Changing of the Greens

Gleneagles preps for the summer sizzle with newly installed heat-tolerant grass

BY TOM MACKIN — Summer 2018

To golf course architect Damian Pascuzzo, greens are like children. “None of them grow at the same rate, even though they’re in the same family.” Greens were the centerpiece of a project he and Steve Pate, his partner in Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Design, completed this past year at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, where they installed new heat-tolerant grass on the putting surfaces of the King’s Course. Here’s why the club made the switch:

What was the primary focus of the project?
The club decided to switch from bentgrass greens, which can really get stressed out in the hot, humid summers. You can literally lose a green with that grass in 30 minutes if it’s not monitored properly. We converted the greens to MiniVerde Bermudagrass, which performs superbly in the heat and provides terrific conditions from early spring through late fall.

How can heat and humidity affect bentgrass greens?
Those conditions weaken that grass and make it very susceptible to diseases. Bentgrass really thrives in a cooler climate. During late fall, winter, and spring in the Dallas area, that grass is fine. But it’s just not geared for the heat.

What’s it like to putt on MiniVerde Bermudagrass greens?
In my experience, the ball tracks very cleanly, it doesn’t wiggle, and it stays on line. It makes for a smooth and high-quality putting surface.

What was the overall scope of the Gleneagles project?
It started as a greens and bunkers reconstruction project. Many of the fairway bunkers were no longer relevant for today’s players so they were either eliminated or relocated to a more strategic spot. Then we were asked to rebuild the tees, adding new forward and back teeing options. The tees were redesigned from ovals to a more classic rectangular shape that fits beautifully with Gleneagles’ parkland-style golf course. We also built a killer practice putting green and putting course, which combined measure 16,000 square feet.

How are the greens playing now?
Any new green will play firm for the first year to 18 months. But the members at Gleneagles now have the best of both worlds. The Queen’s Course greens will be in peak shape during the fall, winter, and spring. The King’s Course greens will be peaking late spring, summer, and early fall.

MiniVerde Bermudagrass has also been installed at five other ClubCorp clubs, but not by Pascuzzo & Pate

• Hackberry Creek Country Club, Irving, Texas
• Neuse Golf Club, Clayton, N.C.
• Stonebriar Country Club, Frisco, Texas (both courses)
• Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, McKinney, Texas (Dye course)
• Wildflower Country Club, Temple, Texas

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