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In Quest of Perfection

While 99% of golfers would be perfectly happy with the greens at the Devil’s Paintbrush just north of Toronto, superintendent Ken Wright does not care much for the encroaching Poa annua.  He has convinced his owners that the greens should be reseeded. In early August the course was closed and Wright and his crew stripped the sod, aerated the bare surfaces and applied Basamid to sterilize the soil.  The greens were watered thoroughly and covered immediately after with 3 mil white plastic. The plastic was kept in place for 7-10 days. By that time, Wright was confident that all traces of Poa annua had been eliminated. After removing the plastic, the surface was made ready for seeding. Wright and his assistants had carefully selected a newly developed dwarf bentgrass, t1, far superior to the existing Penncross. The work is  now progressing according to schedule and the new grass is expected to be ready for cutting in early September and be back in play in 2009.

TurfNet members Ken Wright and John Gehman (c) with me at the Paintbrush.

TurfNet members Ken Wright (l) and John Gehman with me at the Paintbrush.

It is an amazing  process and anyone interested in golf greens should visit the Paintbrush to see it in person or contact Wright on his Blackberry. Wright is convinced that the new greens will be Poa annua free for at least 10 years by which time he will have retired. He also expects that moss, prevalent in many Ontario greens, will also bite the dust. If the project is successful, as Wright is sure it will be, the greens at the Devil’s Pulpit, a sister course, are next in line.

Superintendents in the Bermuda belt habitually resurface their greens every ten years or so. It’s no big deal since the work can be done during the summer when traffic is light but for northern supers, resurfacing in the manner described above means closing the course for play, which many are reluctant to do. Some will question the necessity of the elaborate and costly process all for the sake of getting rid of bits of Poa.

The purists, however, know that  a perfect putting surface does not include Poa annua. If in doubt, ask Tiger Woods!

Right down to the stone fencing, the massive hills, fescue grasses, sod-wall bunkers and the occasional blind shot, Devils Paintbrush has the rustic look and genuine quality of an Irish or Scottish links... - From the Paintbrush website.

"Right down to the stone fencing, the massive hills, fescue grasses, sod-wall bunkers and the occasional blind shot, Devil's Paintbrush has the rustic look and genuine quality of an Irish or Scottish links..." - from the Paintbrush website.

2 Responses to “In Quest of Perfection”

  • Peter McCormick:

    Gordon, glad to have you back in the fold. We missed having you share your knowledge (and opinions) with the TurfNet community. Looking forward to more!

    I’m sure some will disagree with you on certain things, but that’s good and healthy. Let the comments fly!

  • Jerry Coldiron:

    Gord, welcome back home, hopefully the newer generation of greenkeepers will benefit as much as I did from your musings… Looking forward to “The Way I See It” blog, and we certainly missed you. Can “Tweets” by Gordon be far behind? Cheers!!