How to manage your golf greens

How to manage your golf greens
How to manage your golf greens
It is said that a greenkeepers job is never complete, and we couldn’t agree more! Often, when a greenkeeper has one task completed and perfected – another one pops up.

Our guide to great golf greens should help to keep you on top.

Repair or reseed?

The most common form of damage to a golf green will be divots, and this will require repair.

Divoting

With golfing often divots are left on the surface after play. It is vital that these divots are tended to maintain an even surfaced and weed free green. Divoting is one of the most regular methods of maintenance on any course and how it is treated depends on the time of year and amount of play. You can read more about how to repair divots here.

Pitch Mark repairs

Pitch marks are caused by a golf ball landing on the grass from a high trajectory. If not repaired they can affect the quality of the playing surface and stress the affected areas of turf. They can be easily fixed with the use of a pitch mark repairer.

Aside from divot repairs and pitch mark repairs, all golf greens become worn when played on and need to be regularly renovated in order to bring the surface back to a suitable quality. This helps to create a dense, smooth and fine sward which makes provides a superior playing surface. Without appropriate repairs to the required standards the surface will deteriorate leading to further problems.

For slightly smaller areas that require repair that doesn’t include divots – here’s what you can do:

Turfing

This can be done by hand or a machine known as a turf cutter. This method is used to remove damaged areas, turf contamination such as oil spillages from machines or simply to allow access to a burst irrigation pipe etc.

Plugging / patching

Plugging or patching is used to repair or remove small patches of turf such as weed grass or damaged grass etc. Various implements such as a turf doctor can easily remove the section of turf cleanly allowing a fresh core from your nursery to patch into the area easily.

Aside from divot and general wear and tear repairs, you may need to overseed your greens due to the some of the following issues:

  • Thin or patchy grass cover
  • Compacted ground which indicates by poor drainage, high weed content, moss and poor grass growth.

Overseeding Tees & Fairways

For larger areas of the course requiring renovations greenkeepers will overseed. Our golf course grass seed, PERFORM: Tees, and PERFORM: Outfield & Fairway Seed have been specially blended to provide a hardwearing seed surface with high recovery rate. They include grass varieties such as perennial ryegrass, fescues, browntop bentgrass and meadow grass, that are perfect for large amounts of use and fast recovery. Here’s our advice for overseeding your golf greens:

Planning

● As with domestic grass seed for home use, the best times to carry out renovations are in spring and autumn. You should work to ensure that your pre-prep work lines up realistically with when you want to carry out your renovations. Just as with grass seed, you should consult a two-week forecast before sowing to ensure temperatures are adequate for germination and successful establishment. This means temperatures need to be 8-10 degrees above for mixes with ryegrass and fescue (PERFORM: Golf Fairways) and 10 degrees and above for bentgrass mixtures (PERFORM: Golf Greens, PERFORM: Tees). Ensure no adverse weather conditions are forecast before seeding – no floods, no drought, no sudden drop in temperature.

Frequency

● Although overseeding requires a lot of time, planning and effort – a good greenkeeper will know that it can be beneficial to overseed twice or maybe three times in the season. This does not necessarily mean buying twice as much seed but rather splitting your overseeding (35g per m2) into two light overseedings. Overseeding more regularly can also mean less need for complete renovation as your surface will become dense and establish a great root system.

Watering

● Your seedlings will require water to germinate. To save a little on the water bill for your club, you may plan to sow when there is some rain forecast. Germination can take as little as seven days – although 14-21 days is more likely. The just-sown surface should be permanently damp and if it should at any point feel dry, you must water it to ensure that seedlings remain moist throughout their establishment.

Establishment

● When your sward is becoming established and you are beginning to achieve an even coverage of grass throughout the seeded area, applications of water should become less frequent but heavier. The sward should be allowed to dry between applications in order to prevent damping off.

Year-round maintenance

Control thatch

Even the best looking greens can fall foul to thatch, and this should be avoided at all costs. Thatch (a layer of dead grass, debris, moss) will greatly affect your greens drainage and irrigation. Thatch retains moisture leaving your greens more susceptible to disease and also allows annual meadow grass (Poa Annua) to creep in.

Thatch should be dealt with throughout the year, and especially before overseeding.

Aeration

Soil compaction, preventing the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout your soil can cause grasses to die back and thin or bare areas will appear particularly on greens and tees. To avoid this becoming a reoccurring issue, you should work aeration into your maintenance regime.

Top Dressing

All fine turf areas benefit from a top dressing and this will works towards preventing thatch. Normally an application of 2 kg/m2 is applied two or three times a year during the summer season.