To Sod or Not to Sod?

According to the folks at Turfgrass Producers International, a nonprofit organization of nearly 1,000 turfgrass sod producers in 38 countries, more and more municipal golf courses — both new and existing — are turning to sod to establish their turfgrass.

Having once had a reputation of being too costly, sod is winning the favor of resource maintenance, parks and recreation, and golf course professionals for its ability to open a golf course sooner, generate profit more quickly, and virtually eliminate potential environmental concerns such as erosion and excessive water use. A recent survey by TPI showed that the percentage of sod sales to golf courses has nearly doubled in the past decade.

This statistic is not surprising to Jeff Brauer, past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, who says that sod may not be the second choice for long. “We encourage as much use as possible of sod within a given budget,” Brauer says. “It’s quantifiable to show that the more sod, the better.”

While Brauer agrees that it may be cheaper to seed during the construction of a golf course, he maintains that he and others often find that subsequent costs — reseeding and fertilizing, for example — can rival the higher up-front cost of sod. Additionally, Brauer says, the emphasis placed on producing quality course conditions quickly has made sod an increasingly appealing choice for course owners and operators.

“More and more courses have the pressure to open as close to perfection for the first day of play. Sod helps attain that.

“Generally,” Brauer continues, “the best insurance policy you can have is to spend an extra 8100,000 to 8200,000 up front for sod. If you seed, you may spend 850,000 up front, but it may be 8300,000 a year out. It becomes a question of pay me now, or pay me later.”

For more information, visit Turfgrass Producers International at

COPYRIGHT 1999 National Recreation and Park Association

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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