Putting Green Speeds: A Reality Check!

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Twenty-nine golf courses in Connecticut participated in a study where 448 golfers were asked in a questionnaire to rank the speed of selected greens into one of five categories from slow to fast. These rankings were paired to the same USGA speed chart categories for regular play based on measured Stimpmeter ball-roll distances. Overall, there was no significant (P = 0.72) relationship between golfer rankings of green speed and USGA speed categories. Low-handicap golfers were able to detect increasing trends in green speeds only slightly better than higher-handicap golfers or golfers with no handicap. Overall, the majority of golfers (74%) ranked green speed into slower categories than those determined by the Stimpmeter. However, golfer rankings correctly matched USGA categories in 41.4 to 48.8% of cases when measured speeds were classified as medium to medium-fast, respectively. Regardless of ball-roll distance, 87.5% of respondents rated the putting green speed as satisfactory. The data suggest that use of the Stimpmeter for delineating greens into arbitrary speed categories may be obsolete. Instead, it should be used as a tool to determine “ideal” green speeds at individual golf courses based on golfer preferences, and to ensure relatively uniform green speeds throughout the course. Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left. Copyright © 2010. . © 2010 Plant Management Network.

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... For golfers, green speed is directly associ-preparation programs on the playability of greens would provide a great resource to golf course managers in an effort to maximize speeds while imposing the least possible negative on plant health. While average golfers are generally unable to detect changes in BRD less than 15.2 cm, lower handicapped golfers (i.e., <10) have a slightly better ability to estimate BRD (Dest, Guillard, Rackliffe, Chen, & Wang, 2010;Karcher, Nikolai, & Calhoun, 2001;Nikolai, 2005). Regardless of skill level, golf course putting greens are often subjected to extreme practices to provide the fast greens speeds of championship conditions. ...
... On CBG, however, MF appeared to influence BRD in the afternoon, but HOC had little influence. As important as BRD is to a golfer's evaluation of putting greens (Streich et al., 2005), it is important to consider that most golfers cannot detect BRD differences of less than 15.2 cm (Dest et al., 2010;Karcher et al., 2001;Nikolai, 2005) and therefore any inputs that have an effect of less than 15.2 cm would not be warranted for tournaments outside of the highest levels of golf. ...
In preparation for golf course tournaments, turfgrass managers often seek increased ball roll distances on putting greens. The objective of this study was to determine the effect mowing height and frequency had on ball roll distance during simulated tournament conditions. Two 14‐d field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 at the Joseph Valentine Turfgrass Research Center located in University Park, PA. Each study was conducted on a ‘Penn A‐4’ creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.; CBG) and annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.; ABG) putting green. Plots measured 1.5 m by 3.0 m and were arranged in a randomized complete block design with a 3 × 3 factorial treatment structure. For the main effect of height of cut (HOC), mowers were set to a bench height of 2.1 mm, 2.5 mm, and 2.9 mm. For mowing frequency (MF), plots were mowed once, twice, or four times per day. Single cut (SC) and double cut (DC) treatments were performed in the morning whereas double‐double cut (DD) treatments consisted of a DC in the morning and again in the afternoon. Ball roll distance (BRD) and turfgrass quality were assessed. Although a few interactions were present in the ABG study, the main effects of HOC and MF were significant on 79% and 82% rating dates, respectively. On CBG, the main effect of HOC and MF were significant on 89% and 86% of rating dates. For both species, turfgrass quality was reduced during the trial as HOC was reduced and MF was increased.
