Looking for ideal putting surface? Hybrid turf produces longer rolls

A golf ball on a putting green

Image: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

A first-of-its-kind zoysia grass hybrid promises superior putting green performance and quality while requiring fewer inputs compared to other warm-season turfgrasses on the market, according to Ambika Chandra, Texas A&M AgriLife Research turfgrass breeding program leader in Dallas.

The new variety, tested as DALZ 1308, produced average roll distances above 9 feet in industry standard roll-distance research trials. Golf courses now testing the new zoysia report averages of 12 feet — an ideal roll for tournament play by golf industry standards between 9 feet and 13 feet, Chandra said.

“This is a next generation, ultra-dwarf, super-fine textured, greens-type zoysia grass,” she said. “It’s genetically dark green with high shoot density, which produces a superior quality putting surface.”

Zoysias, compared to other warm-season turfgrasses, generally produce higher quality turf with fewer inputs like mowing, nutrients and chemicals due to their natural tolerance to disease, insects, shade and salinity stress, Chandra said. Their comparative low maintenance could help higher-quality putting greens become viable and sustainable for golf courses with limited budgets and human resources.

“The problem with putting green zoysias historically is that they’re known to roll too slow for tournament play,” she said. “DALZ 1308 solves that.”

The exclusive national license for production and sale of the variety is held by Bladerunner Farms of Poteet, which is working to establish fields of the new turf. The company will grant sub-licenses to select producers across the United States.

Chandra is also an associate professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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