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Zoysia Greens

Posted by mynormas on August 3, 2017


There are many more Zoysia greens in Malaysia than I know. I’m not sure if that sound right; like, why should I be expected to know everything about Malaysian greens right?

But the thing is identifying grass is not easy and many grasses on greens or fairways have been misidentified and eventually, a different (read: wrong) approach to maintenance was employed.

One golf course insisted they had Tifdwarf on their greens and it took about 11 PowerPoint slides of their grass side by side with Tifdwarf and Zoysia cultivars from various golf courses to convince them that it actually is Zoysia. The fact that many fertiliser and machinery suppliers have also said the same thing before me helped too.

I wonder how many more clubs that actually have Zoysia on their greens but does not recognise it or are in denial? There was this one club who continues to try replant the Zoysia on their greens with Tifdwarf. I told them that Zoysia is a lot more robust than Tifdwarf and that “Resistance is futile”. He persisted and planted almost 20 hole-cutter-sized Tifdwarf sods on the Zoysia ‘colony’ of the greens. When I came back a month or two later, the Zoysia had overwhelmed the Tifdwarf sods and colonised even more of the green.

I admit it is hard to identify Zoysia because it can be almost the same as Serangoon except the leaf blades are harder to the touch.

Here’s a combo picture of four golf courses in Malaysia with Zoysia greens. Until I stitched this combo picture, I didn’t realise that the Zoysias could look so different. The two top ones had smaller leaf blades compared to the two bottom courses. The difference is that the two top courses bought their Zoysia from nurseries and planted the Zoysia on their greens while the two bottom clubs had their greens invaded by Zoysia over the years. What is surprising though is that only one club had Zoysia fairways while the other had Cowgrass fairways; so where did the Zoysia come from? It is a mystery to the superintendent too but then to be fair, he was barely three months there when I met him.

Comparison Zoysia

The names at the bottom of the pictures are the Malaysian states where the clubs are located.

How are the greens’ performance? Quite good compared to greens of other grasses located nearby. They’re not as fast, but in some instances, they’re not as dead either.

One superintendent says that his Zoysia greens can give him speeds of up to 9 feet. I measured the one in Sarawak at 8 feet with no recent rolling or double mowing and they were using ordinary agriculture fertiliser too (which I thought was danged impressive) while one other club thinks it is around 7… or 6.

“Can I borrow your Stimpmeter?” I said, wanting to be sure of the speed.

“No”

“Do you have a Stimpmeter?”

“No, that’s why I can’t lend you mine”

“Do you know what a Stimpmeter is?”

“No, that’s why I don’t have one”

I started to open my mouth to  say something else but then thought better of it, I mean, with such impeccable logic, there really is no point in asking further.

Zoysia grass do have a place on greens; after all, rather than spending a large sum of money trying to maintain a grass that just doesn’t want to grow on your greens, might as well grow the grass that volunteers to be there, sometimes on its own accord.

Many years ago I was visiting a club that was in the process of renovating their course and I noticed that the pin was set on a patch of light green grass on dying greens. I knew that Zoysia can tolerate a high salinity irrigation water better than other grass and because this particular course is in a coastal area, reminded the officer taking me round to test the water of the irrigation pond. Why? Because then it will be easier to choose the grass that is suited for the renovation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Had to find a picture where a poor green (and the visitor) can be anonymous…

So, if you do have Zoysia on greens, don’t be shy about it. The greens can be good greens and you can turn it into a marketing attraction too (thats what I told one club but I think they are going to renovate their course with another type of grass anyway).

Zoysia on greens? Manage it and be proud of it is what I’m saying.

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