Where Are The Rough Mowers?
By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Mid-Atlantic RegionMay 28, 2014
|Until the flush of
growth of cool-season turf subsides, keeping up with rough mowing is difficult.
Piles or rows of clippings left behind by a rough mower are a common sight this
spring on golf courses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.|
players may have noticed the rough on your course is thick, penal and growing
like crazy. I’m sure many players have asked the question, “What happened to
our rough mower, is it broken?”
days and cool nights are ideal for cool-season turf growth, and wet weather
throughout the region has further stimulated growth. Even in the absence of
fertilizer, cool-season turf will grow at an accelerated rate during spring.
courses mow fine turf areas more frequently than rough. Greens are typically
cut six to seven days per week while tees and fairways are cut three or more
times per week. Although you may see rough mowers out every day, the acreage of
rough makes it nearly impossible to mow more than twice per week. Most golf
courses cut rough at 2 to 3 inches, with 2.5 inches being the most common
mowing height. With the current growth rate, grass cut at 2.5 inches can easily
grow to 3.5 or 4 inches before a rough mower returns to the area.
golfers assume the fix to this problem is to lower the height of cut and
increase the frequency of cuttings. This is easier said than done. The
frequency of cutting is dictated by available employees and equipment. This
time of year most golf facilities are cutting rough daily. However, it may take all week to get all the rough area mowed. For example, the rough to the left of number one fairway might be mowed every Monday. If your ball goes into that rough on Sunday the rough could have six days worth of growth. In other words, the grass is
simply outgrowing the labor and equipment available to keep up with it. This
just goes to show that the problem is not the height of cut but the frequency
of cutting that is the limiting factor.
superintendent sees the piles of clippings just like you do and they are not
happy about it either. Those that can send blowers behind rough mowers to
disperse piles do so, but not everyone has the resources to disperse clippings
in this manner. The surge of spring growth in the rough will be over soon,
replaced with the slower, steady growth brought forth by summer weather. However,
some patience is required during spring as cool-season turf is growing at full
tilt, while maintenance staffs are frantically trying to stay ahead of growth
and finish preparing the course for summer.
ultimate solution is to keep the ball in the fairway, but that is easier said
L. Dowling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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