Zeon Zoysia, golf grass of the Rio Olympics
Golf will return to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century when it’s contested (with or without Rory McIlroy) at the Rio Games in 2016. And while we’ve been waiting way too long to get the course construction under way, officials announced that roughly eighty-eight percent of the grass used will be Zeon Zoysia.
“Zeon Zoysia is very environmentally friendly,” David Doguet, president of Blade Runner Farms, said Monday. “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.”
The chosen grass will cover the fairways, tees, and rough. But Dr. Frank Rossi, a consulting agronomist from Cornell University, said at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego Monday that they can’t determine which grass will be used for the greens until they test the quality of water available for irrigation.
“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.”
A course designed by Gil Hanse to accomodate the Olympic galleries is set to be constructed about three miles from the Olympic Park in Rio, but disputes over land ownership are holding up the process.