Green Speeds entering peak season.
The new normal of inconsistent weather sure does describe this past spring to a tee! We are finally into some form of consistent weather here in early June and the greens are loving it. Green speed is all about proper preparation to allow significantly lower heights of cut. So late last fall our topsoil greens were Vertidrained with 12” tines. This gives us pretty much a nice 12” deep hole on 2” centres. This serves many purposes. It allows sand to get down there along with bentgrass roots and obviously improves water penetration. We are trying to promote the bentgrass. It makes an excellent uniform playing surface. The greens were all treated preventively prior to snow fall to protect against snow moulds. Also over the last number of years we have been able to get almost 2” of USGA spec sand on top of these greens. So preparation, preparation, preparation! Now we are down to our mid-season height of cut at .115 thousands of an inch and are incorporating frequent rolling into our weekly cultural practice schedule.
There are other things that effect green speed. Moisture is a big factor. While I have control of the irrigation system, I do not have control of the weather. A misty or foggy day can certainly add significant sticking factor to the greens and really slow down ball roll. Lush growth from fertilizer applications can also negatively affect ball roll. I use a program of foliar fertilizers on the greens during the golf season. This approach provides a small amount of nutrient to the plant on a consistent basis, thus avoiding a flush a growth triggered by either temperature or water. The end result is a more consistent ball roll over the season. I have heard people say that topdressing slows down the ball. Once the very light application has been brushed in you will notice that the sand has served to true up the surface and will actually assist with ball roll. The light sand application actually falls onto the crown of the plant that in effect tricks the plant into thinking that the height of cut is actually being raised. This makes for a healthy stand of grass and a great playing surface!
I was fortunate enough to get out a play 9 with my family last night. What a pleasure being on this beautiful property. Please get out and enjoy this great game!
Marc Brooks, Master Superintendent
Legacy Ridge Golf Club