Two days after the 2015 Golf Industry Show’s “Zoysia as a Game Changer” event on February 23, a five-minute video segment aired on GCSAA.tv. To watch the video, click here, or read below for a transcript of the video.
The event, hosted by Team Zoysia, was designed to promote the use of zoysiagrass on golf courses. The day’s activities included a panel discussion among the nation’s top zoysiagrass experts, as well as tours of Bladerunner Farms (the world’s largest independently owned zoysiagrass breeding facility) and the Golf Club of Texas (which will reopen this spring after a renovation project that includes re-grassing the greens with LF1 Zoysia, tees with Zeon Zoysia and fairways and roughs with Jamur Zoysia).
For a pdf of the informative brochure about the event and its panel of experts, as well as the mission of Team Zoysia, click here.
Roy Bechtol, golf course architect at the Golf Club of Texas: “As an architect on your finishing hole, I love to make 18 a reachable par 5. It’s a long, wide golf course.”
Video Narrator: “At the Golf Club of Texas, superintendents had a chance to see a course that was recently sodded with zoysia turfgrass.
Roy Bechtol: “Because this is a public course, we used [Zoysia] japonica, and I think we’re going to see more and more courses using this.”
Video Narrator: “With a wide range of temperature and geographical adaptability, and extremely low nitrogen input requirements, zoysia turfgrass is the game-changing turf that the industry has been waiting for.”
Ken Mangum, GCSC, Atlanta Athletic Club: “It really makes a phenomenal surface. It’s a great surface year-round.”
Ken Morrow, The Turfgrass Group, Georgia: “They have beautiful dormant color; it’s just different than the beautiful summer green color.”
Dr. Milt Engelke, professor emeritus, Texas A&M: “We see these grasses in volcanic ash soils to low pH, high pH, sand, to clays. And they do really adapt very well to them.”
Ken Mangum: “With less input, you can provide a better product.”
Video Narrator: “Zoysia has long played a role in golf course management, but up until now, it had limited use.”
Dr. Amika Chandra, Texas A&M: “Zoysia is not a brand new grass. It’s gaining more use and popularity, and we’ve been hearing about it more in recent years, but it was introduced back in the early 1900s. The first two cultivars of zoysiagrass that were made commercially available were made back in the 1950s — Meyer and Emerald.”
Video Narrator: “Now, with new research and testing, and a full spectrum of leaf textures from fine to coarse, zoysiagrass offers the greatest versatility and utility of any of the warm-season grasses.”
Dr. Brian Schwartz, University of Georgia: “Here today, it’s zoysiagrasses, and Bladerunner Farms has obviously been working with zoysiagrass for 20, 30 years.”
Dr. Amika Chandra: “I believe that zoysiagrasses have a lot more potential that has been untapped.”
Video Narrator: “Bladerunner Farms is the world’s largest independently owned zoysiagrass research center, located in Poteet, Texas. And it is where superintendents got a first-hand look this week at the research that has been done and the advances that have been made in zoysiagrass.”
Doug Doguet, owner of Bladerunner Farms: “So, we were starting to see real changes in some of the varieties. Again, 33 varieties. Probably three or four of them were slow, like the old Meyer, but the rest of them are much more aggressive.”
Bill Carraway, vice president of marketing for The Turfgrass Group: “For those of us in golf, the homeowners, landscaper, builder, sports turf industry, whatever else, it’s a matter of maintaining the genetic purity, the integrity of the varieties.”
Dr. Amika Chandra: “Distribution ranges from 42 degrees north to 42 degrees south. So, for your reference, if you take that 42-degree latitude over the U.S., it will pass through the border between New York and Pennsylvania on the East Coast, and Oregon and California on the West Coast. That’s a pretty high latitude, right? So, there’s a lot more that we can do with zoysias.”
Video Narrator: “There are numerous benefits to the new and improved zoysiagrasses that superintendents are beginning to see for themselves.”
Ken Mangum: “We had green almost to Christmas. We did away with overseeding. We mowed less, sometimes 25% to 50% less. Sometimes we do mow three times a week in July and August, but most of the time, it’s twice a week, where we used to mow four.”
Video Narrator: “Zoysiagrass is not only a low-maintenance and cost-effective turfgrass, but it’s also environmentally sustainable.”
Ken Mangum: “Zoysia provides a superior playing surface, with less inputs. We mow less, we fertilize less, we water less, and we play more.”
Willie Gavranovic, owner of Horizon Turf Grass and All Seasons Turf Grass: “The financial benefits by the new varieties — better rooting by these grasses, more customer acceptance, more uniformity in the grass, the grasses seem to hold up. We have no complaints.”
Video Narrator: “Zoysiagrass has been making strides in the golf industry, most recently being selected as the turfgrass for Tiger Wood’s new course, Bluejack National Golf Club, and the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”
Scott Sipes, sales manager for All Seasons Turf Grass: “As the golfing industry continues to move into a ‘greener’ type pattern, we’ll see more and more of these zoysias that are less water dependent, less fertilizer dependent, as Willie mentioned. The bugs are virtually non-existent. Disease is much less prevalent. As the grass industry continues to grow and evolve, we get more and more usage and calls for zoysias.”
Neil Cleverly, 2016 Olympic golf course superintendent: “This particular variety, the Zeon, is very tight and very dense. Once you’ve grown it in or if you’re planting sod, you can get a lot of natural weed resistance. Weeds find it tough to actually grow through the turfgrass itself, once it’s established, with the obvious effect of you don’t have to spend money on herbicides and the normal cultural practices that you would have to carry out.”
Video Narrator: “Zoysiagrass revolutionizes how golf courses have been planted and managed, and it’s poised to change the way we design and manage golf courses moving forward.”