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Golf Business News – Atlas Turf is sowing the seeds of success in Erbil Hills

Erbil Hills, the first grass golf course to be built in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, will fully open later this year, with the 18-hole championship course designed by Cynthia Dye of Dye Designs Group and managed by IMG.

Located just 10 minutes from Erbil International Airport, the private gated development will include exclusive residences, a spa and wellness center, and other amenities, offering a new style of luxury living in this part of the Middle East. Nine holes will open later this month, followed by all 18 holes in December.

The Erbil area has a hot Mediterranean summer climate, with mild winters and temperatures often above 40C (104F) in the summer months. There is almost no rain between June and September, but winters are wet. As such, selecting the golf course grass was a difficult problem for architect Dye and his team.

“Erbil Hills happened because developers saw what we did at Dreamland in Baku, Azerbaijan and wanted the same,” said Dye. “These two projects are very similar, although they are not related. The client wanted the subject to be green grass from the wall. In Baku, we were able to plant cool-season grass everywhere, but obviously that wouldn’t work in Erbil. I have a friend who was the construction manager of the Ashgabat course in Turkmenistan, which has a similar climate to Erbil and they use Atlas Turf’s Latitude 36 bermudagrass there, with great success.”

Cythnia Dye requested Latitude 36 turf for the fairways and fairways at Erbil Hills

So the dye specified Latitude 36 for fairways and close rough. “The contractor wanted a different bermuda grass, which could have come from Turkey, but I was not willing, because I was not sure about the quality we would get, and I knew that Atlas is always reliable,” he said. . “With Latitude 36, I knew we would get through the winter well and that we would have good colors in the spring and fall, which will be important months for golf in Erbil. It starts coming out in November and is just turning green now. This gap should be closed as the grass matures. They will paint it while it is quiet, but the color will be great in the prime golf months. “

For the outdoor rough, Dye specified North Shore SLT seeded bermudagrass, also from Atlas Turf and our partner Pure Seed. “I wanted the roughs to have a different color and look to be defined and, given the client’s desire for wall-to-wall grass, it was clear that the rough areas would be large – there are 22 hectares of desert,” he says. “Choosing bermuda seeded was important for budgetary reasons – if we had tried to use stolons for the whole course it would have been too expensive. But at the same time, it was important that any grass we planted was drought tolerant. We have well water, but we don’t have an infinite amount, and to irrigate heavily in areas that don’t play very well is not possible.”

In Greens, Dye is specified for Pure Distinction creeping bentgrass, developed by the Pure Seed Test. “I knew I wanted green bentgrass and I’ve used Pure Distinction quite a bit, including in Baku. I like it a lot,” he said. “Obviously, given the climate, if we’re going to have cool vegetables, we needed heat-resistant grass that can withstand drought. With Pure Distinction, I have high hopes that the vegetables will be very good all year round.”

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