Minneapolis Golf Club in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, has started work on a re-grassing project alongside consulting architect Jeff Mingay.
“Earlier this year, following a harsh winter that caused significant damage to poa annua throughout the course, members voted overwhelming in favour of a re-grassing project,” said Mingay.
“While this project is driven by improving turf conditions, it’s also presenting an exciting opportunity to enhance the architecture at Minneapolis. The course is smartly laid out over perfectly rolling terrain, without too much elevation change to make walking a chore. And, the variety of holes is remarkable.”
The club was established in 1916 with a nine-hole course laid out by Willie Park Jr. During the mid-1920s, Donald Ross expanded the course to 18 holes, which also included relocating the clubhouse.
While over 1,500 trees have been removed in recent years to improve turf health, the poa annua turf has not fared well in recent harsh winters.
Members approved the re-grassing project in May, with the course closing in July.
Led by golf course superintendent Jared Keller, poa annua on tees and fairways has been eliminated with two Roundup applications. Rough is being chemically treated to eliminate both poa annua and bentgrass.
“Revised fairway patterns have also been established, as part of this re-grassing project to enhance playability, emphasise strategies and improve the overall look and feel of the golf course,” said Mingay. “Fairways will be replanted with a variety of bentgrass, including Dominant X-Treme, Flagstick, 007 and SR 1150, grasses that can handle Minnesota winters much better than poa annua. Adjustments to fairway patterns also involved some additional tree removal and modification to bunkering at the fourth, eighth, fifteenth and seventeenth.”
Poa annua has also been stripped and removed from all greens. “In this process, we’ve also restored the greens with the aim to take the putting surfaces back out to original parameters designed by Willie Park Jr. and Donald Ross,” said Mingay.
Working with Keller and contractor Duininck Golf, Mingay has also overseen the grading of all greens with intent to preserve the original character of 16 holes. The exceptions are the first and thirteenth greens, where a four-to-five per cent slope has been reduced to nearer three per cent to accommodate increased speeds. Greens and tees are being replanted with an equal mix of 007 and 777 bentgrass.
“Taking the green surfaces back out to their original parameters as part of this re-grassing project is going to restore some very interesting pin positions, and revised fairway patterns and recent tree removal are showing off some beautiful terrain,” said Mingay. “Most importantly, the course will be more enjoyable and more interesting for every golfer, regardless of handicap.”
The practice green has also been expanded and XGD subsurface drainage systems has been installed on all greens.
Keller and his staff are scheduled to begin replanting the golf course in mid-August, after the greens have been fumigated with Basamid and grading has been finished.
The course is scheduled to reopen by July 2020.