lean out quick.”
He continued, “When we want the greens growing, we need nitrogen. 14-2-4 combined with Foundation 40, that combo there, will last 14-20 days versus the 7-8 days with the products I previously used. 14-2-4, by itself, seems to supply nitrogen constantly. There is no big surge and then a need to apply a few days later either.”
In addition to the growth and color advantage, Cunningham has been able to make fewer granular nitrogen applications.
“We used to make four granular nitrogen applications at a half a pound per year,” Cunningham said. “We are down to just doing one pound of granular nitrogen a year now. Total. It’s just supplemented with the Foliar-Pak.”
Cunningham uses Foliar-Pak Minors, Micros Plus, and Colonise Bio in addition to 14-2-4 and Foundation 40. He believes their different technologies help give him great results and healthy plants.
“I’d have to say the great results and healthy turf we receive are from a combination of the amino acid technology and the armament technology in the products we use,” he explained. “They help release the bound and tied up nutrients in the ground from our hard water and salt buildup. Being in the Midwest, we pump water out of wells, so we have a little bit higher salt content.”
In the past, Cunningham would have to use several different products to get the results he receives with just a handful of Foliar-Pak products, and he recommends the ease of use.
“When you get down to it, Foliar-Pak is just easier to use,” Cunningham said. “I used to adhere to the old school method of adding 15 different products to my tank for spraying, now I add just a few products to my tank and get better results. I’m going to go that easier route.”
Cunningham is adamant that products are not the only reasons his course is thriving. His relationship with his distributor rep is also a significant factor.
“Being able to trust your rep is very important,” Cunningham said. “My rep, Mike Schemel from Advanced Turf Solutions, will ride around with me, take soil samples, and see what’s going on at our course, or I will call him up and tell him what’s going on, and he will make solid recommendations. I go off to his recommendations a lot, especially with Foliar-Pak.”
He added, “It’s all about a good product, plus a good rep. I think we have both.”