That popular phrase about Las Vegas is adjusted somewhat to better tell the story that takes place in a suburb of Henderson, Nevada, ten miles southeast from the bright neon lights of “The Strip.” That is home for Wildhorse Golf Club, an 18 hole, par 70 golf course owned by the City of Henderson.
Scott Sutton, Superintendent, and his staff of 13, have guided this award-winning property through a tough economy and budget reductions with a commitment to excellence and conserving the environment. Under Scott’s guidance, Wildhorse is on target to become Audubon Sanctuary Certified, joining only two other Las Vegas Valley courses with that prestigious distinction.
Dennis Maskill of Simplot Partners introduced Scott to Nature Safe 27-2-2 blended with UFLEXX. During a Sales Presentation Seminar versus “Brand S,” this formulation presented many positive and profitable opportunities at around $100 per acre for 1 lb. of N. Scott immediately recognized the “dollars and sense” and placed a truckload order for immediate shipment. His order included Nature Safe’s 13-0-0 Super Fine for greens, 8-5-5 Landscape for color beds and 27-2-2 Coarse for fairways and tees.
Scott and his staff aerified the greens pulling 5/8” cores and criss-crossing with 3/8” solid tines and applied Nature Safe’s 13-0-0 Super Fine. “I was amazed that within five to six days all of the greens were completely healed. I’ll follow-up every two to three weeks using ½ lb. of N per application during the summer season,” said Scott.
“I applied NS 27-2-2 wall to wall and was impressed with the ease of application especially since I was initially concerned about the bulk density of the two-particle blend. There was no mower roller/ bagging pickup or caking and it quickly watered in. Management was equally impressed with color and no flush growth – with no need for additional mowing or added labor costs. I also like that the 27-2-2 formulation will help feed the soil microbe population when the Bermudagrass comes out of dormancy in early spring.”
Scott also reported that the color beds were doing exceptionally well. While many other courses needed to change out the color landscaping three or four times per year (more expense). He attributes the use of organics only require him to change out twice a year.
Scott truly believes that organics has helped him to reduce nitrates in his shallow ground water supply (sometimes at less than 4”) to less than 4 ppm from +60 ppm of nitrate. Scott was also pleased that Nature Safe’s salt index is less than 1% which allows him to stay on target with the Audubon certification process by reducing toxins in water runoff.
Through Nature Safe’s Sign Program, Wildhorse GC received complimentary signs informing others of their environmental stewardship practices. This further demonstrates their commitment to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program by fulfilling the Outreach and Education segment for certification. The signage also helps educate the players and citizens of Henderson.
I asked Scott how he thought we could better present Nature Safe to other superintendents so that they would recognize its benefits. He said that many of his comrades think that all organics are too expensive. What that really means is that they want to continue with the “old school” thinking of just pounding NPK and really do not want to try organics. Scott added that they really can’t afford NOT to try it because Nature Safe “pencils out” per unit of N.
As noted in this article’s headline “. . . is spreading everywhere,” the introduction and success of NS 27-2-2 has greatly helped increase Nature Safe’s overall product line-up almost everywhere in the southwest/pacific northwest region.