USGA BERMUDAGRASS UPDATE
United States Golf Association
Mid-Atlantic Green Section, 485 Baltimore Pike, Ste. 203
May 2, 2014
The purpose of this letter is a follow-up to our Stop-by visit that was performed on April 23, 2014. I evaluated the progress of the Latitude 36 bermudagrass fairways. For those who are not aware, I have probably visited Springfield 10 times since the fairway conversion progress was initiated on July 8, 2013 to monitor the project. The bottom line is that the fairways have progressed well and are in good condition in spite of some difficult weather for bermudagrass growth. They are behind in their spring development because of cold temperatures.
With the exception of the two weeks immediately after sprigging, the summer was cooler than normal. This slowed the development of the bermudagrass in 2013. Nonetheless, you did get a glimpse of the future from late August into the fall with the condition of the fairways. There were (and are) still areas that need to fill-in, but the texture and density of the grass in the fairways were very good. The latter part of the summer was cool and was followed by a cool fall and ultimately the coldest winter in 20 years. Now, we are in the coldest spring, possibly on record.
All of that information serves as the background to say that your bermudagrass survived the winter very well. Green-up has been slow this spring because of the cold temperatures, but the bermudagrass as a whole is alive and well. All parties involved need to keep in mind that your Latitude 36 fairways ARE NOT EVEN ONE YEAR OLD, and for the 2014 season, conditions are currently as bad as they will be. With warmer temperatures, bermudagrass growth will increase, and the fairways will only get better with no concerns for the heat of the summer!
When the option of regrassing the fairways was discussed, we talked about the future at Springfield Country Club. The importance of having excellent golf course conditions in June, July and August was mentioned as very important. There is nothing that I see that suggests you will have anything other than that. I know that the brown color is not ideal at this point in time, but the fairways are greening up, and will green-up rapidly with warmer temperatures.
Some patience is needed in the short term, but the reasons why Latitude 36 was chosen for the fairways still hold true. Reduced inputs of water and pesticides over the course of the growing season with very good playability are advantages of bermudagrass. Fairway acreage was increased at Springfield because maintenance needs are far less than cool season grasses, which means a more enjoyable experience for the golfers. When the summer heat rolls around, your fairways will,not be a concern.
In summary, the bermudagrass needs some time to mature and fill-in, but the grass is fine. With some patience and warmer weather, the appearance of the fairways will improve rapidly. Focus on the long term benefits of this project, not the short term issues that have arisen because of unusually cold spring temperatures. As always, if anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are glad to help in any way that we can.
Darin S. Bevard
Director, Mid-Atlantic Region
Springfield Country Club located in Delaware County just outside the Philadelphia area and only 10 minutes from the airport. Open to the public 7 days a week, tee times may be booked up to 7 days in advanced, just call ahead.
Outings? We’ll make your outing top notch! We have the experience and the facilities to make your experience a birdie putt.
Our course is challenging and beautifully landscaped (6018 yard, par 70). Our clubhouse has banquet rooms capable of seating over 1,000 plus guests, full restaurant with outside bar and grille, locker rooms, showers and a fully stocked golf shop for all your needs.
Come out and spend the day with us!