In all the years of playing the wonderful golf courses here in Myrtle Beach, I’ll admit that I’ve never put much thought into the types of grasses that the greens are made of. I knew that I preferred BentGrass because the speeds were more difficult for me to judge and I put breaks where there were none on the Bermuda greens.
Recently, some of the Myrtle Beach golf courses have made the change from BentGrass and older Bermuda Grasses to a newer hybrid or “dwarf” Bermuda grass. You can still find some BentGrass courses, but you’re most likely to see them upstate, due to the temperatures. Bentgrass traditionally does better in a more moderate to cool setting. Bermuda is the most popular choice in tropical climates – and our summers are much more tropical in nature.
In changing over the greens, many Myrtle Beach golf courses will ask the question: “Will it be good for the golfer?” Myrtle Beach is a destination that is dependent on visiting golfers. Lots of golfers that travel to Myrtle Beach for our golf packages are from the Northeast and Midwest where Bentgrass is prominent. Playability and a memorable experience are vital to our success as a golf destination. We simply cannot risk anything less than a positive golf vacation. The agronomists are putting those concerns to rest.
A variety of Hybrid Bermuda grasses, or “dwarf” varieties, have been developed that are significantly improving performance. Two major issues have been addressed. First is the need for Hybrids that fend off contamination with off-types of grasses that would disrupt the uniformity of the putting service. Secondly, with the need for putting speed that’s similar to BentGrass the new Hybrids now allow the grass to tolerate a lower cut. These new dwarf varieties are outperforming the older Tifdwarf and Tifgreen plantings and in most cases BentGrass, too.
Some of the new names you’ll see Champion, Miniverde, and Tifeagle Bermuda Grasses are finding a home on Myrtle Beach golf courses. These newer dwarfs accumulate thatch at a rate that’s 5-times faster than the older Bermuda grassess and when properly maintained provide a putting surface that’s comparable to BentGrass greens. These new plants do require regular cutting, verticutting and dusting. Though they will return to full playability very quickly.
For regular visitors to the Myrtle Beach area, you will be pleasantly surprised with the playability of these new dwarf grasses. Whether it replaces BentGrass, or an older Bermuda grass you’ll be delighted with how true the ball will roll. Trust me when I tell you I was a skeptic when a few of my favorites renovated with the new hybrids. They’ve won me over.
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