The average 18 hole golf course has around 14 hectares of fairway area representing the greatest area of irrigated turf on a golf course, amounting to the greatest use of water by the golf industry.
The main strategy to reduce water use on fairways is to convert from C3 grasses (e.g.: Lolium, Agrostis, Poa or Festuca species) to C4 grasses (e.g.: Cynodon, Paspalum, Pennisetum or Zoysia species). There is a fundamental difference in leaf anatomy and the photosynthetic pathway of C3 vs C4 grasses. C4 grasses result in a reduction of daily water use in the range 25-30 per cent compared to C3 grasses. As well as a reduced water use, C4 grasses have better drought survival, recovery rate and root efficiency in the summer compared to C3 grasses. C4 grasses have another major advantage over C3 grasses, and that is their ability to tolerate salinity. This opens up the potential to use effluent water or saline underground water sources. Research to provide objective data on this daily water use has not been done in Melbourne before.
The aim of this project was to compare the performance of several C4 turf grass species against C3 grasses under a variety of conditions. Five different locations were selected for the trial plots. The findings may be found in the associated reports provided under the publications tab.