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70 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.14 greens. With Pythium blight, it's happened to a lot of courses, and they die in a couple days." Kincaid poses the analogy of having Dia - mond zoysia or a new ultradwarf bermuda- grass, compared to bentgrass. "During the summer months, they're working out like going to the gym. And that's when our busi - ness is the busiest: when the days are long. Our best revenue months are May through August and yet that's when bentgrass is at its weakest, on emergency-room life support. Which green would you rather have — a green at its stron - gest or weakest during your busiest time?" "It's a game-changer," agrees Milt Engelke, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Texas A&M, who, with the late Jack Murray, Ph.D., of the USDA, traveled to Asia in 1982 and brought back 787 unique specimens of zoysiagrass. From that and other collections made over the years, several of the new zoysiagrasses have risen to national and international promi - nence. Murray also created the National Turf- grass Evaluation Program (NTEP), which was initiated in the early 1980s. "Diamond stood out from all of the rest," recalls NTEP executive director Kevin Morris, who had just been hired by Murray at the time. "Diamond is unique. You put it in a trial and mow at 1 inch and don't get any clippings." But zoysia is so slow-growing that most people wrote it off as an unworkable variety for putting greens. "We thought a sod grower would have to sell it at such a high price," Morris reasons. "But somehow they got it to grow in and sell it and fnd a niche for it." "They" are Engelke and John Brown, pres - ident of New Life Turf sod farm in Norway, S.C. Yet Engelke, one of the country's foremost turf breeders who has released seven other zoysia varieties, defers to Brown: "I give John Brown all the credit in the world for taking this to the greens. He's done yeoman's work and has a group of superintendents who are absolute believers. It's a game-changer." In turn, Brown credits other pioneers in the use of zoysiagrass on golf courses: Fish, who took a long look at the short-range green and large practice surface built by Doug Pe - tersan at Austin Golf Club in Spicewood, Texas, and then made Tanglewood the frst regulation course to install Diamond greens; and Ken Mangum, CGCS at Atlanta Ath - letic Club, whose Diamond zoysia tees and fairways won high praise during the 2011 PGA Championship. After several years of experience changing greens to Diamond, Brown asserts, "We're past the 'proving stage.' We've converted some quality golf courses from bermudagrass or bentgrass to Diamond, and we're literally re - ducing the pesticide load on those greens — so much so that the savings in fungicides will pay for the renovation in a matter of four years." Top: Rolls of Diamond zoysia are installed on the prepared green surface. Photo courtesy of New Life Turf Bottom: Bob Land says speed "is pretty darn good" on the zoysia greens at Oconee CC in Seneca, S.C. Photo courtesy of Bob Land 068-075_March14_Zoysia.indd 70 2/18/14 1:42 PM