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Director of Golf Course Operations: Clark Waters, CGCS
The Championship Course at the Golf Center: Oso Beach Golf Course, Corpus Christi, Texas
Distributor: Winfield Solutions (formerly Estes, Inc.)

Use of Sea Spray Nets Big Rewards for Two Texas Golf Courses

Corpus ChristiAs Director of Golf Operations for the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, Clark Waters, CGCS, is responsible for two municipal courses: The Championship Course at the Golf Center and Oso Beach. Ambitious by nature, in the first three years in his new role Waters has already renovated the greens at both courses. With budget and time constraints top-of-mind for Waters, he turned to Sea Spray seeded seashore paspalum to complete both successful renovations.

After first gaining familiarity with seashore paspalum as a Peace Corp. volunteer in West Africa, Waters instinctively knew it would be the best-suited variety for local weather conditions.

“You never can count on the weather in these parts," explained Waters. “A few years ago there was a stretch where we didn't have rain for about 400 days. Then in 2010, we had 45 inches of rain heading into August. So irregular rainfall coupled with routine wind activity in excess of 17 knots make this an ideal climate for paspalum.”

Complete Greens Renovation at The Championship Course on a $20,000 Budget
Built in 1967, The Championship Course at the Golf Center is a typical 18-hole South Texas course. It features native soil and some imported sand, and while it doesn't have a built-in drainage system, it does have plenty of surface drainage.

“Drainage is a huge issue for us. Plus the course is irrigated with an effluent water supply from the city, so over time we've experimented with different irrigation and drainage techniques. It's not uncommon for us to go a week without irrigating, but typically we try to water every 4-to-5 days.”

Given the circumstances, Waters knew seashore paspalum would react better than the existing Bermudagrass to longer spans without irrigation. Not one to delay, he quickly put the wheels in motion to begin interseeding the greens with Sea Spray. This allowed the course to remain open during the transition and meant the project could be completed on a constrained budget.

“Paspalum seed gave us the ability to react quickly to the decision to renovate and enabled us to keep the job in-house which led to additional cost savings.”

Interseeding at The Championship Course took place in mid-August 2008. Waters first applied a high dose of Primo MAXX®, followed by a deep tine aerification, and concluding with an aggressive verticut to the struggling greens. He then deep-seeded Sea Spray at about a quarter inch into the soil at a rate of 4 lbs / 1,000 sq ft. "Eight weeks after planting, the course was already in better shape thanks to Sea Spray filling in. And as Bermuda slowed down and went dormant into winter, Sea Spray remained vibrant for another four weeks. Likewise in spring, Sea Spray came alive about four weeks faster than Bermuda, so it had another chance to overtake the lesser variety."

In only a year, Sea Spray was 98 percent grown-in at The Championship Course and Waters was reaping the maintenance benefits. "Sea Spray provides equal to or better performance than other courses that spend more on maintenance. Plus it has amazing recovery capabilities, so if we want to fix an irrigation system or go natural for two weeks, I know we can do that and still expect a full recovery."

Greens Expand at Oso Beach Thanks to Affordable Turf Renovation
With his success at The Championship Course, Waters developed a similar greens renovation plan for Oso Beach. “Our golfers were thrilled with the greens conditions at the other course and were anxious for similar conditions at Oso Beach. While the two plans differed slightly in terms of tactics and ultimate goals, the use of Sea Spray was never in question.”

One of the major differences was that we played on temporary greens for eight weeks at Oso Beach during the renovation period. “We prepped the course leading up to the City of Championship Tournament, which was held on a Sunday afternoon in June. That same night, we were already verticutting and dethatching the greens.”

After the greens were prepared, Waters applied seed then topdressed with sand. Once again, he seeded with Sea Spray at a rate of 4 lbs / 1,000 sq ft. For the first two weeks, he irrigated four times per day, which eventually leveled off to a rate of twice per day. Within nine weeks, the putting surface was viable and the greens were a 50/50 mix of Bermudagrass and paspalum.

“The thing I'm most excited about with this renovation is that the greens were returned to their original shape and size.”

Originally built in 1939, the greens at Oso Beach were continuously encroached upon by other varieties. "At a cost of about five pounds of seed per hole, each green will gain about 1,000 square feet, so this is definitely a worthwhile investment.”

Overall, Waters is thrilled with the greens at both courses. “I'm happy, golfers are happy and rounds have seen an impressive spike, so I guess you could assume the city is happy too!”

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