Thursday, September 2, 2010

Love Grass

Throughout the years, golf course agronomy and maintenance has taken many turns. The 70s, 80s, and 90s brought the desire to have the Augusta National appearance. An almost scissor kept turf appearance. Dark, lush green; clean lines; striping; perfect pinestraw; colorful plants; and prestine bunkers. That mentality came at a huge cost for golf course managers. The level and cost of maintenance significantly increased. The natural environment in which golf courses were originally built was changed and made to appear "perfect". The need for perfection has become a mindset for superintendents.

It seems as though the 2000's are going to bring the opposite mindset. Today, while appearance is still important, golfers are more preoccupied with playability. Firm, fast, and slightly off color. Links style golf. We have seen this look an many of the recent tournament venues; Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits, Bethpage.

Watching the 1982 Players Championship the other day, we realized that the PLAYERS Stadium Course was way ahead of its time with regards to golf course design. The original course was gnarly and natural. It was meant to be difficult and penalize golfers for poorly played shots.

We want to incorporate some of the old feel of the golf course. We are not by any means trying to go back to original design.

We began this small project with the moguls to the right of #3 green. The bermudagrass there never shined; and, in our opinions, #3 was one of the holes that has changed the most from the original design. Instead of bermudagrass, we installed 250 lovegrass plants. These plants add a visual transition from the tee box, while also penalizing a poorly played shot. They frame the moguls, similar to the left of #12. We look forward to incorporating more of these areas.