Fields Ferry changed their greens to Champion Bermuda on all 18 holes to reduce maintenance cost and improve play.
The renovations started on June 22 and were completed on August 1.
“Everyone is fairly well pleased, and the greens are looking better everyday,” Course Superintendent, Harold Franklin, said.
These are the same putting greens used at many other courses around the Southeast, and the PGA Championship that was held at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
According to City Administrator, Eddie Peterson, the new renovation at Fields Ferry cost around $80,000. That includes the covers for the greens during the colder weather.
The reason for the changes, according to Franklin, is to repair the damages from the previous blistering hot summers, and Champion Bermuda will cost less in maintenance in the long run.
“When we built the course we had Bent Grass, which is cool season grass, and it did good most years,” said Franklin. “The summer of 2010 we had a lot of areas that died. Then in 2011 the same thing happened. Even though we got them back they didn’t recover as well, because of the heat.”
The Bent Grass was not very heat resistant, and that was one of the biggest issues the course faced.
“The Bent Grass is good during the winter. It doesn’t go completely dormant unless it gets extremely cold, but once you start getting into the heat you have to really work on it, and keep it cool,” said Franklin. “None of that will be happening with the Bermuda. It loves the heat, and that’s when it’s at its best during April through October.”
The course staff is already on top of the concerns during the winter months.
During winter months the Champion Bermuda turns brown due to the colder weather, but their solution for this problem is to paint the grass green.
“Then it is more psychological. People want to play on green grass. You still have the mat up there, but it just turns brown. It doesn’t change the way it plays though,” said Franklin.
When the temperature drops at night the course staff will make use of the covers to ensure there is no damage to the Champion Bermuda. Franklin said the covers were more of an “insurance policy.”
Another benefit to going with the Champion Bermuda is it is a very tightly kept grass.
The Bent Grass had issues with the fairway encroaching, and certain attacks from weeds such as Poa Annua, according to Franklin.
“We had some Poa Annua in the Bent Grass, and it is tricky killing it. But in the Bermuda I have six or seven products that I can spray on the top and it wont hurt the Bermuda, but it will kill the Poa Annua,” said Franklin.
This was the most cost efficient way to renovate the putting greens that were almost lost.
If the staff would have gone the other way and replaced the Bent Grass, they would have had to rebuild the whole green. They would have also had to install fans on every hole to keep the surface from dying out and to keep it ventilated.
The fans alone would have cost $7,500 in addition to electrical costs and the price to trench the fans in the ground would have been lofty.
“We decided this would be the most cost efficient way. As long as we keep them maintained right with top dressing and vertical mowing these would be more efficient,” Franklin said.
The golf course has been ranked a four star course for quite some time, according to Golf Digest. With these new renovations the staff hopes that the ranking will move up to a five star.
“We’ve always had some of the best tees and fairways around, and now with the new greens we will have the complete package,” said Franklin.