Many golf courses are renowned for their beauty, intricacy, and the unique challenges they pose to players. While you could probably guess that grass is important to a golfing experience, how often have you stopped to think about how important the type of grass you are playing on actually is? From the length and texture of the fairways to the smoothness and speed of the greens, the choice of grass can have a significant impact on the way the game is played. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the various types of grass commonly used on golf courses in the United States and explore why they are so important to the sport of golf.
So, what are the most common types of grass used?
The most popular types of grass used on golf courses in the United States are Bermuda, Bentgrass, and Poa Annua.
What are the differences between them?
Bermuda is a warm-season grass that is commonly used in the southern United States. It can grow in a variety of soil types and can tolerate drought conditions. Bermuda grass is known for its ability to provide a firm and fast playing surface, which is ideal for golf courses. It can also be mowed very short, which allows for an ultra-smooth putting surface.
Bentgrass is a cool-season grass that is commonly used on golf courses in the northern United States. It requires a lot of maintenance, including frequent watering and mowing, but it provides a very consistent playing surface. Bentgrass is known for its ability to tolerate low mowing heights and its fine texture, which makes it ideal for putting greens.
Poa Annua is a cool-season grass that is commonly found on golf courses in the western United States. It is a low-growing grass that requires minimal maintenance and can provide a good playing surface. However, Poa Annua is also known for its susceptibility to disease and can be challenging to maintain if used on putting surfaces, which can cause problems on golf courses.
Can a golf course have more than one grass type? Absolutely, some of the most famous golf courses in the world use multiple grass types, including:
- Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts The Masters Tournament, uses acombination of Bermuda and Bentgrass on its greens.
- Pinehurst Resort, which has hosted several major championships, uses a combination of Bermuda and Bentgrass on its courses.
- TPC Sawgrass, which hosts The Players Championship, uses Bermuda grass on its fairways and roughs and Bentgrass on its greens.
So why does this matter?
Selecting the right grass type is crucial for golf courses because it can affect the quality of the playing surface, which in turn affects the game itself. Different grass types have different properties, such as texture, color, density, and growth rate, that impact how the ball rolls and bounces, how easy or difficult it is to make shots, and the overall aesthetic appeal of the course. Golf course superintendents must carefully select the most appropriate grass type for each area of the course to ensure that players enjoy a challenging and rewarding game that is played on a high-quality playing surface.
Looking for a fun fact?
A fun fact about golf course grass is that the speed of the greens is often measured using a device called a Stimpmeter. This device was invented by Edward Stimpson, Jr. in 1935 and is used to determine how fast the ball will roll on the green. The Stimpmeter is a simple device consisting of a metal bar with a notch in the middle that is used to release the ball onto the green. The distance the ball rolls is then measured to determine the speed of the green. The Stimpmeter has become an important tool in golf course maintenance, as it allows superintendents to ensure that the greens are playing at a consistent speed, which is critical for a fair and enjoyable game of golf.