Well, we have reached a very important milestone in the Osprey Point renovation. After a month and a half of stripping, grading, shaping and all manner of prepping, we finally have new grass planted! As of Wednesday, June 11th, all 19 of Osprey Point’s greens have been planted with Paspalum Platinum. As interesting as was to see how the greens were prepped for this process, it was even more interesting and exciting to see the process of planting the sprigs. In reality, a very low tech method is used. Much like spreading pine straw, workers take buckets full of sprigs and methodically drop them on the ground until the entire putting green is covered in an even layer of sprigs. Behind them comes a tractor with discs that cut the sprigs into the greens mix, ensuring good contact and coverage with sand.
Prior to planting, the greens received a heavy dose of fertilizer. The greens will continue to receive a steady dose of fertilizer, nutrients and top-dressing to accelerate their growth and coverage. Over the next few months the greens will be watered throughout the day, every hour for 3-4 minutes. It is absolutely critical the sprigs are not allowed to dry out during the day. Right now these greens will receive all the care and attention of a newborn child. To quote the Superintendent, “we will put them to bed dry and wake them up with a shower.” After one week, the sprigs have already established roots up to an inch long. Paspalum does not grow across the surface with runners as Bermuda does. The Paspalum tends to run underground, filling in from beneath the sand. Looking at the greens right now it’s hard to believe, but in a month the greens should be just about covered. Although nowhere near playable, they will fill-in pretty quickly. As we progress through the summer, the greens will receive regular applications of top-dressing sand and verti-cutting to slowly smooth them out.While the greens have commanded a lot of attention over the past few weeks, that’s not the only thing being done.
Another very noticeable improvement has been developing on #14, the short Par 4 with a menacing bunker that crossed the fairway (see above). That bunker is gone, replaced by a new bunker in the mound right of the fairway and two new bunkers left of the fairway. The fairway has been narrowed and lowered in the middle between these new bunkers, allowing players to see all the way to the green from the tee. The added benefit to this is that balls landing on the edges of the fairway should feed to the middle. Although this will be a very narrow fairway between the bunkers, the prudent play will be to lay back into the wider part of the fairway short of the bunkers. This play will still leave you with a shot of just over 100 yds. into the green. Let the big hitters take on these bunkers if they “think” they can drive this green!
Work continues on the back nine green-side bunkers and tees are being laser leveled. Fairway bunker sand is being removed and will continue to be added and amended into the fairways of No. 2 & No. 18. The next big milestone will come at the end of the month when the tees and fairways are planted. At that point the crew will finalize the fairway bunkers. We are getting closer to seeing the golf course turn green again, which is exciting. From that point it is fine tuning in preparation for the re-opening.