LSA’s USA Study Tour: Day Four

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The Lawn Solutions Australia turf tourists departed San Antonio for a quick flight to Atlanta, Georgia, as they continued their study tour across the US.

Timing the weather almost perfectly, they avoided the turmoil of the previous week when storms blanketed the city in snow for days-on-end.

The end of winter has seen some milder temperatures although it still remains one of the harshest on record.

Visits to turf farms, inspection of turf on-site and in playable form – even given the conditions, has given the Aussie growers a huge amount of insight into the performance of a number of turf types they’re looking to introduce into the Australian market in the not-too-distant future.

In what was a real coup for the group, they were invited for an exclusive lunch and tour of Atlanta Athletic Club, home club of the legendary golfer Robert Tyre (Bobby) Jones, jr (dec 1971).

The AAC is known internationally for its recreational and golfing facilities, with the renovations of its two Championship 18 hole, par 3 courses the main attraction for the visitors.

The tourists also got to inspect the facility with its 4000 square metre fitness center, outdoor clay courts, indoor tennis complex and Olympic sized swimming pool.

With the magnificent club rooms and dining facilities, it’s easy to understand that membership of this exclusive club, which dates back to 1898, is not offered to many people.

Following their course walk the visitors were then treated to lunch in the exclusive club house where a number of speakers addressed the group including course superintendent Ken Magnum. 

Ken has been the Director of Golf Courses and Grounds at the AAC since 1988 and has hosted several majors including the 2001 and 2011 PGA Championships. 

He has also overseen the grass selections and renovation of their Riverside and Highlands courses, both now converted to Zeon Zoysia.

Ken has been a pioneer in the use of the new Zoysia cultivars and has been working with Bladerunner Farms since the mid 90s. 

The success of the grassing combination of their Highlands Course during the 2011 PGA has literally changed the future of championship surfaces.

Ken is currently working with grass selections for Valderrama Golf Club in Spain, the golf course for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as well as the new Trinity Forest Golf Course in Dallas, future home of the Byron Nelson Classic beginning in 2019. 

Ken is a highly sought after speaker and consultant on major championship preparation, turf selection and golf course renovation and management and the visitors were appreciative of his welcoming and generosity.

Other speakers included representatives of The Turf grass Group who explained their role in the courses’ turf transitions.

The group finished the day’s activities with a tour of newer Georgian subdivisions and their exclusive use of these newer zoysias.

Pictured: Members of the Lawn Solutions Australia group inspect the fairways and greens at the exclusive Atlanta Athletics Club, Atlanta Georgia.

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Check out Day One’s summary here:

Day Two:

Day Three: