As the date draws near for the Clearwater Bay Open later this month at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club in Hong Kong, course preparation is a major focus. The PGA Tour China Series event will be the first held outside of mainland China. Just one year ago, the club successfully hosted the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. Golf course superintendent Darry Koster is no stranger to creating the perfect playing conditions for high profile golf competition.
Four months before last fall's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Koster and his team completed a major greens complex renovation that included replacing green surrounds with Platinum TE™ Paspalum. With zoysia previously surrounding the bermudagrass greens, Koster was experiencing encroachment in the collars.
"The bermudagrasses are stronger in Hong Kong, and the zoysia doesn't stand a chance," said Koster.
Platinum TE Paspalum provides a good playable surface during the prolonged periods of rain and low sunlight in the region. The paspalum also solved Koster's encroachment problem. When intrusions of bermudagrass begin, the salt tolerance of the Platinum TE allows Koster to take a no-chemical approach of brine water from their reverse osmosis plant.
With the conversion occurring so close to the start of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last October, there may have been some nervousness as to the readiness of the greens. However, the Platinum TE Paspalum established quickly and provided championship-quality turf.
"Surprisingly, the Platinum TE performed great after only being in the ground four months. We are extremely happy with the results [of the renovation] as are our members," said Koster.
Koster is setting the same goals for this month's PGA Tour China event. "The benefit over last year," he said, "is the Platinum TE is one year older, which has allowed it to mature and become even stronger.
"At the end of the day, this turf setup works for our application at Clearwater Bay. Its main purpose is to work as a barrier between our other two turfs, and the added bonus is how good it looks," said Koster. "I can honestly say, the introduction of Platinum TE as a barrier and surround has been one of the best upgrades the golf course has ever received."