(Sarver, PA; July 1, 2009) … Saucon Valley Country Club’s championship course is in top shape leading into the USGA U.S. Women’s Open (July 9-12) thanks in part to Excellerator®, a specialty fertilizer from Harsco Minerals.

Despite three weeks of June rain, Saucon Valley is presenting the best conditioned, most challenging course possible for its sixth USGA championship. Excellerator, a prilled, calcium-silicate product containing high levels of calcium, magnesium and other micronutrients, results in consistently firmer, faster greens and overall stronger turf throughout the course. Excellerator causes silicon to be stored in the plant cell walls, providing a more upright plant that can be mowed at higher heights of cut without compromising green speed.

James J. Roney, Jr., Saucon Valley course superintendent, says his greens, fairways and rough, all treated with Excellerator, will stand up well to the tremendous wear and tear of a national championship event and the daily gallery of 25,000 fans. “The overall calcium in Excellerator opens the soil up for improved drainage, so water can penetrate down to the 17 miles of drain tile we have installed on the course,” Roney says. “Plus, the high percent of silicon and micronutrients strengthens the plant so we can push mowing more than usual.”

The Saucon Valley Old Course, designed by Herman Strong and opened in 1922, is extremely competitive, with fairways ranging in width from approximately 25 to 35 yards. On either side of the fairways, a 6-foot wide swath of intermediate rough runs the length of each hole. There is a 21-foot band of first cut primary rough and a second cut of deepest rough left and right of the landing areas. The greens will be set to run at 12 to 12½ feet on the Stimpmeter for the duration of the championship.

While the greens receive most of the babying, the USGA views the roughs as the part of the course that provides the most protection against unreasonable scoring. Roney’s goal with Excellerator is to simultaneously strengthen the roughs and create more upright growth, making them appropriately penal but not have balls that are completely unplayable because of hayfield-type rough. With silicon-enhanced Excellerator, the higher-mown turf in the rough tends to stand up instead of roll over under play.

Not only will the Saucon Valley course play extremely well for the 156 players in the opening championship field, but Roney anticipates that course restoration will be accomplished quickly since the turf is so strong going into the event.

Excellerator is an environmentally friendly, granular product especially designed for golf courses and athletic fields that provides a unique source of soluble silicon. This specialty turf fertilizer contains the highest levels (39%) of soluble silicon known in the industry. Silicon, when plant available, offers several distinct benefits to the turf manager:

  • Strengthens turf and enhances resiliency which may improve high traffic durability
  • Increases tolerance against toxic elements
  • Reduces heat stress

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