The greens and fairways at Fripp Island's Ocean Creek Golf Course are getting a makeover.
The course is undergoing a conversion from Bermuda to paspalum turf. Fripp Island's other course, Ocean Point Golf Links, already uses paspalum, as does Kiawah Island's Ocean Course, the site of this week's PGA Championship.
According to Ocean Creek superintendent Jerry Ross, the change should mean firm, healthy greens that hold up much better to Lowcountry conditions, particularly poor water.
"It actually likes bad water," Ross said. "It may turn yellow for a day or two, but then it gets green again."
Being on the coast makes saltwater a particular problem for courses like the ones at Fripp Island.
"We get saltwater intrusion in our ponds," Ross said. "We have a limited amount of freshwater. When it rains we're fine. But when we have drought, we have to use well water, and it can have salt and a high pH."
While the turf will be better suited for the conditions, that won't be what golfers notice first.
"The greens will be faster and a darker green color," Ross said. "Those are the biggest things I hear from the members. It's just a different shade of green, and they like it better. It stripes better when you mow it."
Ross said the club first seriously discussed changing turf earlier this year and paspalum is gaining in popularity among golf courses.
The course will be closed during the conversion and is expected it to be back open and ready for play in approximately 60 days.
FUTURE HANK HANEY IJGA STUDENT WINS
Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., won the U.S. Kids Golf 2012 Teen World Championship held July 26-28 in Pinehurst, N.C. She fired a 6-over-par 75-72-75--222 with nine birdies and 32 pars.
A member of the Class of 2015, Whaley will attend the Hilton Head Island-based Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy this fall.
IJGT RELEASES DISCOVERY TOUR SCHEDULE
The International Junior Golf Tour's fall schedule for the Discovery Tour includes seven events in five states, including two in the Lowcountry. The Discovery Tour, designed for ages 8 to 12, is held in conjunction with IJGT events. This arrangement makes it convenient for families with golfers on both tours.
The fall events:
KIKKOR EVENT COMING TO GOLDEN BEAR
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour's Kikkor Golf Series is coming to Golden Bear Golf Club at Hilton Head Island's Indigo Run on Sept. 8-9. The registration deadline is Aug. 30.
The 36-hole event has four divisions: Boys 11-14, Boys 15-18, Girls 11-14 and Girls 15-18 and factors into AJGA and SCJGA rankings.
AREA GOLFERS COMPETE IN JUNIOR AZALEA
Bluffton's Ben Dietrich, South Carolina commitment, shot a 2-under-par 71-69--140 to finish eighth Wednesday in the SCJGA Beth Daniel Junior Azalea at Country Club of Charleston. Hilton Head Island's Andrew Orischak was a spot behind him with an even-par 69-73--142.
Blythewood's Bryce Howell won the event with a 5-under 69-68--137.
Other area golfers who competed in the Boys 13-18 Division were Beaufort's J.D. Lehman (148), Bluffton's Bryson Nimmer (149), Beaufort's Josh Fickes (150) and Bluffton's Wesley Long (151).
In the Girls 13-18 Division, Bluffton's Brandi Hammonds shot 76-77--153 to finish 16 shots off the lead. Bluffton's Kasid Beckel shot 159.