Changing turf types and maintenance practices means courses are open longer and in better condition; golf rounds and membership have increased
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Golf is the hottest participation sport in the country, with nowhere hotter than the greater Scottsdale area. With seven golf courses to choose from, the members of Desert Mountain—the exclusive luxury community in North Scottsdale—are never at a loss for chances to tee it up. This fall, thanks to some changes in the grasses used and maintenance procedures, those courses are greener, more environmentally friendly, and offer more playing experiences than ever.
“All seven of our courses are open and green from November 1 to June 1, which is when the most members are here and the weather is best,” explains Todd Bohn, Desert Mountain’s Director of Agronomy. “We asked the question, ‘Would our members rather play golf in October or August?’ We switched some of our courses to cool-season grasses so they can play all year-round on the best possible conditions.”
This is possible, in part, due to Desert Mountain’s elevation and unique atmospheric conditions. Additionally, all turf is irrigated with reclaimed water.
To accomplish that, some of the courses have been re-grassed while others stayed as they were. This creates greater variety while allowing alterations to the maintenance schedule, so more courses are open and green at the best times.
“Until two years ago, all our courses had Bermuda grass fairways and tees, which had to be overseeded in the fall,” said Bohn. “They were all good at the same time, but they also had to go through transition at the same time. By changing grasses, we can make them peak on a varied schedule that’s better for our members.”
The changes began during the Renegade course renovation in 2019 and with the debut of the par-3 Seven Desert Mountain.
“Both have fairways of bent grass, which is a cool-season grass,” says Bohn. “When we saw they were successful, we converted two of the other Nicklaus courses, Apache and Chiricahua, to another cool-season grass, rye. The results have been terrific.”
Meanwhile, the other Nicklaus courses—Geronimo, Cochise, and Outlaw—feature Bermuda grass, which is overseeded with rye in the summer.
“With this schedule, all the courses are green and open from November 1 to June 1,” said Bohn. “All the courses have to close at some point for two months, but now you can walk on Desert Mountain any month of the year and play on multiple green, high-quality courses. No other club in this market can provide that.”
Not surprisingly, both rounds played, and new memberships are up.
“The members are happy,” Bohn reported. “Due to Covid we played more rounds than ever May through August. We were able to do that because the courses didn’t have to transition, and they were in better condition.”
The variety of grasses gives Desert Mountain members another bonus, says Bohn. “They can come to Arizona and play all the grasses they’ll find in the other 49 states. We have the same grasses as New England, Chicago, Oregon, Florida, and Texas. And they can pick a course that best suits their game, so if they like to hit a 9-wood and need a surface with more fluff, they can find it.
“We want to provide more green golf for our members, and we don’t want to spend more. This system checks all the green boxes.”
For additional information on Desert Mountain Club, access the web site at www.desertmountain.com.