A common springtime topic in the Southeast Region is refining the mowing patterns on bermudagrass golf courses. This topic can even be expanded to a discussion about creating closely mown areas around putting greens, sometimes referred to as chipping areas. Below are a few suggestions to make the most of this unique golf course feature:
Why create chipping areas?
Chipping areas serve a variety of purposes; they can add challenge to a golf course, and they can also make a course more playable and interesting. Chipping areas allow golfers to play a wide variety of shots from around a green. Some golfers may prefer using a putter or hybrid when playing from a chipping area while others prefer using a lofted wedge or midiron. Chipping areas create a physical and mental challenge for golfers of all abilities.
Tips for Success
• Do not force a chipping area into a location that is not a good fit. Consulting with a golf course architect can help ensure that new chipping areas are properly located.
• Consider the bermudagrass varieties present in the fairway and rough before creating new chipping areas. Adjusting mowing patterns to create new chipping areas will be much easier if the varieties have compatible characteristics.
• Chipping areas require more intensive maintenance than rough. Be sure to account for the extra resources needed before creating a new chipping area.
• Spring is the best time to establish new chipping areas in bermudagrass turf.
Any adjustment to mowing lines, including creating chipping areas, will require a period of evaluation. Observe how the new areas are performing as closely mown turf. Ask golfers their opinion of new mowing patterns and study how new mowing patterns are influencing play. Adjustments may be necessary to achieve the best results.
Southeast Region Agronomists:
Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service - firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Kammerer, regional director – email@example.com
Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Lowe, agronomist – email@example.com