What Happens When Champion Bermuda Greens Stay Dormant?

In the summer of 2017, Hasentree Country Club went from Bentgrass to Champion Bermuda. Other courses in the Raleigh-Durham area did the same thing. Chapel Hill Country Club, North Ridge Country Club and a handful of others were down for the summer because of a green renovation. Unfortunately, the Triangle was hit with one of the harshest winters in recent history and now courses are left wondering what to do if the Champion Bermuda greens do not come out of dormancy.

All Champion Bermuda courses are struggling at the moment. Hole #4 at Hope Valley has yet to grow. Hole #7 at Hasentree is struggling greatly and there are spots on several other greens that are questionable. So, is it the case that the grass does not come out of dormancy and it has to be reseeded? That is something that has yet to be determined. When Champion Bermuda is young, the root growth is not as deep nor as strong. This makes a harsh winter very difficult for young Champion Bermuda greens.

David Lee, the golf course superintendent at Hope Valley Country Club, is confident all greens will come back and the spring and summer will be a great one at Hope Valley. As of mid April 2018, Hope Valley has top dressed the greens and most are running beautifully. They are still not as fast as usual but we have been told that once night time temperatures stay above 55 degrees the greens will come in.

As for Hasentree, the word is still out. There are a number of greens that have yet to show signs of life; #7 in particular. The most worrisome factor with hole #7 is that it gets plenty of sunlight yet it has still not come out of dormancy. The reason hole #4 at Hope Valley is still “springing” is because it is in the shade for the large majority of the day.

If you are on a course that has Champion Bermuda greens, how are they looking? Do you have “dead spots” that have been painted green? Are you worried that your greens might not come back and you will have to redo your greens this summer?