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Bent grass greens in the South.


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#1 Thetoe

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 06:20 AM

The little club where I play...(North Creek in Southaven, MS) has bent greens...Every few summers, when the weather is especially brutal...We have severe problems with some of our greens. This year has been really hot and unusually dry...We've already had several days with temps in excess of 100F and the summer has hardly begun. About 16 of 18 are crusty and brown and we're in danger of actually losing a couple (IMHO)..It seems that no amount of wetting them down and/or aerification seems to help when the weather is as severe as it has been recently...We have workers constantly going from green to green wetting them down all day long and large electric fans cooling down the greens that don't get a lot of moving air. I'm beginning to believe that bent just don't work down here,and, a lot of people in the golf business must agree...as many of the local courses have been converted from bent to champ bermuda in the last few years. Any of you Southern BSG'ers seen the same thing in your area? I love the pace of bent and especially the winter playability that it offers...but it seems that I'll probably have to find a new home for the rest of the Summer this year...Probably Cottonwoods down in Tunica County. Does bent work pretty good where you are?

Cheers

Tommy C (Thetoe)

Edited by Thetoe, 02 July 2010 - 06:20 AM.

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#2 Gary

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:00 AM

bent is a cool season grass and doesnt like hot temp, it will wilt then die if the weather stays too hot
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#3 mk920

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:42 AM

Same here in Atlanta with alot of the greens looking bad. I think champion bermuda is the way to go. It putts very good with no grain at all. Putts true and fast imo and easier to maintain in the southern heat.
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#4 BlewBayou

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

I thought bent was a grass that did not grow well in the heat until I moved to Vegas. I do not know if it is a different type of bent, but it can't be any hotter and drier anywhere else.
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#5 SouthShoreRob

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 12:23 PM

I think humidity with the combination of high heat is what really hurts Bentgrass and why it does better in drier arid climates, no matter the temperatures. It seems no matter how much you water them, or how many fans you use, the cooling effect just doesn't happen with high humidity. I don't know if there's any Bent courses left in Houston. Maybe Lochinvar, but I'm not sure.
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#6 Qwagmire

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 03:19 PM

Trying to remember what my super told me when I was young was to never to water once the temp hit 90, the heat/sun would be magnified by the water like a magnifying glass.

Once the sun went down he would use water from the deep well which was very cool and would soak the greens. Around midnight he would do the same, and right before sun up. (I wasnt putting at night with the 15 yr old daughter of the dean, but aiming fluid was involved) With luck he would get another quick watering in about 8AM.

I think he grew them a little longer as well.

These were tiny greens, but it seemed to keep them alive in the 100*/99% humidity of Maryland Summers.

This is trying to remember a conversation from 30+ years ago, so dont kill me!

Edited by Qwagmire, 02 July 2010 - 03:20 PM.

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#7 gv-golf

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 04:00 PM

Tommy,
I'm one state to the east in Montgomery. Our CC has Champions and its doing great as would be expected.
How's Old Waverley doing, a little bit south of you in West Point. I believe they have bent.
GV
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#8 Thetoe

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 05:06 PM

Don't know about Old Waverly. West Point is South and East of here over nearer the Alabama state line..I don't often get over that way....I'm in the part of the state in the NW corner actually nearer Memphis (TN) than any town in Mississippi. The weather here has been brutally hot and humid with no rain to speak of other than the daily fifteen to twenty minute thundershowers that accompany heat and extremely high humidity in this part of the country...For sure not enough rain to even dampen anything...The cotton, soybean farmers and cattlemen in this area are probably the only folks more unhappy than the golfers whose favorite courses have bent grass greens..

Cheers

Tommy C )Thetoe)
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#9 johnnies

 
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Posted 02 July 2010 - 06:53 PM

My course in Florida has Mini Verde down. I know a ton of courses in South Carolina have gone from bent grass to Mini Verde as well. This grass has no grain at all with deep roots unlike some of the other ultradwafs.
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#10 Chubbs

 
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Posted 03 July 2010 - 02:40 AM

I know the Senator at Capitol Hill in Prattville has Bent greens, some of which are absolutely huge. Not sure what their maintenance practices are, but they've found a way to make Bent work in the heat and humidity while also taking a good amount of rounds played.
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#11 scully

 
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Posted 03 July 2010 - 11:47 AM

Trying to remember what my super told me when I was young was to never to water once the temp hit 90, the heat/sun would be magnified by the water like a magnifying glass.

Once the sun went down he would use water from the deep well which was very cool and would soak the greens. Around midnight he would do the same, and right before sun up. (I wasnt putting at night with the 15 yr old daughter of the dean, but aiming fluid was involved) With luck he would get another quick watering in about 8AM.

