Growth Products Talks One-On-One With

Bill Shuford

Growth Products talks with Bill Shuford, Superintendent, Laurel Links Country Club. Laurel Links is a Kelly Blake Moran-designed links-style course near Peconic Bay on tony Long Island, NY. Surrounded by vineyards and farms, the private par-71 course stretches 7,018 yards. Its 40 acres of fairways, 4 acres of greens, and 5 acres of tees are bentgrass. Fine fescue makes up the roughs.

Industry experience:
After getting a youthful start at Lake Hickory County Club in North Carolina, Shuford served as a crew member and then Assistant Superintendent at the Atlantic Golf Club on Long Island, then as Superintendent at the Island Hills Country Club. Shuford has been the Superintendent at Laurel Links since the course construction started in 2001.

Most envied challenge:
To slow down the greens. With Penn A-4 on the course's undulant greens, Shuford must work to keep the greens from getting too fast.

Favored management technique: Verticutting and aerating greens, using 5/8" deep verticuts and small (1/4") tines, which allow for very quick recuperation. Shuford has done this three times a year at Laurel Links since the course opened, and is pleased to see that this triannual schedule is now gaining favor among the golf cognoscenti.

Nutrition philosophy:
Better soil means better turf. Guided by annual soil tests, clipping tests every two to four weeks during the growing season, and a natural instinct developed over his 25 year career, Shuford creates a healthy balance of nutrients by relying almost exclusively on liquid fertilizers and soil amendments.

Approach to disease control:
It's better to try to solve a problem at its root by changing cultural practices, than to just grab a chemical at the first sign of disease.

Best golf course maintenance advice:
Although he's never run over budget, Shuford likes the wisdom in the saying, "It's easier to explain being a little over budget when your course is in good condition, than it is to explain being a little under budget when your course is in poor condition."

Best career advice:
Enjoy your job, but not at the expense of your family.

Away from the office:
Shuford enjoys reading (currently he's hooked on James Lee Burke's Robicheauxseries), listening to '60s and '70s rock, and spending time with his wife, Patricia, and three boys, Liam (14). Ryan (11), and Tyler (9).

Guilty pleasure:
A double pimento cheeseburger, onion fries, and a Frosted Orange from The Varsity when in Atlanta. (Perhaps it's a nod to the famous pimento cheese tea sandwiches of nearby Augusta National.)

Bill's Healthy Balance Program For Greens and Fairways
Greens Rate Per 1,000 SF
Fairway Rate per 1,000 SF
Pro-Balance 15-2-15
With 50% Smart Nitrogen
15-20 fl oz Apply 1x per Month
The Classic 18-3-6
With 50% SRN Plus Micros
6 fl oz Apply Weekly
Biological Fungicide
4 fl oz Apply 1x per Month
Essential Plus
Soil Amendment and Root Stimulator
3 fl oz Apply 2x per Month
4 fl oz Apply 1x per Month
"TKO" Phosphite
0-29-26 100% Phosphite
3 fl oz Apply 2x per Month
4 fl oz Apply every 14 days
X-Xtra Iron 9%
High Iron - Low Nitrogen
2 fl oz Apply 2x per Month
4 fl oz Apply 1x per Month
Magnesium Chelate 3%
Organic Glucoheptonate Chelate
1 fl oz Apply 1x per Month