Sometimes, even ole’ faithful needs a little bit of touching up now and again.
The staff at Elks Country Club certainly did that earlier this spring and summer as Elks CC Course Manager Ed Carver, along with Superintendent Lowell Kenney, installed 14 acres — or $37,000 worth — of NorthBridge and Latitude 36 bermudagrass to revamp the widely-renown golf course.
In Ed Carver’s and Lowell Kinney’s eyes, a brand new surface was much-needed, especially considering how well bermudagrass holds up in the later months.
“We went with NorthBridge because it fares better against colder weather,” Kinney said. “Without bermuda on the grass, it’s almost like hitting off of dead grass.”
As with most golf courses that sit in the northern part of the United States that do not have bermuda, Elks Country Club has had an issue with grass that ends up dying out in the colder months, making the course harder for golfers to read.
“By the time that you hit the second frost in the winter, (the grass) turns dormant,” Kinney said. “If it goes brown, it just lays there. In the spring, probably around March, it’ll start getting green once the ground temperature goes up.”
According to a study done by Dennis Martin, PhD and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Professor at Oklahoma State University, NorthBridge and Latitude 36 are among the best that one can find. In his study, titled “Two New Turf Bermudagrasses Released,” Martin says that “both bermudagrasses are vegetatively propagated (no commercial seed), fine textured and have excellent winter hardiness along with outstanding turfgrass color, quality, density and divot recovery rate.”
In the short time of visiting the McDermott-based golf course, the improvements on simply the color of the grass are quite evident. That’s especially true on the 18th hole, where Carver and Kinney both say that the bermudagrass has already developed quite nicely.
And, according to Kinney, the overall play will improve with the new surfaces, as well.
“The ball sets up more,” Kinney said. “With the ball nestled down in the grass, it’s like hitting carpet. A bermuda surface allows for a cleaner hit off of the tee. Once the bermuda gets matted together over the summer months, you don’t have to water it. It loves heat. Therefore, crab grass doesn’t get the sunlight, so it doesn’t come through, and as a result, you don’t have to spray it.”
With Hidden Cove Golf Course in Carter County, Ky. already reaping the benefits of bermuda grass, Carver is really looking forward to seeing the kind of play that’ll be in store in the months and years to come.
“It’s been positive as far as knowing the results of what it’s going to be like,” Carver said. “Once the bermuda grass comes in around the course, it’ll be fantastic. This course was already one of the best in the Tri-State Area before, but with the bermuda surface, this will be a premier course around the area.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7