The Results :: Success Stories :: Bahia de los SuenosGrounds Superintendent: Chris Tivy
Bahia De Los Suenos: La Pas, Baha California Sur, Mexico
Golf Course Architect: Tom Doak
Distributor: West Coast Turf
Sea Spray Offers Grow-in Ease, ResiliencyCompleted in 2009, the Bahia de los Suenos golf course is the first part of a planned exclusive beach resort located off the eastern coast of Baja California in Mexico. Literally translated as "Bay of Dreams," Bahia de los Suenos is an ocean-side golf course that offers stunning views and a "bump and run" type of golf game that is fun for every golfer who plays the course.
When it came to choosing turf, the golf course design team wanted a bulletproof option that could withstand high saline and windy conditions from the neighboring ocean while offering a beautiful, firm playing surface. For these reasons, seashore paspalum was used throughout the course on greens, tees and fairways.
While sprigs were used for the greens, Sea Spray seeded seashore paspalum was used for both fairways and tees. "Sprigs take up a lot of space to store and keeping them cool is not a cheap endeavor," explained Tivy.
"Choosing seed over sod was an ease of application as well as a cost decision; there are importation fees with stolons if you are not getting them local, so that's one aspect of it. And weather being what it is here, seeding is very much an option, so we've done zero sodding because we haven't needed to. Plus, I would rather have seed any day over sod even if it's in small areas just because of soil interface issues, that kind of thing."
At Bahia, much of the soil consisted of a decomposed granite-type material. These poor soil conditions necessitated quite a bit of capping, but luckily for Tivy, he had some leeway when it came to selecting capping material. "We would use materials that wouldn't be our first choice, but knowing it's paspalum and bulletproof, we knew it would be fine."
Once the soil was prepared, the course was hydro-seeded with a combination of Sea Spray, mulch and fertilizer. At two and four weeks after the hydro-seed application, Tivy followed up with additional fertilizer, including calcium nitrate. "I don't want to make my job sound easy because obviously there are times when it's not, but it's extremely simple to grow in the paspalum from seed; it's wonderful."
Once the course was hydro-seeded, germination was quick to follow. "The first little hairs started coming up after about six or seven days, just in a couple of areas. Then you start to see it coming up everywhere to that same height, then after about three weeks KABOOM, it starts exploding and coming up like gangbusters."
While the preparation and grow-in process was near flawless, the true success of Sea Spray comes in the form of resiliency. At Bahia, wind speed and temperature fluctuate tremendously and through it all, Sea Spray has remained steadfast. In addition, the turf has experienced little to no disease pressure from either weather or insects.
Most importantly, Sea Spray needs minimal irrigation, tolerates high levels of salt and requires very little nitrogen. "During the growing season, I'm watering 20 minutes every other night and I'd like to get it to 30 minutes every third night. We're pretty minimal which is kind of the beauty. I have put minimal fertilizer down, using only about 0.5 of a pound, at most … paspalum takes up nitrogen very efficiently."
"It's unbelievable, the architects seem to be extremely happy. They are all avid golfers and a lot of them can go bump and run with it. I've been happy too. Extremely happy with it!"