Columbia Country Club

Historic golf course renovated with Tahoma 31 saves water, reduces fertilizer use

About Project

When the membership of the historic Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland, decided it was time for a full golf course renovation, they chose to switch from cool-season ryegrass to warm-season Tahoma 31 bermudagrass.  Hotter summers and more volatile weather patterns, attributed to climate change, were making it increasingly difficult to keep a healthy stand of ryegrass in the fairways during peak season play. A motivated group of high golf IQ  members worked with Superintendent Matt Sumpter and Golf Course Architect Joel Weiman to bring the course into 21st-century technology while honoring the century-old classic club’s past.

Challenges & Solutions

Challenges:
Solutions:

Outcome

Nearly 30 acres of sod were planted in the summer of 2022, sodding more than 100,000 square feet (2.5 acres) per day. The sodding was fast-tracked to minimize disruption of play, to make a September reopening deadline, but also to avoid spring washouts that were inevitable considering the predictability of summer thunderstorms and the steep slope of many of the fairways.

Weiman and Sumpter both say they were expecting significant water savings moving from cool-season ryegrass to warm-season bermudagrass. However, the results on the ground, even just a few weeks after the grass was laid, were remarkable.

“I don’t think it’s rained for six days, and there has not been a need to water the Tahoma 31 that’s been established. I think we could stretch it out to 10 days. The water usage is night and day,” Sumpter says. “We have established cool-season rough that’s wilting before the new, young Tahoma 31 grass is. It’s incredible. I think the water savings is going to be dramatic. I’d say the ryegrass would require 10 times more water than the Tahoma 31.”

Sumpter also says he expects a monumental reduction in fertilizer use on the course.

“With the ryegrass fairways we used a pound to a pound and a half of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, per year. With the Tahoma 31 fairways, I hope to be around a half a pound for the entire year next year total. I expect about a 50% savings there,” Sumpter says.

Weiman adds, “The club is looking for performance, consistency, and playability. But just as important is that it’s sustainable. We’re in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It’s right near the Potomac River.”

Weiman says the course will be an example for all of the clubs in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“In the past, bermudagrass was thought of as a somewhat lesser product, but that’s all changed now with newer varieties like Tahoma 31,” Weiman says. “A club like Columbia doing their research and converting to bermudagrass proactively? That’s going to change how many of the area clubs are going to look at that grass. We’re going to see the number of turf conversions increase significantly over the next five years, for sure.”

Source: Excerpted from ASGCA’s By Design magazine, Fall 2022 issue

Craft Turf Farms
10505 Co Rd 65
Foley, AL 36535
https://craftturffarms.com
david@craftturffarms.com

Grassmasters Sod Farms
2300 W 350
North Patoka, IN 47666
www.gmsod.com
pam@gmsod.com
812-779-5468

South Florida Grassing, Inc.
P.O. Box 725
Hobe Sound, FL 33475
https://www.southfloridagrassing.com
sfgrassing@yahoo.com

West Coast Turf
11803 E. McDonald Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Danielle.Scardino@westcoastturf.com
888-893-8873

Riverside Turf
18161 Sandy Point Rd
Charles City, VA 23030
morgan@riversideturf.com
804-829-2608

Winstead Turf Farms Inc
22860 Hwy 196
Arlington, TN 38002
bobby@winsteadturffarms.com
901-491-5025

South Turf, (DBA New Life Turf)
7500 Savannah Hwy
Neeses, SC 29107
afogle@newlifeturf.com
acribb@newlifeturf.com
800-752-1035

Carolina Fresh Farms
7 locations in S.C. to serve you
www.carolinafreshfarms.com
800-675-7954

Riverview Sod Ranch
14616 E 146 St South
Leonard, OK 74043
riverviewsod@yahoo.com
918-232-5673

Sod by Sherry
7700 N Heaston Rd.
Calumet, OK 73014
sodbysherry@gmail.com
405-630-8710

Carolina Green
10108 Indian Trail Fairway Rd
Indian Trail, NC 28079
kprice@cgcfields.com
704-753-1707 ext 105

Inman Sod
19 Harris Plant Cir
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
jspears@inmanmills.com
864-680-3509

Carolina Turf Farms, Inc.
PO Box 850
Raeford, NC 28376
ncsodman@carolinaturffarms.com
910-875-6141

Tuckahoe Turf Farms
401 Myrtle Avenue
Hammonton, NJ 08037
keith@ttfarms.com
609-784-3704

Greenfield Turf
PO Box 138
Gordonville, MO 63752
Greenfieldturffarm@hotmail.com
573-450-4058

Keeven Bros Sod
602 Laura Hill Rd
St. Peters, MO 63376
Drewkeeven@keevenbrothers.com
636-544-9706

Keevenbrothers.com

Central Sod of Maryland
920 John Brown Rd
Centreville, MD 21617
team@centralsodmd.com
https://plantsod.com
410-827-5000

Grassmasters Sod Farms
2300 W 350
North Patoka, IN 47666
www.gmsod.com
pam@gmsod.com
812-779-5468

Hawaiian Turfgrass
94-840 Lanikuhana St.
Mililani, HI 96789
hawaiianturfgrass@gmail.com
808-371-0527

Legacy Turf Farms
850 Indian Mounds Rd
Cartersville, GA 30120
gary@legacyturffarms.com
https://legacyturffarms.com
770-607-0491

West Coast Turf
42-540 Melanie Place
Palm Desert, CA 92211
mel.williams@gmail.com
760-340-7300

Poinsett Turfgrass LLC
PO Box 48
Harrisburg, AR 72432
poinsett.co@gmail.com
870-761-0355

AUSTRALIA

JAPAN

Soil Maxx
Tokyo, Japan
msato@soilmaxx.com
81-80-3359-8747

VIETNAM

Outfield Nurseries
Ngoc Giang Hamlet, Vinh Ngoc Commune
Dong Anh, Hanoi Vietnam 100000
jason@outfieldasia.com
84-24-3514-8592