Photo Quiz: Flood remnants, tan patches on green

Calling all turf buffs: Have a go at deciphering this pair of puzzling occurrences.


Filed to: Photo Quiz

GCM’s Photo Quiz is presented in partnership with STEC Equipment.

STEC Equipment

Problem A: Material on fairway after a flood

Golf course flood
Location: Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Turfgrass area: Fairway
Turfgrass variety: SeaDwarf paspalum

Problem B: Brown spots on turf with irregular centers

Damaged golf course green
Location: West Palm Beach, Fla.
Turfgrass area: Putting green
Turfgrass variety: TifEagle bermudagrass and Celebration bermudagrass collars

Scroll down for answers.












Problem A: Material on fairway after a flood

The material found on this fairway after a flood was actually tilapia. This golf course was developed and built in 2014 in a flood plain on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It was designed as a buffer for floodwaters to be able to come from the mountains and flow through the property, slowing them down before reaching the Pacific Ocean and keeping many new housing developments from the floodwaters’ wrath. There is even a large flood culvert that goes under a road that is used for cart path traffic on the course.

SeaDwarf paspalum putting green

This past winter, a strong Kona low developed northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands that produced heavy rainfall and strong winds, dumping almost 10 inches of rain on this area. The course functioned as designed, taking the floodwaters and funneling them through the lakes, culverts and rock-covered spillways on the course. One of those lakes, full of small tilapia, backed up into this fairway, and when the waters receded, the poor tilapia were left stranded, literally “fish out of water.” The second photo shows the drain in the fairway. The course did have four trees uprooted, and staff had to rebuild most of the bunkers.

Photo submitted by Ian Hunt, superintendent at Hoakalei Country Club at Ocean Pointe in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and a 15-year member of GCSAA.

Problem B: Brown spots on turf with irregular centers

These brown spots with irregular centers on the turf were caused by insect repellent. This course, located in South Florida near a wildlife preserve, had a production crew there for a couple of days filming golf commercials involving professional players. They didn’t use the green while the superintendent was there, just the tees.

One night, crews stayed and filmed until 11 p.m. and must have moved on to the green. In the tropics, bright lights and warm bodies bring out copious amounts of mosquitos, and the players were wearing shorts. Apparently, someone decided to offer insect repellent, and obviously it was applied on the green. A couple days later, these “footprints of green” appeared.

Because it was still in the growing season for these TifEagle and Celebration bermudagrass surfaces, the superintendent just allowed the turf to recover on its own. Plus, the footprints, being from a couple of well-known professional golfers, were similar to the footprints along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Photo submitted by Matt Masemore, the GCSAA Class A director of golf course maintenance at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a 28-year member of the association.

Editor’s note: Have a photo of an on-course anomaly? GCM would love to have a look! Email it to Photo Quiz author John Mascaro.

John Mascaro is the president of Turf-Tec International.