Kent’s Korner-Going Vertical

The onset of warmer weather conditions allows us the opportunity to condition the greens more aggressively for upcoming events. If you’ve played in the past few days, you may notice remnants from recent surface-maintenance treatments on the greens. The fine lines evident on the putting surfaces are a result of recent verticutting/grooming procedures. Rather than cutting on a horizontal plane like a normal mower, these cutting units rotate vertically into the turf surface. Set slightly below the height of cut, these blades penetrate the turf severing stolons (plant shoots along the surface) and thinning the leaf canopy. Following the grooming, we topdress the greens to fill any voids and further smooth the surface. These cultivation techniques optimize putting quality, reduce grain, promote an upright growth habit, alleviate spongy surface conditions, and enhance surface smoothness. Immediately following this process, the greens may slow down slightly and appear scarred from the disruption to the surface. Approximately seven to ten days following the process, the greens will be smoother, faster, and firmer.

Ultra-dwarf bermudagrasses make excellent putting greens because they have been bred for their dense, fine leaf texture, and their ability to tolerate low mowing heights. Although we continue to stretch the limits of the grass, it is important to recognize that the natural growth pattern of bermudagrass is to spread and grow laterally. Periodic vertical mowing to further promote dense upright turf is an important part of getting the most out of our grass.

Play for P.I.N.K 2019

Colleton River Club is pleased to announce that we raised over $34,000 in our annual March Play for P.I.N.K. week. Bridge, Canasta, tennis, and golf events were held throughout the community as well as a silent auction and dinner to help raise funds for the worthy cause.

To speed advances in breast cancer detection, treatment and survivorship, Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate Diagnosis, New Technology, Knowledge) supports thousands of volunteers nationwide as they raise funds for research through sporting and lifestyle events. Their collective efforts raise $4.75 million annually — and 100% of that goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Colleton River Club looks forward to hosting this annual event that aids improving outcomes and uncovering new approaches to this complex, challenging disease. President, Myra J. Biblowit states “Play for P.I.N.K.’s continued support is critical to the grant-making capability of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We are extremely proud of our partnership and indebted to all that support us and believe in the cause.”

“We appreciate those who donated, worked and played, making Play for P.I.N.K. an incredible success,” said Tim Bakels, General Manager of Colleton River Club. “Many months of planning by CRC committee members and staff went into ensuring a smooth operation, and as usual the Members participation was excellent.”

Kent’s Korner-Dog Days

Based on the boisterous barks and number of chewed tennis balls, the newest Colleton River Club amenity, the Dog Park, has been a rousing success. In fact, the park has quickly become “the place to be” as a social gathering spot for members and their four-legged friends. The park offers a mix of sun and shade to both relax and provide ample room to stretch your legs without the encumbrance of leashes. For new and long-time members who love dogs, the park offers a chance to meet and greet fellow members with common interests while discovering the intricacies and personalities of different breeds of dogs.

In fact, we talked to Mr. Tom Eagan and his dog, Bosco, members since 2017, who raved, “We try to use the park every morning and join as many as twenty other friends at 4:00 each afternoon.” Mr. Eagan went on to say, “While frequenting the park, we have met several new friends,” and though Bosco is only part Rhodesian Ridgeback, he has been comfortable with all the breeds he meets. As the news spreads and the landscape matures, we expect the Dog Park to only get better.

While the park is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week, our teams will be conducting normal weekly maintenance on Tuesday mornings before 10:00 a.m. Out of courtesy to fellow members and our staff, please repair your own holes with divot mix provided in the wine barrel immediately to the right of the entrance gate. Thank you for regularly visiting the park and your efforts to make it the best it can be.

Colleton River Collegiate 2019

The 7th annual Colleton Collegiate, taking place over 2 days on the Dye (March 4th and 5th) was another successful tournament, both on and off the course. We welcomed a record number of teams, 14 this year including the Michigan State
host team to the course.

The tournament was founded by Member Al Thiess out of his love for the game, both as a member of the Michigan State golf team and as an Alumni. The love for the event is carried on by his wife Willa Thiess and a devoted group of nearly 60 Members that were integral in all aspects of the event.
There is an air of camaraderie that is felt between the schools, their players, and Colleton Members. A tournament where some of the best schools in the sport compete in a collaborative family atmosphere. Yet another example of how Colleton Members’ connectivity to each other and visitors create one-of-a-kind experiences that keep folks…and golf teams…coming back time and again!

Click Here for a Gallery from the Event.

