Kentucky Bluegrass Tees... Turfed
Course & Grounds have struggled to maintain high quality turf over the past two seasons on tees 6, 9, 13, and 15 (blue). When these tees were rebuilt they were sodded with an new variety of ultra dwarf Kentucky Bluegrass and has resulted in some additional turf challenges. Plans have been made to begin the process of re-surfacing these tees with a Bentgrass/Poa mix from existing course fairways. The transition of turf types was initiated earlier this week on the 6th tee and will continue as time permits over the next 12-18 months
The benefit or idea behind utilizing Kentucky Bluegrass was done with good intentions. Kentucky Bluegrass tees and fairways require less input compared to other commonly used fairway turf types. The combination of poor sod and deferential management characteristics have led to the determination that Kentucky Bluegrass tees are not a successful turf species for Cutten Fields at this moment in time.
One of the challenges for Cutten Fields is that the Management regimes between the two turf systems are completely different. The key difference being Kentucky Bluegrass requires a higher mowing height. Unfortunately, we do not posses the additional equipment required to efficiently manage 4 tees completely different than all the other tees on the golf course. Ultimately our current Bentgrass/ Poa mix on fairways and tees offer superior playing conditions to that of Kentucky Bluegrass. An additional challenge and likely the main source causing poor turf health on these tees is the presence of a layer of clay in the upper rootzone. The clay was imported with the sod and the sod was grown on heavy clay soil. This clay on top of sand a sand rootzone scenario results in poor water infiltration and restricted root growth.
The turfgrass environment is a symbiotic system where one negative input can result in another negative out come. In this particular instance poor soil conditions and improper cultural management practices resulted in weak turf and have created an ideal situation for an infestation of broadleaf weeds and crabgrass.
Once these tees are resurfaced we will continue to have a layer of clay in the soil profile. The introduction of the bentgrass/ poa mix will be better suited to grow under these soil conditions and will receive cultural management practices that better suit the turf. The tees will also be aggressively core aerated and topdressed to dilute as much clay in the profile as possible.