City to Replace Greens at Whittle Springs Golf Course

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City to Replace Greens at Whittle Springs Golf Course

Posted: 07/01/2014
July 1, 2014 - After a chemical treatment apparently damaged the greens at the City of Knoxville's Whittle Springs Golf Course, the City and its golf course management contractor will replace all 18 putting surfaces.

Work is expected to begin next week on converting the greens from bentgrass to Champion Bermuda grass, which will grow faster than bentgrass and should allow the greens to return to use within about two months.

The golf course at 3113 Valley View Drive in North Knoxville will remain open for the duration, and due to the circumstances, fees will be reduced by at least 50 percent. Temporary greens have been installed near the permanent greens. Alternatively, the Knoxville Municipal Golf Course at 3925 Schaad Road is open as usual.

"It is obviously unfortunate to have our greens out of commission at the peak of the golf season," said Joe Walsh, the City's Director of Parks and Recreation. "But Whittle Springs will remain open, and we encourage all of our regular golfers to continue to make use of it or the Municipal Golf Course."

The Champion Bermuda grass will present golfers with even smoother and more playable greens. (The conversion is similar to the process that will be used by Pinehurst Resort, which hosted the men's and women's U.S. Open Championships this year.)

Both Whittle Springs and the Municipal Golf Course are operated for the City by contractor Billy Casper Golf, which manages more than 170 properties in 28 states. According to Walsh, Billy Casper personnel on June 23 applied a routine chemical fertilizer to the greens at Whittle Springs. Over the past week, the putting surfaces began to decline. Samples of soil and fertilizer have been collected and sent to an independent laboratory for evaluation.

The cost of replacing the greens is estimated at $87,000. The City will follow closely the investigation as to the cause of the damage and anticipates a full recovery of any expenses and damages arising out of these events.

Whittle Springs Golf Course is owned by the City of Knoxville and averages 28,000 rounds of golf a year. Rates for an 18-hole game range from $7 to $29, depending on age, time of day and whether a player walks or rides a cart.