The Scientifically-Grown Grass Making Its Debut In Rio
After 112 years, the sport of golf returns to the Olympics on state-of-the-art turf sprouted over a four-year period
Golf returns as an Olympic sport in 2016 at the Rio Games after an 112-year absence. The Olympic Golf Course, compete with 18 holes, was constructed specifically for the event by Bladerunner Farms. The grassing of the course was completed in 2014, but, as with all golf courses, the grass needed time to grow in and mature before it was ready for play. Nearly 90 percent of the 88-acre course will feature Zeon Zoysia, including on the fairways, the roughs and the tee boxes.
The grass is environmentally sound and meets the needs for a sustainable, environmentally friendly 2016 Games. Zeon Zoysia requires:
- Less water: a savings of 30 – 50 percent in water use over bermuda grass
- Less fertilizer: a savings of at least half in fertilizer over bermuda grass
- Fewer, infrequent mowing: mowing frequency reduced by 25 – 50 percent
The grass is also fairly salt tolerant, so there is no loss of turf quality up to 15,000 pmm. It has been bred and developed over the past 20 years by Bladerunner Farms, a turf nursery 40 miles outside of San Antonio, Texas. End to end, the entire project took four years to complete in time for the games and is yet another example of the long lead time required to meet sustainability goals and ensure successful execution during the active game periods.
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