Cloe Ann Montoya
A Brief Look at Paspalum and Zoysia for Golf Beginners
What’s the difference, and why does it matter?
It’s general knowledge that the quality and type of grass on a course is one of the more important factors that can directly affect the quality of any round of golf, which is why it’s important for everyone new to the sport to read into the various parts which affect game play. Not only that, but grass is often selected for aesthetic reasons as well as durability. It takes a golf course an average of one to three years across the world to be built, and this number can be even longer depending on outside variables. It’s no wonder then that everything you see on any golf course is meticulously thought out, and this includes arguably one of the most important aspects of any course - the type of grass used.
Due to the geographical location (Asia) of most of the courses Linksshape has built, along with the preferences of the different clients we have worked for, we decided to create a quick overview for our newer readers about the well-known grass types Zoysia and Paspalum.
Zoysia and Paspalum are both naturally present in Asia and Australia. However, Zoysia can also be found on different islands within the Pacific while Paspalum, a warm-season type of grass with different varieties in the subtropical and tropical regions, can more commonly be spotted across Africa and the Americas.
Zoysia, which can also be called zoysiagrass, is a genus thought to be named after Karl von Zois (1756–1799), a Slovenian botanist. Zoysia works well in climates with heavy sunshine and it can handle heat, drought, mechanical damage as well as other maintenance problems which could occur over the years. Since it is a sod-forming perennial species, it possesses both stolons and rhizomes. It is one of the first grasses you can expect to turn green during spring, but is also commonly known to turn brown after winter. It is a varied species that can be fine or coarse textured, and due to the high silica content within the grass the leaf blades are stiff and tough. 
It is considered an extremely versatile grass, and is able to suppress other plants while growing into its new domain. It is also known to be able to grow in various types of soils which range from sands to clays. This makes zoysia the ideal lawn grass in certain situations, and besides golf courses it is commonly used in parks and athletic fields. 
On the other hand, we have Seashore Paspalum. Native to South America, this type of grass is known to be well suited for wet and/or saline areas in coastal areas. Because of this, it has an amazing ability to withstand higher than normal salt levels.  This is why it is also commonly found around the islands of tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
Paspalum is known to be a good choice for golf course construction because it is able to carry sandy and poor soil, high salt concentrations, the occasional seawater flooding, as well as general flooding situations. Paspalum, unlike Zoysia, has an intermediate and thin leaf texture, a clean and bright green tone, as well as good density and resistance to low mowing - allowing for quick recovery from damage. It does well during the warmer seasons, which suits the hotter climate found around Southern Asia, but it is known to have a tolerance towards lower light conditions as well. Overall, this particular type of grass is believed to be one of the most salt-tolerant types of turf grass in the world.
Both types of grass are unique in their own ways, and there is a lot more going on under the surface than what was briefly discussed in this article. We hope this light discussion encourages people’s interest in Golf Course Construction, and that more beginner and user-friendly information can be shared online to our new readers. Have a great game.