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Posted by mynormas on September 23, 2015


Measuring green speed

What are the odds of two clients having big tournaments at the same time? Both tournaments are a month away and both courses have yet to reach their top potential.
The most important issue that springs to mind when its about tournaments is green speed.

When it comes to green speed the knee-jerk reaction is of course to reduce the cutting height. Even when the greens are vulnerable and the weather is hazy.

So I told one Superintendent “Raise your cutting height” and I swear I could see his face change colour. When he starts to fiddle with his phone and his body turns away from me, I knew I may not get the cooperation we needed.

“Raise the cutting height TEMPORARILY by only 0.5mm” I added quickly “then about ten days before the tournament, we can reduce it again”. I detected relief and a nod of agreement.

“In the meantime, we’ll do light dusting, light dethatching, systemic fungicide and insecticide, measure the speed of all greens once a week for the next month, reduce the amount of fertiliser and change the frequency, and do spot topdressing on those areas we discussed. And manual aeration on those newly sodded areas”

In my experience, usually the bigger challenge is not about increasing the greens speed but in ensuring the consistency of the speed on all 19 greens (don’t forget the practice green has to be of the same consistency as the greens on the course).

Firstly, in the context of Malaysian golf courses, not all greens are of the same grass and different grasses (and we could be talking REALLY different grasses here) will respond differently to what you do, whether cutting down on the height or applying growth regulator and/or potassium silicate. Or whatever else and whyever.

The greens too are constructed to different standards by different people at different times who usually claim them to have built them to  the same specification. So you roll the greens or double roll them and some greens will have a faster speed than others and some greens will just harden.

The trick is to do what you are going to do during the tournament before the actual tournament and see what happens to the end result.

Yeah, there is plenty of stuff to tell about preparing the course for tournaments and somehow, I lost the plot somewhere in the middle of this post. Oh well, my target is to publish one post a week, so I might as well put this up anyway.

Do feel free to share your experiences. Take your time. Not everyone all at once now…


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