Golf & Sports Turf July 09, 2021
Tara Iti: In a league of its own
Crestmead, Queensland (9 July, 2021) – WHEN you put your tee in the ground at Tara Iti Golf Club, you are not just starting a round of golf. You are about to begin a unique golfing experience.
The links-style course is located on the Te Arai coast, just south of Mangawhai on the North Island of New Zealand.
Opening in 2015, Tara Iti immediately rocketed up the list of the world's best courses, with US Golf Digest listing it at number six world-wide.
With each hole boasting a breathtaking view of the ocean and nearby Little Barrier, Great Barrier, Mokohinau and Tauranga islands, Architect Tom Doak has designed a layout that is as picturesque, as it is entertaining.
The magnificence of the course is not lost on Superintendent, Brian Palmer.
"It's a spectacular setting for golf, or anything outdoors really, it's just absolutely beautiful," he said.
The American describes himself as fortunate to have landed a job at one of the best courses in the Southern Hemisphere.
"I was a Superintendent in Chicago and the Architect for Tara Iti was the consulting architect there - the stars aligned," Palmer said.
With a unique location and topography, the course is an architectural masterpiece that provides a challenge for players of all handicaps.
"What I love the most is trying to get the course to play the way the architect intended," Palmer said.
"In this situation it is a links course, it is all sand. We want a bit of a rambunctious playing surface."
"We want it to be firm, and fast, and the ball to move. We want the players to use their imagination, to go and use the contours that have been created out there."
A second-generation Turf Manager, Palmer said when he first commenced the role and first observed how the course was managed, he decided that a different fleet of equipment was needed to handle the unique location and its fine fescue grasses and sand base.
"I wasn't quite convinced we had the appropriate setup for this golf course," Palmer said.
"A unique aspect of this course is that we have no rough. The entire course is at fairway height or less. The only rotary mower that we own mows the cottage and homesites.
"I'm not a brand guy in particular, I didn't have an allegiance to anyone in particular, I use what is suitable for the property."
What was suitable meant a switch to a new fleet, with Tara Iti joining many of the world's best golf courses in trusting John Deere equipment.
"We send out the John Deere 220 E-Cut Hybrid's for our greens, we mow at 4.5 mm and we typically shoot for about 10 to 10.5 feet on the Stimpmeter.
"We have a surround cut that we use to mow at 8.5 mm and the whole point there is just a smoother transition from the fairway to the green so you really can't even tell what surface you're walking on.
"The fairways are at 11.5 mm and we try to keep them pretty lean and try to keep them as firm as we can."
Hearing Palmer talk about the specifics of maintaining the beautiful Tara Iti course, you can tell it is as much a passion to him as it is a job.
"Some kids might grow up on a farm and fall in love with it that way, I fell in love with this job that way," Palmer said.
"As a seven or eight-year-old, I would go to work with my dad and I would think that a golf course was the greatest place on earth and I just fell in love with it.
"I love to play, but the game and its history and the architecture, it's pretty neat and something I really enjoy".
To see Tara Iti and its John Deere fleet in action, watch the video here:
About John Deere:
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land - those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at JohnDeere.com or in New Zealand at JohnDeere.co.nz