No-Till Renovation

What Is It? 
No-Till Renovation™ is the process of changing the grass variety on a putting green without reconstructing the existing surface. The end result of the process is that the green contours are exactly as they were before, but with a uniform, 100% stand of Champion. The resulting putting surface is dramatically improved by the inherent characteristics of Champion because Champion provides the best ball roll of any bermudagrass cultivar.

How Does It Work? 
How can the grass on the greens be changed-out without removal of the existing turf? The answer lies in the inherent characteristics of Champion: very-high shoot density, aggressive growth habit, and superior tolerance to low heights of cut.  The procedure is simple; first the existing turf is eradicated using a proprietary herbicide blend developed by Champion Turf Farms.  Then after the turf has been treated, it is put through a process of mowing, verticutting, coring and topdressing, all of which can be done in-house using equipment found in most maintenance facilities.

 How Long Does It Take? 
With coordination and advanced planning, some of the preparations can take place prior to closing and even during the grow-in. Of the courses which have used this technique in the past during hot weather, the average time from closing to reopening has been just over 6 weeks. In exceptionally hot weather we have successfully returned a few courses to play in only 4-1/2 weeks.

How Can I Be Sure It Works? 
Nearly 500 courses have had their greens converted to Champion using the no-till technique in the last 17 years.  All greens planted with Champion are planted by the breeders themselves, and therefore a successful outcome is guaranteed.  If something goes wrong in the establishment, we will provide more sprigs or sod to get you open as quickly as possible.


How To Have Your Greens Converted Using No-Till Renovation

Contact Champion Turf Farms to arrange an assessment of your greens.

We have performed the No-Till Renovation process on nearly 500 courses in 16 states over a 17 year period.  We know what to look for to ensure a successful conversion.  Because CHAMPION No-Till Renovations are guaranteed, an assessment of your greens must be made to determine that this technique will work in your particular situation. 

After making an assessment of how best to proceed with the conversion, we can schedule a date for the procedure.  Depending upon the specifics of the procedure used in your situation, you should allow for being closed approximately six to eight weeks.

After signing a contract, you will receive detailed instructions to follow in the preparation of your greens.

A representative of Champion Turf Farms, Inc. will accompany a crew which will come plant your greens at the scheduled time.  The CHAMPION plant material will be transported to your course using refrigerated transport.  Once we have planted your green, their successful establishment is unconditionally guaranteed.  If any problems occur in the grow-in, we will provide you with more planting stock at no cost.


Growth Habit for NTR

If No-Till Renovation is such a good idea, why is it that nobody thought of this before? 

The reason is that before Champion, there did not exist a grass with the necessary growth habit to make No-Till Renovation successful long-term.  Morris Brown had spent many years experimenting with techniques for converting greens without reconstructing and without fumigation, but it was not until he discovered the grass which he later dubbed “The Champion” that the No-Till Renovation Process became a success.

What is the ideal growth habit for No-Till Renovation?

Small Size.  A larger grass must root more deeply than a smaller grass in order to perform adequately.  Because of its small genetic size, Champion can perform well even with only 2”-3” of total root depth.  A smaller grass also handles low heights of cut better than a larger one, which give it a competitive advantage at low greens height, which is a key component of the No-Till Process.

Stoloniferous.  A grass that grows more deeply in the soil becomes choked-off when the soil becomes too moisture retentive.  The stoloniferous growth habit of Champion allows it to thrive in moisture-retaining soils.  Additionally, the grass with the most stoloniferous growth habit is also the one which will win the battle of dominance on the putting surface at low heights of cut.  Champion has a competitive advantage over most other grasses on a properly-maintained putting surface.

Mat Formation.  The formation of a dense mat allows Champion to grow like a carpet on the surface of the green.  Not only does this provide the make for the very best ball roll, it also serves to restrict the infiltration rate of water into the soil.  This is a key mechanism which allows Champion to thrive on greens which were previously too wet for bentgrass or other bermudagrasses.

Genetic Vigor.  A successful No-Till conversion requires a vigorous grass which will establish quickly and establish itself on the putting surface.

Early Spring Greenup.  In the competitive environment of a putting green, it is a distinct advantage to have a grass which greens up sooner in order to stay ahead of the invading/competing grasses in the environment.  Properly-maintained Champion will green-up very quickly in spring, due to both a stoloniferous growth habit and natural genetic vigor.


No-Till Renovation: History and Development

  • Morris Brown first developed the technique to plant Tifgreen (328) over common bermudagrass on greens in the early 1960s.  Varsol was used to eradicate the existing turf.
  • In the late 1980’s it was announced that methyl bromide would soon be taken off the market.  In search of a solution for renovating greens, Mr. Brown attempted the technique again, this time using Tifdwarf.
  • Through extensive trial and error, a proprietary mixture of glyphosate and various activators was developed that effectively eradicates bermudagrass.
  • Unfortunately, the high-density off-type bermudagrasses reappeared because Tifdwarf is not the dominant cultivar on a putting surface.
  • It was this failure in Tifdwarf that led Mr. Brown to begin collecting high density off-type bermudagrasses that would eventually produce the Champion
  • As we learned more about the culture of Champion, we quickly saw that it performed best on mature, slowly percolating, moisture retaining, highly-organic rootzones. 
  • Shortly after the release of Champion, Mr. Brown again tried the No-Till technique this time using Champion, with outstanding results.   Mr. Brown coined the term “No-Till Renovation” to describe the process he had developed.
  • Champion Turf Farms has now converted nearly 500 courses in 16 states over the last 17 years using the No-Till Renovation Method.
  • All No-Till Renovations are guaranteed by Champion Turf Farms.