With a heartier root structure that resists heat, moisture and disease, the new Bermuda grass will replace the course’s current bentgrass through the sprigging process, which will spread quickly and allow fall season play on the new greens.
Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort announced it is converting the greens on its No. 1 course to heat-resistant Bermuda grass to enhance play, particularly during the heat of the summer. The project began in July and is scheduled to finish in September. The renovation also includes construction of a new par-3 hole as the course’s ninth hole, and a small re-routing that will make the former par-5 17th the new finishing hole.
Pinehurst will replace its current Penn G-2 bentgrass with MiniVerde Ultra Dwarf, a strain of Bermuda grass that will maintain smooth, consistent putting surfaces. It came to the decision after considerable research and evaluation of different turf strains and how other Southeastern courses have fared.
“We’re always looking for ways to deliver the best experience possible for our guests and members,’’ said Pinehurst President Don Padgett II. “This conversion will allow them to play the firm and fast conditions they expect, even during summer’s extreme heat.”
Bermuda is different from bentgrass in that its heartier root structure stands up better to disease, moisture and extreme heat, delivering fast and firm conditions for longer portions of the year.
“Our golfers are going to experience a rich green, plush texture and a smoother, speedier roll throughout the year,” said Bob Farren, Pinehurst’s Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance. “This strain handles foot traffic better, recovers from injury better, and shows remarkably few ball marks. The greens conditions on No. 1 will be better than they’ve ever been.”
MiniVerde is installed with sprigging rather than seeding, so it takes root and spreads quickly, allowing the new greens to be ready for the fall season.
The course’s new ninth hole is designed by Bill Coore, who worked with Ben Crenshaw on the celebrated restoration of Pinehurst No. 2. To accommodate the new ninth, which will measure from 109 to 148 yards, the old par-3 18th has been eliminated. The former 17th, a short par-5, now will serve as the closing hole.
C&RB reported on the extensive renovation of Pinehurst’s No. 2 course in its May 2012 issue (“Behind the Big Digs”).