Just Cut The Rough!

By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic Region
May 30, 2013

The use of blowers to disperse clippings is a very common and good practice. However, when blowing is necessary, many man hours can be consumed with this extra work.

Now that we have experienced warmer temperatures, turfgrass growth has accelerated. Problems with aeration healing due to cold temperatures are no longer a topic of conversation. Overall conditions have been very good, and golfers are enjoying their favorite course. However, on recent Turf Advisory Service visits, the height, thickness and ultimately the difficulty of cool-season rough has been the most prominent topic of conversation. It is easy to understand the golfer’s frustration with the rough. It may be more difficult to understand that superintendents are frustrated as well. They just cannot keep up with the rough.

Weather patterns in the last month have been ideal for the growth of cool-season rough. We have received ample rainfall for rough growth. This rainfall has prevented normal maintenance routines from being followed, and the rough is growing as much as 1/2 inch per day. Thus, if the rough is being mowed at 2.5 inches and it takes four to five days for your maintenance staff to get all of the rough mowed, the rough may be 4-5 inches tall by the time it gets mowed again, and yes, this is extremely penal. In many cases, the proposed solution is to simply lower the height of cut. This will reduce the severity of the rough immediately after it is cut, but it will still grow quickly before it is mowed again. More importantly, if height of cut is lowered too much, it can lead to problems with turfgrass quality later in the growing season.

There are a couple of options available to help with this situation. In some instances, growth regulators are being applied to roughs to slow growth. A single application can suppress clipping yields up to three weeks. While discoloration of the rough may result, this is temporary and the rough will be more manageable. Mowing the rough more frequently may also help, but many facilities have neither the equipment nor the manpower for this to be accomplished. Mowing a “cleanup pass” of the rough around fairways and green surrounds can also help to reduce complaints. Often overlooked is the additional manpower that is required for blowing the rough to disperse clippings. If heavy clippings are left to lie in the rough, they can smother the underlying grass and their appearance is awful. This can absorb many labor-hours that cannot be used for other tasks on the golf course.

The bottom line is that spring is a period of accelerated rough growth on cool-season golf courses. With the lack of any prolonged periods of hot or dry weather, this growth rate has not slowed down. While different practices can be put in place to mitigate the difficulty of the rough, a change in the weather will have the greatest impact; so be patient and keep it in the fairway!

Source: Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image