2011 the 18 original putting greens of The Championship Course
at Trump International Golf Club were rebuilt under the watchful
eye of golf course architect, Jim Fazio using a then-new type
of bermudagrass called Mini-Verde. Fazio explained, As
of 2011 TifEagle and Mini-Verde bermudagrass were both put in
at Trump International for evaluation. After two full seasons
with both grasses, we debated some inconsistencies in color that
the superintendent, Andy Kjos (pronounced Chose) was noticing
and Mr. Trump made the decision to re-grass all 18 greens of
The Championship Course with TifEagle.
In December 2013
when this editor first heard about the new TifEagle greens, Dr.
Gary Wiren, Head of Instruction at Trump International was quoted
as saying, "The Mini-Verde greens were amazingly true for
being torn up back in June. Mr. Trump should be commended for
making the difficult decision to re-grass them again."
For the benefit
of Florida Golf Magazines readers Mr. Trump explained in
great detail exactly how the change took place, The process
we used to change the 18 greens of The Championship Course from
Mini-Verde to TifEagle is called 'No-Till', said Mr. Trump.
This means there was no aggressive tilling of the soil
and the great part of this process is that the greens tend to
be softer the first year than with a traditional greens rebuild.
Theyll still be quite firm but not quite as hard as new
greens usually are the first year after being rebuilt.
process, said Trump, also kept the Jim Fazio designed
greens contours intact throughout the project. Elaborating,
Trump said, We were able to use this no-till process because
we did not have any soil, thatch or drainage issues since we
had already replaced the top four inches of soil two years prior.
Below: Trump and his superintendent,
was very important that we killed all the existing Mini-Verde
on the greens before re-grassing, exclaimed Mr. Trump.
Ninety-nine percent control would not have been good enough.
The key to successfully establish a new, pure stand of turfgrass
on greens is minimizing pest pressure and competition from existing
vegetation, weeds, nematodes, insects, and disease pathogens
at the time of planting. We would pay dearly if bermudagrass
control was not perfect before planting.
May 14th my superintendent, Andy Kjos sprayed the greens with
a combination of the herbicides Roundup and Fusilade. The Roundup
/ Fusilade combination outperforms either herbicide alone. He
sprayed the greens with these herbicides three times over a one
month period to kill the Mini-Verde. He also sprayed fertilizer
in between to get the grass to grow because it needs to grow
in order to take up the herbicide that in turn kills it.
June 2013 - Trump International Golf Club re-grassed all 18
tournament-ready greens of The Championship Course with new TifEagle
bermudagrass. Though it looks like dirt, most of this brown material
is actually the old dead Mini-Verde bermudagrass being verticut,
cleaned up and removed only 1/8 inch at a time using a re-grassing
process called no-till.
with his impromptu dissertation, Mr. Trump then said, A
month later when the grass was dead our guys aggressively verticut
it and pulled out all the dead material and thatch that had built
up since 2011.
mowing, or verticutting as it is called utilizes a special type
of mower with vertically rotating blades that cut into the turf
surface to remove excess thatch or leaves, depending upon how
deep the blades are set. Normally verticutting is a maintenance
practice periodically performed to cut laterally growing stolons
and rhizomes to help promote a more upright growth of the grass
and smooth the grain. But in this case we used the verticutter
for something entirely different," said Trump, "and
aggressively cut to depths ranging from 1/8 to ½ inch.
We repeated this verticutting and clean-up process approximately
twenty times on each green from numerous directions until we
essentially removed all of the grass, but were careful to not
disturb the dirt nor the contours of the greens.
Photographed June 2013, the putting green at TIGC is seen
here covered with a plastic tarp and being fumigated before being
regrassed with TifEagle bermudagrass.
after our guys finally removed all the grass, said Mr.
Trump, we then aerated the greens with a machine with 4
inch long hollow tines that removes the plugs leaving the ground
looking like Swiss cheese covered with four inch deep holes that
were ¾ of an inch in diameter. Then after cleaning up
and removing all the plugs left behind, we were ready to start
the fumigation process.
our guys put plastic down over the green area and sealed the
seams with glue and the edges with piles of dirt. Once they got
the plastic tarp down and properly sealed, a licensed subcontractor
came in and fumigated all 18 greens with methyl bromide to kill
any and all remnants of the two-year-old Mini-Verde bermudagrass.
