Monday, April 30, 2012

Bruce Beach Golf Club Native Grasses

Despite the warmest, driest spring on record I should have suspected an early opening of my local pasture golf course wasn't in the cards, which of course was certainly the case this past weekend. However, the luxury of having golf flags in and holes cut didn't faze me one bit, as I was really just out for the exercise and fresh air combination. Knowing the course like I do, helps a lot too with knowing where to approximately chip the ball close to the hole in the sand greens where the cup has a permanent home in for the playing season.



The starting and finishing holes have the most links style characteristics at this 1908 golfing gem designed by a local Scottish minister, who had a cottage in the area that he spent summers in while away from his parish in Hamilton, ON. The first and ninth holes have pretty much pure beach/dunes sand as the subsoil with very little topsoil having been accumulated over the past 100 years. I had always marveled at the resiliency of the native fescue grass to hold its own over the hot,dry summertime season and provide decent playing conditions pretty much throughout the year with the great natural drainage the dune sand provides. I am not a native grass expert, but common sense tells me the native fescue in the picture below may be a native red fescue?, but I cannot be sure. At any rate, the seed heads are about as prolific as I have seen on a any native grass and that is a true testament to this native grass being in tune with its native surroundings.


Of course my timing couldn't have been better to take a walk in the pasture as the first mow had not been completed yet, but that is about as wispy a playing surface as one could ever have. Suffice to say my hickory wedge was able to slice right through the fescue seed heads better than through a finely manicured stand of creeping bentgrass. Which brings me to the point of this essay. That being, that high end country club golf is always looking for ways to reduce all of their inputs and places like Bruce Beach GC can be a shining example of how golf used to be played and enjoyed at the turn of the last century, and at the turn of the recent century as well.

Reducing inputs on high end country clubs provides me with an extremely comfortable living, by installing internal subsurface greens drainage to these facilities XGD Systems is an important tool in the arsenal of any club to help provide a stand of fine turfgrass able to better withstand the harsh realities that mother nature routinely throws our way.

Cheers, Poor Old Dirt & Grass Farmer

2 comments:

Jim Flett said...

Mark,  I know Bruce Beach GC from my childhood!  We used to rent my Aunt's cottage for the month of July everyone summer until I was 12. Fond memories of the sand greens, non-irrigated turf, picking raspberries and finding golf balls on the 7th hole hillside. I need to go back there!

Mark Luckhardt said...

Jim, great to hear from you on Bruce Beach.
I live really close to the club now and take advantage of the opportunity to play whenever I can. I know of others who like you, learned how to play on the wild strawberry fairways at the Bruce.
A one of a kind for sure...

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