Kent’s Korner-Curbside Appeal

If you are new to the Lowcountry, you may be surprised by the many options available when selecting grass for your lawn. Unlike the bluegrass or tall fescue, you may be accustomed to, the grasses used in Bluffton are all warm season varieties. These grasses require a minimum of six hours of sunlight and will experience varying degrees of winter dormancy. Additionally, they normally can’t be seeded but are established vegetatively (spread using plant parts). When selecting a turf species, consider your lawn’s microclimate, the level of maintenance you desire, and how you intend to use your lawn. The following is a brief description of the five major grasses in our area to help make your decision a little easier.

Bermudagrass is the primary turf species found on both of our golf courses. Under full sun conditions, Bermudagrass is arguably the most resilient turf available. Under intensive maintenance, it produces a thick blue-green canopy that spreads aggressively and tolerates heavy traffic, while also resisting most disease and insect pests. In fact, the fairways on both courses have only been spot treated with fungicide once in the past two years. Despite these advantages, Bermudagrass is rarely used on home lawns in our community because it doesn’t perform well in shade.

Centipede grass is referred to as “graveyard” grass because it is low maintenance and is the least expensive turf to maintain. It is the primary turf species found throughout the Dye course high roughs and does best under low fertility situations. Centipede tolerates minor shade but prefers acidic soil conditions and does not perform well under traffic.

St. Augustine grass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass, although it still requires six hours of sunlight to thrive. Under high maintenance, it has wide succulent leaves and produces a moderately dense turf canopy. St. Augustine performs best with abundant fertility and water but is very susceptible to winter injury and is extremely sensitive to both insects and disease. These issues make St. Augustine one of the more expensive home lawn options in our area.

Empire Zoysia grass is the workhorse of Lowcountry lawn grasses. It is well adapted to a variety of environmental conditions and produces a dense apple green lawn. While it is slightly less shade tolerant than St. Augustine, it requires less intense maintenance, does well under modest fertility, is drought tolerant, has good salt tolerance, recuperates aggressively from injury, and is normally both insect and disease resistant. If heavy shade is not a problem, Empire Zoysia is a reliable performer throughout the Lowcountry.

Zeon Zoysia and Zorro Zoysia grasses are high density varieties that are close relatives to Empire Zoysia. They have many of the same advantages as Empire, but they require more maintenance and have slightly better shade tolerance than the wider-leafed Zoysia grasses. These grasses prefer a lower mowing-height and require periodic dethatching to prevent problems associated with heavy organic layering. We use Zorro Zoysia on many of the more shaded tee boxes on the Nicklaus Course where Bermudagrass would perform poorly due to the lack of sunlight.

A healthy well-groomed lawn adds both curb appeal and value to your home, and choosing the right grass for your situation is an important part of building a good landscape. While these guidelines provide an overview of what is available in the Lowcountry, it is always best to consult a landscape professional to help make the right decision for your own lawn.

Colleton River Hosts Annual First Tee Golf Tournament

The Bluffton Breeze recently ran the following article about our hosting of the annual First Tee Golf Tournament…

Colleton River Club hosted a golf tournament benefiting First Tee of the Lowcountry, a charitable organization that
teaches life skills and leadership through the game of golf. For the 108 participants the day began with a luncheon at the
Nicklaus Clubhouse, followed by play on the course and culminating with a dinner and auction.
While this was the first time Colleton River hosted First Tee’s annual tournament, the community has supported this
important and empowering organization for quite some time. In recent years Colleton River Club has hosted several
First Tee events and in 2015 proceeds from the community-hosted Junior Pro Am went to the charity, totaling more than
$100,000. Children that have benefited from First Tee programs volunteered as Greeters for the participants.
“The Colleton River Membership as a whole shares a charitable philosophy,” said Tim Bakels, General Manager of
Colleton River Club. “Our continued support of this very worthy cause is one of many examples. We had 5 Member teams
participate in the event and learned that at least one Member was so moved that they decided to begin volunteering for
the organization.”
Colleton River Club is located in Bluffton, SC just 1.5 miles from the bridge to Hilton Head Island. This Member-owned
private golf community features 705 properties situated on a peninsula surrounded by 7 miles of scenic shoreline.
The award-winning, signature 18-hole golf courses by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye each have their own unique and
distinguished Clubhouses. Additional community amenities include an Augusta-style Par 3 course, the Stan Smith Tennis
and Swim Center with 6 Har-Tru courts and a Jr. Olympic Pool, as well as a large & modern fitness center, and a community
dock with deep water access, and a state-of-the-art golf practice park and a Learning Center unrivaled in the Southeast.

