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Country Club Bunker Restoration

The Bella Vista Country Club course will close at the beginning of January to begin the bunker restoration project recently approved by the POA Board of Directors. This improvement project will require approximately 2 months, weather cooperating, to complete. The course is scheduled to remain closed through February.

The work involves removal of old sand, adjustments and repairs to bunker drainage, installation of a new liner system and addition of new sand. All bunkers on the course along with the practice bunker at the Tanyard Creek Practice Facility are scheduled to be upgraded.

The project goal is to improve playability and reduce maintenance in the bunkers. The new liner system to be installed, “Better Billy Bunker”, is the most important part of the restoration project in achieving that goal. A major issue is the amount of rocks in our bunkers. This rock migrates up from the subgrade during normal play and maintenance since there are no liners in our bunkers currently. Rocks also wash down from sloped areas after heavy rains. This system has a 2” gravel layer installed in the entire bunker floor over a system of drain tiles. This layer is sealed using a polymer that allows water to move in and through it and down to the subsurface drainage system. Since it forms a solid base no rocks are able to work their way up from the subsurface. In addition, the washing out of bunker faces is greatly reduced which in turn reduces rock contamination, labor requirements and improves playability after heavy rain events.

Several bunkers at the Country Club course, back 2 bunkers on both #3 and #9 green, had this system installed last year as a test. They performed great both from the playability and maintenance prospective. We will post updates and pictures as the project moves forward over the next several months. More information on this bunker restoration system can be viewed at

Painting the Greens

Over the past several days the golf maintenance staff at Scotsdale has started the process of “painting” the Bermuda grass greens. Although there are some turf health advantages to the painting process the primarily reason is to give the golfer a better perspective of the green surfaces during the winter dormant months. The material used is actually a mixture of green pigment and paint. When the first application is sprayed before the turf goes completely dormant some of the pigment gets into the plant and along with the paint provides a darker green and prolongs the time between reapplication. It takes about 3 tanks and several days to complete all the greens and at least one additional application will be required sometime in February.

Golf Course Weather Closure Standard

The golf course superintendents shall have the authority to delay opening or closing their golf courses at any time. However, it will be a requirement that if delays or closings are needed the superintendent must notify the Pro Shop and golf maintenance coordinator.

Superintendents must report course conditions/closures to golf course maintenance coordinator and Pro Shop no later than one hour before first regular tee time. He or she must also stay in contact with Pro Shop on a regular basis throughout this same time period to keep them updated on course conditions.

During the winter months we will continue to use the temperature as a guide, however this is just a guide, there are situations other than temperature that may dictate course delays or closures. The target temperature for auto course closure is 35 degrees.

If the Weather Channel forecast for zip code 72714 is forecasted to be a high of 35 degrees or less for the entire day then courses will close for that day. If it is forecasted to be above 35 degrees then it becomes the golf course superintendents decision as to whether or not course opening will be delayed or course closure is necessary.

It is extremely important that each superintendent take into consideration the importance of serving our members.

Freeze Protection

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Cold temperatures can damage bermudagrass. History has shown that unprotected bermudagrass putting greens are often the first victim of an all-bermudagrass golf course to succumb to colder temperatures. Fortunately, turf covers can dramatically decrease the chance of winter injury. Golf courses with ultradwarf putting greens in the transition zone (like NW Arkansas) need covers and must deploy them when conditions warrant.

We purchased green covers as part of the overall greens conversion project at Scotsdale this year. We also have covers that we have been using since the installation of the ultradwarf bermudagrass greens at Brittany. We will utilize the following guidelines this winter at Scotsdale. These guidelines are based on our past experience with the greens at Brittany, guidelines provided to us by our ultradwarf bermudagrass supplier, Champion Turf Farm, and recommendations from the USGA Agronomist, Chris Hartwiger, who visits our facility each year.

Since our Scotsdale greens are new we will be utilizing a more conservative approach this first winter, deploying covers when the temperatures are forecast to be below 27F and trending down. It will be necessary to close the course the day before since it requires a minimum of 6 hours to complete deployment on all 18 holes plus putting and nursery greens. Once temperatures allow for the removal of tarps an additional day will be required to remove the tarps as well. We will give as much advanced notice as possible to the Golf Shop personnel, Golf Operations Office and on Today’s Play on the web.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation during our first winter with the new greens.