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Greens to be replaced at Cherokee Run

CONYERS -- Cherokee Run, the city-owned golf course in Conyers, will close for seven or eight weeks this summer while the city replaces the turf on the greens.

City Manager Tony Lucas said the bentgrass that is now on the greens does not stand up well to the hot, muggy Georgia summers that essentially kill the bentgrass. Most courses that installed bentgrass in previous years, such as East Lake, Great Waters, Sawgrass and others, have replaced it with a hardier Bermuda grass hybrid, he said. In addition, he said golf greens typically need to be rebuilt every 10 to 12 years; the greens at Cherokee Run are almost 17 years old.

Conyers plans to install a dwarf Bermuda grass hybrid beginning June 19. Lucas said the course will be closed while the work is ongoing, although the clubhouse, restaurant and driving range will remain open. The city is working to establish reciprocal play agreements with other area golf courses where Cherokee Run members can play while the course is closed, he said. Members will not be charged membership fees while the course is closed.

Lucas said the new turf will make a "remarkable difference" in the course, which was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay of the Arnold Palmer Design Group and opened in 1995.

"That's the only thing that the course is lacking," he said.

Lucas said the cost to replace the bentgrass on the 18-hole course is estimated at $107,000, which is considered a bargain compared to the cost of completely rebuilding the greens. He said the dwarf Bermuda grass hybrid can be installed through a "no-till" method that does not require the greens to be dug out and rebuilt.

In addition, Lucas said the cost of maintaining the Bermuda grass hybrid is significantly less than maintaining bentgrass.

"The Bermuda grass and its upkeep will save as much as $30,000 annually because of the difference in the way you care for these two different products," Lucas said.

The new turf will be purchased from a company in Adel, Lucas said. The dwarf Bermuda hybrid is superior to bentgrass because it grows in a tighter weave, Lucas said.

"It makes a better putting surface," he explained. "It can be cut shorter and makes a smoother, more carpet-like surface."

Funding for the turf replacement will be recouped by cutting and selling the timber on property owned by the city along the south side of Centennial Olympic Parkway, Lucas said.

Lucas said the city will host a "grand reopening," tentatively set for Sept. 1, when the work is completed.