© the reserve at Lake Keowee

Superintendent Chris Vincent and The Reserve at Lake Keowee maintenance crew used turf to increase the fervor surrounding the College Football Playoff.

Vincent’s team painted Clemson’s orange Tiger Paw logo in the middle of a 50-yard football field they created on the club lawn. The idea stemmed from The Reserve’s desire to honor Clemson’s perfect regular season and first College Football Playoff berth. The Reserve, a high-end private club in Sunset, S.C., is head coach Dabo Swinney’s home club.

Clemson euphoria has occupied club chatter throughout the fall and early winter. That euphoria might have peaked when the painting abilities of the maintenance crew was captured via drone images. The quality of the final product even surprised Vincent.

“It turned out much better than we intended,” he says. “We were first a little leery that maybe we didn’t have enough paint.”

How did Vincent and assistants Bradley Robbins and Bart Stephens replicate a recognizable part of Death Valley?

First, they received plenty of cooperation from Clemson. Besides having Swinney as a member, the club will co-host the Clemson Invitational this spring. The relationship between the school and club is so strong that Clemson loaned The Reserve the stencil used to paint Memorial Stadium and provided the orange paint the crew needed to complete the project.

Vincent says it took 30 hours of work – three employees working 10 hours each over a two-day span – to paint the Tiger Paw and a matching set of The Reserve logo as well as line the field. The Tiger Paw measures 36 feet by 36 feet.

Below-freezing temperatures delayed work on both mornings. Tifway 419 Bermudagrass covers the lawn, and the drone images show the turf was in a semi-dormant state when the painting was completed.

“We have been painting for a while, doing the club logo and other things in different areas,” Vincent says. “But this was our first big endeavor like this. We were out there with thermometers, waiting for temperatures to get above 50. The paint would almost liquefy when it was too cold, so we had to wait until the temperatures got up. The biggest challenge for us was making sure the soil and air temperature was warm enough for the paint to actually adhere to the turf.”

Other keys to painting something big at a golf facility, according to Vincent, include having an accessible area where the work can be showcased and the proper equipment. The lawn was an obvious spot for The Reserve to display the Tiger Paw while a backpack sprayer helped deliver a consistent paint coating.

“It worked out as a win-win,” Vincent says. “We were able to say congratulations to Clemson and Dabo and to get our club a little bit of recognition. We were glad to do something to help with marketing and getting our name out there.”