Pictured here on June
25th, 2013, the freshly re-grassed practice putting green sprigged
with TifEagle bermudagrass.
couple days later they pulled the tarps off the greens and then
aerated them once again, but this time using an aerator with
solid tines, which punches holes without removing the plugs.
This essentially softens the dirt making it ready to plant without
disturbing the greens contours.
Smooth Grown-In at TIGC
sprigged all 18 greens with TifEagle bermudagrass which is the
same type of grass as on the New Trump Nine. Our sprigging rate
was 35 bushels per thousand, which we knew was high, said
Trump, but we wanted to be open for play as soon as possible.
Trump continued, saying We sprigged on the June 25th and
26th and hand-watered the sprigs immediately because of the heat.
Our guys literally followed the tractors as they cut the sprigs
in so we could keep the surface temperatures cool. The key to
growing in good greens is keeping proper moisture on the greens
so we watered the greens basically every 30 minutes, but just
for about four minutes at a time to keep the plant wet.
Interrupting Mr. Trump I asked All day, every day including
at night? No, not at night, answered Mr. Trump.
But we did it all day every day for about a week and then
we started backing them off.
done with the automated sprinkler system, he said. We
have five sprinkler heads around each of the 18 greens. The superintendent
programed the watering schedule into the computerized system
and then had his assistants running around the course double-checking
to see that they were working properly.
July 3, 2013 - TIGC maintenance
worker makes the first pass with the roller on the newly sprigged
TifEagle bermudagrass only eight days after being planted.
First mowing of TifEagle bermudagrass
on putting green eight days after planting, July 3, 2013.
after eight days, the superintendent, rolled the greens to smooth
them and then mowed them with the mowers set at 2/10 of an inch.
We also initiated our fertility program at the same time we started
mowing using a combination of organic sources, micros and quick
release urea to grow it in.
The putting green in front of the clubhouse at Trump International
Golf Club only 6 months after being planted with TifEagle bermudagrass.
asked Mr. Trump, Six months later, now that they are full
grown, how low do you cut them? Then Mr. Trump said, Right
now, January 2nd, 2014, the 18 greens of the Championship course
are cut at 0.120 (point twelve) inches which is a little under
1/8 of an inch. And probably by March well go down to one
tenth of an inch. Then Trump added, We dont
want to go too low right now because this time of year our daylight
hours are short, and we want a little more plant material to
absorb the light. Because if you cut them too low, they could
get thin and you could lose your greens, especially in the first
year after being rebuilt
the greens on June 25th and 26th, and it only took about 90 days
for the TifEagle to get well established, Trump said. But,
they didnt start playing on them until October 18th. So,
all together it took three and a half months for the 18 greens
to really get filled in. Now, after only one growing season,
this grass has already come into its own, said Trump. Our
members love our TifEagle greens.
the superintendent had mentioned the Mini-Verde bermudagrass
having some color inconsistencies, I then asked Mr. Trump if
the Mini-Verde had mutated. Without a moment of hesitation, Mr.
Trump said, Its a well known fact that members of
the Tifdwarf family of turfgrasses have a severe tendency to
either become contaminated with off-type plants or to mutate
and change their characteristics. And of course this problem
is accentuated when trying to achieve increased green speeds.
Since Mini-Verde is also an off-type of Tifdwarf we now believe
it would have most likely changed its genetics in the future.
however, said Mr. Trump, which was released by Dr.
Wayne Hanna, a plant geneticist, in the spring of 1998 has different
genetics than the rest of the Tifdwarf/Tifgreen family. The reason
for this is that it has been genetically modified through cobalt
the number of off-types in TifEagle production fields have been
limited and there is currently no documentation of a "mutation
off-type" in a TifEagle green. There is thus a strong case
for golf courses with contaminated Tifdwarf off-types on their
greens to change to TifEagle.
A tableside view of the
new TifEagle practice putting green and the driving range from
the patio of the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club in
West Palm Beach, Florida.
several samples of our Mini-Verde tested, said Trump, but
the results were inconclusive and we weren't going to wait any
longer. Even though our greens were still beautiful and extremely
fast and true, we know for sure we had some color inconsistencies
and therefore by our standards they could be considered contaminated.
at Trump International Golf Club must always be perfect and now
I know they are," said Mr. Trump. "This TifEagle is
the same grass we used to build the New Trump Nine as well as
to rebuild Trump Doral and Trump National Jupiter, so we definitely
know what we're dealing with now."