Course of the Week: McLemore Golf Club

By |  July 22, 2022 0 Comments

McLemore Golf Course and Country Club, Rising Fawn, Ga., features two different bermudagrasses that favor each other. The 18-hole championship highlands course and 6-hole short course were designed by Rees Jones and Bill Bergin.

“We have elevation. Even though we’re in Georgia, we are at around 2,500 feet which dramatically changes our environment,” said McLemore Superintendent Ryan Emerson. “So, we wanted two things; we wanted a good green-up and then we had to have something that was cold tolerant and able to endure a little bit more than what normal golf courses have to in Georgia.”

Photo: McLemore Golf Course and Country Club

Photo: McLemore Golf Course and Country Club

Emerson has been the superintendent of McLemore since June 2018 after moving from Foxland Harbor Golf and Country Club, Gallatin, Tenn.

Emerson explained he saw the potential of what the property and McLemore as a whole could be, even though he could only see the views and corridors where the holes were on the course during the renovation.

“Also, being able to come to a second Bill Bergin course was something I really wanted to be a part of,” he said.

Grass Selection

The team at McLemore ended up selecting Latitude 36 bermudagrass for the course renovation, which took place from August 2019 to June 2020. Emerson said it has wound up being a great selection for their course as they’d wanted something that was dollar spot resistant so they didn’t have to spend a large chunk of their budget on fungus treatment.

“In the first year with Latitude 36, we expected winterkill because of how harsh the winter was on the mountain,” said Emerson. “But we’ve had no winter injury at all, we have had no dollar spot and everything has performed exactly as advertised.”

Over 16,000 rounds are played at McLemore annually. Emerson explained they have a short growing season for their grass, while counterparts just 30 minutes away have lower elevation and heat that bermudagrasses thrive in.

Following the course renovation with Latitude 36, McLemore replaced its driving range with NorthBridge bermudagrass, also released by Oklahoma State University. Superior Turf supplied both grasses on the course.


Emerson said the two types of grass are very similar in color and the only difference he’s observed so far is the lateral growth.

“I like both of them,” he said. “I am interested personally in looking at NorthBridge a little more as we see what its cold tolerance is compared to Latitude 36 because we didn’t have that hard of winter this past year. I’m interested in how they’ll compare to one another as far as how they make it through a winter.”

He also wants to compare root depth once everything is established to see if there’s a difference between the NorthBridge and the Latitude 36.

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