Revolutionary turf developed at Auburn University taking root on exclusive golf courses

A breakthrough strain of weed developed at Auburn University‘s College of Agriculture has taken root on exclusive golf courses following a rights acquisition by an India-based seed grower and wholesale supplier. Oregon.

The bentgrass variety, called AU Victory, was forged from the adversity of historic drought conditions that decimated golf courses throughout Alabama in 1999 and 2000. AU Victory was developed by Edzard van Santen , Professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. He recognized the potential of a weed that survived a devastating drought and then began years of research that ultimately produced AU Victory in 2015.

Fast forward to today and the recent acquisition of the rights to AU Victory by Oregon-based Mountain View Seeds. Adam Russell, vice president of Mountain View Performance Genetics, a subsidiary of Mountain View Seeds (MVS), said the company expects big things from its partnership with Auburn and the little seed that could make it happen.

Already, MVS has sold AU Victory to golf courses across the country, including as an exclusive variety for the greens of scenic McLemore in northwest Georgia. AU Victory is part of a new route in South Africa and has been chosen for fall sowing by the Lookout Mountain Club in Georgia.

“Of course, our focus must include placing AU Victory on the best golf courses in the country,” Russell said. “But, really, the sky is the limit with such durable, heat-tolerant grass that has been considered a superior surface by golfers around the world.”

AU Victory is considered by many to be the perfect solution for golf course superintendents looking for a putting surface that will thrive in high humidity and heat, Russell said.

“AU Victory had been in the making for over a decade,” he said. “Research and development takes all this time, and then when it finally came out, people heard about it – and wanted it – but there was never enough supply to meet the demand. That’s almost an urban legend. And that’s what got us hooked.”

Innovative research, rooted in a commitment to fuel industry growth, has been a driving force at Auburn College of Agriculture. The development of AU Victory wasn’t just a victory for Auburn: it was a victory for seed growers and golf course superintendents everywhere.

“Auburn scientists should always keep the needs of a specific industry in mind when conducting research,” said John Beasley, professor and head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. . “Dr. van Santen realized the need for an improved creeping bentgrass cultivar for golf courses, especially one that responds well to stressful climates. If AU Victory continues to perform as we initially saw, we we expect it to become a turf cultivar that will be widely used on golf courses around the world.

With one of the largest research facilities in the nation, MVS has also established relationships with Rutgers University and North Carolina State University. AU Victory is creating a natural partnership with Auburn that researchers hope will lead to further collaborations.

“In the past, we had a plant breeding program in developing turfgrass cultivars, and that’s the program AU Victory evolved from,” Beasley said. “Mountain View Seeds could certainly be a very important partner in bringing the cultivar versions of our forage and grass breeding program to market.”

This story originally appeared on the Auburn University website.

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