New greens put smiles on golfers
SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT John Secor, who installed the new grass at the
Key Royale Golf Club, said it is salt and drought tolerant and requires
very little fertilization.
HOLMES BEACH – The Island’s only golf course got a facelift lately, and the grounds superintendent says it’s a move that will green the Key Royale Golf Club in more ways than one.
John Secor installed new grass on all the putting greens starting in May and ending this month, and he says the type of grass that he used will save money as well as improve the looks and the way the greens play.
"The old greens were 50 years old," he said as he toured the nine-hole private course in a golf cart. "The grass was suffering from drought, salt and nematode stress."
The grass he used was the type that he had already installed in the putting green. It’s called SeaIsle Supreme, also known as a seashore paspalum, and it is very salt and drought tolerant and it requires very little fertilization. That means, Secor can use the well that the course has to water the greens, even though the water from the well has some salt in it.
"It’s a green move for the golf club that is more environmentally friendly and will reduce costs," Secor said. "Being next to the water, fertilizer washes right into the bay when it rains, so I’m glad we won’t be contributing to that anymore."
Secor already has a machine that recycles the wastewater from when he cleans equipment to prevent it from going into the canal. The club also recently took out invasive pepper trees that lined the canal next to the course.
Secor kept the cost of the new greens down by installing them himself. Instead of costing $100,000 to have a contractor install them, it cost $25,000, he said.
The reaction from golfers to the new greens has been positive.
"It’s excellent," joked Ralph Bassett. "I figure in a month, my putts will go in."
Bob Kral, a former president at the golf club, said they’re the best greens the club has ever had.
"Awesome," remarked Nancy King. "The new greens look wonderful and they play extremely well."
The Key Royale Golf Club will participate in Bridging the Gap by holding an All-Island Shotgun Tournament open to non-members on Saturday, Nov. 15. This is the first time the club has opened the course to non-members for a tournament.
For those who don’t want to wait for the tournament, there are still some golf and social memberships available.
To sign up for the tournament or inquire about memberships, call the clubhouse at 778-3055.