North Carolina Course Converting to Paspalum Greens

Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shallotte, N.C., closed June 1st to convert the putting surfaces to SeaDwarf ® Seashore Paspalum turfgrass.

Dave Downing, president of Signature Golf Group, the course's operator, is overseeing the two-month transition of the greens from bentgrass to Paspalum, a drought-tolerant turf that requires less water and less fertilizer and may be irrigated with alternative water sources.

"Rivers Edge has decided to change the putting surfaces to create more positive consistent conditions on the putting surfaces," said Downing.

Although SeaDwarf® Seashore Paspalum has been successfully planted on golf courses around the world, the renovation of River's Edge will be the first ever No-Till conversion done with the turf. No-Till is a process by which the new grass is planted without tearing out the existing surface. The No-Till process has two benefits: it maintains the existing contours of the greens surface and allows a golf course to reopen sooner as the renovation process is much faster than standard methods of renovation that, in effect, would destroy the greens and require them to be rebuilt.

"The No-Till method of greens renovation is a very innovative process. SeaDwarf® is a very innovative turfgrass and the only dwarf variety of paspalum grass on the market today. The combination of the two could be a game changer for the golf industry," said Stacie Zinn, president of Environmental Turf, the Avon Park, Fla., the company that licenses sod producers to grow SeaDwarf® worldwide.

"I can't think of a better place for the SeaDwarf to make its debut as a No Till project. This transition from bentgrass to Seashore Paspalum to my knowledge is truly a first. The use of a new grass to help adapt to an extreme environmental condition is the reason we grow grasses like SeaDwarf. It is far better to work with what nature gives you, than to try and control it. In the capable hands of John Shaver and David Downing I have every confidence this will be a successful venture," said Hank Kerfoot, president of Modern Turf , the Rembert, S.C., company supplying the sprigs for the project.

As a test, Rivers Edge converted the facility's putting green last summer and it was "very successful," Downing said.

Rivers Edge Golf Club will reopen in August following the project. Rivers Edge will be posting progress reports and photos throughout the conversion process online at