Koro Field TopMaker promotes new growth at Rio Olympic golf course

Golf has been reintroduced to the Olympic Games for Rio 2016 when some of the games top names will represent their countries on the course after a 114-year absence from one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

In 2013 Marcelo Matte’s company Green Grass Brazil started growing the grass for the new Olympic course at Barra da Tijuca in Rio. In 2014 they purchased a Koro Field Top Maker (FTM) with Universe Rotor from Campey Turf Care Systems, to maximize the harvesting of sprigs for transplanting.

Turf was grown using two grass species, Zeon Zoysia and SeaDwarf Seaside Paspalum which are both drought tolerant with the latter also saltwater tolerant, a big advantage due to the varying qualities of water used to irrigate.

All of the grass was grown at Marcelo’s turf farm in Brazil and it was here that the Universe Rotor really came into its own when it was used to harvest the Paspalum sprigs that would be planted as live material on the greens of the 85-acre course.

“The Koro Universe Rotor is very precise in the way it works; it means we can set it to produce smaller and better sprigs. The consistency of the machine resulted in the number collected per acre being double our normal rate because it cuts the size of the sprig in half, giving us more to plant on the course,” said Marcelo.

The vigorous root, stolon and rhizome production nature of Zeon is perfect for the efficient action of the Koro FTM’s Universe Rotor and its ability to be adjusted to the ideal working height to produce fantastic results on both cool and warm season grasses. 
In fact the successful harvesting of the sprigs even exceeded Marcelo’s expectations.

“Most people did not believe we could make it on time, but the grow-in was so good that the course was ready almost six months ahead of schedule. This is thanks to the good spreading habit of Zeon and excellent sprig harvesting rate of the Koro.

As well as the Paspalum sprigs for the greens Zeon has also been used on the tees, roughs and fairways and has low fertilizer requirements and grows a dense high-quality playing surface that make it difficult for weeds to grow. This is a crucial benefit of the species because herbicides are unable to be used until permission has been granted.

Marcelo has 20 members of staff to install the grass on the course as well as guidance from David Doguet, the American turf grass breeder from Bladerunner Farms who is responsible for developing Zeon to be used on golf courses and other areas.