PGA Tour star Fred Couples once raved about the quality of the putting surfaces at Crosswater Club.
But since the golf course opened in Sunriver in 1995, Crosswater’s formerly flawless bentgrass greens had slowly been taken over by poa annua, an annual bluegrass that runs rampant in the Pacific Northwest.
That hurt the quality of the greens at Sunriver Resort’s showpiece, to be sure. But after a $500,000 investment to replace all 18 of the greens at Crosswater, those putting surfaces should be back up to par when the course reopens May 26.
“They’re going to just be as pure as can be, like they were when we originally opened,” says Jim Ramey, Sunriver Resort’s longtime director of agronomy, adding that the course won’t likely push green speed early on after reopening. “I fully expect them to be absolutely outstanding this year.”
Crosswater members have been able to play the course this spring on temporary greens. But Crosswater closed to guests for the season last August so it could replace all of its greens with T1 bentgrass, which Ramey says is a hardier strand that will compete better with poa, giving a longer-lasting putting surface.
All told, Crosswater replaced about 200,000 square feet of sod late last summer, giving the new greens a chance to take root before winter set in.
That should pay off this year, Ramey says.
“They (the greens) all rooted in very nicely and were very healthy as we headed into winter, and they have weathered winter really well,” Ramey says. “So they’re coming out (of winter) looking very good. ... I expect them to be looking very nice when we open on Memorial Day weekend.”
Crosswater’s issues on the greens are common to Central Oregon. Poa, which inevitably takes over the bentgrass greens on this region’s courses, is often slower than bentgrass to recover from freezing temperatures, often leaving unsightly brown patches and uneven putting surfaces.
But with the new greens, that should not be a problem again at Crosswater in the immediate years to come, Ramey says.
“They should be WAY easier to take care of and less of a headache than greens with increasing populations of poa,” Ramey says.
The new greens will not be the only change at Crosswater this season.
Crosswater used the old turf on the greens to create mounded target greens on its vast driving range. Not only did that decision save Sunriver Resort money, it gives the course’s members and guests better practice targets to play to, according to Ramey.
“The driving range has changed dramatically and should be a really cool place to work on your game,” Ramey says. “It was a really good way to use that material rather than to haul it to a dump, which would have cost a lot of money.”