USGA Research Pays Dividends


Research -053014-1

Researchers and staff recently met at the University of Florida in Gainesville to discuss progress on their cooperative U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant. The five southern universities received the $3.8 million SCRI grant in 2010 to develop more drought- and salt-tolerant grasses, as well as consumer attitudes about water conservation (Photo by Staci Sanders, University of Florida)

One of the positive outcomes of the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program has been the successful development of breeding programs for southern turfgrasses. In 2010, Texas A&M University, University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, North Carolina State University, and University of Florida received a five-year, $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). The focus of this extensive breeding program is the development of grasses with better drought and salinity tolerance. Used as a financial match to secure the SCRI grant, the USGA funds $120,000 per year to a few of these universities. 

With the fourth year of this research nearing completion, hundreds of new bermuda, zoysia, seashore paspalum and St. Augustine grasses tested throughout the Southeast United States for drought and salinity tolerance will provide promising new cultivars. The tests for drought tolerance were very successful in Oklahoma and Texas where severe droughts have occurred during the 2011 and 2012 summers. The unusually cold 2013-2014 winter also provided an excellent test of the freeze tolerance of these warm-season grasses. Tests for tolerance to salty or brackish water are being conducted in Georgia and Texas. All of the universities are conducting cultivar trials of the grasses that have survived the best over the last three years. Three promising bermudagrasses and more than 10 zoysiagrasses from this cooperative breeding program were entered into the 2013 National Turfgrass Evaluation Trials.

Research-053014-2
Graduate students Bishow Poudel (left) and Jing Zhang (right) discuss their research on how the leaves and roots of different warm-season grasses respond to severe periods of drought. Thousands of pictures taken with a special camera inserted in the soil help monitor grass rooting during drought.  

Seven graduate students are earning their degrees while conducting research on how warm-season grasses respond to severe drought and salinity stress. The differences in the drought response and rooting, developing genetic markers, as well as evaluating consumer attitudes are some of the graduate research projects underway. The USGA’s investment in developing new grasses that can survive drought and salinity is paying dividends through this large, cooperative SCRI research effort by five outstanding university turfgrass programs.

 

Additional Information:

Breeding and evaluation of turf bermudagrass varieties

Analyses of bermudagrass hybrids

Development of shade tolerant bermudagrass

Seeded zoysiagrass cultivars

Zoysiagrass cultivars with cold tolerance and large patch resistance

 

Source:  Mike Kenna (mkenna@usga.org)

Contact the Green Section Staff

 


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image