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New Rio Olympics Course to Use Zeon Zoysia Turf


The golf course being planned for the 2016 Rio Olympics will feature Zeon Zoysia on its tees, fairways and roughs. The new course will be designed by Gil Hanse, who was selected over several big-name architects last year.

The announcement of the turf was made during the recent Golf Industry Show in San Diego and confirmed by Dr. Frank Rossi, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. Rossi is serving as a consulting agronomist on the project.

The selection of Zeon Zoysia was due to the organizing committee's mandate to build a sustainable course for the first Olympic golf competition since 1904 in St. Louis.

Zeon Zoysia has very low requirements for maintenance and inputs, according to David Doguet, president of Bladerunner Farms, the company that bred the grass strain.

"Everything approaching the greens, 88 percent of the grassed area, will be Zeon Zoysia," Rossi told Golf Course Industry magazine. (For the complete article, visit http://www.golfcourseindustry.com/gci-021113-Zeon-Zoysia-Olympics.aspx.)

It's still to be determined what type of turf will be used on the greens and surrounds. "The decision on the greens and green surrounds hinges on the quality of the water," Rossi told Golf Course Industry.

"If the water is good, the greens will be an ultradwarf bermudagrass," added Rossi. "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."