COURSE CARE
Elite Amateur Golf Arrives In Atlanta August 5, 2014 By Chris Hartwiger

The players in the 2014 U.S. Amateur at the Atlanta Athletic Club from Aug. 11-17, 2014 will be up close and personal with many turfgrass varieties.

Three things every “Turf Geek” needs to know about the upcoming U.S. Amateur at the Atlanta Athletic Club.  

The U.S. Amateur is one of the most prestigious titles in amateur golf. On Monday, Aug. 11, a field of 312 players will begin a quest that is scheduled to end Sunday Aug. 17 when one individual will be presented the Havemeyer trophy as the 2014 U.S. Amateur champion. While the competition is sure to be intense, we thought those interested in turfgrass management – aka “Turf Geeks” – might be interested in the field upon which the players will be competing. We offer three interesting turfgrass facts for your consideration in this update.

The Grasses Will Take The Heat  

Both the Riverside and the Highlands Courses at the Atlanta Athletic Club will be used at some point during the U.S. Amateur. All the grasses on both courses are now warm-season varieties. In other words, the turf will perform well during the typical hot August weather in the southeast. The USGA leadership will be able to set up the golf course to provide whatever test is desired and know with confidence that the grasses are in place to handle what is required.

Some of the Turfgrass Varieties Will Be New to the Players  

Here is a list of the turfgrass varieties the players will see over the course of the championship:  Zeon zoysiagrass, Diamond zoysiagrass, Tifton 10 bermudagrass, Tifway bermudagrass and Champion bermudagrass. Have you played golf on all these grasses? Probably not. And the same is likely to be true for the players. Practices rounds will be a learning experience in more ways than one.

Ties to USGA Supported Turfgrass Research  

Would you be surprised to learn that a home lawn in Shanghai China is the source for the Tifton 10 rough at the Atlanta Athletic Club? It’s true and it’s an interesting story. In 1946, the USGA began supporting a turfgrass breeder in Tifton, Ga. named Dr. Glenn Burton with annual funding to develop improved turfgrass varieties for golf courses. In 1974, Dr. Burton left his office at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station for a trip to China to collect interesting bermudagrass plants. He found a clone in a home lawn in Shanghai that looked interesting to him. This plant remained one of many in his collection until he and colleague Dr. Wayne Hanna learned that some of its unique characteristics would make it ideal for use on athletic fields and other low-input locations where bermudagrass is desirable. The variety that emerged from Dr. Burton’s China sample was named Tifton 10 upon commercial release in 1988.

For more reading on the history of the development of Zeon zoysiagrass and Champion bermudagrass, please refer to the article published just before the 2011 PGA Championship that was contested at the Atlanta Athletic Club:  New Frontiers at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

For more information on the U.S. Amateur, visit the U.S. Amateur Fact Sheet.

Source: Chris Hartwiger (chartwiger@usga.org)

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