Why should you be concerned about genetic purity?
Issues of purity have plagued our industry from its inception in the late 1950s. The presence of off-type grasses in a green makes it very difficult to produce a consistent putting surface. Since the bermudagrass cultivars used for greens do not produce viable or true-to-type seeds, they must be established using sprigs (viable cuttings) taken from a nursery maintained on a turf farm.
Contamination. Turf farms typically produce many varieties of grasses, usually harvesting grasses almost daily. Unfortunately in this environment there are many potential sources of contamination around the nursery which grows the grass for the greens. Additionally, if extreme care is not taken during the harvest, loading, transporting, and planting of the sprigs, they can easily become contaminated with other grasses.
Mutation. It has been demonstrated that hybrid cultivars used for greens have an inherent genetic instability that can lead to the creation of mutations or “sports” (cultivars with different characteristics). In fact, ALL of the known cultivars for greens are actually genetic mutations of another variety. So even if a farm starts a nursery with pure planting stock, contaminating grasses can arise in the planting stock simply by genetic mutation.
At Champion Turf Farms, we produce our own proprietary cultivars that were selected by our founder, Morris Brown. We follow a very elaborate production protocol in order to produce planting stock which is free of contamination, mutation, or any off-type grasses. The processes we use are very labor intensive, take years to complete, and are very costly to perform. We are unlike any other company in that we plant greens all over the United States, from just one set of nurseries. This allows us to institute controls and procedures that cannot be duplicated by a corporate farm with dozens of nurseries nor by a local grass farm which supplies sprigs to just a few courses each year. Most importantly, all of this process and these elaborate procedures are overseen by the owners/breeders themselves. This is how we are able to deliver greens that remain genetically pure.