Mother Nature Unkind to Two ‘Championship Rejuvenation’ Courses; Superintendents Hatch Plans With BASF

By |  June 21, 2017 0 Comments

Last month we introduced you to three of the five golf courses participating in BASF’s 2017 “Championship Rejuvenation” program, where five superintendents are treating their courses with turf treatment chemistries from BASF throughout the growing season.

The five participating superintendents and their courses are:

  • Josh Pope, Greenbrier Old White TPC Course, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
  • Chris Ortmeier, Champions Golf Club, Houston, Texas
  • Brandon Schindele, Edina Country Club, Edina, Minn.
  • Mike Golden, Sterling Farms Golf Course, Stamford, Conn.
  • Dan Marco, Ruth Lake Country Club, Hinsdale, Ill.

This month, we introduce you to the final two program participants, Josh Pope at Greenbrier, and Chris Ortmeier at Champions.

Greenbrier Old White TPC Course
Less than two weeks before the 2016 Greenbrier Classic, the unthinkable happened. A 1,000-year flood devastated Greenbrier’s Old White TPC Course, canceling the tournament and leaving behind an uncertain future for the historic course.

The damage was extensive and would require Greenbrier to essentially rebuild the course. And there was little time to mourn — Superintendent Josh Pope and his staff developed a plan to rebuild the course in time to host the 2017 Greenbrier Classic this July, a PGA tour event with a field of 156 professionals. The team is rebuilding the course to honor the original architects, CB MacDonald and Seth Raynor. It will open back up to the public following the tournament.

“BASF products are our go-to for championship conditions,” Pope says. “I have used BASF products throughout my career and I know how well they work in times of stress. They are reliable. They are a sure thing.”

Pope’s plan for championship conditions was developed alongside BASF Technical Service Representative Kyle Miller and Area Sales Manager Scott Waltz. Pope is using Lexicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide on fairways, greens and tees, Honor® Intrinsic® brand fungicide on bunker banks, and Xzemplar® fungicide in primary rough.

With all the new sod they’ve put down during the restoration, Pope says his primary measure of success will be avoiding any issues throughout the tournament, and the rest of the season.

“When my greens go into the tournament, they will only be 11 months old, so I need strong chemistries to protect my turf,” he says. “If any products can do this, it’s BASF products.”

Champions Golf Club
Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, has a colorful past — drawing top-level players and prestigious tournaments since it opened in 1957. Founded by Jack Burke, Jr. and the late Jimmy Demaret, the Cypress Creek course features more than 70,000 trees, wide fairways and enormous greens.

But like Greenbrier, Mother Nature was also unkind to Champions last year, flooding more than a third of the course. Superintendent Chris Ortmeier and his team doubled down to ensure a quick recovery, but he is still working to eliminate some flood-related issues, such as doveweed kyllinga.

“Doveweed has been a big challenge,” Ortmeier says. “It just keeps coming back.” Doveweed thrives in warmer climates, and prefers wet areas. With nearby Cypress Creek posing an ongoing flooding threat, Ortmeier has a plan.

Developed in tandem with BASF Technical Service Representative Dr. Kathie Kalmowitz, and Senior Sales Specialist Scott Dunham, Ortmeier’s treatment approach is designed to help maximize course conditions leading up to the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open.

The program includes an aggressive plan to control doveweed and various other weeds using a combination of Tower® herbicide — a broad-spectrum preemergence herbicide — and Pendulum® AquaCap herbicide, a water-based formulation of the industry’s leading preemergent active ingredient, pendimethalin.

Ortmeier will be controlling fairy ring with Xzemplar fungicide, which also controls leaf spot and patch diseases. Honor Intrinsic brand fungicide will be used prior to the next aerification; BASF trials on ultradwarf Bermudagrasses show quicker hole closure and healthier turf. In the fall, Ortmeier will integrate Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide into his program to provide protection from the tropical hurricane season and potential changing winter temperatures.

“I’m a data guy. I like to make my decisions based on data,” Ortmeier says. “That’s why I’m excited to be involved in this trial with BASF so I can see firsthand what impact the products are having on the Cypress Creek course.”

Photos: BASF

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