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Thursday
Feb072013

Zoysia Fairways For The 2016 Olympic Golf Course

The primary portion of the grassing for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games course was announced at the Golf Industry Show.

For Immediate Release...

SAN DIEGO, CA, February 7, 2013: After more than a century’s absence, when golf returns as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games in Rio, the grass in the fairways, roughs and tees of the new golf course built especially for the Games will be Zeon Zoysia, it was confirmed today at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego by Dr. Frank Rossi, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University who is a consulting agronomist on the project.

“Everything approaching the greens, 88 percent of the grassed area, will be Zeon Zoysia,” Rossi says.The greens grass selection has been delayed, Rossi says, because the salinity and quality of the water to be used for irrigation is still unknown.

“The decision on the greens and green surrounds hinges on the quality of the water,” Rossi says. “If the water is good, the greens will be an ultradwarf bermudagrass. The surrounds will be another type of bermudagrass. If the water is not good, the greens and surrounds will be some type of paspalum because the bermudagrass may not hold up to poor quality water.”

“As it marks the return of golf to the Olympic Games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport. It will enable Rio to host important events in the international calendar and it will be an example of sustainability and preservation of an environmentally protected area,” said the President of Rio 2016, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.

The choice of Zeon Zoysia as the grass for the majority of the acreage on the golf course, approximately 88 acres of fairways and roughs, reinforces the organizing committee’s desire to create a sustainable golf course. Zeon Zoysia has very low requirements for maintenance and inputs, according to David Doguet, president of Bladerunner Farms, the company that bred Zeon Zoysia.

 “Zeon Zoysia is very environmentally friendly. The grass needs very little water, and very low amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, while still looking and playing great. The grass will create a world-class playing surface for the Olympics, and for many years to come,” Doguet said.

Zeon Zoysia was developed in Texas by Bladerunner Farms, the largest privately held zoysiagrass breeding facility in the world. Zeon is licensed by The Turfgrass Group and Doguet Ventures. The grass will be grown in Rio for use on the golf course by Green Grass Brazil, a licensed sod producer of Zeon Zoysia.

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Reader Comments (12)

What a complete waste of time. Golf is in no need of the Olympics and the Olympics sure as hell don't need golf.
02.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Bigdad
Agreed.
02.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Terrible decision, should've gone with rye
02.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
Stord,
Should they have chosen rye because of its exceptional performance in jungle environments?
02.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
bet you less than 5% of golfers in the UK could tell you what grass they have on their home course!!
02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
I just hope they don't stripe the damn fairways up so it looks like Timothy Leary Golf and Country Club.
02.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad S
They should build the golf course first and then select the turf type.

They have gone through the process of retaining an architect (a good one) over a year ago and still don't have the approvals in place.

The water samples are available now so it should not be part of the selecton process for the grass.

Hopefully, they will get all the zoning/land ownership issues straightened out in time to build the course.
02.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDick Kirkpatrick
is this stand of zoysia at all good for a ground game?
02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commentercraven
"is this stand of zoysia at all good for a ground game?"

The typical zoysia seen in middle America is horrible for the ground game unless it's almost scalped. But I played on Zeon at Briggs Ranch in San Antonio and it is a completely different animal.

K
02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
my experience on zoysia was as you mentioned in mid atlantic area
02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commentercraven
Craven: I've had a different experience with Zoysia in the mid Atlantic area (Charlotte and thereabouts). It definitely isn't too bouncy most of the the times, but it can be dried out and cut down since it's such a hearty grass. Doesn't need much water compared to some Rye and Bent grasses out there. Unless the Rio course is planning on spending ALOT of bucks for ongoing maintenance after the Olympics...Zoysia (or another broader leaf grass) is the way to go IMO.

Also from my expereince...in the winter, it was always the Zoysia areas at The Peninsula Club that were the most playable when the course was wet. The ball kind of always sat up like on a good summer 419 Bermuda fairway. The difference between the bent fringes (wet and sloppy) and the zoysia collars/chipping areas (drier and firmer) was like night and day.

I think it's a good decision, but will the course be built and shaped to allow efficient drainage and hard conditions? That's up to Gil and lots of time using his bulldozer skillz!!!

I'm actually way more interested in how the course will turn out than the competition itself.
02.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Zoysiagrass is an excellent choice; it has few insect, disease or weed problems requiring far less pesticides than any other grass suitable to the Rio climate. This grass is a true chameleon as it can be cut at various heights developing different lies from the best upright lie you have ever soon on a tee or fairway at 1/2" or less, to a fully buried lie where the ball settles into the canopy making it penal to extract at 2" height of cut . It can be made thick and lush with heavy irrigation and fertilizer or rock hard and bouncy when dried out and shaved down.

I have worked with Zoysiagrasses for over 25 years in Japan, Korea, Hawaii and there is no better grass for the links game in the tropics or for sustainable (low chemical input) golf anywhere with mild winters to the dead of the tropics.

Well chosen gentlemen, the opportunity exists to showcase this grass and responsible golf course maintenance for the world to see.
12.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil noble

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