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Experts Explain: USGA-Funded Bermudagrass Goes To the NFL

Posted: 10/3/2013

I’m curious if turfgrasses we see on TV for other sporting events are the same as the ones we play on golf courses? (Virginia)

The short answer is yes. It is common for turf developed for golf courses to be well-suited for sports fields and home lawns. This is an example of how the USGA Green Section Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program extends well beyond the game of golf.

The most recent and highly publicized example came earlier this year when the NFL’s Washington Redskins selected ‘Latitude 36’ bermudagrass as their new playing surface at FedEx Field. Created by researchers at Oklahoma State University and funded in part by the USGA, Latitude 36 bermudagrass was sodded on the Redskins' home field in June. So now, when you watch a Redskins home game on TV, you’re seeing a product of USGA research being enjoyed by professional athletes not named Tom Watson or Tiger Woods. Since 1986, the USGA has supported the development of cold-hardy, fine-textured bermudagrasses, including the turfgrass breeding program at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.

Fedexfield1
Latitude 36, a new bermudagrass variety developed at Oklahoma State University and funded in part by the USGA, is gaining popularity across the U.S. Earlier this year it was installed at FedEx Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. (Photo courtesy of Jim McHenry, Oakwood Sod Farm, Inc., Delmar, Md.)

 

This is not the first time that Latitude 36 bermudagrass has made headlines in the sports world. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens have installed the new variety on two practice fields, and the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.) and Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.) home football fields are sodded with Latitude 36 as well.

The grass is ideal for use in parts of the eastern, western and southern United States for golf course fairways and tees, sports fields, commercial grounds and residential lawns, in part, because of its excellent traffic tolerance and recuperation rate once it is damaged. It has improved cold hardiness, spring greenup and excellent color.

 

Additional information can be found at:

NFL’s Washington Redskins Select USGA-Funded ‘Latitude 36’ Bermudagrass for Home Field

Recent Progress in Turf Bermudagrass Breeding Research at Oklahoma State University

New Grasses for Golf

 

 

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