Summer Starts in Winter: The 2012 Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Field Trip

By Chris Hartwiger & Patrick O'Brien, agronomists, Southeast Region
February 16, 2012

Approximately 20 superintendents and turf professionals gathered in Atlanta on February 7-8 for an “Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Field Trip.”   

On February 7 and 8, approximately 15 to 20 turf professionals gathered in the Atlanta, Ga., area to discuss planning for putting green conversion projects in the summer where bentgrass putting greens will be replaced with an ultradwarf bermudagrass. Our trip began at The Oaks Course in Covington where we met with Course Owner and Professional Dick Schulz and Golf Course Superintendent Curtis Singleton. They shared with the group how they made the conversion in 2005 on a limited budget and in a tight time frame. While observing several of the outstanding putting surfaces at The Oaks, we also discussed winter management of ultradwarfs and shared tips for success. 

Our trip continued on February 8, where Director of Golf Maintenance Tony Mancuso and North Course Superintendent Ken Lee hosted the group at the Cherokee Town and Country Club. Tony started off the day with a presentation entitled, “What I Would Do Differently”, regarding the conversion of greens from bentgrass to ultradwarf bermudagrass. We concluded the morning and our trip by evaluating several putting greens. We even observed a very unique feature at Cherokee. The first tee is grassed with an ultradwarf and is part of the practice putting green. 

For those making or considering the conversion of greens from bentgrass to an ultradwarf bermudagrass, several themes surfaced throughout the trip. 

  • How should we deal with existing bermudagrass contamination?
  • Shade - how much is too much?
  • Should we fumigate? 
  • What are the various surface preparation techniques prior to planting? 
  • How do we know when the putting greens are ready to open? 
  • Do we have the right equipment to be successful after opening? 

 

These are all excellent topics and the answers are largely site specific. More detailed conversations can be held on Turf Advisory Service visits where local site conditions and resources can be evaluated. 

A field trip is always an excellent way to learn and observe new things. Everyone came away from the trip with additional knowledge and a good time was had by all. Although it’s hard to imagine the arrival of summer on these cold wintry mornings, the planning process for these superintendents is well underway.    

If we can be of further assistance to you on this or any other topic, contact us to schedule a 2012 Turf Advisory Service visit. 

Pat O’Brien (patobrien@usga.org) or Chris Hartwiger (chartwiger@usga.org).

 

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