Unique research center opens at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The nation's first turfgrass research facility on the grounds of a golf complex opened at Purdue University on Monday, July 26.

The $1 million facility contains research laboratories, classrooms and more than 20 acres of turfgrass research plots. It is at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, which is made up of two 18-hole courses.

The William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center is co-directed by Clark Throssell, professor of agronomy, and Zac Reicher, assistant professor of agronomy.

"Having a facility adjacent to the research plots and the golf course means that we can discuss topics in the classrooms and then go outside and get our hands dirty working with the problem we just talked about," Reicher said.

The outdoor plots allow the scientists to study turf problems, to investigate the environmental effects of turf chemicals, and to look for new environmentally friendly turf techniques, such as integrated pest management or biological pest controls for lawns and golf courses.

"Most of the research we're doing at the center is looking for ways to minimize the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used to maintain quality turf," Reicher said. "That's our main thrust."

Turf management is a major degree program in the School of Agriculture, and most of the graduates go on to become golf course superintendents. Throssell says the new center offers several advantages for teaching students.

"We create problems on the turf plots so that we can show the students what misapplication of chemicals or various plant diseases look like," he says. "One of the holes on the golf course, number seven, has two fairways and a double green. We can shut down half of the hole during certain times and take students out there to examine problems.

"When we do, the students aren't looking at laboratory examples - this is turf that people are walking on and taking divots from. That's nearly impossible to recreate in an a

Contact: Steve Tally
Purdue University

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