Pinehurst Resort today that it is converting the greens on Pinehurst No. 1 to heat-resistant Bermuda grass, which will enhance play throughout the year and particularly during the heat of summer. The project, which began in July and is scheduled to be finished in September 2012, also includes construction of a new par-3 and small re-routing that will make the former par-5 17th the new finishing hole.
Pinehurst will replace the current Penn G-2 bentgrass greens with MiniVerde Ultra Dwarf, a strain of Bermuda grass that has been installed with great success throughout the Southeast. This extremely durable strain will allow Pinehurst No. 1 to maintain smooth, consistent putting surfaces, including conditions far superior to bentgrass during the summer months.
“We’re always looking for ways to deliver the best experience possible for our guests and members,’’ said Pinehurst President Don Padgett II. “This conversion will allow them to play the firm and fast conditions they expect, even during summer’s extreme heat.”
Pinehurst arrived at the decision following considerable research and evaluation of different turf strains, as well as how other southeast courses have fared in the adoption of heat-tolerant grasses. What sets Bermuda apart from bentgrass, particularly in the North Carolina Sandhills, is a heartier root structure that stands up better to disease, moisture and extreme heat – delivering firm and fast conditions during longer portions of the year.
“Our golfers are going to experience a rich green, plush texture and a smoother, speedier roll – throughout the year,” said Bob Farren, Pinehurst’s Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance. “This strain handles foot traffic better, recovers from injury better and shows remarkably few ball marks. The greens conditions on No. 1 will be better than they’ve ever been.”
Because MiniVerde is installed with sprigging, rather than seeding, it takes root and spreads very quickly, which will make the new greens ready for the fall season.
The new ninth hole was recommended and designed by Bill Coore, who worked with Ben Crenshaw on the celebrated restoration of Pinehurst No. 2. To accommodate the new ninth, which will measure from 109 to 148 yards, the old par-3 18th has been eliminated. The former 17th, a short par-5, now will serve as the closing hole.