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The Tour Report

November 5 2013

10:53 AM

Turf Talk: Sea Island GC

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Sharp-eyed observers this week may notice a greener look around Sea Island Club from previous years at The McGladrey Classic.

An overseeding of ryegrass provides distinct definition to the Seaside Course’s fairways this year, a byproduct of the tournament moving into a November date.

“It looks phenomenal,” said Berry Collett, the resort’s director of golf maintenance who made the call to overseed the fairways and tees. “We’ve got a little contrast in color now.”

Sea Island does a winter overseed to accommodate members and resort guests, but in previous years has waited until after The McGladrey Classic concludes. That changed this year, with the tournament playing the latest date of its four-year existence.

“If we wait until afterward,” Collett said, “we’d seed in the middle or end of November and that’s sort of late for our area. The perfect time is around the middle of October. I don’t like to put any seed down after the first week of November, if we can help it.”

Perhaps the decision was inevitable, as The McGladrey Classic has slowly worked its way back on the calendar since its 2010 debut. That event was played the first week of October, pushing back a week in each of the next two years.

To wait on overseeding, Collett said, would have run a risk that a cold snap would have turned the course’s primary layer of bermudagrass dormant and brown by the time the PGA TOUR came to play.

“It’s not typical,” he said, “but I’ve been here 21 years and I’ve seen frost in early November.”

After consulting with PGA TOUR agronomists, crews began overseeding fairways and tees on Oct. 1. There was a little worry that temperatures would be too hot for the winter rye to take hold, but Collett said the weather turned out perfect.

The only real concern came about three weeks ago, when storms dumped 6 inches of rain on the property in a two-day span.

The deluge washed out several bunkers and left Sea Island’s adjacent Plantation Course under water in several places, but the Seaside Course held up well.

Collett noted the rain might have had a silver lining, flushing away the salt that accumulates in the soil from the resort’s coastal locale.

Seaside’s greens and rough will be overseeded after the tournament.

The tournament’s later date also might bring an element that has been missing in the first three McGladrey Classics – wind.

“Every year, we’ve had no wind and they were throwing darts,” Collett said. “I think it’s be a little different this year.”

Forecasts this week call for only a light breeze in Thursday’s opening round, strengthening to about 18 mph over the next two days before backing off again.