It has been a very hot summer and that has meant problems for golf course superintendents around the Upstate.
While the heat took its toll on many courses, golf courses with bent grass greens suffered the most.
Boscobel Golf Club in Pendleton was one of the courses hit hard by the conditions.
Co-owners Coby Gambrell and Jon Guenthner decided to turn the problem into an opportunity to improve their course.
“We were going to have to resurface a number of greens,” said co-owner Coby Gambrell. “We decided instead of just doing a few lets resurface them all,” he said.
Besides changing the greens surface the owners brought in a new superintendent to supervise the project.
Jack Dalton moved to Boscobel from Saluda Valley where he had done wonderful work making the Williamston course one of the best conditioned courses in the Upstate.
As summers have gotten hotter many courses have gone away from bent grass greens to various forms of Bermuda grass.
Dalton and the owners decided that since Boscobel has always been known for having excellent bent grass greens they would not change to a Bermuda putting surface.
“Our idea was to build on our tradition of excellent bent grass greens by staying with a bent grass putting surface,” said Guenthner.
Instead Boscobel is replacing its old bent greens with T-1 grass on all the greens.
“I don’t think any courses around here have this putting surface. It has been around for awhile, but in our business sometimes it takes a long time for something new to be accepted,” said Dalton.
The most well known course using T-1 grass is Valhalla, the site of a PGA Championship.
“T-1 is a darker green and is more heat tolerant,” said Dalton. “It also is a vertical grower and less susceptible to disease. It is poa annua resistant. It is just a much better grass” noted the new superintendent.
The old greens were killed off and six greens were reshaped to create more pin placements and make some holes more playable for golfers of all levels.
When the new greens are ready for play in November golfers will see the biggest change on the challenging ninth green.
It often took more luck than skill to score well on the hole. Now it will have several pin placements.
“All the reshaping we did was designed to produce a modern ball roll. Some of the greens had been unfair for high handicap golfers,” said Dalton.
Now with the new putting surface green speed can be adjusted to whatever the club wants to provide for golfers.
“The new greens will still have the subtle movement they have had, but it will be challenging for scratch golfers and fair for high handicappers. We want all handicap levels to enjoy playing here,” add the superintendent.
Dalton reports that the grow in process has gone very well. The weather has been almost perfect for the project.
“The lack of rain actually was a blessing because it allowed me to control the water and give the greens just what they needed. The seeds are starting to pop,” said Dalton.
During the transition Boscobel is open and using temporary greens. The course has a special all-you-can-play rate in October.
Golfers can play anytime Monday thru Thursday for $20.
“The temps are in good shape. We cut them everyday ad have rolled them. They are very playable,” said Dalton.
The club has secured reciprocal rates at a half dozen area courses for members to play while the new greens are growing in.
“We appreciate our members and all the golfers who enjoy playing at Boscobel for understanding and being supportive of what we are doing. We are looking forward to enjoying our new greens when they reopen next month,” concluded Gambrell.