Renovation – Newer, More Sustainable Bentgrass Varieties Are Being Sown

By Keith Happ, director, North-Central Region
October 1, 2013

With fewer sod seams than tradition sodding, using big rolls makes sodding a more attractive regrassing option for greens at golf facilities. Installing and maintaining new bentgrass greens offers an opportunity to produce and sustain more consistent playing conditions.

Often during on-site agronomic support visits we are asked, “What are you seeing out there?” This season the theme seems to be renovation. Putting surfaces and fairways are being regrassed to newer, improved varieties. New generation turfgrasses are being used to provide more consistent and more sustainable playing conditions. The hope is to provide these conditions for players while reducing the inputs necessary to sustain healthy grass. 

In the North-Central region, several golf facilities from the northern to the southern tier are regrassing greens. Troublesome Poa annua and older bentgrass surfaces are being removed and new generation bentgrasses are being used. There are two choices for a greens regrassing project: seed or sod. While many superintendents prefer to reestablish putting surfaces from seed, the option to use sod is becoming more popular. Using big rolls of sod, for example, reduces the number of sod seams when the new turf is installed. 

These projects do not take place without planning. As the saying goes, plan your work and work your plan. Many infrastructure issues are examined before greens are regrassed and drainage is the most important ingredient for sustainable turfgrass performance. Surface and internal drainage should be carefully examined if your course is considering regrassing greens. Also, evaluate the growing environment of every putting green site. Even new generation bentgrasses will suffer in poor growing environments. Airflow and sun angles should be evaluated before the project begins. Poa annua loves wet, shady conditions; bentgrass does not. Make sure you know which turfgrass species you are encouraging at your golf facility. 

Fairways are also being renovated with new generation bentgrasses or, in some cases and depending on the growing environment, new cold-tolerant bermudagrasses. The cost of this type of renovation is often offset by the long-term savings in maintenance and inputs. If you are considering this type of renovation, give one of our North-Central offices a call to discuss preparation and grassing options: Keith Happ at 412-341-5922 or Bob Vavrek at 262-797-8743. 

Source: Keith Happ khapp@usga.org  

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