Golf course managers manipulate cultural practices in preparation for golf tournaments to increase ball roll distance (BRD) for short periods of time. Brushing putting greens, thought to be a relatively minimally disruptive cultural practice utilizing brush attachments mounted to mower units to vertically orient leaf blades prior to mowing, is growing in popularity despite little research validating purported benefits. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the impact of brush types (rotary, stiff push, and soft push brush) and brushing frequency (no brushing, once, or twice) combined with mowing on BRD and turfgrass quality on a creeping bentgrass putting green over a two‐week period. All brush types produced a >20 cm BRD reduction compared to no brushing by the end of 14‐d trial in 2016 and 2017. Additionally, all brush types significantly lowered turfgrass quality, with the stiff brush resulting in unacceptable quality. Brushing/mowing once reduced BRD and turf quality compared to not brushing with daily mowing. Double brushing/mowing increased BRD equivalent to a single mowing without brushing, but turfgrass quality declined below acceptable thresholds. The results of this study indicate that brushing incorporated into a daily mowing regimen over a short 14‐d period decreases creeping bentgrass putting green BRD and quality. Increasing mowing frequency may eliminate BRD reductions from brushing, but golf course managers should practice caution when implementing brushing, especially over shorter periods of time when BRD and turfgrass quality expectations are increased. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Nitrogen is perhaps the most important nutrient for turfgrasses because it improves color, density, and recuperative ability when applied at adequate rates. Although numerous unique traits, such as dark genetic color and improved stress tolerance have been identified, there is a lack of published data comparing creeping bentgrass cultivar N use. Therefore, a field study was initiated in 2009 and 2010 to identify creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) putting-green cultivars that required the least amount of N to maintain acceptable color while maintaining desirable agronomic traits and good overall playability. Eighteen creeping bentgrass cultivars were planted on 2 July 2006 and maintained at a 3.2-mm mowing height. Nitrogen, liquid urea, was applied at 49, 147, or 294 kg ha(-1) yr(-1). Nitrogen applications were applied every 2 wk from April to October. Data collection included turfgrass color, relative chlorophyll index (RCI), clipping yield, lateral regrowth, ball-roll distance, and thatch accumulation. Increasing N rates resulted in higher RCI, more top growth, faster lateral regrowth, and shorter ball-roll distances. Regarding thatch accumulation, no significant differences were detected between cultivars. Overall, the creeping bentgrass cultivars that maintained acceptable color with the least amount of N input included '007', 'Authority', 'Penn A-4', 'Shark', and 'T-1'. These cultivars also maintained desirable agronomic traits, such as high RCI, reduced clipping yield, increased lateral regrowth, and adequate ball-roll distance. This research indicates creeping bentgrass cultivar is an important selection criterion if a reduction in N use is a relevant consideration.
Prior to 1976, standards for measuring the speed and uniformity of putting greens were unavailable. In 1976 the USGA developed the Stimpmeter, a simple device which quickly measures the speed of putting greens. During 1976 and 1977 the USGA Green Section's agronomic staff tested and reported on more than 1,500 greens in 36 states. As a result of these tests, tables were developed which provide green speed test comparison information for (a) membership play and (b) greens in tournament condi-tion.
Green speed of golf course putting greens (an inverse function of the surface friction) is assessed by use of a stimpmeter, a widely used tool distributed by the United States Golf Association. However, green speed of sloped surfaces cannot be measured satisfactorily due to the distorting effects of downslope gravitational acceleration of the ball. The purpose of this study was (i) to develop a simple equation that could be used to correct for the effects of gravitational acceleration on sloped greens, and (ii) to verify the new equation: Corrected green speed = 2S↑S↓ (S↑S↓)⁻¹, where S↑ = distance of ball roll directly uphill and S↓ = distance of ball roll downhill. A laboratory carpet-covered runway apparatus and two field putting greens were used for validation. Laboratory green speed readings corrected with the equation were equal, regardless of slope from 0 to 5.6%. By using the equation, a golf course superintendent can check green speed of sloped areas that previously would have been impossible to assess. Contribution from the Dep. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Journal paper no. 5062 of the Oklahoma Agric. Exp.Stn. Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left. Copyright © . .
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Reckless Op? The push to increase green speed hasn't slowed down, which could mean there's an accident waiting to happen
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