Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa is set to join some of the most famous names in golf after unveiling plans to become the first course in Spain to introduce a new, environmentally-friendly type of Bermuda grass to its greens.
Renovation work to relay all 18 greens on its championship course, as well as the practice putting green, with a new Ultra Dwarf MiniVerde Bermuda grass is scheduled to start at the deluxe Andalucian resort this summer.
The greens project is being supervised by Ignacio Soto, head greenkeeper at Finca Cortesin, who has spent the last two years testing different varieties of grass to find the most suitable – including building a short game area to study the Ultra Dwarf Bermuda’s qualities in greater detail.
And with the new grass being grown at a nursery in Plasencia, Caceres, in the centre of Spain, disruption for golfers is anticipated to be kept to a minimum, with the course set to fully reopen barely a month after work commences.
Some of the most prestigious venues in the world including Sawgrass, Quail Hollow and East Lake Golf Club have enjoyed huge success since converting to Ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens, and golf industry expert Ken Mangum believes the many benefits from the new investment will help take the five-star golfing experience at Finca Cortesin to an even higher level.
Mangum, ex-director of golf courses and grounds at Atlanta Athletic Golf Club and head consultant on the project after being recommended by Soto, said: “Many great courses around the world have used the Ultra Dwarf greens system for several years. Overall, they are more environmentally-friendly, cost effective and sustainable.
“Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass provides a more consistent daily playing surface. The greens remain fast and firm with the changes in weather and moisture, (whereas) Bentgrass becomes soft and slow with humidity, irrigation and rainfall.
“The new greens will offer more great days of play, especially during warmer times of the year. Less pitchmarks will be visible. The dark green colour and surface uniformity will provide good speed and firmness throughout the season.”
Soto said: “Ken is a world authority on these type of greens and it’s great to have someone with his knowledge and expertise working with us. Finca Cortesin has always been renowned for its exceptional greens, and making the switch to this new type of Bermuda grass will ensure that we can maintain the condtion of the course to the high level that our golfers expect all year round.”
Designed by American Cabell Robinson, Finca Cortesin’s acclaimed par-72 championship course has hosted numerous high-profile professional and amateur tournaments including the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Robinson visited the course earlier this year and is delighted with the upgrades that are being made over the coming months.
In addition to renovating its putting surfaces, Finca Cortesin is also undertaking a comprehensive bunker drainage improvement programme this summer to reconstruct its bunkers using the renowned ‘Better Billy Bunker’ system.
Robinson added: “Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass is an excellent grass and players won’t know the difference between that and Bentgrass. It will be so much easier to maintain and to keep bad grasses out. This particular variety has been very successful in America and I have no reason to doubt it won’t be here.
“The greens are going to be so much more uniform, and the colours will be the same as the Bermuda grass fairways, so there will be a certain harmonious aspect to all the grass on the course. I think they will do nothing but improve the course.”
Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa www.fincacortesin.com