As I sit here in the rain and trying to figure out something new to write about I thought about the famous Stipmeter meter which is used to measure green speed.
I have enclosed a link to a great research study from Chrystel Downs Country Club http://tic.msu.edu//mtc2002/070.pdf. The superintendent there completed this study a few years ago and was quite in depth with daily readings and all the research was submitted to the members of the club too find the ideal green speed for all members.
Here at Hawks, My main goal is to keep the greens a uniform speed daily so that all greens have consistent speed throughout your round. There are a few exceptions to this. On Mondays I do not mow the greens, I feel that you have to give the greens a break to allow them to rest a day, but this is the day that I use to apply topdressing, plant protectants, and fertilizers. I also use growth regulators on the greens, tees as well as the fairways to help slow the growth of the plant. This is a very interesting chemical in that the top growth of the plant is slowed and the energy that the plant uses to promote top growth is transferred to the root system. Growth regulators actually make the plant stronger this way. Also, the growth regulators promote more lateral growth then horizontal growth. Keeping these things in mind I have to formulate a plan to provide consistent fast greens here at Hawks.
My goal with the speed of the greens is 11-12 feet on the stimpmeter from Wednesday through Sundays. I try to forecast the weather patterns ahead of time to adjust my schedules of mowing and topdressing to provide these speeds. Rain, heavy dew formations and warm humid days are very challenging sometimes because these are some factors that will promote more growth of the turfgrass. Contrary as some may think I can not just lower the mowers to speed up a green. Reason begin I am currently mowing the greens at a height that is so low we have to do a few modification to our mowers to mow at the current height and honestly we really are almost at the low limit of our mowers. With this said I have to adjust the turf surface using topdressing, special fertilizers, and growth regulators to change to growth pattern of the turf. I also can roll the greens or cut multiple times to keep the turf growth in check. Our current speed is right around 11 to 12 daily with the exceptions of Mondays and Tuesday, we double cut the greens on Wednesday, mow and roll on Thursday, double cut on Fridays and then mow and roll on Saturdays. Keeping the greens at this speed which I feel a high percentage of our Members want is challenging. There are so many variables that all have to fall in line to keep this speed. Also, we need to keep the turf healthy under such demands. this does involve applying plant protection and very light rates of fertilizers. My goal here is to give the turf just enough to maintain and supports proper growth and development. I have to keep a constant eye on the greens to keep this fine line in check. there can be a swing for the bad very quickly with this program.
I hope that I have explained some of the environmental factors and maintenance practices that I have to work with and around to provide my main goal, which is a consistent tournament golf course daily for our Members of Hawks. I am fortunate to have such a great staff that understand my demands and they are willing to do what it takes to provide these conditions we are known for. I hope that you are enjoying Hawks this year it sure has been a pleasure for me.