By: Sara Allen
Two years ago, the Fort Mill Golf Club closed for six months. During that time, the bentgrass greens were replaced with a Bermuda-hybrid called MiniVerde grass. Last fall, the Tega Cay Golf Course made the same switch, but only closed for two months. Ballantyne Resort closed their golf course last summer to replace their bentgrass greens with champion Bremuda. This type of grass is popular because it is very heat-tolerant just like the MiniVerde grass.
Now, two other courses in the area are switching their greens. Waterford Golf Club, in Rock Hill, and Springfield Golf Club, in Fort Mill, both closed down to fix their greens. Waterford reopened on September 3 after closing on July 11. Springfield closed on July 20. They hope to be closed for only eight weeks and reopen in later September or early October.
Bentgrass is better for cooler climates, making South Carolina not a prime destination. “It’s been a terrible summer. We’re just trying to hang on 30 more days to get through it, but I don’t think anyone hasn’t been affected,” Larry Benson, chief operating officer of IRI Golf, said. IRI Golf owns multiple courses in the Rock Hill-Charlotte area, one of which is Waterford. The MiniVerde grass is much better suited for South Carolina. The heat-tolerant aspect makes it perfect for the hot summers. The fact that this grass only has to be aerated once a year gives golfers an average of two more months of play time a year. In the winter, both the MiniVerde and Champion Bermuda grasses are dormant. During this time, most courses paint their greens instead of overseeding to give the greens that green look.
Other local courses, like River Hills Golf Club, in Clover, and Regent Park Golf Club, in Fort Mill, are struggling to keep their bentgrass greens alive. Members are waiting to see if they will continue to fight a losing battle or if the decision will be made to switch to one of the hybrid grasses other courses have had success with. East Lake Golf Club, in Atlanta, that holds the Tour Championship, made the switch, as did the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, in Florida. If the hybrid grasses are good enough for the pros, why aren’t local courses, with dying greens, making the switch?