Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Truth About Green Speed - Part 2

In my last post I discussed the "Stimpmeter" and how it is used to measure green speed and why.  While knowing the green speed may or may not be important, it is important to know if green speeds are consistent from green to green in addition to knowing what may affect that speed.

First, I think it is essential to know what affects green speed.  The most obvious is height of cut.  The lower we cut the grass, the faster the ball is going to travel across the green.  However, there are limits to how low you can mow before the health of the grass is affected.  For most of the summer, we mow the greens at .110 of an inch which is considered on the low side.

Another factor which affects the speed is moisture.  The wetter the surface the slower the speed.  With either rain or dew, greens speeds are going to be slower in their presence.

Other factors that affect green speed are but not limited to; mower sharpness, time of day, turf species, location, temperature, maintenance practices like rolling and topdressing, weather, budget, amount of play, and course architecture.  Golf Course Superintendents can and do manipulate many of these items to achieve consistent greens speeds.  However, some of these items are out of our control and we are left at the mercy of Mother Nature.

With so many factors affecting green speed, sometimes it can be difficult to achieve a desired speed at a given time.  As a result, our number one goal is to achieve consistent greens.  This means that ALL the greens are smooth, putt true and are very close to the same speed, and that we do very well.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Truth About Green Speed - Part 1

Golf course putting green speed is measured with a device called a "Stimpmeter".   The Stimpmeter is basically an aluminum channel on which a golf ball rests.  When one end is raised to a specific height, the ball travels down the channel and travels a certain distance on the green.  That distance is measured in feet and is then considered the speed of the green.  So a green with a speed of 10 means that the ball traveled 10 feet from the Stimpmeter.
Green speed notification at the pro shop.
The original intention of the Stimpmeter was to ensure that all the greens on a course were of relatively equal speed. This would provide the Superintendent with a method to evaluate the speed of different greens and then take the appropriate action to make them equal.
The "Stimpmeter"
However, many golfers misuse Stimpmeter readings by comparing them to other golf courses or by equating them to green quality.  They think the faster the greens, the better the quality and that is absolutely false. The quest for fast greens has serious consequences in terms of cost, environmental quality and the long-term health of the green.  Additionally, comparing greens to other courses is flawed without considering course architecture.

Measuring green speed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HFCC celebrates July 4th!

Despite nearly 6 inches of rain over the last few days, a greater power created just enough good weather (about 4 hours) for our crew to paint the American flag on the 17th fairway.  This has become a special tradition at HFCC and this year it was even more so.
Because of the rain, we had to blow the turf to get the paint to dry.
The crew painting one of the stripes.
Josh painting a star.
Finishing the last stripe.
BASF (one of turf chemical providers) is donating $100 to the Wounded Warrior Project for every photo of a Golf Course Superintendent in front of an American flag.  So to help do our part, we invited area Superintendents to come out and get their picture taken in front of our American flag.  I am happy to announce that we had 10 guys come out to get their picture taken, despite the rainy weather.
Local Superintendents in front of the flag.
I want to personally thank every person who has served this nation and helped make it the greatest place on earth.  Happy 4th!
A very beautiful sight!