I think he grew them a little longer as well.

These were tiny greens, but it seemed to keep them alive in the 100*/99% humidity of Maryland Summers.

This is trying to remember a conversation from 30+ years ago, so dont kill me!







What club in MD. did you work your magic at??
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#12 Qwagmire

 
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Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:13 AM

It was the VA Medical Center golf Course in Perry Point Maryland.

All I did was help water because the super's only staff was patients at the hospital, and they always didnt get clearance to go work at the course, especially at night (it was the "job" they were assigned to get some cash). I was mid to late teens and since we played until after dark anyway, the super would get us to help where needed and give us the golf balls he found for pay.
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#13 ballen

 
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Posted 04 July 2010 - 06:20 AM

Old waverly converted to Bermuda last year. Locinvar is converting to Bermuda right now. Lochinvar has had the best greens I have ever played. They have a large budget to work with, but still have struggled mightly to keep the bent in the summer. They even tried a new type of bent a few years ago. If those places can't keep bent in the summers, good luck to everyone else.
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#14 timgolf2002

 
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Posted 04 July 2010 - 07:04 PM

It seems that bentgrass is just not viable in the South anymore unless you're Augusta National and your course is closed in the summer. Champions Bermuda loves the heat and humidity and responds by growing like crazy so that it can be cut pretty short most of the time. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
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#15 leftymike28

 
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Posted 04 July 2010 - 09:36 PM

I am familiar with North Creek and very familiar with bentgrass in the south. I have worked in the golf course maintenance industry in the Memphis area.

You CAN have bentgrass in the south when it is hot and dry and when it is hot and humid. Actually, if you were to have your choice, you would choose dry conditions so you can control the moisture in the soil. Too much irrigation is usually what causes bentgrass to thin out in the summer. We can not forget about disease pressure this time of year but a correctly applied fungicide program accompanied with proper fertility should be SOP for superintendents.

Champion's bermudagrass is not the answer. There is DEFINITELY grain in Champion. If you need proof just look at the color patterns on ultradwarf bermuda greens. Bermuda is en vogue right now because the golf economy is tough. Bermuda is cheaper to maintain, plain and simple. There are only a few superintendents that manage bermuda greens correctly in this area. I am tempted to name the courses but thats probably a bad idea!

I love playing on good bentgrass. It is very tough to manage in this area but is very doable. Your club just needs to make the commitment financially if bentgrass is desired. The bottom line for me is when I putt on bentgrass I am confident that my ball will take the break that my eye sees. When I putt on bermuda, most of the time the ball will break half as much as my eye sees. This is because the ball tends to roll on top of the bermuda rather than down in the grass. If you listen you can actually hear the ball rolling on the grass sometimes!
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#16 Thetoe

 
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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:41 AM

I am familiar with North Creek and very familiar with bentgrass in the south. I have worked in the golf course maintenance industry in the Memphis area.

You CAN have bentgrass in the south when it is hot and dry and when it is hot and humid. Actually, if you were to have your choice, you would choose dry conditions so you can control the moisture in the soil. Too much irrigation is usually what causes bentgrass to thin out in the summer. We can not forget about disease pressure this time of year but a correctly applied fungicide program accompanied with proper fertility should be SOP for superintendents.

Champion's bermudagrass is not the answer. There is DEFINITELY grain in Champion. If you need proof just look at the color patterns on ultradwarf bermuda greens. Bermuda is en vogue right now because the golf economy is tough. Bermuda is cheaper to maintain, plain and simple. There are only a few superintendents that manage bermuda greens correctly in this area. I am tempted to name the courses but thats probably a bad idea!

I love playing on good bentgrass. It is very tough to manage in this area but is very doable. Your club just needs to make the commitment financially if bentgrass is desired. The bottom line for me is when I putt on bentgrass I am confident that my ball will take the break that my eye sees. When I putt on bermuda, most of the time the ball will break half as much as my eye sees. This is because the ball tends to roll on top of the bermuda rather than down in the grass. If you listen you can actually hear the ball rolling on the grass sometimes!



