On this edition of Tee It Up Grand Strand, host Shan Coughlin welcomes Jeff Pianelli, PGA Head Golf Professional at Rivers Edge Golf Course in Shallotte, N.C., to discuss the latest update to the course. It’s a fresh day at the par 72, River Edge Golf Course, and Pianelli is excited to share that the course is getting a makeover. Rivers Edge Golf Course has closed for a short time to bring in brand new greens. “So, it’s a version of Ultradwarf Bermuda,” said Pianelli of the grass that will now cover the greens at Rivers Edge Golf Course. “So, it’s like your champion or your miniverde. It’s actually called Sunday Ultradwarf. It’s new to the Grand Strand, but it’s not new to golf, and it started at a club in Alabama about 20 years ago.”
Pianelli explained that the biggest benefit of this grass is it has the deepest root structure out of all Ultradwarf varieties available. Courses can grow it longer and the subsurface makes it through the winter, whereas the paspalum grass, which was removed, really struggles through transition times. Of the previous paspalum grass at Rivers Edge Golf Course, Pianelli said, “It was healthy and there, just not in and green yet. This [Sunday Ultradwarf] will give us playability the whole year. This will get us through the winter,” he said.
Another feature of this grass is a faster green speed. Coughlin pointed out that last time she played at Rivers Edge Golf Course, the greens were beautiful, but she would not consider them to be fast. Pianelli explained that the paspalum grass would be mowed and rolled for special events, but it wasn’t the right fit to get the course through the winter. “The last two years have been really cold,” Pianelli said, and then laughed and added, “..for Myrtle Beach.” He told Coughlin about the process of removing the grass, sprigging and then the tedious process of watering and cutting.
Pianelli said the course staff recently mowed the new grass, and in another week or so, they will mow again. Then give it another 10 days to grow, and then verticut it, a method of mowing that removes clumps and allows the grass to breathe. This process also allows the grass to absorb light and nutrients, as well as grow correctly. Additionally, the staff has its hands full with watering. Pianelli explained that the grass requires four minutes of water every 40 minutes, so they are staying busy.
Rivers Edge Golf Course shut down to get this major task accomplished in the shortest amount of time possible, but has full intent to reopen for the annual World Amateur Tournament, which happens at the end of August, and is then followed by open season. “We are beyond excited,” Pianelli said. “We are also bringing out trees, that starts tomorrow.” He explained that after many years of growing, tall trees tend to create a lot of shade, keeping grass from sunlight and restricting airflow. The staff will remove many of the trees along the course, in order to restore airflow and allow sunlight even the winter sun to shine on the grass. The course sits along the Shallotte River and Copas Lake and boasts stunning views of at every hole, so the course will not lose any scenic value.
Rivers Edge Golf Course will be open in time for all the fall events coming to the area, including the East Coast Golf Management (ECGM) events. If visiting during the fall, golfers should take advantage of the new PGA 6 package, put together by the ECGM, which includes rounds at several great area courses, as well as a $200 gift card. The card can be used for food, beverage, merchandise and replays. Rivers Edge Golf Course is included in the package’s featured locations, where golfers will be able to experience the brand new Sunday Ultradwarf Bermuda greens for themselves.
For more information on the PGA 6 Package, call Dave at The Golf Director (843) 997-6645. Rivers Edge Golf Course is located at 2000 Arnold Palmer Drive in Shallotte, NC, just over the South Carolina border. For more information or to visit the scenic Rivers Edge Golf Course, log on to www.playriversedgegolf.com. “Practice your stroke, and we will see you in September,” Pianelli concluded.