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.