Late May to early June mark the beginning of the bermudagrass growing season in the Southeast. Warm temperatures and longer days also mean that most golf facilities are recording their highest volume of play. Now is a good time to assess turfgrass quality on the practice tee. To determine whether the practice tee is ready for summer at your golf facility, answer the following question, Does the quality of the bermudagrass at today's hitting stations match the quality of the bermudagrass on the fairways? If the answer is yes, get out to the range for a small bucket. If the answer is no, the volume of practice on the tee has exceeded the recovery rate of the grass. Here are a few suggestions to get your practice tee back on track:
1. Make use of artificial surfaces during times of the year when grass is dormant or slow to recover.
2. When the bermudagrass is growing, make sure that the divot recovery rate is faster than the amount of time it takes to rotate hitting stations through the entirety of the tee.
3. Communicate better practice habits to golfers. When golfers create linear divot patterns during practice they help maintain the quality of a grass practice tee.
For more information about managing the turf on your practice tee, check out these resources:
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