NC State Turfgrass Field Laboratory

NC State Turfgrass Field Lab receives generous gift

North Carolina State University’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences announced an estate gift from the late Stephen B. Womble to its Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Field Laboratory.

NC State Turfgrass Stephen B. Womble
Stephen B. Womble

Womble was one of NC State’s first Agricultural Institute turfgrass management graduates in 1971. He spent more than 40 years as a certified golf course superintendent, starting as a teenager on the construction of Croasdaile Golf Course in Durham and serving at several courses in Eastern North Carolina before retiring from Wildwood Green Golf Course in Raleigh.

The NC State Turfgrass Field Lab is instrumental to the university’s teaching, research and extension missions. The field lab houses thousands of research plots, including breeding nurseries, National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) trials and other areas dedicated to landscape and athletic turfgrass management research. 

Turfgrass Professor and Extension Specialist Dr. Grady Miller emphasized the field lab’s significance.

“NC State’s turfgrass program encompasses all facets: breeding, management, pest management, soil microbiology, irrigation and more,” said Miller. “We are unique in the intersection of cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses. Few other programs can match the diversity of NC State. And it’s all at work at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Lab.”

Womble’s gift is among the most unique the turfgrass program has received. While conversations about the funds are just beginning, faculty are focused on fulfilling Womble’s intent. Because of Womble’s generosity, there are numerous possibilities on how this gift will benefit the program, such as an equipment service center to maintain specialized equipment and provide students with hands-on learning.

Read the full article by Jennifer Howard.