Yesterday, we began the first phase of a plan to convert some key areas of maintained rough into native areas. Two herbicide applications will be made this month to kill the existing rough, then we will slit-seed into these areas mid-September.
The three main goals for this plan are: to reduce operating expenses by removing 10-15 acres of maintained rough, to bring the course closer to the original design, to not increase difficulty or pace of play. To determine which areas to reestablish, we are using aerial photos from before the course was opened. These photos are helping us see the architects original design so we can bring back some of these native areas that have been lost over the years. This year we focused on the front nine because this is where we have the greatest acreage to mow.
Although we are converting rough on most holes on the front nine, the biggest change will be on #8. In the picture below, you can see that we are bringing the native, that is left of the tee, around the front all the way to the cart path. The new native area will then taper up the right and left sides of the surround. This will appear more difficult, but the golfer will only have about 30 yards to carry over the new native area.