Nissan Notebook: Kikuya Grass

If you’ve been watching the Nissan Open telecast, you may have heard the commentators talk about the “kikuya” grass. Personally, I think they just like to say “kikuya.” It has a nice ring to it.

What is it? Following is an explanation from Riviera’s head pro in an interview with For us East Coast folks, exactly what is kikuya grass, and why is your course known for it?

Riviera Head Pro Todd Yoshitake: Kikuya is a special kind of grass that was originally imported from Africa. Riviera used to have polo fields and the grass was brought in for them. But soon the grass spread all over the course and actually is now predominant in the greater Los Angeles area. It’s a very thick, wiry grass. In terms of golf, the grass is thick and strong, and so any ball in the fairway will sit on top of it very well. It’s like having a perfect lie for every shot. Now if you end up in the rough, it’s just as penal there as it is helpful in the fairway. The grass just wraps around the ball. It’s real hard to control your shot and make solid contact out of it in the rough.

Phil Mickelson leads by one going into the final round. But he’ll have to watch out for that kikuya grass because there are many worthy adversaries in close pursuit.

The Armchair Golfer

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Neil Sagebiel

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