Golf Course Management

AUG 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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60 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.18 evaluated was later named Meyer, in honor of Frank Meyer's early efforts in plant explora - tion. e grass has been used as a vegetatively propagated zoysia cultivar since its 1952 re - lease, which was overseen by the late Fred V. Grau, Ph.D., an acclaimed scientist with the USGA. In 1967, Mel Anderson, a 57-year retired member of GCSAA who is now 85, became a pioneer in his own right when he decided to sprig Meyer zoysia at Alvamar Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole public course in Lawrence, Kan. (It later became Alvamar Country Club, a 36-hole public/private facility and most re - cently became a 27-hole facility, e Jayhawk Club). Alvamar was the first golf course in the U.S. to establish Meyer from its inception (see "Grass master," June GCM, page 18). After Anderson's efforts, Meyer was quickly rec - ognized as an excellent turf for fairways and tees in the transition zone climate. It's tolerant to heat and cold, maintains excellent density with limited inputs of fertilizer and pesticides, and requires less mowing and water compared to cool-season grasses. is month, Anderson will be inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame. GCM readers may see green grass at the PGA Championship at Bellerive, but now you know the arduous travel (Fairchild, Meyer, Dorsett, Morse), genius of plant selection (Grau) and courage of a forward-thinking su - perintendent (Anderson) that were required to deliver the grass that provides those champi - onship-level fairways and tees. Note: Some of the information on the bios for these gentlemen was collected at www. plantexplorers.com and www.wikipedia.com . anks go to Dick Stuntz, CGCS and presi - dent, Oak Golf, for reviewing this. Jack Fry, Ph.D., is a professor of turfgrass science at Kan- sas State University's Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center in Olathe, Kan. The grass at the PGA Championship Jack Fry, Ph.D. jfry@ksu.edu (through the green) Meyer zoysiagrass (zoysia) graces the fair- ways at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, where this month's PGA Championship will be contested. Meyer zoysia was released jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the USGA in 1952. Few turf - grasses that were used in 1952 are still being used today. ere is an interesting story behind the ar - rival of Meyer zoysia in the U.S. It starts with George Fairchild, who served as the third president of Kansas State University from 1879 to 1897. George's son, David, received bachelor's and master's degrees in agricul - ture at K-State. David married Marian Bell, the daughter of Alexander Graham Bell, in - ventor of the telephone. e Bell companies (Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, etc.) were the predecessors to AT&T. It appears David had solidified his retirement package even before beginning work. After finishing his master's and completing further study at Iowa State University, David was hired by the USDA as a plant explorer and eventually headed the Of - fice of Seed and Plant Introduction. David Fairchild sought to employ a plant explorer who had the capability to walk long distances and hired Frank Meyer, who was originally from the Netherlands. Meyer was one of the first from the USDA to explore Asia. Travel options were limited to foot, boat and horseback. Meyer didn't search just for grasses, as the USDA was interested in bring - ing a plethora of plants to the U.S., including food crops and ornamentals. Meyer's first ex - pedition to the Far East took place from 1905 to 1908, and he took three similar trips be - tween 1909 and 1918. Palemon Dorsett and William Morse fol - lowed Meyer with an extensive plant explo- ration trip to Asia between 1929 and 1932. Although the primary focus of their trip was the collection of soybeans, they collected seed from grasses, including zoysia. Meyer zoysia seed was apparently collected on this trip in Kanggye, North Korea. e seed was returned to Arlington Turf Gardens near Washington, D.C., now home of the Pentagon. ere's irony here: Seed that was collected in North Korea was brought to the U.S. and evaluated in the field at the same site where the head - quarters for the U.S. Department of Defense now sits. e top performer among the grasses After Anderson's efforts, Meyer was quickly recognized as an excellent turf for fairways and tees in the transition zone climate.

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