The ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green golf model is solid in the southern USA (End)
MAKING AN ULTRADWARF WORK
Planting an ultradwarf is a good ﬁ rst step, but the key to success is proper management. We estimate plant genetics is only 30% of the equation, and management/skill of the superintendent is the other 70%. Planting the grass is not enough. Elevating the playing quality requires additional competency due to the unique vertical and lateral growth habit of the ultradwarfs. The skill and attitude of the superintendent are of paramount importance.
Rodney Lingle, golf superintendent at Memphis Country Club, Memphis, Tennessee, has pioneered new management programs for ultradwarf putting greens to enhance their playability. The surface management system developed over ten years of practical management and experience at Memphis Country Club has been termed the “Lingle System” by his followers. The individual components of the management program are not complicated by themselves, but the challenge becomes understanding how they integrate with each other. A superintendent with high-quality ultradwarf putting greens will understand how the practices of fertility, vertical mowing, grooming, brushing, topdressing, growth regulators, and mowing affect the quality of the golf surfaces. Further, the frequency, quantity, or aggressiveness of these integrated components are not ﬁ xed by a set schedule, but must be modiﬁ ed as temperatures, day lengths, and light intensity change. In other words, success is more dependent on proper management knowledge than on budget. For more information about the latest information on ultradwarf surface management techniques and strategies, call or email the Southeast Region ofﬁ ce to schedule a Turfgrass Advisory Visit.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is appropriate to close this article. The golf industry is challenged economically right now, and golfers continue to desire a product that is as good or better than what has been provided with bentgrass putting greens. This is a big need. The ultradwarf bermudagrasses have moved forward to ﬁ ll this gap. Golf facilities that have made the switch from creeping bentgrass putting greens to an ultradwarf are beneﬁ tting ﬁ nancially while maintaining or improving the overall standard for putting quality. Golfers from the high-handicapper to the game’s elite are enjoying these new surfaces, too. We do not see anyone going back, either. Ultimately, it will not be an agronomist or the USGA that determines whether this new business model is here to stay. The golfers and the decision on where, when, and how often they play will be the last word.