I am quite sure that financial commitment is the key to growing bent in this part of the country...just like growing beans or cotton. Cutting back on fertilizer, fungicides,feed, water, and labor to save money is to doom one's efforts to failure just as in farming or ranching. The problem as I see it at North Creek and a lot of other golf busineses in our area is that they're ain't no finances to commit. The original owner of North Creek (who went tits up a couple of years back)envisioned the place being a private club...when that proved to be impossible he opened the place as a semi-private club with a member base of about 200 paying about $200 a month for playing privileges with daily fee play and golf junkets from the casinos in Tunica making up the rest of the golf revenue. The $40k per month in membership fees gave him a good little start for his fertilizer, fugicides, water and labor, even during the times when his daily fee play was off, and, the bent grass was fine and fast. When other golf venues in the area began to open, as well as the casinos opening their own courses, our membership base began to erode...The original owner sold...and North Creek now operates as pretty much a daily fee course...The economy being what it is,and, many other places in the area competing for the daily fee player's money; there are simply said: no finances to commit. Actually in this part of the South, daily fees play may be less in the mid Summer months than in the Spring or Fall...as casual golfers are less likely to want to play on 100 degree 80% humidity days than us "diehards" are.

The Links at Cottonwoods at Tunica, where I played yesterday (and had a great time), was in fine shape. And yes, Champ Bermuda is different to play from bent. Cottonwoods is affiliated with Harrah's and every effort is made to keep it nice for the the resort hotel that they run there and to comp rounds to gamblers in their casino. I reckon Harrah's got deep pockets...I saw nothing that was left undone to make the golf course as nice as possible. The greens were a little stressed but were well taken care of, and, should be fine for the rest of the summer...It'll make a good summer home for me.

Cheers

Tommy C (Thetoe)
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#17 wolfgame

 
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Posted 11 July 2010 - 06:03 PM

fans....you need fans....the real big ones. I am in the South...we have Bent and we have had to put these large fans on 11 out of 18 greens. The ones that do not have them are up high and get a little breeze. They do syringe them several times a day during the summer.
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#18 Thetoe

 
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Posted 12 July 2010 - 06:50 AM

fans....you need fans....the real big ones. I am in the South...we have Bent and we have had to put these large fans on 11 out of 18 greens. The ones that do not have them are up high and get a little breeze. They do syringe them several times a day during the summer.



Got em (fans)..They've (North Creek) had them for years..They do the syringing thing, and, have been constantly wetting them down as well...So far they've lost three and about eleven of the other fifteen are in big trouble...The good thing is that here on Friday night we got a very substantial rain..cold rain with a good bit of lightning. Got another good rain last night (still raining now)....First substantial rainfall we've gotten since Memorial Day...For some reason high humidity with extreme heat (like we've had here)and very little rain is very bad for bent grass. From what I saw yesterday morning driving to Tunica to play at Cottonwoods that combination of weather ain't too good for cotton or soybeans either..My horses (2) are currently drinking close to fourty gallons of water every day and and a half and are lithargic and "off" their feed...Instead of constantly grazing as horses are prone to do and running up when I dispense their oats and sweet feed (hence the saying "eating like a horse")..they prefer to drink their water and stand in the shady area of their pasture...Weather has been brutal even for the top of the Mississippi Delta where we're used to tough summers. The fans, syringing, and, sprayin' ain't done much good for the greens. Maybe the rain and the nitrogen release from all of the lightning we've had will.

Cheers

Tommy C (Thetoe)

Edited by Thetoe, 12 July 2010 - 06:53 AM.

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#19 ZBigStick

 
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Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:40 AM

If you want good greens in the Summer in the South you need Bermuda, if you want fast greens in the Spring and Fall go with Bent. Unfortunately you can't have it all, especially with varied weather trends. Bent needs fans and syringing in the Summer, Bermuda needs tarps in the Winter.

Your club may be too far North (like Atlanta) where the choice is not clear cut as to which grass works best. The popular choice of late has been Champions Bermuda.

Doesn't MSU have a turf management school? Perhaps they can help.
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#20 Thetoe

 
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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:08 AM

If you want good greens in the Summer in the South you need Bermuda, if you want fast greens in the Spring and Fall go with Bent. Unfortunately you can't have it all, especially with varied weather trends. Bent needs fans and syringing in the Summer, Bermuda needs tarps in the Winter.

Your club may be too far North (like Atlanta) where the choice is not clear cut as to which grass works best. The popular choice of late has been Champions Bermuda.

Doesn't MSU have a turf management school? Perhaps they can help.



Pretty much true...This area is just about far enough North (just South of Memphis) to where Bent seemed feasible and actually was quite the "thing to do" in the 80's and 90's...Lotsa clubs converting to Champions Bermuda now...I've just gotten used to Bent and love the fall and winter playability that it offers..May need to find a summer home like Cottonwoods or the Tennessee State Park course just up the road from us(both of which are Bermuda) and play at North Creek in the fall and winter (providing the greens survive this summer).

MSU does indeed have a fine turf management school...Unfortunately (for the golf industry not for the graduates) the best and most lucrative opportunities for those graduates seem to be in consulting to the Mississippi cattle industry and in the farm implement business.

Cheers

Tommy C (Thetoe)
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