Superintendents in the transition zone who are forward thinkers and on the leading edge are turning to Champion to replace their courses’ bentgrass greens, Champion’s Mike Brown says.   Editor’s note: The June issue of Superintendent magazine features a special supplement on golf and sustainability. We were fortunate to have several advertisers/sponsors involved in the supplement to make it possible and to help educate superintendents about sustainability. We asked the sponsors to share their philosophies about sustainability as it pertains to their products. It’s clear these companies take sustainability very seriously and are committed to its economic, environmental and social components. While their stories appeared in the June issue, we’re also sharing them in this newsletter. Today, a look at Champion Turf Farms.

Previously, golf courses in the transition zone that converted from bentgrass to bermudagrass greens were looked down upon, like their personnel didn’t have the wherewithal to grow bentgrass, which was considered the superior grass.

But that belief is changing, thanks to the success of Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass. Many golf courses throughout the transition zone have switched from bentgrass to Champion – and now Champion, produced by Bay City, Texas-based Champion Turf Farms, is viewed as the superior grass in many cases.

Much of that thinking has to do with golf’s move toward sustainability. Champion has gained a reputation as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly turfgrass because it requires fewer inputs.

Mike Brown, the company’s vice president, says superintendents in the transition zone who are forward thinkers and on the leading edge are turning to Champion to replace their courses’ bentgrass greens. Those superintendents, motivated by sustainability, realize that Champion greens cost less to maintain because they don’t require the upkeep bentgrass greens do. They also require less fungicide and are more vigorous because they thrive in the heat.

The latest golf course in the transition zone to convert to Champion is perhaps the most well-known course to do so: Pinehurst No. 2 will renovate its greens in early July.
“We’re very excited about it,” Brown states.

He says Pinehurst No. 2’s personnel has the wherewithal to grow bentgrass in hot and harsh conditions, which they have done for years. But Pinehurst is converting to Champion as a sustainable measure. The golf course maintenance team will no longer have to babysit the greens in the summer, standing by ready to hand water them.

“They know the future is to get away from that kind of thing,” Brown says.

In the past, Pinehurst No. 2 has also had Poa annua issues on its bentgrass greens. But there will be no more interns plucking Poa from the greens by hand. Poa annua poses little, if any, threat to Champion greens, Brown notes.

Most golf courses in the transition zone with bentgrass greens are an excellent fit for Champion, Brown adds.

“What Champion does is what you need in that part of the world,” he says. “You need it to green up quickly.”

Champion’s density and the mat it forms help it to withstand traffic, Brown explains. It also doesn’t need to be overseeded in the transition zone.