The ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green golf model is solid in the southern USA (P3)
DO THE GRASSES DELIVER TO THE GOLFER?
In order for this new business model to deliver ﬁ nancially, the product, or in this case the putting greens, must meet or exceed golfer expectations. In our experience, there is no way to advise, convince, or assure course ofﬁ cials or owners about the potential for improved golﬁ ng conditions. Instead, they must get out and test the product themselves. Because the limitations of an article preclude us from taking every reader out on a homework assignment to play golf on good ultradwarf putting greens, the best we can do is share two case studies that demonstrate the success of a bentgrass to an ultradwarf conversion.
CASE STUDY #1: THE OAKS COURSE, COVINGTON, GEORGIA
The Oaks Course is a public course that guarantees golfers will like their ultradwarf putting greens or their green fee is refunded. Further, course owner Dick Schulz will give a customer full use of his facility for the rest of the year if a customer can show him a course with better greens and playability at a lower price. So far, nobody has taken him up on this guarantee. No other course in the Atlanta area provides this guarantee. This special promotion was not offered when The Oaks Course had bentgrass putting greens ﬁ ve years ago.
Prior to the conversion to Champion bermudagrass, the course was not working ﬁ nancially. Mr. Schulz decided to create a new business model with the Champion bermudagrass with a no-till conversion. Bentgrass management costs, especially the labor costs for irrigation and fungicides, caused the operational budget to rise above what he could charge to make a positive cash return. Additionally, another eight weeks of revenue was added to the business calendar annually with only one aeration event compared to three to four aerations required for the bentgrass. A total of 50 weeks of playable greens occur now, and summertime catastrophic turfgrass loss, always a possibility with bentgrass, has been eliminated with this new business model.
Overall operational budget savings since the conversion now range from 25% to 30% annually. Fewer employees are needed to maintain the putting greens, and the overall course conditions are even better. Additionally, the quality of life for the golf course maintenance employees and their families has also improved. Typically, the maintenance staff worked 60 to 80 hours per week in the summer with bentgrass, but not anymore. “The Oaks Course would be out of business now without this change to Champion. We had to do it,” according to Mr. Schulz.