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Turf changes at Desert Mountain bring greener courses and increased rounds played

By |  October 25, 2021 0 Comments

Desert Mountain, located in Scottsdale, Ariz., features seven championship golf courses cradled by more than 2,000 homes and future estates. Following some recent changes in the grasses used and maintenance procedures, the courses are greener and more environmentally friendly as all turf is irrigated with reclaimed water.

To accomplish that, some of the courses have been regrassed, while others stayed as they were. This creates greater variety while allowing alterations to the maintenance schedule, so more courses are open and green at the best times. Desert Mountain’s elevation and unique atmospheric conditions allow for the year-round play.

Todd Bohn, who was brought on as Desert Mountain’s director of agronomy earlier this year, spoke about some of the recent changes that have been implemented to allow for great playing conditions all year round.  

Hole No. 7 at Chiricahua, a 7,347 yard, par-72 target course. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

Hole No. 7 at Chiricahua, a 7,347 yard, par-72 target course. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

“All seven of our courses are open and green from November 1 to June 1, which is when the most members are here and the weather is best,” said Bohn. “We asked the question, ‘Would our members rather play golf in October or August?’ We switched some of our courses to cool-season grasses so they can play all year-round on the best possible conditions.”

Desert Mountain was established in 1986, and the club’s master plan was conceptualized by Taliesin Associated Architects with a design to harmonize with the 8,300-acre property.

“Until two years ago, all our courses had bermudagrass fairways and tees, which had to be overseeded in the fall,” said Bohn. “They were all good at the same time, but they also had to go through transition at the same time. By changing grasses, we can make them peak on a varied schedule that’s better for our members.”

The changes began during the Renegade course renovation in 2019 and with the debut of the par-3 Seven Desert Mountain.

Photo:

Hole No. 18 at Renegade which underwent a course renovation in 2019. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

“Both have fairways of bentgrass, which is a cool-season grass,” said Bohn. “When we saw they were successful, we converted two of the other Nicklaus courses, Apache and Chiricahua, to another cool-season grass, rye. The results have been terrific.”

Meanwhile, the other Nicklaus courses — Geronimo, Cochise, and Outlaw — feature bermudagrass, which is overseeded with rye in the summer.

Hole No. 1 at Geronimo, a par-72 that totals 7,293 yards. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

Hole No. 1 at Geronimo, a par-72 that totals 7,293 yards. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

“All the courses have to close at some point for two months, but now you can walk on Desert Mountain any month of the year and play on multiple green, high-quality courses,” said Bohn.

Desert Mountain is the only private community worldwide with six Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses and the variety of grasses gives Desert Mountain members another bonus.

Hole No. 15 at No. 7, which is the newest addition at Desert Mountain. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

Hole No. 15 at No. 7, which is the newest addition at Desert Mountain. (Photo: Desert Mountain)

“They can come to Arizona and play all the grasses they’ll find in the other 49 states,” Bohn said. “We have the same grasses as New England, Chicago, Oregon, Florida and Texas. They can pick a course that best suits their game, so if they like to hit a 9-wood and need a surface with more fluff, they can find it.”



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