Augusta Masters likely play on Oregon ryegrass

The legendary course at Augusta National Golf Club is so lush, it’s no wonder they give the Masters Tournament winner a green jacket.

The Georgia club is an exclusive place, with membership limited to the high and mighty — not to mention wealthy — of American business, political and celebrity circles. But as the Masters unfolds on television this week, Oregon grass seed growers and turf management students can feel a connection to the proceedings.

The incredible green of Augusta’s fairways comes from being overseeded each fall with perennial ryegrass grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

At least, that’s what everyone says. Augusta National is private with a capital P, even secretive, and its media handlers didn’t respond to emails asking about its groundskeeping practices. The Augusta Chronicle newspaper reported as recently as 2012 that Augusta overseeds with perennial ryegrass, however, and it’s a matter of faith in Oregon that the seed comes from the state that leads the world in production.

Augusta’s Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass, and goes dormant during the winter, explains Alec Kowalewski, director of the turfgrass program at Oregon State University. Perennial ryegrass, on the other hand, is a cool-season variety that does just fine in winter.

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