Speed, smoothness and firmness are the three most desirable qualities in turf grass, and the transition away from the once-favored bentgrass variety has delivered great results for many of the South’s most prestigious golf courses. Old Chatham is now among them, as our new Ultradwarf Bermudagrass has a strong foundation and is continuing to flourish.
With the completion of the recent greens renovation, Old Chatham members will find the greens putting and playing very well as the season continues. Our course maintenance staff is fine-tuning our management practices and learning how to get the best response from this new grass variety. In the coming months, players will likely find our greens to be in their best condition ever, with the grass playing more smoothly and consistently than the bentgrass. The transition, however, was quite challenging due to unusually high rainfall totals this year.
The year-to-date cumulative rainfall totals ending July 28 show our region’s precipitation to be more than seven inches above average, and the impact of this amount of rain kept our staff out on the greens well into the evening hours in order to complete the project in a timely fashion. Each day for the first seven days of the project there was measurable rainfall, requiring an extraordinary amount of care and attention with sand application.
The first days following a turf maintenance project are always the most crucial, as this is the time sand is spread to fill the aeration holes. Wet sand is heavy and clumpy and doesn’t spread evenly, so our employees walked the course with rakes and shovels, spreading the sand for the first couple of days. With 1.7 million pounds of sand used, you can imagine the challenge they faced. It was clearly worth the effort, as the Bermuda grass is growing beautifully and responding optimally to the summer sun. Sunlight is required for this grass variety to reach its full potential, so we will continue to see improvement for the remainder of the summer as long as the weather cooperates.
Due to the additional time required from staff to spread the wet sand, the tree removal project has been delayed until a later date.