With no need to overseed, it's always green at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

No overseeding means no down time at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - maintenance
Aerification (instead of overseeding) means Paiute's golf courses see very little down time.
Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - maintenanceLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Sun Mountain CourseLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Wolf CourseLas Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Snow Mountain Course

LAS VEGAS -- Somewhere between summer and the golf bliss that is known as fall and spring is the purgatory of overseeding. It's the time of year in Las Vegas when most resort and tourist golf courses close to put down the winter coating of green grass that makes courses look so brilliant from September through May.

But it also means sacrificing the course for a week or two and restricting golfers to cart paths as the new turf grows in. But at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort that isn't the case because all three courses have cool-season grasses all year long. Because the resort is nestled within the valley of the Sheep Mountain Range at a little higher elevation (2,800 feet), Paiute is able to maintain ryegrass fairways in the summer as well as bentgrass greens on two of its courses and Poa annua on the other.

"The biggest strengths to not having to overseed is we do not have to close the facility or make our customers play the facility as 'cart path only' while the grow-in occurs," said Chad Gunier, general manager and director of golf at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. "It is very appealing to the guests of Las Vegas when they see such quality conditions in the peak of the summer heat, especially when a number of facilities have already begun their overseed process and are not in ideal shape but are still open for business."

The resort's first 18-hole design, the Snow Mountain Course, opened in 1995. The Sun Mountain Course opened in 1996, and Paiute's Wolf Course opened in 2001. All were designed by Pete Dye and play more than 7,000 yards. The Wolf Course is the longest in Nevada at 7,604 total yards.

Ensuring healthy turf at Paiute

Instead of overseeding, each course undergoes a thorough aerification process from tee to green, which also includes fairways. The process allows for optimum conditions throughout the year. Each course does shut down for a few days, but only one is closed at a time as the process is rotated.

"That way, we're able to get water into the root zone better," said Jeff Reid, director of golf course maintenance at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.

Summers are still challenging

During the hot Las Vegas summer, though, it can be a challenge to keep the cool-season grasses healthy. Even though temperatures are typically 5 degrees cooler at Paiute than they are in the city, it's still quite hot, and the maintenance crew puts in a lot of effort to ensure healthy green turf. The oldest of the three courses, Snow Mountain, is toughest, Reid said, because of the Poa annua greens, which have more shallow root systems than bentgrass.

"We have to do a lot of hand watering," Reid said. "We'll have all 12 guys out there with hoses so we can assure we're getting the water to where we need it."

Still, the trade-off is worth it, said Gunier, adding that not overseeding also saves water.

"Our summer growing season is short and not conducive to growing a strong Bermuda base, especially at a facility that chooses to overseed it for the winter," he said. "Those courses that can promote the Bermuda in early spring (like in the South) will have a nice playing surface during the summer."

The facility has played host to many national tournaments and signature events such as the October ESPN National Golf Challenge. The facility offers two practice ranges, a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse, restaurant and bar, 5,000-square-foot banquet facility, catering for corporate events, weddings ceremonies and receptions, and an award-winning golf shop. It is the first master planned, multi-course facility built on Native American land.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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