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Golfers tee up at Southeast's best courses, fund turfgrass research By Sharon Dowdy

Golfers can bid online now to tee up at the most exclusive golf courses in the Southeast and help fund turfgrass research while doing it.

Through April 21, more than 650 golf courses, including 81 in Georgia, will take bids on foursomes online at Rounds4Research.com. The golf industry fundraiser supports research at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and turfgrass programs in South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Unique approach

“This is definitely a nontraditional way of getting funding which is essential during these times of extremely tight budget deficits,” said UGA CAES turfgrass specialist Clint Waltz. “This is a good example of just one partnership between academia and the industry. In this way, the public can directly help fund cutting-edge turfgrass research.”

Last year, the auction generated $55,000 for turfgrass research at Clemson and North Carolina State. Then, mostly courses in the Carolinas participated in the project last year. This year’s auction features courses in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, as well as the Carolinas.

“Obviously, with three new partner states, this year’s auction will be bigger and better in every sense,” said Paul Jett, certified golf course superintendent at Pinehurst No. 2 and Rounds4Rsearch chairman. Jett is a past–president of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, which runs the auction.

“Golfers will find bargains and they will find the keys to a lot of doors that would not otherwise be open to them,” he said.

Exclusive courses open doors

Participating Georgia courses include The Ford Plantation, the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course, East Lake Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour Championship, and Sugarloaf, a regular PGA Tour stop and a Tournament Players Club course.

“This auction gives the average golfer opportunities they could only dream about,” said Anthony Williams, president of the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association. “At the same time they are helping the industry insure its future health, literally from the grassroots up by supporting turfgrass research.” GGCSA coordinates Georgia’s participation in the Rounds4Research project.

In other states, PGA Tour stops like Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina and Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina are donating tee times, too. Other exclusive private courses participating include some ranked by Golf Digest magazine among the 100 best in the country, like Sage Valley, Long Cove, Yeaman’s Hall, The Homestead’s Cascades Course and Eagle Point.

The auction menu also includes Pinehurst No. 2, which hosts a third U.S. Open Championship in 2014; and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, which hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup and will host the 2012 PGA Championship.

Proceeds benefit research critical to the continued health of the golf industry and the billions of dollars in economic benefit it generates in each of the participating states’ economies.

To register and view a complete list of courses and packages offered, go to the Web site www.Rounds4Research.com.

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Mowing turfgrass
Mowing turfgrass

University of Georgia research technician James Worley is shown mowing turfgrass research plots on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga.

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University of Georgia research technician James Worley is shown mowing turfgrass research plots on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga. Download Image
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