Ballantyne an Early Bermuda Endorsee
The switch from bentgrass greens to Bermuda is becoming more popular at golf courses around the Southeast.
In recent months, more than a dozen courses have begun converting greens to a strand of Bermuda grass with Champion Ultra Dwarf the most popular type.
This strand has several advantages, including less maintenance and the ability to withstand severe summer heat.
The Golf Club at Ballantyne, a popular resort course in Charlotte, started the trend in mid-2009 and has been gratified with the results.
“We changed to Bermuda for several reasons,” said golf director Woody Allen. “That summer many courses in the Charlotte area lost bentgrass greens to intense heat and had to close. We certainly didn’t want that.
“What’s more, Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda is easier to manage and is extremely resistant to ball-mark damage.
“We are more than satisfied with our firm greens that provide an excellent putting surface, and they need to be aerified only once or twice a year, which is a huge advantage.”
The popular new grass is being hailed by the USGA and other technical organizations for being heat resistant and needing less costly attention.
Bermuda is disease resistant and has eliminated the need for cooling fans at the Golf Club at Ballantyne. The greens must be maintained properly with mowing, Verdi-cutting and rolling.
“Players at Ballantyne have been generous in their praise,” Allen reported. “Our decision to change was a good and a timely decision.”
North Carolina courses that are reported to be changing to Bermuda include Old Chatham, Hope Valley, Benvenue, Starmount Forest, the Country Club of North Carolina (Cardinal course), River Landing, the Peninsula, River Hills, River Run, Rolling Hills and Verdict Ridge.
Hyland Golf Club and Legacy Golf Links have already made the switch to good reviews.
In the Atlanta area, East Lake and Cherokee are switching, along with Seminole in Florida.
In order to change, a course must close for a minimum of two months. The costs related to the conversion vary depending upon labor, sprigging, soil preparation and the method for renovating greens.
The Golf Club at Ballantyne has implemented the “no-till” renovation method.
The Ballantyne course was opened in 1997 and was remodeled in 2008 with major enhancements to several holes.
For more information. call (704) 248-4036 or visit the website www.golfballantyne.com.
Bill Hensley is a hall of fame freelance writer and golf publicist who lives in Charlotte.
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