Moody Gardens pioneers seeded paspalum

By Sean Dudley

The newly-renovated Moody Gardens course on Galveston Island off the coast of Texas is the first golf facility to use the Sea Spray seeded variety of paspalum grass, recently introduced by turf supplier Scotts.

Previous varieties of paspalum have been in the form of sprigs, which are generally more expensive than seed. The course has been redesigned by architects Jacobsen Hardy. "When we started out on the selection of turfgrass, water quality and climate were major considerations," said Rex VanHoose of Jacobsen Hardy. "Paspalum was more salt-tolerant than other options and gave us more opportunity to manage the soils and turf, but still could bemowed tight."

Originally the team intended to sprig the course, but a cold spring caused problems. "We were told we wouldn't get sprigs until September," said VanHoose. "Looking for alternate solutions, we went to Scotts and they informed us of the seeded variety Sea Spray and the rest is history."

"I think it's going to be the grass of the future," said course superintendent Steve Yarotsky. "Water will continue to be a major issue, if not the number one issue on golf courses throughout the United States and throughout the world. A lot of people are going to use reclaimed water or effluent water, so this variety being more salttolerant will increase its use on golf courses for years to come."

Developed by Pure Seed Testing, in cooperation with the University of Georgia, Scotts say that Sea Spray affords excellent drought tolerance and good shade tolerance and can be used for turfgrass areas irrigated with effluent water or subject to naturally high saline conditions.

This article first appeared in issue 14 of Golf Course Architecture, published in October 2008.

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