sealPurdue News

September 1999

Unique research center to open 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.

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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 Kampen Golf Course and the Ackerman Hills Golf Course.

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 artificial setting."

The center is named for William Daniel, who became one of Purdue's first turfgrass research scientists in 1950. "Daniel was one of the real pioneers of turf science," Throssell said.

In the 1960s, Daniel developed Prescription Athletic Turf, a system for maintaining turf for athletic fields. It has been installed in Soldiers Field in Chicago, Mile High Stadium in Denver, the Orange Bowl in Miami, and on playing fields at Purdue, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa and Ohio State University. Daniel retired from Purdue in 1985 and died in 1995.

CONTACTS: Throssell, (765) 494-4785;

Reicher, (765) 494-9737;

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Steve Reynolds majored in turfgrass management at Purdue and now is a golf course superintendent in Valparaiso, Ind., Here, he examines turfgrass samples in a Purdue greenhouse during his undergraduate studies. (Purdue News Service Photo by Vince Walter)

Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Reicher.dedication

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