The Winter Garden, Fla. club is switching to Diamond Zoysia grass on the putting surfaces and installing a new irrigation system. The plan is to install the turf and irrigation nine holes at a time, so members can still play the course. The installation is planned to start July 14 and finish by mid-September.
Over the past few years, West Orange Country Club in Winter Garden, Fla. has grown from 147 members to 316, allowing the club to invest back into the course with a total renovation of the greens and the installation of a new irrigation system, the West Orange Times reported. Improvements also will be made to tee boxes and fairways.
“Six years ago, the old ownership almost closed the doors at the club—it was a not-for-profit, and they were financially struggling—so members got together, bought it out, and we got to a point now where we can put brand-new greens on the golf course and do the irrigation system, as well,” said General Manager Brendon Chase. “It’s been quite the ride.”
The greens around the 18-hole course had begun to age a bit and haven’t been up to the club’s standards, Chase told the Times. With the growth, owners decided to put in some new greens.
The new turf—called Diamond Zoysia grass—is a fine-textured, high-density type of turf, according to Jason Sobel, a club member, the Times reported. A lot of courses throughout Central Florida are utilizing—or will utilize—this specific style of grass because it offers a variety of perks, Chase said.
“Some of it depends on the layout of the land—where the golf course is—so us being kind of a wetter area, in a swampy area, this grass really can perform and do well in those wet area,” Chase said. “It’s also probably the best grass when it comes to shade tolerance.”
Meanwhile, the new irrigation system—a modern technology called inners and outers, which allows for control of water onto the greens and the surrounding areas of the greens—will be placed around the greens to help keep the grass healthy, the Times reported. It also will help those who help maintain the golf course, Chase said.
“Basically, we’re going from a 1990s setup to 2021s setup,” Chase said. “It was tough, because our maintenance team—because there’s going to be breakage—it was very tough for them to find parts, because that’s how old it is.”
The plan for getting everything done without shutting down the course is to install the turf and irrigation nine holes at a time, the Times reported. That way, members can still go out and enjoy a round of golf. The installation is planned to start July 14 and then be done sometime by mid-September.
With all the new changes, there’s a lot happening at WOCC this summer, the Times reported. For Chase, it speaks volumes to the effort being put in to help continue to raise the club higher and higher.
“The ownership is going the next step to make it better,” Chase said. “When they first took over, there was always that rumor around town, ‘Oh they’re just going to let it fail and develop.’ Well, it’s been over five years, but they continue business, they keep going, and the support from the community has been awesome.
“I think putting in new greens is kind of saying something like, ‘Hey, we’re here to stay, come out and enjoy it,’” he said. “We’ve already announced it to the membership, so everyone is very excited, pumped and ready for it.”