Poannua is a type of bluegrass with a unique growing style that makes it conducive to golf courses and is found primarily in mild climates, particularly in the coastal regions of California. It grows sideways and very quickly, so when used on golf course greens, it can create bumpy conditions later in the day.
There are numerous varieties of Poannua, known as PO to most professional golfers, but they all share the fast-growing attribute. There are three PGA Tour events in particular that feature po greens and all of them are in California in tournaments that are played close to each other on the schedule.
The most famous of these events is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which uses three different courses, including Pebble Beach, which all use Poannua greens. Still, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club are also played on po greens. Some players have difficulty reading putts on PO, so they either struggle at those events or skip them altogether in favor of greens more conducive to their style.
Primarily because of their ability to putt on po, many players have repeated success at certain tournaments. In this piece, we look at a handful of them who have figured out this difficult grass.
Rahm won his first Tour event in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in 2017, with .404 strokes gained putting and then followed it up with a tie for fifth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he had strokes gained, putting a total of .962 and then posted strokes gained putting the figure of 1.241 at the WGC – Mexico Championship also played on po greens. Rahm’s success has continued on po and has finished in the top seven the last three years at Torrey Pines and won the 2021 U.S. Open with strokes gained putting of .958 after having to withdraw from the Memorial, which is played on a mix of po and bent grass greens, where his strokes gained putting were 1.883.
Although Tiger Woods may never return to the Tour full time, his record at Torrey Pines has won eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open where he sunk a famous putt on the 18th hole late in the day on Sunday to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate. He also won an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am early in his career and his record-setting victory in the 2000 U.S. Open, where he scorched the field by 15 shots. Still, except for the 2010 and 2019 U.S. Opens, he largely avoided Pebble Beach after 2002, reportedly because he dislikes the greens.
Although he hails from Utah, Finau has had success in all three of the California events played on po. In 2021, he recorded runner-up finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Genesis Invitational, where he gained strokes, putting a figure of .761 at tricky Riviera. Despite missing the cut in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, he still managed 1.363 strokes gained, putting through just two rounds.