Kent’s Korner-Planned Approach

Have you ever wondered how we maintain such consistently dense and fast greens?

Under normal conditions, our Tif-Eagle greens are mowed between 0.065 and 0.100 inches in height. Put in perspective, this is only slightly thicker than a single dime. In addition to these extreme cutting heights, we commonly use plant growth regulators to help promote the dense, uniform, and fast greens our members desire.

The normal cutting height of our Tif-Eagle greens.

Each spring, in a planned approach to control the soil-borne fungus fairy ring, we must suspend the use of our normal turfgrass regulators to target this potentially destructive pathogen. If these control products are used in combination with plant growth regulators, they can have detrimental effects. The first of these two applications is completed in mid-February, and the second treatment will be applied closer to the end of the month.

We expect the greens speeds to be temporarily slower during this treatment process. Subsequently, we adjust our maintenance practices to include additional mowing and rolling to help maintain the speeds in an acceptable range. Thank you for your patience during these important preventative applications.

Kent’s Korner-Men at Work

There is something soothing about meandering through the live oaks on the way into Colleton River Club. For first time visitors, the 2.4-mile drive cut through the natural forest alongside the Heritage Preserve builds a sense of anticipation of what lies ahead. Periodically this entranceway requires a bit of TLC to help protect the roadway from the forest that encompasses it. In the next two weeks, please use caution when entering and exiting the club as our crews will be performing maintenance along the entranceway. Along with cutting back native muscadine vines and unruly brush that is encroaching the road, we will once again be backfilling the shoulders of the road to help prevent increased erosion. While areas under maintenance will be clearly marked and staff will be wearing the appropriate high visibility vests, we ask that you please watch your speed when approaching work zones. We believe this necessary maintenance will enhance the native woodlands and help mitigate major maintenance expenses. Thank you for your kind consideration of our staff while we perform this work.

Kent’s Korner-Form & Function

Last week’s edition of Kent’s Korner discussed the importance of renewal pruning roses. In addition to this normal garden remediation work, take notice of shrubs such as viburnum, wax myrtle, and ligustrum that have been planted as privacy screens or foundation plantings and may have outgrown their usefulness. Oftentimes, these plants obstruct the view of the house or become so top heavy that they shade out their own lower canopies resulting in a shrub that is sparse and has a mushroom-like appearance. When these shrubs reach this point, it is time to take an aggressive stance and perform rejuvenation pruning to control this unruly growth habit. Mid to late February is a good time to perform this work, before these plants flush out with new spring growth. While this may appear like a radical approach, it is a very beneficial process for many older plants. Aggressively cut back the old wood to correct the plants architecture, remove crossing branches, and diseased or damaged shoots. The resulting exposure to light produces healthy new growth that can be trained back to produce a dense and vigorous plant. Clean old mulch, pine straw, and/or leaves away from the crown of the plant, maintain adequate soil moisture, and apply a balanced slow release fertilizer on these shrubs to enjoy many more years of success from your landscape.

Oftentimes, rejuvenation pruning is a great option, however, this past week, near the intersection going to the tenth tee on the Nicklaus Course and the leisure trail, we opted to replace a group of overgrown shrubs that have outlived their usefulness. In this area we removed the unruly hollies and expanded the ornamental grass theme around the leisure trail to help obscure the tunnel but provide increased visibility at this busy intersection. We believe this change will enhance traffic flow in this area and is in keeping with the landscaping near the Halfway Café.

Kent’s Korner-Rose Refurbishment

Roses can be used in a variety of situations and help create added interest in the garden. Since most roses flower on new growth, renewal pruning is essential to help keep your rose bushes healthy and looking their best. Prior to bud break, in late winter or early spring remove old, unproductive canes, crossing stems, damaged tissue and spindly branches less than the thickness of a pencil. Employing proper pruning techniques improves plant vigor, reduces disease, and enhances blooms. Remember to use sharp pruning shears and make cuts at a forty-five-degree angle one quarter of an inch above a healthy bud. Opening the center of the plant to encourage air circulation, helps reduce disease and minimizes insect pests. Following pruning, remove the remaining leaf litter from around the bush, incorporate compost, and fertilize the plants with a slow release fertilizer such as Rose-Tone 4-3-2, according to the label recommendations. If you subscribe to the Estate Service Program, depending on the weather, we are targeting mid-February to prune and feed your roses. If you would like help with this service, contact Karen Berry in the Agronomy office at 843-836-4480 or by email at Thank you and happy pruning.

An example of pruning cuts on a rose bush.