Pure Distinction Creeping Bentgrass on the greens; Pure Dynasty® Seeded Paspalum on the tees, fairways, collars, and surrounds; and PureLinks fescue blend in the roughs are products of the renowned breeding program that has spanned more than 50 years and three generations of award-winning plant breeders.
Ryder Cup month is finally here, and Pure-Seed Testing, Inc. is proud to have developed nearly all of the high-performing turfgrasses featured at host venue, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. Pure Distinction Creeping Bentgrass on the greens; Pure Dynasty® Seeded Paspalum on the tees, fairways, collars, and surrounds; and PureLinks fescue blend in the roughs are products of the renowned breeding program that has spanned more than 50 years and three generations of award-winning plant breeders.
“Our family has a long history in the grass seed industry since my father, Bill Rose, started our business,” said Crystal Rose-Fricker, president of Pure Seed and Pure-Seed Testing, Inc. “At every stage and on every level, we understand the value of high-quality grass seed.”
During the research and development stage, Pure-Seed Testing focuses on breeding products that are better than what has come before. With years of experience and over 200 acres of research, Pure-Seed Testing screens germplasm – or plant material – and develops a protocol for each species, producing the traits that make a difference: deeper roots, better salt tolerance, better drought tolerance, disease resistance, and more.
Starting with hundreds of experimental plants, the crossing and evaluating process involves multiple replications, producing thousands of plants for trialing. These are reduced as non-performing plants are eliminated. Trials are conducted with universities and private companies worldwide to evaluate varieties under different environmental conditions. Plants that made the first cut may not do well when tested at other locations, further reducing the pool of plants.
In addition to turf trials, Pure Seed conducts seed yield trials where new varieties are planted, harvested, cleaned, weighed, and evaluated for seed yield potential. If a plant meets all the other tests, but the yield is not there for successful production, the option is not viable.
“We throw away a lot of plants that don’t measure up – those that get disease or aren’t drought tolerant, or don’t have the color or texture we’re looking for,” said Fricker. “After all of this, we’ve narrowed it down to what we think is worth putting into NTEP, and then out of those, what eventually gets licensed and taken to market could be less than five percent of the number of experimentals we started with.”
Pure-Seed Testing spends millions of dollars on research and development each year, with only the best varieties rising to the surface. Through comprehensive marketing efforts with partner company Atlas Turf International, distributors, and customers, Pure Seed has very specific goals for developing new varieties.
“I think that is our advantage,” said Fricker. “With our partners, we understand what we need to develop a variety for – what traits we need so that we are very relevant and intentional with the varieties that we release. Our investment is high, but we have a very high success rate.”
Incorporating sustainability into the process is a central goal at Pure Seed. From breeding to production to end-user applications, sustainability takes priority. Improving drought tolerance in all species is a primary example of sustainability in action. Pure-Seed Testing advances in breeding drought-tolerant turfgrasses have seen varieties that require as much as 40% less water. Working with the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) provides third-party validation. Two fescue varieties in the PureLinks blend used at Marco Simone for the Ryder Cup are TWCA-qualified.
In addition to breeding more drought-tolerant varieties, Pure-Seed Testing also pioneers varieties offering exceptional salt tolerance, including Pure Dynasty Seeded Paspalum featured in Italy at Marco Simone, allowing the option for irrigation with effluent water.
Over the past 50 years, Pure Seed has always strived to show value to its customers by offering varieties that make a difference. Providing the turfgrasses for the most illustrious competition in golf is certainly one of the highlights of the company’s history.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Fricker. “Especially as we’re hearing how well the grasses are performing. That is the goal. We want to make a difference for the golfer, the superintendent, the owners, and all athletes wherever our grasses are used. To see that come to fruition in Rome for the Ryder Cup is something special.”
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