Cool-season grasses take a beating on practice tees during the summer. Cold-hardy bermudagrasses offer an excellent alternative because they provide faster recovery during hot and humid months. Since 1986, the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program has supported the development of cold-hardy, fine-textured bermudagrasses through the turfgrass breeding program at Oklahoma State University. Latitude 36, Northbridge and Patriot bermudagrass are cold-tolerant cultivars that can be used on practice tees.
Cold-hardy bermudagrasses are ideal for use on practice tees in parts of the eastern, western and southern United States because of excellent traffic tolerance, recuperation rate, improved cold hardiness, excellent color and earlier spring green-up. When cold-hardy bermudagrasses are used in northern parts of the transition zone, winter covers are recommended to provide extra protection.
Cold-hardy bermudagrass cultivars are tested for several years at Oklahoma State University before entering a national testing phase. The grasses then undergo rigorous independent evaluation by researchers in the National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP) at land-grant universities across the southern United States and central transition zone. At the conclusion of the 2007-2012 NTEP bermudagrass trials, Latitude 36 surpassed many strong competitors to claim top overall honors. Northbridge and Patriot cultivars were close behind, with excellent turf quality and cold tolerance.
Initial sales of Latitude 36 and Northbridge began after their release in 2010. There are several turfgrass producers across the U.S. licensed to produce cold-hardy bermudagrasses through Oklahoma State University’s collaboration with Sod Solutions.
Source: Mike Kenna