Golf Course Management

MAR 2015

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

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72 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.15 Don't call it a comeback Mark Black, CGCS, and Quail West tackle a renovation project designed to modernize greens at the club and keep it among south Florida's elite. It's a familiar feature at so many south Florida courses — the wooden retaining walls that form the hard edge separating putting surface from water hazard. The putting surface was typi - cally designed to be fush with the top of that wall, but 25-30 years of sand and thatch accu- mulation have raised the greens up. In a region where topdressing is a year-round discipline, the putting surfaces can rise a half-inch every 12 months. Mark Black, CGCS, director of golf course maintenance and grounds at the 36-hole Quail West Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., estimates the ultradwarf putting surfaces on his Preserve Course today sit some 13 inches higher than the day the course opened for play in 1992. For golfers, the difference can be too gradual and subtle to notice — perhaps until the moment a ball rolls back off the green into the drink. For Black and his crew? Well, they do notice the difference and have seen the agronomic and maintenance issues building for years. While the visuals are most stark beside retaining walls, it's a problem coursewide. "As the green surfaces get to be that much higher, it makes some of the surrounding undula - tions disappear," says Black, who arrived from Bonita Bay 16 years ago, after construction and grow-in of both the Preserve and the neighboring Lakes Course (opened in two phases, in 1993 and '95). "The interesting thing for ultradwarf growers is how topdressing programs affect the col - lars, not just the surrounds. The collars grow more aggressively — so fast that it affects surface drainage. And these ultradwarfs are so dense, when you start to lose surface drainage, when Hal Phillips AT THE TURN (renovation) Quail West Golf and Country Club, long regarded as one of the top facilities in golf-mad Naples, Fla., is prepping for a greens renovation with longtime superintendent Mark Black, CGCS, at the helm. Photos courtesy of Quail West "The interesting thing for ultradwarf growers is how topdressing programs affect the collars, not just the surrounds." — Mark Black, CGCS

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