Turfgrass Tee Renovation

Darren J. Davis at Olde Florida Golf Club

This summer, in addition to the routine cultural practices of aerification, vertical mowing and sand topdressing, the agronomy staff will undertake a couple of in-house projects. One of the projects is the renovation of eight individual tee surfaces. The tees that will be renovated are:

  • III/IV tee on hole 3
  • III/IV tee on hole 4
  • II/III tee on hole 6
  • Championship, I and II/ III tee on hole 7
  • II/III tee on hole 8
  • III/IV tee on hole 11
  • II on hole 14

Original constructed in 1992 and grassed in 1993, Olde Florida was renovated in the summer of 2000. During this renovation, all of the existing turfgrass was eradicated and replaced. The original turfgrass variety on the greens, TifDwarf was replaced with TifEagle. TifEagle, which had been in testing for 10 years, had just been released the year prior as an improved ultradwarf turfgrass variety. The fairway and rough were re-grassed to Certified TifWay 419, which was the standard at that time.

As is commonplace on warm-season golf courses, especially golf courses with a 12-month growing season, since the renovation of 2000 the turfgrass at Olde Florida has been contaminated with different strains of bermudagrass. In itself, this is not a major problem. With increased maintenance and extra care, the agronomy staff can manage the different varieties and produce a golf course with healthy turfgrass that provides the membership and their guests with a good playing surface for many years.

The different textures and colors of the numerous varieties of bermudagrass can be just cosmetic, but at times some of the varieties become extremely challenging to maintain to the desired level. This is often seasonal and dependent on climate and/or pest pressure. Since a large percentage of the membership are not year-round residents, often the challenges with the different varieties are unseen.

This is the case with the eight individual tee surfaces that we are renovating. They are the tees that gave us the greatest challenge early in the 2018/2019 winter golf season. The varieties or one of the varieties on these tees did not do well when the daily summer rains ceased. In late October and November of 2018, my staff worked diligently on these tees with numerous spot treatments (granular and foliar fertility applications, solid tine aeration, light vertical mowing to cut stolons and encourage upright growth, nematicide applications, etc.) Fortunately, within 4-6 weeks we had them looking similar to the remaining tees on the golf course.

However, I would like to avoid another year of this added effort on these tees so we will be eradicating the existing turfgrass and re-grassing with a new, single variety. This is not new, or unusual. Since the renovation in 2000, we have renovated close to a dozen tee surfaces and sodded them to Celebration Bermudagrass. However, this summer we are doing more than the usual one or two, so I thought a communication piece would be helpful.

In addition to the individual tees that we have resurfaced in previous summers, we also added or moved over a dozen tees to adjust the length of the golf course. We also reconstructed the driving range in 2015. All of the turfgrass used on these projects has been Celebration. Here is a link to information on Celebration Bermudagrass

Related: Superintendent Tyler McCool Prepares Celebration® Bermudagrass Course

I am still a big proponent of Celebration, but I would like to experiment with another variety that we would consider using if someday we renovate the entire golf course. Or, a variety that we might utilize if we do additional partial renovations or other projects. The variety is TifTuf. Here is a link that you can follow to get more information on TifTuf Bermudagrass

Since the renovation of Olde Florida in 2000, turfgrass researches have released a number of new varieties, such as Celebration and TifTuf. Some of the advantages of the new varieties include improved drought, wear, cold and shade tolerance. This is a link to a video that details the drought tolerance of TifTuf Bermudagrass. Another positive of renovations/replacement with these new varieties is the consistency of leaf texture and color.

From the blog of Darren J. Davis at Olde Florida Golf Club

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