So what makes Farm Links in Sylacauga unique?
It's because this is a testing ground for different varieties of grass.
28 different types, to be exact, making this a little bit of a unique experience for Alabama golfers.
"We decided that why don't we put different cultivars of turf on Farm Link's playing surfaces so that we can show other superintendents so that we can show other turf managers, and just the general public the different options that they have when selecting turf varieties," Farm Links Director of Agronomy Mark Langner said. "It is still, today, the world's only research and demonstration golf course."
"This is kind of our research facility," Farm Links Director of Golf Terry Davis said. "Superintendents from all over the world come here to learn about different types of grass, different types of pesticides and insecticides."
28 different types of grass has to provide a challenge for the grounds crew at Farm Links. But they are always careful.
"Some of them we know a little bit about," Langner said. "Some of them we're a little experimental that we didn't know as much about. So we would put those that we didn't know much about on a smaller scale, and we would watch it. We would learn the characteristics of it. Then we would say, OK, this is where we think it would perform the best and be suitable for a golf environment."
Some golfers ask questions about the grass, not just for their own information. But possibly for their lawn.
"Word has gotten around that we're a research and demonstration golf course," Davis said. "People come out here and they hear that. They want to say, 'Hey, what type of grass do you guys have?' And that's one reason our yardage book has the different types of grasses in there because people want to know."
"Most of the fairways play very consistent," Langner said. "The tee boxes play very consistent. Other than having a little bit different of a visual representation as you're out here on the golf course, you really don't know a drastic difference in the way the ball sits on the turf or the way the ball plays off of the turf."
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