Greens Update from Alex Kugelberg
November 15, 2016
Good Morning Willow Creek Golf Club Members, Some questions have surfaced as to why the speed of the greens has slowed down over the last week. Let me explain the reasoning, as well as short/long term effects of what is happening to the greens. During the peak growing season for the putting greens, normally May-October, the greens are cut daily at a height of 0.110” beginning first thing in the morning(6:00AM) and finishing all greens by 9:30AM.
During the growing season the turf is actively growing throughout the day, this means if you were to putt on the greens early in the morning after the mowing was complete, the greens would appear faster than if you were to play later in the day (rate of growth). The greens are mowed daily during the peak growing season, because it is absolutely necessary in order to have consistent green speeds. The same does not hold true however, during the non-peak growing season, normally (November-April). During the non-growth season our putting greens go into a dormancy stage. The growth rate is substantially slowed, if any growth, during these months, think about how often your lawn is mowed in the summer as compared to how often it is mowed in the winter. This lack of growth is expected as soil and air temperature steadily decrease during these cooler months.
Beginning November 1st, the putting greens at the club were raised from 0.110” to 0.125”. The idea behind this is to promote as healthy as turf stand as possible heading into the dormancy season. Longer leaf blades are able to capture more sunlight, which directly influences the photosynthetic rate of the plant. Creating a healthy stand of turf is paramount before the winter months, as the turf is not actively growing as compared to the summer months. The short-term effect is, yes, the greens are a bit slower for the time being. Once the turf begins its dormancy stage, and is not actively growing, thegreens will once again begin to pick up speed(naturally). It is during this time as well, that an alternating schedule of mowing/rolling putting greens will begin. A long-term beneficial effect of raising the height of cut going into winter is healthier turf when dormancy breaks next spring (Quicker green-up and active growth turf) and also having a healthy putting surface during the winter. In summation, raising the height of cut is an important decision that has large implications on a putting green, during the short and long term. It’s an actively changing decision based mostly off of the weather patterns and course expectations.
I’ve attached an article below that gives more insight as well. http://www.superintendentmagazine.com/columns/ron-furlong-and-talking-turf/deliberating-the-many-highs-and-lows-of-height/