The grass conversion to Pinehurst No. 2’s famed greens is under way.
Last year, Pinehurst announced it would convert the greens from bent grass on No. 2 to Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass, the next stage in an evolution to extend championship conditions throughout the year and particularly during the heat of summer.
Ground was officially broken on June 30 following the historic hosting of back-to-back U.S. Open championships, and the first images of the process are beginning to emerge. The turf has been planted using the “no-till” process and will not require excavation of the greens or any changes in the contours. The course will reopen in September.
“We’re always looking to enhance the Pinehurst golf experience, and these conversions will allow our members and guests to experience championship conditions for even longer portions of the year and regardless of weather,” says Pinehurst President Don Padgett II.
Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass has been installed with great success throughout the southeast. This durable strain maintains high density during extreme temperatures and at low mowing heights, delivering smooth, consistent putting surfaces throughout the year. The ultradwarf variety provides top-quality conditions on an everyday basis and allows fine-tuning for elite championship conditions when needed. Pinehurst has already converted three courses to bermudagrass, all with great success. 2014 North & South Amateur Champion Michael Cromie, who won the tournament at No. 8 this month, said of those greens: “The grounds staff has done an incredible job. Those are the fastest greens I’ve ever putted on. They’re amazing.”
“Bermudagrass has improved significantly over the last several years with the development of the ultradwarf varieties and establishment of best maintenance practices. They have become a great option for the North Carolina climate,” says Bob Farren, Pinehurst Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance. “Our members and guests have been thrilled with the results on our other courses, as we’ve been able to sustain firm greens with a smooth, fast and consistent roll.”
Pinehurst No. 2 will become one of several major tournament sites to convert to bermudagrass. Among them, Atlanta Athletic Club converted prior to the 2011 PGA Championship, TOUR Championship site East Lake Golf Club converted in 2008, and Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte has converted in advance of the 2017 PGA Championship.