Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Green Speed Management

The trend of golfers wanting faster greens continues to pick up pace and popularity regardless of the golfers' skill levels. Players whose game is better suited to greens stimping 8 still want to be challenged by green speeds of 10 or more. The faster the better. So we do whatever we can to keep our greens rolling at their best.

Starting in late October we decided on a major change to our maintenance program and the results have been spectacular. Good ball roll is not as simple as choosing the right height and mowing every day. We also must verticut to relieve thatch, topdress on a frequent basis, water properly, fertilize properly, roll the greens, and aerify. Consistency is the key to translating a good maintenance program into smooth, fast greens.

Another key component to good green speeds is the use of growth regulators. We have always used a product called Primo on our greens to reduce upright growth, improve density, conserve water, provide better color, along with other benefits. Growth regulators pay for themselves and in my opinion are the key to consistent quality greens. Our major change in October was switching from Primo to a product called Trimmit.
Trimmit is another growth regulator that limits the growth of poa annua slightly more than it limits the growth of bentgrass. We had been using Trimmit on two of our greens with low percentages of poa throughout the summer and started on all of the greens when the summer heat had passed. The use of this product at our course is slightly unorthodox due to the make up of the greens, nearly 50/50 poa/bent.

Since we have started we are getting stimpmeter readings of close to 12 each and every day. We also have decreased our mowing to 4 times a week with rolling on the other days. When summer rolls around we will probably back off the Trimmit and return to Primo to avoid any problems with our annual bluegrass. However, the use of Trimmit through the fall, winter, and spring will help to limit the increase of annual bluegrass and should result in a healthier stand of bentgrass. The long term possibility of returning to solid bentgrass is something to hope for, but is far from likely.


Anonymous said...

What is your height of cut on the greens?