Very rough is the only way to describe The Views Golf Course (then Sun City Vistoso) in the summer of 2006 when I took a tour of the course before coming to work here. Bare spots were present in all fairways, and a few were almost entirely dirt. Areas that had grass were often swampy with standing water or smoked due to the lack of it. The wet areas were frequently wallowed out by javelina, which were a constantly rooting for grubs and damaging the turf. Javelina had caused so much damage in the past that attempts were
made to trap and relocate them. Mike Kropf came on board that summer as Golf Course Superintendent, and the change started immediately.
Damage by the javelina was minimized by spraying an insecticide to kill the grubs (a favorite food source) in the turf. Fine tuning a new Rain Bird irrigation system fixed some of the wet and dry areas. Over time drainage lines have been installed to dry out the turf in areas wet almost year round. With the grubs and perpetual wet spots gone the javelina are still present and viewed by the golfers as part of the abundant wildlife instead of as pests.
At the same time Mike and his crew began dealing with the lack of grass on many holes. The turf at The Views is hybrid Bermuda of three different varieties: 419 on the fairways & roughs, 328 on the tees & Tif Dwarf on the greens. Hybrid Bermuda produces seed, but it is sterile and will not grow. There are only 3 ways to fix bare spots in turf: 1. let runners from surrounding grass fill in (if the spot is too large it will not have enough time), 2. sod (very expensive to buy), or 3. sprigging (pull runners from grass areas and churn into bare areas). All three of these methods are utilized during transition. Transition is the period of time after the over seeded rye grass is killed and the Bermuda is trying to recover.
All courses that over seed for the winter go though transition in the spring and summer. Bermuda grass does not like to be over seeded and is set back. Weak and bare areas are sodded or sprigged and the whole course aerified to repair the turf. Each area takes about 3 to 4 weeks to grow so by the middle of July to the beginning of August the course should be in great shape again. Over the last 6+ years Mike and his crew have grassed the entire course and have succeeded each year during transition to return the course to excellent condition by August
Wildlife abounds at The Views. Golfers may see bobcats or coyotes stalking rabbits and deer grazing on the fairways. A few lucky golfers have seen badgers and raccoons. Golf course crew with the help of Common Area Maintenance constantly thin a large part of the desert around the course to maintain the natural beauty and increase speed of play. The lay out of the course is extremely challenging with each hole being unique and the views of the Catalina Mountains are spectacular. Today The Views will compare favorably to any course in the Tucson area.