The onset of warmer weather conditions allows us the opportunity to condition the greens more aggressively for upcoming events. If you’ve played in the past few days, you may notice remnants from recent surface-maintenance treatments on the greens. The fine lines evident on the putting surfaces are a result of recent verticutting/grooming procedures. Rather than cutting on a horizontal plane like a normal mower, these cutting units rotate vertically into the turf surface. Set slightly below the height of cut, these blades penetrate the turf severing stolons (plant shoots along the surface) and thinning the leaf canopy. Following the grooming, we topdress the greens to fill any voids and further smooth the surface. These cultivation techniques optimize putting quality, reduce grain, promote an upright growth habit, alleviate spongy surface conditions, and enhance surface smoothness. Immediately following this process, the greens may slow down slightly and appear scarred from the disruption to the surface. Approximately seven to ten days following the process, the greens will be smoother, faster, and firmer.
Ultra-dwarf bermudagrasses make excellent putting greens because they have been bred for their dense, fine leaf texture, and their ability to tolerate low mowing heights. Although we continue to stretch the limits of the grass, it is important to recognize that the natural growth pattern of bermudagrass is to spread and grow laterally. Periodic vertical mowing to further promote dense upright turf is an important part of getting the most out of our grass.