My last blog discussed the green surrounds and bunkering. Today, I am going to discuss what you will see on the tees, fairways, and roughs that all lead to the magnificent green complexes at The Harvester. Every tee at The Harvester is redone and virtually every tee has been repositioned. All the tees are laser leveled with drainage in a 7-inch sand base with new seeded 007 bent grass. Our tees should have zero drainage issues as not only is there drainage in the tee under the 7-inch sand base, but our tees are generally sloped either front to back, back to front, left to right, or right to left at about 1% depending on the natural grade of the surrounding land. This slight slope allows for surface drainage as well. The fairway grass is also 007 bent grass, which is a far superior bent grass to what was available to The Harvester 20 years ago. It is much more heat and disease resistant, allows for a very tight cut height, and is a wonderful surface to hit your fairway iron shots with. (i.e. it’s the best bent grass out there) Our fairway cut height will generally be +/- ½ inch with a ¼ inch cut on approaches in front of most greens. These approaches will be between 20 and 40 yards long with extra drainage under them and over time with an aggressive top-dressing program will firm up to be an extension of the green surfaces. The 007 grass allows for this extreme green-like mowing and will be another unique feature that is reminiscent of Golden Age design.
We have been installing low mow blue grass in all the rough areas adjacent to the fairways and greens. For normal, daily play the mow heights of the blue grass will be around 2 inches. This allows for very enjoyable golf and yet certainly a slight penalty for missing the fairways. There are many great Golden Age courses that were established with tighter roughs only to allow the rough to grow long (4 to 5 inches) to use this length of grass as a defense to scoring on their courses. If we deemed it necessary for certain events to grow our rough grass longer it will certainly be capable of doing so. However, we believe a top player will still be extremely challenged on our course with other features that frankly are more exciting than trying to hack your ball out of 5 inch rough all day. The shorter rough allows you to find the ball quickly and play on which will also contribute to +/- 4-hour rounds much like the length of time it took golfers in the early 1900s to play. I don’t like looking for my ball and I believe that most people don’t either which I think you will find little of that at The Harvester.
The one area you may spend some time looking for your ball is in our fescue grasses. Significant areas of fescue grasses have been planted (probably over 40 acres). However, these fescue areas are
generally out of play, but will provide great accent in texture to the golf hole and the surrounding vistas. Come August and September of a given golf season, the view over beautiful green bent grass, tees, greens, and fairways will sparkle with the tight low mow blue grass around them with the golden-brown surrounding fescue grass in the distances. These fescue areas, however, do creep in to certain bunker faces, layup areas, and green surrounds. So, you will get to experience shots out of this sandy-based knee-high grass on a given day.
What allows these grasses to function properly, so you enjoy them is actually buried beneath the ground in the drainage and irrigation. Virtually all drainage and irrigation has been reconstructed in this process at The Harvester. With the movement of significant amount of dirt on the tees and in most fairways, it was required to redo the irrigation and drainage but likewise the new systems will function significantly better than the old. The new irrigation system allows more detailed watering of the different grasses within the different soils that exist on the expansive piece of land that the Harvester rests on. Our golf course maintenance staff who many of them have been in place from the beginning clearly understand our soils, which areas hold water more than others, and all drainage patterns so with this renovation they have been allowed to correct areas that have been troublesome in the past. A significant change has also been allowing more surface drainage across the golf course than drainage basins. A good example is the 18th hole at The Harvester. Nearly 4 foot of fill has been installed on the left-hand side of the hole throughout the 550-yard hole. To slope the land from left to right towards the water on a +/- 3% cant. The old 18th had 12 drainage basins within the golf hole to collect water and drain out which leads to slight uneven lies throughout the hole. With the added fill on the 18th you will clearly see all shots from the tee and as you stand on the 18th fairway the added elevation allows you to see into the 18th green more clearly without experiencing shots from the lower drainage basin areas that at times could be wet longer after rains. All total at The Harvester we have eliminated 90 drainage basins in the fairways. There are a few drainage basins that still exist in the blue grass areas to protect the fairways, bunkering, and green surfaces. Many great designers would say that 90% of the job is making the drainage look good, I believe Mr. Foster has made our drainage look great.
Next time I will discuss a few of our unique features on the golf course that you will love when you play.