Country Club of Florida Director of Golf, Jeff Klontz and his golf course maintenance team were awarded the “2022 Florida Celebration® Golf Course of the Year” Award. The award is given annually to talented maintenance professionals who display excellence in maintaining Celebration, Latitude 36® or NorthBridge® Bermudagrass golf courses and sports fields.
The award is presented annually at the Florida Turfgrass Association Conference, which will be held at the Omni ChampionsGate Resort on Nov. 8–10 in Kissimmee, Florida. Sod Solutions looks forward to presenting Klontz with this award.
“This recognition means a lot to me. I’ve put a lot of effort into it since 2006. Starting off, I told the membership they’d be happy with Celebration, and they continue to play and be happy with it and the playing conditions that go along with it,” Klontz said.
2006 was the year that the Country Club of Florida began using Celebration. It has become the standard bermudagrass for golf across the country and in other parts of the world for its traffic tolerance and divot recovery, purity and color.
Klontz has worked at the club, located in Boynton Beach, since November 1982. His wife, Denise, is the secretary at the Country Club and their son, Jeffery, is the agronomy superintendent. During his 40 years on the job, Klontz says that Celebration has been the best grass they’ve used, and he looks forward to using it into the future. He recalls when they redid the clubhouse in 2003, he put a sample area of 1000 sq. ft. of Celebration outside by the grilling area and it thrived in the shade of the trees.
Then in 2004, he put several samples of Celebration on the golf course to see how it handled traffic and performed for a year. “It was important for me to select a grass that I could test with our environment and weather conditions. That and seeing how it performed on a golf course on Florida’s west coast were instrumental decision factors,” Klontz said. The golf course architect, Lester George, was on the greens committee and was also influential in their decision to switch to Celebration.
“Celebration takes traffic extremely well in the summertime. It’s aggressive. We think it does a good job with keeping other off-type grasses from getting into the fairways and on the property. That was probably one of the number one reasons that I picked it,” Klontz said. “We’re looking at a grass possibly that could be on this property in the fairways up to 30–35 years and I think that’s extremely unusual.”
He shared that their club members love this bermudagrass and are happy with its density. “They get a lot of ball roll when they’re playing in the wintertime. The divot recovery is good and, most importantly, I think just the traffic that it can handle through the peak time of the golfing season.” He said the members used to complain about mud on their ball but not since they switched to Celebration.
Country Club of Florida’s peak season is the end of October–April of next year before they close for another renovation, fraize mowing the fairways.
Previous winners of this award include Florida Atlantic Softball Stadium, The Country Club of Naples, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, The Club Pelican Bay in Naples, Admiral’s Cove in Jupiter, Orlando FC’s Exploria Stadium, North Palm Beach Country Club and Harbour Ridge Yacht and Country Club.