June 21, 2023
Needwood Golf Course Opens‘Grass Roots Initiative’ Public Display That Highlights Benefits and Uses of Turfgrass
The Montgomery County Revenue Authority and its Needwood Golf Course in Derwood this week formally opened its “Grass Roots” exhibit. It was created to allow visitors to explore the benefits, history and uses of turfgrass. The exhibit at Needwood is the first expansion of this initiative at a golf course in the U.S.
Future opportunities at the site include hosting educational events about proper lawn care and related topics, as well as field trips in partnership with The First Green program. That is a STEM education program that empowers the next generations of golf and green industry leaders through on-course learning labs.
The project is intended to eventually offer educational events to teach residents about their home lawns, how to select the proper grass species to minimize necessary inputs, about proper fertilizer use and how to determine the best management practices for their grass.
Needwood Golf Course is located at 6724 Needwood Rd, in Derwood. The exhibit, which is near the parking lot behind the ninth green of the executive nine-hole course, can be viewed by the public during daylight hours.
At the dedication ceremonies were members of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority (MCRA) board of directors and staff, representatives of the National Turfgrass Federation and the University of Maryland Institute of Applied Agriculture and members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents.
Grass Roots was originally a four-year initiative that explored turfgrass and the turfgrass industry unlike any program in history. The host of Grass Roots was the U.S. National Arboretum, a USDA-ARS research and education facility in Washington, D.C. The National Turfgrass Federation, Inc., a nonprofit organization aligned with USDA-ARS via cooperative agreement, is the main industry link to Grass Roots.
Grass Roots explores the history, uses, benefits, value and issues of the turf industry, primarily through outdoor turfgrass exhibits. The exhibit demonstrates that the best grasses are developed and managed with specific purposes in mind. These include linking landscape elements, conserving soil, assuring water retention, assisting with stormwater infiltration and improving the aesthetics of landscapes.
MCRA intends to use the site to host The First Green events, which will welcome students on field trips to learn about STEM education on the golf course and use the site as a living laboratory. Students will learn about water conservation and water quality, soils, math, wildlife and habitat management. They also will experience some aspects of golf, including learning about the physics of ball movement via putting and the launch angle of a tee shot.