When most people think about grass, caring for their home lawn often comes to mind. Lawns are generally mowed once per week at 2 to 3 inches in height. If the grass looks good when they pull in the driveway, the homeowner is content. Simple, right? Compare this to a putting green that is mowed daily at heights below one eighth of an inch. Golfers see the whole of the putting green, carefully inspecting the turf as they line up their putts. They often do not realize the complexity of the putting green system and the resources needed to maintain a playing surface that allows a perfect putt to find the hole.
Grasses are specifically selected for use on putting greens. Turfgrass breeders and natural selection have improved putting green grasses over many years. Bermudagrass, creeping bentgrass and Poa annua are the most commonly managed turfgrasses on putting greens in the United States. A putting green can have more than 10,000 individual plants per square foot. This equates to more than 50 million plants on an average size putting green.
Putting greens are not constructed haphazardly. The materials used to build new putting greens are carefully selected, tested and then retested to ensure that they meet specific requirements. New putting greens are mostly composed of sand with various amendments added in small amounts. The physical properties of a sand-based putting green rootzone are manipulated to maximize putting green performance based on local climate, water quality and other site-specific factors. Sand-based rootzones are engineered to promote rapid drainage, resist compaction and balance plant needs for water and air.