I have recently received a couple of questions from the membership regarding some of the management of warm-season turf.
1. Will the golf course look artificial with the use of turf pigment?
2. How will the warm season turf handle wear in the Canberra winter?
Turf pigments help to enhance the appearance of turfgrass, especially during periods of turf stress from environmental factors such as heat and cold. In recent years, the range and quality of turf pigments available have increased tenfold. Currently, we are applying turf pigment periodically to the Bent/ Rye fairways to enhance their colour during the winter months. Quality turf pigments improve the overall appearance of the turf without looking artificial. The photo below shows a before and after the image of a recent pigment application on the 18th fairway. The photo at the top is pre-application, and the photo at the bottom is post-application. You can see the natural-looking enhancement that the turf pigments bring to the presentation of the fairway.
18th fairway before pigment (top) and after application of pigment (bottom)
Warm-season turf wear in the winter
Another question that has been raised is how warm-season turf will handle the Canberra winter with the amount of traffic that we experience at the Club. I would draw attention to the 15th/16th path end, which is a particular high traffic area. As you can see in the photo, both the Zoysia and Santa Ana trials have a superior amount of grass density compared to the adjacent cool-season turf. Traffic management through the use of ropes and stakes on the path ends will still be required regardless of the turf selection of either warm or cool-season turf selection. Fred Yelverton PhD stated in his report that “couch grass has the highest wear-tolerance of any turfgrass species. This is why couch grass is used on sports fields throughout the world”.
Santa Ana couch grass handling the excessive wear well compared to the Ryegrass in the surrounding area
Zoysia grass handling the excessive wear well compared to the adjacent Ryegrass