The Southwest Turfgrass Association presented the “Arden A. Baltensperger Lifetime Achievement Award” to the Green Section Research Program. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the turfgrass industry. The USGA has a long history of supporting turfgrass and environmental research throughout the country.
A century of seeded bermudagrass production marks the success of turfgrass research. Dr. Arden Baltensperger played an important role developing the seeded bermudagrass industry. At 91, he still writes articles and remains involved in the industry. He has received many accolades for his work as a university professor, breeder, and administrator.
Seeded bermudagrass has become a multimillion-dollar crop, grossing more than $36 million in 2013. The USGA supported Dr. Baltensperger’s research from 1984 to 1989. This program resulted in the seeded bermudagrass variety ‘NuMex Sahara’. During the 17-year variety protection, NuMex Sahara paid more than $1 million in royalties to the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station and the USGA.
Since 1921, the USGA provided $40 million for university research to advance the long-term viability of golf. Plant breeding programs have developed 39 cultivars that have found their way onto golf courses. The Green Section also conducts research on management practices, water conservation, and efficient use of fertilizers and pesticides to protect water quality.
Source: Mike Kenna
Pictured above: Dr. Arden Baltensperger developed ‘NuMex Sahara’ seeded bermudagrass that had improved summer color, density, and uniformity than common bermudagrass. During the 17-year variety protection, NuMex Sahara paid more than $1 million in royalties to the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station and the USGA. In 2006, Ronnie Stapp, Pennington Seeds (far right), presented royalty checks for NuMex Sahara to New Mexico State University president Michael Martin while Dr. Mike Kenna, (far left), USGA Green Section, and Dr. Baltensperger, look on.