Golf Course Management

AUG 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.18 Trinity Forest Golf Club, near Dallas, is a new golf course construction and host to the 2018 PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Classic. While enduring construction, grow-in and a PGA Tour event served as an incredible trial by fire, what might be even more remarkable is that the maintenance team has the addi - tional challenge of managing a course built on a landfill. Just a few miles south of Dallas, Trinity Forest is a par-71, 7,300-yard Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design. ough the club is pri - vate, it has a 40-year lease agreement with the city of Dallas. Trinity developers worked with the city to turn unusable land that was a $12 million public liability into a championship golf club. Trinity Forest is mindful of its role as a community partner; 25 percent of its golf is public. Initial land remediation and planning began on site in 2012. e club officially opened in October 2016. Director of Grounds Kasey Kauff, a GCSAA Class A member who has been in the association 15 years, joined the construction team in September 2014 as the course began hauling native soil and shaping. Superintendent Chad Kuzawa joined the team in February 2015. I had the chance to speak with Kuzawa, a seven-year GCSAA member, to learn more about the environmental challenges they faced during construction and maintenance of the course. One of the biggest difficulties the team confronted was subsurface drainage. To en - sure that nothing migrates up or down from the landfill, a 36-inch impermeable clay cap was placed over the entire property. An 8-inch growing medium of native soil was then placed on top of the clay layer. Water infil - trates through the native soil and stops at the cap, migrating only laterally from that point on. Kuzawa said, "It is like trying to grow grass on concrete or a bathtub, where it floats." Since establishment, the maintenance team has installed more than 12 miles of drain tile to capture and redirect this water. Kuzawa says, "Day-to-day rain can really change the site. You don't just keep draining. Unless we install the drainage, it has nowhere to go." Irrigation mainline and major drain lines were installed within the clay cap. As a precau - tion for safety and environmental concerns, all the spoils from trenches were removed and replaced with clean soil. Laterals were pulled (vibratory plow) through the cap and required no soil removal. All features, like greens, bunkers and tees, are made with imported dirt. For the greens medium, "We found a vein of native material from a borrow pit that had great percolation and growing-medium qualities," Kuzawa said. "ere is nothing that was scraped and shaped from native materials. It all had to be brought in. You never knew what would be encoun - tered during construction — anything from a boat, brick and carpet." e links style of the course is by design and function. To protect the integrity of the clay cap, trees are not allowed on the property, as the roots would compromise the barrier. e "forest" part of the Trinity Forest name comes from the surrounding region. Other than the issues around drainage and the clay cap, growing a championship course with a PGA Tour event is as normal as can be expected, with a focus on native plants for turf and conservation areas. e greens are Champion ultradwarf, and a majority of the turf is Trinity Zoysia — a hybrid devel - oped by a local grower that, yes, bears the Trinity Golf name. While some neighboring courses rely on bentgrass, Kauff and Kuzawa Trinity Forest Golf Club, from landfill to landmark (environment) Pamela C. Smith, CGCS greenskeeper99@yahoo.com During construction of Trinity Forest GC near Dallas, workers install a drain excavation through the underlying landfill. Photos by Chad Kuzawa recognize the value of the zoysiagrass hybrid with its excellent playability, drought toler - ance and other qualities that make it better adapted to the region. Trinity Forest Golf Club received Golf Di - gest's 2018 Green Star award for outstanding environmental practices. e club restored 75 acres of one of the most endangered eco - systems in the country, the Blackland Prai- rie. Kuzawa said the prairie evolves through- out the year and has come into its own this year. "It has a personality of its own and goes through the year showing very diverse species and colors," he said. Trinity Forest Golf Club is a remarkable example of how private and public stakehold - ers can come together to transform an envi- ronmental liability into an asset for golfers and the community. Kauff, Kuzawa and the main - tenance team have done an incredible job of navigating unusual challenges from construc - tion to grow-in to produce a PGA Tour tour- nament-quality venue. From landfill to high- est and best use, Trinity Forest Golf Club is golf done well. Pamela C. Smith, CGCS, is an attorney and director of agronomy for a large city. She is a 27-year member of GCSAA. Workers at Trinity Forest GC load and remove trash brought up from irrigation and drainage excavation.

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