When Course Superintendent Rhett Baker was deciding which turf would be best suited for the private Ohoopee Match Club golf course opening in fall of 2018, his research kept bringing him back to TifTuf™. After much deliberation, the owners and course designer agreed and so began the valued relationship NG Turf now has with Rhett and his team.
Rhett was kind enough to take time out of his busy days to talk with us about the project and his impressions of TifTuf™ as it grows in.
Q: Tell us a little about the Ohoopee Match Club course
A: It is a very unique course, located on the natural sand dunes on the eastern side of the Ohoopee River, about 1 hour west of Savannah. The gentle rolling hills are reminiscent of the Scottish coastlines where the modern sport of golf began. It’s not a traditional 18-hole course designed for stroke play. Instead, it is specifically designed for match play – where individuals or teams win a hole by besting their opponent.
The course was designed by Gil Hanse of Hanse Golf Course Design – the same firm that designed the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro.
It will be open during the fall, winter, and spring – closing for the summers due to the typically very hot weather.
Q: Where is TifTuf™ being used on the course?
A: Everywhere except for the greens – 70 acres in all! Besides the greens, all the turf is cut like a fairway. The roughs are made from the natural dunes and native vegetation. It really is quite beautiful.
Q: Why did you choose TifTuf?
A: We needed a strong grass that can handle winter play but could also survive the very hot summers in middle Georgia. We spoke at length with Dr. Brian Schwartz of the UGA Turf Labs in Tifton while we were deciding if TifTuf™ would be right for the course.
TifTuf™ won out over other varieties commonly used on golf courses for many reasons. TifTuf’s excellent drought tolerance is very important here, not only because of the hot summers, but also because we are building on sand. Sand drains much quicker, but TifTuf™ can still get the water it needs.
We are confident that TifTuf™ will be stand up to the challenges of the course while still providing a great bermudagrass play experience.
There are also some new reports that TifTuf™ provides increased resistance to nematode infestation, especially on sand. Nematode worms are parasitic and can cause significant damage to the root system. They are extremely difficult and costly to control, so any additional resistance TifTuf™ provides is a big plus.
Q: What are your first impressions of TifTuf’s suitability for this course?
We installed the TifTuf™ in three plantings from June to August, 2017. We are very pleased with the progress so far; all areas of the course have achieved between 70 – 90% grow in. Every day has been a step forward. We were fortunate that October and November were great grass growing months, giving the turf some breathing room and favorable conditions to get established.
Q: How would you describe your experience working with NG Turf?
A: NG Turf provided a top-tier experience. I think what makes the biggest difference is that the owners are hands-on. Nothing is lost between the customer and the decision makers. Their operation runs very smoothly and it is reflected in the quality of their service.
Add to that the superior quality of their sod and their competitive prices, and you have a true winner. Now that I have established this relationship with NG Turf, I am confident enough to not only choose them again for my own needs, but to refer my friends and colleagues to them as well.
Thank you, Rhett! We wish you great success with the upcoming opening of the Ohoopee Match Club!