Jason Monahan and Matt Smith of Farmstead Golf Links in Calabash, N.C. welcome host Shan Coughlin onsite to discuss some new course updates, grass and greens on this edition of Tee It UP Grand Strand. Smith is the Superintendent at Farmstead Golf Links, where he and his crew oversee the facility – greens, tees, fairways – and anything maintenance related. “That’s my job,” Smith said. “His job’s to sell it, my job is to grow it,” he said, pointing at Monahan. As PGA general manager of Farmstead, Monahan agreed that he and Smith share a great working relationship. The two were able to help keep Farmstead afloat following the recent record-breaking rainfall along the Grand Strand. Coughlin asked Smith how they were able to recover so quickly. “Mother Nature just finally let up on us,” Smith said. “Twenty-five inches of rain in about eight days is what we had here. And so far from October until today we’ve had about 36 inches of rain,” he explained. Smith said the drainage on the course allowed Farmstead to dry up quickly.
“Our architect, David Johnson, he did a great job as far as designing the golf course and the way our ponds and ditches all tie together. And you know, that helped us tremendously. Where other courses, during this rain event, were completely flooded, we weren’t bad at all…We had one hole that was flooded. Once the rain let up on us, it drained right back down and we were good to go,” Smith said. Another advantage with Farmstead Golf Club’s course design are the newly improved bunkers. A technique Smith read about in a USGA email and then implemented at Farmstead, the “Aussie” bunker method is a process of rolling bunker faces so when a golfer’s shot lands in the bunker, the ball hits on a hard packed slope and it rolls down to the bottom. Smith explained that this method is very fair and player-friendly, and golfers love it because their ball is not plugged in the bunker face. Additionally, Smith said the packed bunker design helps to ease the maintenance of them during longer periods of rain, as they don’t wash out as easily.
Monahan confirmed that he’s received great feedback from players on the course and bunkers. “…We have such a diverse group of players that come in throughout the entire year from all over the world; your different handicap levels, your different likes of golfers. Matt and his crew do a phenomenal job with keeping this course in not only pristine condition, but dancing that line of keeping it challenging but also fair for all likes. And one of these things they’ve done with the bunkers caters to that…They’re always, every week, looking to improve on something, focus on an area to make the course more player-friendly. And that’s the objective. People want a well conditioned course and they want a player-friendly course,” he said.
Standing on hole No.18, Coughlin brought up the greens and how they are smooth and fast all the time. “How on earth do you accomplish that?” she asked Smith. Smith, who has been with the company for more than 15 years, admitted that it is a tremendous challenge keeping the greens in pristine condition, but it is one that he and his crew love taking on. He explained that the greens-type grass is a grass that is adapted to be mowed that low. While it’s not natural, Smith said they are making it that way through mowing, brushing and also rolling, among other things. Monahan elaborated and said that with how long Smith has been in his position, and with everything he has learned along the way, Monahan knows that the condition of the course is going to be as best as Smith can make it.
“So when golfers are coming off the course, we get an awful lot of praise and feedback, and we are sure to let the customer know that the superintendent and his crew deserve all the credit. Like we said earlier, ‘he grows it, we sell it,’” Monahan said. For more information about the course, booking tee times, and membership opportunities, log onto FarmsteadGolfLinks.com or call the pro shop at 910-575-7999. For more information about sister course Meadowlands Golf Club, or on some great multi-course packages, visit MeadowlandsGolf.com.