RED LEDGES AGRONOMY TEAM TAKING UNCOMMON APPROACH TO DELIVERING PRISTINE GOLF COURSE CONDITIONS
Heber City, Utah (September 17, 2019) — Red Ledges’ Director of Agronomy Pat Christoffer is an outside-the-box thinker. Cultivating bentgrass fairways and A1 bentgrass greens in Heber City, Utah – one of the highest and driest regions of the United States – has forced the 20-year golf industry veteran to employ maintenance practices that most would never think of. By implementing a “limited disruption concept” and substituting knowledge for the use of pesticides and fertilizers, Christoffer has found a balance between playability and the environment that are sustainable for the mountain community’s 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and 12-hole, par-3 Jack Nicklaus Golf Park.
“Since the day we built Red Ledges, 12 years ago, we have never hollow core aerated our greens, never,” said Christoffer. “I believe we are the first club in the world to implement this type of limited disruption concept from day one on newly built USGA golf greens.”
Red Ledges greens are as firm, true, Poa-annua-free and healthy as the day they were built. Christoffer’s out-of-the-ordinary maintenance approach on the greens requires its share of tradeoffs.
“The trick is once you eliminate hollow core aeration, you lose a powerful mechanical tool to remove thatch accumulation,” added Christoffer. “To manage the thatch in other ways, we apply frequent, light topdressings, but more importantly we monitor fertilizer input to avoid producing thatch faster than it is broken down by microbes and diluted with sand.”
Red Ledges has also eliminated the use of synthetic foliar nitrogen on greens, choosing instead to use primarily organic, locally-sourced nitrogen and encourage conditions to promote mineralization of the existing nitrogen in the soil.
“Our minimalist goals have also allowed Red Ledges to very sparingly apply nitrogen fertilizer to our creeping bentgrass fairways,” adds Christoffer. “We’re applying only about 10 percent of the nitrogen fertilizer that other golf courses are putting on their fairways annually, while still delivering perfect playing surfaces for members and guests.”
Located in the Heber Valley on the eastern edge of the Wasatch Mountains, Heber City and Red Ledges receive less than 16 inches of precipitation annually. Working in concert with Mother Nature is a vital part of Christoffer’s job.
“We pay attention to what Mother Nature is doing as she has more experience managing turfgrass than any of us,” says Christoffer. “Fundamentally, nothing we do at Red Ledges is more important than the application of irrigation water. That is why Red Ledges has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into making the most efficient irrigation system in Utah even better. We’ve added micro-irrigation, installed moisture sensing technology, utilize drone photography and continually audit the entire irrigation system for efficiency.”
By taking a natural and eloquent approach, while utilizing a mix of science, technology, Mother Nature and good old-fashioned hard work, the Red Ledges agronomy team is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful turf maintenance teams in the West.
For more information on Red Ledges, visit www.redledges.com.
About Red Ledges
Red Ledges is a premier private recreational mountain community in Heber Valley, Utah, that features an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course; a family and pet friendly 12-hole, par-3 Jack Nicklaus Golf Park; the Jim McLean Golf School; the Cliff Drysdale Tennis School; a swim and fitness club; Kid’s Club; Equestrian Center; Juniper Grill restaurant; and a multi-generational resort-style pool with water playground, a 144-foot waterslide, a poolside bar and grill and well-appointed locker rooms. Spanning nearly 2,000 acres in Utah’s Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges, Red Ledges offers 1,200 estate homesites and thoughtfully designed homes with dramatic views of the unique red rock formations and surrounding Rocky Mountain peaks.
Red Ledges is professionally managed by Troon Privé, the private club operations division of Troon. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon is the world’s largest golf management company providing services at more than 460 locations around the globe, including managing 510 18-hole equivalent golf courses. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s award-winning food and beverage division operates and manages more than 400 food and beverage operations located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 45 states and 33 countries, Troon’s family of brands includes Troon Golf, Troon Privé, Troon International, Honours Golf, OB Sports, Green Golf Partners, CADDIEMASTER, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Tennis and RealFood Consulting. There are currently 67 Troon-affiliated properties featuring 87 golf courses on national and international “Top 100” rankings. Troon-affiliated properties include Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina; Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club in Wickenburg, Ariz.; Yocha Dehe Golf Club in Brooks, Calif.; Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Buenaventura Golf Club in Panama. For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com.