PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. | Mark Solon has been a Myrtle Beach regular since the late 1990s. Four one-week trips a year, like clockwork. The Seneca, S.C., resident has a place on the south end of town, and as such, he’s been about as consistent of a face at Tradition Golf Club as any out-of-towner can be. On top of it all, he’s a perceptive golfer who couldn’t wait to evaluate the course’s new greens. He did just that, and in the year since they were unveiled, he’s added several more trips to Pawleys Island track.
“These greens are in so much better shape than what they were three years ago,” Solon said after another recent round. “They’re very fair. They roll true; they roll as the course intends them to roll.” That was the goal when the course was shut down for the summer of 2018. The old strain of TifDwarf Bermuda was replaced with Sunday Bermudagrass, a relatively new product that was – depending on how you look at it – was not truly “discovered” until 2007. Agronomists believe that Sunday can last upwards of 25 years (versus 20 for many other putting surfaces), especially in the hotter conditions that are typical in the southern states.
It is why Tradition’s parent company, Founders Group International, elected to install it on several of its courses in the last two years. So far, the results have been universally praised.“It really has revitalized this golf course,” said Christa Bodensteiner, Tradition’s general manager and head golf professional. “We have heard nothing but compliments on these greens, especially going into the summer. When we heard problems about Tradition in the past, it was always during transition time [in the summer months]. They have exceeded anything I ever expected.”
The slightly lesser mentioned improvement of the greens at Tradition revolves around the reshaping project that accompanied killing off the old turf and planting the Sunday. During that part, it also meant adding size. On average, each green was increased by 15-20 percent, meaning less fringe grass on putting surfaces and a cleaner definition. Those changes are clearly visible now, and although it can lead to some longer putts than before the change, players have accepted it (it’s better than chipping, right?).Once on the greens, though, is the bread and butter of Sunday’s strengths. “They’re so plush right now,” Bodensteiner said. “You don’t see spots out there. You don’t see bad areas.”